Runner bean quandry

Hi there, I'm a teacher about to impart some of my limited of knowledge of planting to 4/5 year old children. I wanted to show how fruit and veg grow from seeds and was going to get them to split a runner bean open, identify the 'seeds' and then plant the seeds from the bean. It's to demonstrate the life cycle etc rather than buying a packet of beans/seeds to grow. Will this work? I have tried it at home but after a few days the seed remains a small pale seed without change. Any help or advice would be warmly welcome.

Thank you.


  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    Hi Wendy. For the bean (seed) to be truly viable it needs to be mature which it isn't straight from the pod. Beans for sowing are left on the plant to dry out completely before harvesting for sowing. Given your time-frame, your best bet is probably to buy some dried beans, take the fresh bean (seed) from a pod, show them the difference and explain it. The fresh bean (seed) will, eventually, turn into the dried one. Then plant the viable dried one.

  • Wendy15Wendy15 Posts: 2

    Thank you for that. We'll add that to the lesson - observe the changes and plant etc. Thanks again.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    If I remember from primary school - many years ago - runner beans were grown so we could see how they developed.

    Buy a packet of beans suitable for growing from a garden centre or most supermarkets. This cannot be avoided.

    1 You can split a bean to show its various parts.

    2 Place a cylinder of blotting paper (I'm sure they still sell it) in a glass vessel with water at the bottom and place an undamaged runner bean seed between the glass and the blotting paper.  It will germinate and grow. It can be observed and drawn if the children are of a suitable age group.

    3 Plant beans in pots - perhaps one per child - with compost and name label + spares so the children can grow them ready to plant out in the garden or bigger pots once the danger of frost is over.

    Don't forget to take photos at every stage.

    Good luck and happy growing.

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    Blotting paper, Welshonion? I remember that stuff. image Is it still around?

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    I'll look in the stationers when I go to town today!

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    See if they have any dip-in ink wells for my desk while you're there.

  • LottiebeansLottiebeans Posts: 715

    We did this recently at Cubs as part of scientist badge - you can use those large square washing up sponges (spontex or similar) instead of blotting paper, and grow in plastic document wallets. It means the kids can see the bean shoot and root. You need to put a row of staples or similar across the bag so that the beans don't sit in the water and rot. Worked very well.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    Just checked.  Rymans sell blotting paper.

  • They've done this at my son's school, worked quite well, one seed per child, different varieties of beans.  They planted them in large plastic pint glasses, so the root development could be seen.

    Unfortunately the teacher in charge of this has gone off with a slipped disc in her back, none ofthe other teachers have any idea about gardening.  Unfortunately they planted them first day back after easter, without hardening them off or anything.  I don't think there's been a frost yet, I'm hoping they'll be OK.  I'm growing a few extra of my own in case the worst happens, I will get the lovely caretaker to let me in one weekend and remove any that have expired and re-plant, and hope none of the children notice their bean has changed from a broad bean to a runner bean, and has got smaller!

  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647
    Welshonion wrote (see)

    Just checked.  Rymans sell blotting paper.

    What about dip-in ink wells for my desk?

  • You can get pretty cut-glass look bottles full of Waterman ink from the Pen Shop (they have a websited and also a stand in Debenhams in Meadowhall).  I think they're either plastic or cheap glass, but look really trick when full of coloured ink.  If you've got a posh desk where the glass liner has gone missing, why not try to recycle a pot from potted beef spread or similar?  I use a fountain pen and can't be doing with the faff a refillable cartridge entails, just chuck the old one out and pop a fresh one in.  Assuming OH hasn't found my stash in the kitchen draw and used them all.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,115

    Mummy Muddy Paws, I suspect Italophile wanted to make ink-soaked pellets to send across the room with the help of his ruler!

  • If he carries on like that, it will be Bed with No Dinner, No Sweeties and No Comic from the Shops. 

    Bad boy!

  • Pretty sure we just used paper towel when we did it about 25 years ago image was a great series of lessons.
  • ItalophileItalophile Posts: 1,647

    Welshonion got it right ...

    ... and you'd have to catch me first, Mummy Muddy Paws.

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