Today your child had the opportunity to plant a broad bean seed (Cole’s Dwarf variety) in a pot to bring home and to care for as part of our Kindergarten Incursion Program. Extending today’s learning at home is going to be a great opportunity to reinforce and share in your child’s learning and understanding of edible plants. Here are some tips for you to consider when caring for your child’s new broad bean seed.
Germinating the seed
The children have only given the soil a light misting of water today when planting the seed (to avoid any mess during transport home). This light watering will need to be followed up with a more generous watering when you get the pot home. Please make sure that the soil in the pot remains moist, but not waterlogged and keep it in a warm sunny position, such as on a window sill. The seed should germinate within 7 to 10 days.
Transplanting into the garden
Once the seed has germinated and appears 4 to 6cm tall, we suggest that you and your child transplant it into the garden. If you do not have any suitable garden space, consider transplanting the seedling into a larger pot.
To transplant the seedling, dig a small hole in the garden and place the entire pot into the ground, filling in the soil around it. Make sure the top of the pot is just covered with soil. Water the plant in very thoroughly at this time. The pot will break down in the soil over the coming weeks.
Broad beans prefer a sheltered spot in full sun. This variety (Coles’ Dwarf) will only grow to about 60cm high. One plant will produce a handful of beans, so consider sowing more seeds directly into the garden to increase your crop. You can buy broad bean seeds from most plant nurseries and larger hardware stores.
Harvesting your beans
The plant should start to flower and produce pods in spring. The flowers and young tips of the broad bean are edible and make a great addition to garnish salads. Just make sure that you leave some flowers to develop into pods. Pick the pods when beans have filled out the pods. Picking and podding beans is a great activity for the children and helps them to connect the cycle between planting seeds, growing the plant and harvesting fresh seeds for next season. You could discuss with your child the similarity between the bean seed that they originally planted, and the beans that they are now removing from the pods. These new beans can be dried out to plant again next season.
Unless beans are very young, you need to remove the pale green skins prior to eating. The pods themselves are tough and best composted once the beans have been removed.
For further information on edible gardening and the services that we provide, please take a look around our website
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