Activity Snapshot: 

Have you ever wondered what is inside of a seed? How does a seed grow? Use King of the Early dry bean seeds grown at Chewonki to observe germination! 

Germination is the start of the growth in a seed. Seeds are tiny, but they include everything that a plant needs to start growing, including:

  • Seed Coat: Every seed has a protective covering on the outside.
  • Endosperm: This fleshy structure makes up the majority of the seeds. It is the stored food that will help the plant to grow.
  • Embryo: This is the baby plant, including the roots and the first leaves. The roots will reach down into the soil to hold the plant in place. The roots take in the water and minerals that plants need to grow. The leaves will absorb sunlight in order to produce food to support plant growth. 

If you received a care package from Chewonki, you will find in it King of the Early dry bean seeds. The Chewonki farmers plant dry bean seeds in the garden at the start of the summer and weed and water them all season. The plant produces flowers that, once pollinated, make pods of more beans. These bean pods are harvested in the fall by Chewonki farmers and participants once they are dry on the plant. We spend hours shucking the dry beans, removing the beautiful beans from their dried pods. Most of the dry beans go to the kitchen, where they will be soaked and cooked into soups and chilis. Some dry beans are saved and kept on the farm to be planted next year.


Observe the germination of a farm bean over time and record your observations. You may also plant your seeds after they germinate to continue the experiment and observations!

Time Recommended:

10 minutes to set up, 5-10 minutes per day for the next few days

Dry bean shucking
A bin of dried pods freshly harvested
Handfuls of freshly shucked dry beans


From Chewonki: King of the Early dry beans

From home: sealable plastic bag, paper towel, water, writing/drawing utensil


  1. Fold a paper towel. Wet it and place it inside a ziplock bag. 
  2. Place each King of the Early dry bean seed in the bag between the paper towel and the side of the bag.
  3. Put the bag in a sunny place like a windowsill with the seeds exposed to the sun.
  4. Check on your seeds every day for about one week. Observe changes over time. Draw or write about what you see. 
  5. To continue to experiment, you can plant your germinated dry bean in soil or dissect the seed to see what is inside.

Closing Questions:

  1. What would this plant need in order to continue growing beyond germination?
  2. Try a similar experiment with other seeds, including seeds from your kitchen and/or the natural world. What is the same or different about how other seeds germinate?
  3. What would the world be like without seeds?

Share with your Community:

Draw pictures, take photographs, or write a poem or description about your germination experiment and submit them to be shared in the community galleries on our website. Consider writing a story from the perspective of the seed or creating a comic strip about the adventures of your seed! Your might just be published in an edition of the Chronicle at the end of the summer!

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