- PAGES 1-4: If you never did the first few pages of the book, this is as good a time as any. There’s enough sun and warmth in the house that your bean seeds won’t fight you. They still might go a little slower than if you waited a few weeks, but its a difference of a day or two. Whenever you are ready, dig through the pantry and find any raw seed items you have around. Soak any really tough guys overnight. Any bean seed will work for sprouting.
The following day, let the kids examine (Read: destroy) the assortment, reserving some beans for growing. Start your beans in a jar, as seen above, or just tape them to the nearest window, as seen below. Just remember to do five or more, so you will get at least three good ones for the experiments on the following pages.
2. PAGES 4-5. Once they really get going, carefully examine them, as seen below and then set them in some little pots of soil. (That means you need to pick some up at walmart this weekend, if you don’t have a bag in the garage or an old dead potted plant somewhere to rob.)
2. PAGE 6. The next page is all about sucking food coloring up the celery stalk and plants sweating inside bags. This is going to be much more dramatic if you wait for it to really heat up in your area. Do both outside, when it gets hot. And be sure to use a mix of food coloring so it’s icky DARK in that cup. It’s a lot more fun than the recommended blue coloring. Looks really gross. I’ll remind you later.
(However, if you want to double team an experiment, you could do this in a dish with the celery stump I suggested below for pages 14-15. Growing the celery gives it plenty of days to suck up that coloring. Single afternoon celery sucking is best done in the heat. See image below for the growing/sucking combo.)
- PAGE 7. HAHAHA! Never done it. But if you want to be a good girl, Walmart has some of the square jars in the food storage section with the tupperware. They should already have some violets, ferns, and whatnot over by the petfood section. At least that’s where ours are.
- PAGES 8-13: Many of these will work better in other seasons, so let’s wait and I’ll tell you again when it gets hot. But you can go look at the rings of an old stump (bottom p.12) if there’s one around. At the bottom of page 13, you could go find go find the evergreens in your area and go hunting for trees making new leaves. The rest will work better in a month or so.
- PAGE 14: This can be done easily at this time of year. Go snap off a long-ish twig from a few trees or shrubs and stick them in a vase and see what happens. No special equipment needed. The picture is forsythia, which won’t work for us right now since it already bloomed. But if you’re north of Memphis, maybe you can hurry out and get some from your neighbor!
- PAGE 14-15: Amarylis wasn’t cheap, last time I checked, so we never do this one. However, you can do something similar with an avocado seed. Almost the same set up. Also, the onion cutting and the carrot and beets (if you eat beets, we don’t) can be done all at once. Other great kitchen performers are celery and leafy lettuce stumps.
- PAGE 16, 18: If you have some woods nearby, you may still have time to get all kinds of seeds stuck to your socks and shoes. They’ll sprout great once it gets warmer. We did this back in November, but we didn’t sprout anything. Poop. Guess I need to run across to the undeveloped woodsy spot and get some dirt to sprout. Get a double helping and you can do the soil layer examination on 18. Also, while you’re out, grab a yucky bag full of that rotting leafy litter (pictured below) under the nearest tree.
- PAGE 17: This one won’t work at all for us now. All the fall seeds are gone. Luckily, we already did this in November, but if you missed it back then, it might be too late. Maybe you’ll get lucky and somebody didn’t rake.
- PAGE 21: Now is not the time to go rubbing roadside leaves, since any leaves you see just arrived and won’t be dirty. But if you can find an old magnolia (or other broadleaf evergreen) by a busy road you could do it. Otherwise, it’s going to be most dramatic if you wait until late summer, so there’s the most smut possible.