Those of you gardening with children might want to think about ways to incorporate them into the fun of fall planting.
While you can find toys like this Toysmith “root viewer” online for around $10 at various online toy shops…
…it isn’t like they are hard to make.
First, get a clear plastic cup and make a hole in the bottom for water to drain. You can use a drill or just carefully use a nail with a hammer to punch it out. Next you fill it with potting mix and water it so it is damp and draining decently. If too much dirt comes out of your hole when you water, take the dirt out. Put a small pice of cloth or paper towel in the bottom so water will seep out but the dirt will stay in.
Because the dirt is brown-black, I like using a white beans like green beans or lima beans with preschoolers so they can find their seed easily. Have them plant 2 or 3 around the cup against the side of the cup so it can be seen.
Put it in a sunny window and in two or three days, you will see the seed coat starting to break open and the main root starting to make it’s way down into the cup.
Six days later we have long main roots, some side roots, and the emergence of little plants.
Here is the view from the top of the cup:
About a week after planting, the little bean plants will be showing off nice root systems up against the side of the cup:
HINTS FOR HOMESCHOOLERS
For the homeschoolers wanting to try this project out, it’s fun to do along with “One Bean” by Anne Rockwell and illustrated by Megan Halsey. They story covers a little boy who plants a bean seed and cares for his plant and watches it grow and develop into more beans. The bright, cheery illustrations are a hit with the preschool crowd and the vocab could go up to first or second grade readers.
My daughter also enjoyed watching time lapsed beans growing when we made hers: