Cotton wool, the cosmetic cotton balls you find in the makeup aisle, is an inexpensive seed-starter medium. Not only does it hold moisture, it is also well aerated, providing the bean the humidity and oxygen it requires for sprouting. The germination method also makes transplanting simple. Pick up the plant from the dish where it developed and move it to a hole outside. The roots continue to develop underground, still attached to the cotton until the material decomposes.
Things You'll Need
- Petri dish
- Spray bottle
- Cardboard pieces
- 10-10-10 fertilizer
Dip the cotton wool in water. Moisten it thoroughly without saturating the cotton. Do not squeeze it to keep it from becoming compacted.
Place the cotton wool in a Petri dish or a similar container. A plastic sandwich bag also serves as a holder.
Set the bean on the cotton wool. Transfer it to the container you chose. Place a lid on it. Leave the plastic bag slightly open if that is what you decided to use. Spray water on the cotton wool whenever it begins to dry. Beans, in general, germinate within one week and develop quickly. Uncap the container when the seedling begins to grow.
Dig a hole in a site clear of grass and weeds. Select a planting area exposed to full sun.
Plant the bean seedling in the hole. Do not remove the roots from the cotton wool. Water the plant.
Place tall cardboard pieces, or another shield, around the plant to protect it from the direct sun. Expose the seedling to sunlight gradually to harden it. Water the bean plant whenever the soil surface begins to dry.
Broadcast 3 tbsp. of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 10 feet in a band 2 inches from the plant. Feed it after it blooms and sets bean pods. Water the nutrient in. This fertilization method is called side dressing.
Harvest the pods according to the bean variety you grew. Pick snap beans, for instance, while the capsules are still tender. Gather dry beans after the pods become brittle and brown.
- Virginia Cooperative Extension; Plant Propagation from Seed; Diane Relf et al; May 2009
- Cornell University; A Judy's Day Activity: Making a Germinating Book; Raylene Ludgate
- Utah State University Cooperative Extension: Sprouting Seed in a Glove
- Virginia Cooperative Extension; Beans; Diane Relf et al; May 2009
- Photo Credit George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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