Monday, April 11, 2011

Beans and Oranges

We had a pretty good den meeting last night. We completed an elective of planting a seed or pit from something you have eaten.

The original plan was to plant oranges. The boys like eating oranges, so having oranges as a snack and then planting orange seeds from the oranges made sense. We had some challenges with orange seeds, though. First, the only bag of oranges I found at WalMart were the "cuties." They were small, which is fine, but as I looked at the label I discovered they were seedless. That wouldn't work for our project at all! Unfortunately, the weather this year made it a bad year for citrus, and navel oranges were not cheap. We decided to get just a few of the more expensive navel oranges, with the thought of eating the little ones and using the navels for the seeds--and enjoying them ourselves.

Sunday evening we finally got around to opening those oranges to get the seeds prepped for Monday's meeting. After peeling all 3 oranges, we only found 1 seed! The oranges actually tasted pretty good, but they wouldn't work for the project at all. I ran out to the closest grocery store for some more oranges, thankful that HoneyBear in particular likes oranges so they wouldn't be wasted. I brought home a 5 pound bag thinking that surely that would work, and HoneyBear dove in. He peeled 4 of them without a single seed. It was definitely time to change plans.

Fortunately, I had already planned on also planting beans along with the oranges. Oranges aren't fast growing, and the boys might not have good results, so I wanted them to have something that would hopefully grow fast so the boys could see results quickly. Since I already had beans, we decided to only plant those and just talk about oranges growing from seeds while we had our snack.

The meeting itself seemed to go well. They drew a garden as their gathering activity and some of them really got into that. They enjoyed their oranges, and we had apple juice with it, so we were able to talk about apples coming from seeds as well.

I had brought in fresh bean pods I discovered at Harp's. We snapped off the ends to show how the green beans we typically eat are made from the full beans. I even got to share my memories of sitting on the porch at Granny's house and snapping beans. After we snapped them, HoneyBear cut them open to see the seeds inside. Each boy got a bean and worked with it a bit to try to get to the seeds inside. After cleaning up the table from snacks and bean experiments, we were finally ready to do the planting.

It was a warm evening and the rain had passed, so we did the planting part outside to make clean-up easier. HoneyBear had the soil in the back of the truck and parked with the tailgate against the sidewalk, so we were able to do all the planting from the tailgate of the truck. Each boy got to plant two beans. We brought them back in and gave them some water, and were finished a bit early with the meeting.

I brought Shawn's beans to work with me to grow in my large sunny window. Hopefully we'll remember to keep them watered and he'll have some plants to admire soon!

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