Beans are great BIG seeds
While enthusiastic, young kids don’t always have the fine motor control (or patience) needed to evenly scatter tiny seeds like lettuce and carrots. They’re more likely to dump them all in one spot, then hold their hands out for more.
But beans are great BIG seeds. They’re easy for small fingers to grasp, place, and poke into the ground. Light-colored beans are especially easy to see against dark soil.
Any kind of beans you want
The other nice thing about beans? You probably have some in your kitchen cabinet right now. That’s right: you can plant the dried beans from the supermarket. There’s a good chance that not all of them will sprout, so plant more than you want. If you really want to play it safe, plant a few varieties at the same time.
These beans are Ojo de Cabra (Eye of the Goat) beans — a tasty heirloom variety. These came from Rancho Gordo, an awesome company that grows and distributes heirloom beans, corn, chiles, grains, and spices. (Locals: they’re opening a new space in the SF Ferry Building any day now.)
How to plant beans: Put, Poke, Pat, Pour
First, PUT all the beans in place, but on top of the soil. We skipped this step, and someone kept trying to plant more and more beans in the same spot, then digging them up to see if there were really already beans already planted there. Aim to space the beans about 2″ to 3″ apart, but don’t worry about it too much — if they’re too close together, you can pull the extras up to see how beans grow!
Warning: DO NOT EAT RAW KIDNEY or LIMA BEANS (sprouts or otherwise)! Apparently they’re toxic, though for different reasons. If you planted too many beans and want to eat the extra sprouts, look ’em up first and make sure they’re okay. Many are safe, and healthy, and delicious — just check first.
Second, POKE the beans into the ground. Just use your finger and push them in about an inch deep (or about to the first knuckle).
Third, brush some soil over the seeds and PAT the ground gently. Gently! Just enough to cover the seeds up — you want the dirt to be soft enough that the baby bean plants can poke their way back through.
Finally, POUR some water on the beans. Because “sprinkle” doesn’t start with P.