How to Grow Bean Plants
The magic of growing beans is the sparkling assortment of colors, shapes and sizes of bean variety just waiting for you to grow. For this example, we will use dwarf French bean seeds, which grow more quickly than other beans. Choose a sunny place that is sheltered from the wind. Use rich, well-drained potting soil. Dwarf beans grow 20 in (50 cm) high. The seeds germinate in 7-10 days, and the beans are ready to pick in 10 weeks.
- black bucket
- foil food containers
- kid-safe scissors
- dwarf French bean seeds, different varieties
- small jar
- potting soil
- plastic bag
- empty plastic bottles
- plant stakes
- cotton string
- broken eggshells and seashells (optional)
1. Decorate a black bucket.
Cut stars out from foil food containers and stick them to the bucket with any strong, quick-drying glue that is suitable for plastic.
2. Buy your bean seeds.
Choose a few varieties of dwarf French bean seeds to produce different colored beans. We used dwarf green, purple king and yellow rocquencourt beans.
3. Soak the beans overnight to encourage germination.
After soaking, the seeds will have begun to swell.
4. Make room for the bean seeds.
Make a few 2-inch-deep holes spaced equally around the soil-filled bucket, and put a soaked bean into each hole. Fill the hole with soil and cover with a bag.
5. Spread glue on the bucket's lip.
Cover it with glitter to keep slugs away from the seedlings. For extra protection, sprinkle glitter, broken eggshells or crushed seashells on the soil. Put newspaper underneath the bucket to catch any spilt glitter.
6. Watch for seedlings.
When they appear, cut both ends off some plastic bottles and use them to protect each one from slugs. Keep the plants well watered as they grow.
7. Secure your plants.
Tie the plant stems to plant stakes or twiggy branches to stop them from falling over. Use a figure-eight loop so the stems don’t rub against the supports. Keep well watered.
8. Check under the leaves for aphids (also known as plant lice).
Remove them by wrapping tape around your fingers (sticky side out) and rubbing them off, or spraying them with water to knock them off.
9. Pick the beans.
Wait until they're about 4 inches (10 cm) long, before they mature and become too tough to eat. This also encourages more to grow.
To get seeds for next year, leave one or two beans to over-mature before picking. Then let them dry out and split.