How to Germinate Lima Bean Seeds for Kids

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Lima beans germinate quickly when they are provided with the proper amount of water, sunlight and soil, which makes them ideal for teaching children about plants. Germinating lima bean seeds can introduce children to gardening at an early age, allowing them to experience the life cycle of plants hands-on instead of reading about it in a textbook. Let the children examine the lima beans every day so they can watch the shoots and roots form on the seeds.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowl
  • Magnifying glass
  • Glass jar
  • Dark construction paper
  • Soil or paper towels

Soak the lima bean seeds in a bowl of room-temperature water overnight.

Instruct the children to rub the seed coat off the lima bean by placing it between their fingers. Apply a slight pressure onto the line with the fingernail to break the lima bean seed open.

Allow the children to examine the inside of the lima bean. A magnifying glass may help everyone see the insides so they can locate the cotyledon and the embryo. The embryo appears as a small plant that contains roots, stems and leaves. The cotyledons are the first leaves that push through the soil. They store food for the lima bean plant.

Plant whole lima bean seeds after the children learn about the inside of the seeds. Line the inside of a glass jar with dark construction paper, and then fill it with soil or crumpled paper towels.

Insert three to four soaked lima bean seeds along the side of the jar so they are between the construction paper and glass. Moisten the soil or paper towels with enough water to saturate the growing seed.

Place the lima beans in a warm, sunny location. Continue to water the soil or paper towels so the inside of the jar remains moist.

Examine the lima beans daily so the children can see the seeds crack and the roots emerge. Instruct the children to point out any differences they may notice.

Tips & Warnings

  • Lima bean plants do not transplant well outdoors. If you want to grow lima beans, you must germinate them in your garden.
  • Never use dry lima beans from the store to germinate seeds because they are meant for consumption. Purchase lima bean seeds from a garden supply store for best results.

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