I want to have a living classroom. I figured best to start with a few plants. So I did first what anybody wanting to do anything does these days: I Googled it! I Googled what plants I could grow easily and quickly in my classroom. One site was particularly helpful. It told me about growing an avocado tree, a carrot, and beans.

A bean, a carrot top, and an avocado stone walk into a classroom…

Did you know you can just buy dried beans from the grocery store and grow them? How removed I felt from nature when I learned this fact. How sad is it that many humans do not even know how to grow food anymore. The directions for mung beans said put the bean seeds in a jar about 3-4 beans depth and add water. Then keep changing the water and you’ll see the beans start to sprout (thus the food item “bean sprouts”, delicious when sautéed).

The mung beans after one night of soaking. They multiplied in size so much that I had to divide the initial aliquot of beans into 3 separate jars.
Once the bean sprouts began to root, I put some of them in pots and soil. Over the weekend I left them to grow up.
And grow they did!
Even though mung beans left crowded conditions in a cabinet with just water in the jars sprouted leaves.

So I did this but I wound up with WAY TOO MANY BEANS. BEANS COMING OUT THE WAZOOO.

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I did not have enough soil, or pots, or cups, or plates, or anything I could use to keep and grow all the beans up, so I had to dump some today. I put them in a red pale and chucked them into an empty plot of land opposite the school. Will they grow? I do not know.

At first I thought maybe that white stuff was the beginning of roots, but it’s not.

I gave up on the carrot. Maybe I will do some more research and try to find better instructions. The directions I found said to just let a carrot float in water, so I did that. It began to smell and it just didn’t seem like it was making any progress whatsoever, so I dumped it.

The same was true of the avocado. No change. One of my students came to me and said: “Teacher, why do you have this? Nothing’s happening?”


And I said: “It will! It should! Look, the directions say…” And I pulled up the directions online and saw that I had oriented the avocado stone WRONG. You need the broad side down touching the water and the pointy side up. The roots will sprout from the broad side and the leaves will sprout from the pointy side. Again, I had no idea you could grow an avocado tree from the stone. The things you learn when you go looking on the internet.

A runner bean sprouting (not sure what type of bean it is as the other beans are mung). At first, this bean wasn’t doing anything either, but I realized that my internet instructions were too vague. They had not mentioned that the bean must be kept moist, it just said spray the bean with water, so the bean didn’t sprout. When sufficiently dousing the bean in water with kitchen roll in a jar, the bean began to sprout.
When I saw this root turn green I got so happy! Progress!
A planted the runner bean by itself with a stick and I’m hoping to see where this bean goes in terms of its lifecycle and then duplicate it again with the kids once we start talking about plants.

I think my apprehension at all of this stems (pun intended) from an experience when I was younger. I tried to grow potatoes in the backyard. I cut off a part of an old potato that had sprouted a root and I buried it in the backyard and nothing came of it. There are probably a bajillion reasons that didn’t work, but it made me think I couldn’t grow anything.

Well now I have grown over 200 mung beans, so just call me Miss Green Thumb.


P.S. Here is the “Eulogy for the Still Living Beans” I wrote while eating dinner after depositing the beans in their final resting place:

Dear Beans,

I am sorry we must part in this way. I have neither the space nor soil for your continued cultivation within my classroom. But you should know that I love you no less. It is with an extremely heavy heart I cast you into the farrow by the side of the road. I do not know if you will survive, if you will thrive in this sylvan plot. I hope you will. If you perish, you know you will do so among kin, among your green brethren. And, I believe this fate – to die and be absorbed by those around you; to live forever in this way – is better than me flushing you down the toilet, which is what I first thought I should do.