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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Growing Beans

Outdoor Hour Challenge Bean Study @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge
Growing Beans
Archive Post

Have you ever used green bean seeds and plants for your nature study? This is a wonderful way to share the complete growing cycle. With your children start your study with the bean seeds, then the plants, then the flowers, then the beans, back to the seed again!

Bean Nature Study – Seed Germination from the archives!

I also want to share a link to one of my gardening entries from 2009 that I think will inspire newbies to gardening. Take a look at this entry and find some encouragement to start even a small garden:

Gardening Doesn’t Need to be Complicated
Crop Plants Notebook Page Cover Button
If you are a member here on the Handbook of Nature Study, you will find this archive challenge in the Crop Plants Challenges ebook. In the book, you will find a custom notebook page to use with your green bean study.


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Garden Update – Beans, Berries, and Assorted Other Edibles

We went camping in Oregon for a week and while we were gone our garden decided to spring into life. I have it all on an automatic drip system so we knew it would be nicely watered in our absence. There were some surprises for us when we got back.

Our green beans have all started climbing their poles and I am afraid that I over-planted this veggie. We love green beans and I may need to learn how to preserve them so they don’t go to waste.

The tomato decided to really grow! It looks super healthy and I can hardly wait for the fruits to appear and ripen…then it will truly feel like summer.

The squash has come alive as well. The plants have green luscious leaves and seem to like the box I chose for them this year.

My patio tomatoes look fantastic…they are from Renee’s Garden in their Container Kitchen Garden Collection.

The Pots of Gold Chard (from Renee’s Garden Container Kitchen Garden collection) looks great too and I hope it is not going to get too hot for it before we harvest. I may pick some smaller leaves and add them to some soup.

The blackberries are thick with fruit this year. We had to trim the vines back because they were beginning to take over their little space over in the front corner garden. We had lots of berry treats in Oregon and it whetted my appetite for our own blackberries that will ripen next month. Then I will have blue stained fingers most mornings as I make my round of the garden, nibbling the delicious sweet berries.

There are lots of flower seedlings in my fence garden and I will share those as they mature and bloom. I can hardly stand the wait. The sunflowers are up tall and look like they will burst open with huge flower heads any day! That is always a fun time as they all start to blossom and the bees and butterflies arrive to enjoy them too.

Is your garden growing like mine?

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Garden Update – Renee’s Garden Seeds

This year Renee’s Garden sent me my whole seed order as a gift so that I could share my results with my dear blog readers. I love the selection of seeds found at Renee’s Garden and I have grown them in my garden for many years. I usually order them directly from their website but my dad purchased his whole garden seed order at our local Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH) which would even be easier!

We got our seeds in the ground last month and we are already seeing tremendous growth in the veggie and flower gardens!

Our Blue Lake pole beans have all sprouted and with the heat we are getting this week we should probably see them double in size. The seeds we planted are from Renee’s Garden Organic Seed Collection. I am so thrilled to have these in my garden that I planted two different boxes with these green bean sesds. I am anxious to see how they taste!

This is something new for our family from Renee’s: Tricolor Zucchini. The zucchini seeds are mixed in the packet and contain three different kinds of squash. The seedlings look strong and are growing like crazy. I have a whole houseful of zucchini lovers so hopefully we will get our fill of squash this summer.

A whole row of sunflowers…which need to be thinned a bit. We have three really big ones which were self-sowed from last year’s crop but there are some little seedlings that we planted from our Renee’s Garden seeds. There are Van Gogh, Chocolate Cherry, and Royal Flush.

We planted plenty of morning glories right in the middle of our back garden. I am hoping they do well here and have been watching them grow week by week. Morning glories make me super happy and I love to draw them in my nature journal…relaxing. The seeds we picked are a heritage blend that are traditionally grown to decorate fences and mailboxes.

There are also some really pretty showy flowers in the garden right now which are not from Renee’s Garden but I want to share with you.

The hydrangeas are very happy this year and this is my favorite color…so delicate.

In my container deck garden there is a beautiful calla lily blooming. This plant always surprises me when it pops back to life after the winter weather. It soon will be a whole pot full of blooms which the hummingbirds and I will enjoy.

It is very hard to believe that it is day lily blooming time but they are all budding out and a few are blossoming.

I love the peachy color of this day lily and am always happy to see it in bloom in my butterfly/hummingbird garden.

There are lots more of Renee’s Garden seeds to share and I will as the season progresses. I am always happy to share our favorite seed company with my blog readers.

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Planning a Garden and Watching it Grow

6 27 11 Garden Potted Hydrangeas

So as I walked through my garden this week I realized that having a garden is like watching an awakening of a new life. When we plant a seed, we know in our head that it will produce a particular kind of plant. After a period of time we know that it will grow into a flower or veggie. But have you stopped lately to consider just why it does that? That life comes from somewhere…it is not mere mechanics. I choose to give all the glory to the Master Gardener in heaven. Here are some of His creations that have come to life in my yard.

6 27 11 Sage

Sometimes I choose a plant because of its color, sometimes its fragrance, and sometimes its texture. My new Sage has it all…another bee loving plant in our remodeled frontyard. I love this plant and I hope it continues to grow right where it is in the middle of my walk-way plantings.

6 27 11 Red Hot Poker

This plant is Mr. A’s favorite and he asked if we could add it to the front yard when we were planning the new beds. This Red Hot Poker is a favorite of the hummingbirds. I actually thought it was dead this past winter because it didn’t look at all like it had any life left in it but here it is….glorious. You can see my English Lavender in the background as it is bursting with blossoms and bees.

6 27 11 Grapes on the Vine

Our grapes coming along strong. In fact, we had to cut them back already because they were overwhelming the corner of the garden where we sit in their shade. We have a couple varieties planted but I am pretty sure these are the Thompson seedless…good eating grapes.

6 27 11 Garden Sunflowers

Sunflowers by the dozens are all starting to form in our bee garden. Wake up sunflowers!

6 27 11 Tomatoes

Tomatoes are green but hold the promise of being sweet juicy morsels soon.

6 27 11 Pumpkins!

Pumpkins in the Three Sisters Garden are growing by the minute. We had a few days of hot hot weather and they loved it. I am thrilled they are looking so great!

6 27 11 Coneflowers

We have coneflowers that are almost taller than I am this year.I think the buds are almost as pretty as the flowers but the bees are waiting on the real thing.

6 27 11 Green Beans on the Pole
Our pole beans are holding on tight and climbing towards the summer sky. I swear I put the poles in and the next day they were already half way up….I need to do a time lapse. My morning glories are doing the same thing out in the other garden.

6 27 11 Butterfly Bush Purple

The Butterfly bush is going to be in full bloom soon. We planted three new bushes this year and I love the graceful way they grow. I am not a tidy gardener so it is fine with me that they sort of grow as they wish. My garden this year is by far the most free-flowing of all gardens. I decided it is more fun not to try to control everything.

6 27 11 Garden Hydrangeas

One last hydrangea image….especially for my hydrangea loving friend Tricia.

Hope you enjoyed your stroll through our gardens this week. We had two inches of rain last night so I am glad that I got out and took the photos a few days ago. We never get that much rain in June so it continues to be an unusual year here in Northern California.

Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!

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Our Crop Plant Study: Corn!

Our crop plant study as part of the June Newsletter suggestions focused on corn. Yes, corn. We haven’t had much luck in the past growing corn but we wanted to try again this year as part of our Three Sisters Garden where we plant corn, beans, and squash as companions. (There is an official Corn Crop Plants Challenge on my sidebar. You can just observe an ear of corn and make an entry if you wish.)

6 12 11 Garden - Three Sisters
We did some reading beforehand and realized that we needed to plant more corn than we usually do so it will have a better chance of pollinating. We planted the corn in mounds and have let it grow to around six inches high before planting the beans around the corn and then pumpkins in alternating mounds between the corn. You can find complete directions HERE on Renee’s Garden website (love this website).

6 12 11 Garden Corn in cages
Here are our young corn plants. We have been using homemade compost to enrich our soil and every time I dig around to weed the mounds I find oodles of earthworms. I am hoping that is a good sign for our corn and its health.

We had to put tomato cages around each mound for now to keep the critters out…..human kind and canine kind as well.

6 12 11 Garden Potato
I noticed that there is a potato growing in the row so we decided to leave it and see what happens with it. We have never grown potatoes but there must have been one left in the compost when it was dumped in this section of the garden.

We read in the Handbook of Nature Study that corn study can take place in the spring as soon as the leaves appear and that because the corn plant grows so fast that it is a great season long study. We will be watching anxiously as our corn grows and in Lesson 168 in the Handbook of Nature Study there are many interesting observations to make as the plant grows.

6 12 11 Garden Corn

You can purchase a set of notebook pages to go along with all the Crop Plants studies in the Handbook of Nature Study HERE. There are also challenges listed on the right sidebar of my blog to go along with them.

6 12 11 Garden Beans

We are also anxious for our green beans to start their vines…our poles are ready!

Don’t forget to post and then share your crop plant study with the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival. Here is the link to ENTER.
Crop Plants Notebook Page Cover Button

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Beans! Outdoor Hour Crop Plant Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge Bean study
We grow beans every year in our summer garden. There is nothing like freshly picked beans to complement a summer dinner. It is one vegetable that everyone in our family loves.

My dad is a big time gardener and he has a *ton* of green beans this year. He picks them every day and has a full basket. This is a photo of a part of his garden. In the foreground are his pumpkins, then zucchini, and in the way back…green beans and tomatoes. On the right side he has okra, chard, and eggplant.

You cannot see it in this photo but he has an electric fence around the garden to keep out the deer. He still had trouble with gophers so he had to dig up all his garden beds this last winter and put mesh in the bottom of every single box. The gophers still dig in the garden but they can’t get up into the veggies.

The variety of beans that we are growing, in the photo above, has a pretty little flower and the bean itself has a purple/blue tint to it. They don’t get as long as the beans we usually grow but they are tender and sweet

Speaking of a pretty flower…how about this eggplant blossom? My dad is growing a row of Japanese eggplant. I hope he shares.

He was willing to share this zucchini that became a monster. 🙂 I regularly get zucchini and green beans from him since his plants are producing earlier and with more vigor than those in my garden for some reason.

Our garden is a blaze with colors and it is such a joy to sit outside and enjoy all the growing things and blooming things. The gladiolas are not blooming yet…they are something new this year so I am anxious to see how they do.

We did not sow any bean seeds this week as part of the challenge but we did soak some and then cut them open and look at the parts. This was the subject of our nature journal.

Did you eat green beans this week? We did!

I wasn’t so sure when we started these Crop Plant Outdoor Hour Challenges that I was going to enjoy them, but now that we are into the study I think my whole family is learning more than we thought we would….focus, it is all about focus. 🙂

Crop Plants Notebook Pages – Companion to the Crop Plants Challenges

Crop Plants Notebook Page Cover Button
Custom made notebook pages for each crop plant challenge. I have designed simple to use pages that will complement each challenge and will be an easy way to start a nature journal. Each of the eight notebook pages is in full color, but they are just as great in black and white. These notebook pages can be purchased for $2.50. View a  SAMPLE

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Outdoor Hour Challenge: Crop Plants #2 Beans

Outdoor Hour Challenge
Crop Plants #2

Beans/Seed Germination

For this week’s challenge we will be straying from the Handbook of Nature Study just a little. I wanted to give the opportunity for our children to observe the seed germination process first hand as we work our way through these challenges. The Germinator project we did last year as part of Challenge #19, but it is so much fun that I am going to include it with the bean challenge.

I am going to give you a link to a Google book that explains the vocabulary in seed germination.
Practical Nature Study and Elementary Agriculture, by John M. Coulter, written in 1909.

Scroll down to page 249, read the first two paragraphs. I love the simplicity of this explanation and I think we will sketch this out in our nature journals with labels.

Inside Preparation Work
1. Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 458-459-Seed Germination. You can germinate your own beans to observe by choosing one of the following activities. I consider both of these projects to be “beginners” projects so don’t hesitate to give them both a try!

A. The Germinator
(This project was a part of Outdoor Hour Challenge #19.)
This is an easy project that can be accomplished with just a little effort. Children of all ages delight in watching their very own baby bean plants emerge from seeds.

B. Egg Shell Seed Starters
(This project is illustrated in the Handbook of Nature Study on page 459.)

Outdoor Time

3. For this challenge, spend 10-15 minutes outdoors in your own backyard. If you have some green bean seeds, plant some in your garden or in a big pot. You may wish to soak your beans overnight before you plant them.

Plant your beans according to the package instructions. If you have already planted some beans, make sure to observe their growth. My seed packet says that it takes 52 days until harvest so you may still even have time to reap some beans from your plant this season. If not, this is still a great way to learn about seed germination and you can plan on getting some beans in the ground next spring. You will be ready with your seeds and your additional knowledge.

Follow-Up Activity

4. Allow time for discussion and a nature journal entry after your outdoor time. Sketching your beans or any other seeds before you plant them and then as they progress and grow can be an on-going project in your nature journal. (If you have the Crop Plants notebook pages, you will find a page to record your seed germination.)

5. You can use the questions on page 459 to help your child narrate what happens with your seeds as they germinate.

Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • Which comes out of the seed first, the root or the shoot and leaves?
  • Which way does the root grow up or down?
  • How do the seed leaves get out of the seed coat, or shell?

Optional Activity:
This week you can purchase some fresh green beans to observe and to taste as a family. Have your children help you wash and prepare the beans for a delicious treat.

Crop Plants Notebook Page Cover Button
New for this series of challenges are custom made notebook pages for each crop plant we will study. I have designed simple to use pages that will complement each challenge and will be an easy way to start a nature journal. Each of the eight notebook pages is in full color, but they are just as great in black and white.



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Garden Nature Study – Crop Plants Notebook Pages

Crop Plants Notebook Pages – Companion to the Crop Plants Challenges

Crop Plants Notebook Page Cover Button
Custom made notebook pages for each crop plant challenge. I have designed simple to use pages that will complement each challenge and will be an easy way to start a nature journal. Each of the eight notebook pages is in full color, but they are just as great in black and white. View a  SAMPLE

List of Crop Plant Challenge in the Ebook:
Crop Plants – Clover
Crop Plants – Beans
Crop Plants – Corn
Crop Plants – Cotton
Crop Plants – Strawberries
Crop Plants – Pumpkins
Crop Plants – Tomatoes