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Kids Club- Projects

Make A Beanhouse

Imagine having a bean-house in your garden, just big enough to play in and with leafy green walls made of bean-plants, with bright flowers and crisp French beans to eat.

It's easy, first ask if you can use part of the vegetable garden, or, if you have one, make one in your own garden.

Before you start to build you need to prepare the soil a little, to make sure you have the greenest, most productive bean house ever! So work over the soil - make sure you get a grown-up to help if you are too small to use a garden fork. Add a bucketful of good, well-rooted compost. (You tell if it is the right stuff by the nice, compost-y smell. It should not be unpleasant or stinky!) Mix the compost well into the soil.

There are two types of house you can build, one shaped like a tiny little cottage, is made of stout sticks in the corners and you will need help to lash the roof shape into place. Use string, held into the ground with wire pegs, to make nice dense walls. Consider having a chimney like that shown here, a wonderful little bean-house we saw in the potager at West Green House, Hampshire, UK.

Wigwam Beanhouse
Another shape is a simple wigwam, where you take about five to eight long pea-sticks and fix them firmly into the ground in a circle about 1.0m wide. Leave a gap in the front to make an entrance if you want to be able to go inside the wigwam without damaging the plants. Bunch the canes together and the top, and tie the top firmly with strong, lasting ties.

You can plant the bean seeds directly into the ground, or you can grow them in a pot and transplant them. A milk carton with the top cut off or several sheets of newspaper rolled around a can or carton and folded under all make good containers for seeds. Remove the carton on planting into the soil, the newspaper can be left as it will rot quickly.

Bean seedlings
Bean Seedlings
Broad bean seeds are very large and will need to be planted more deeply than smaller, French beans. Plant a seed about 3cm each side of you wigwam canes, and each house support or string.

Plant your bean seedlings or bean seeds around the edge of the house. If planting seeds them plant three times as deep as the thickness of the seed.

Handle Seedlings CarefullyBe careful when handling seedlings, like all babies they are so easily damaged. Don't hold them by the stalk or you could pull them out of the soil and damage their root system.

When your plants reach the top of the poles or house, take the growing tip between your fingers and pinch it out, this will encourage the plant to make beans not inches! Pick the beans every few days once they start to crop, and then they will keep growing beans for you all summer.

You can use peasYou can plant peas, either fresh green peas or snow peas instead of the beans, but beans grow taller than peas and will make your house more fun!

Happy Gardening, Guys!

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Bean seeds
Scarlett Runner Bean seeds

Lost in Our Beanhouse!

Kids' Beanhouse Competition 2001
Story by Gail Morrison

The entries were in. Everyone had wonderful fun and and worked terribly hard on their Beanhouse project.

Beanhouse Competition Winner
Proud Winner - Campbell and Ruby with his prize
It was tough to choose, but the judges conferred and agreed. Campbell Ellison was a wonderful, enthusiastic winner for the 2001 Beanhouse Competition.

When nine-year-old Campbell Ellison, winner of's Bean House Competition, discovered something was eating his newly sprouted beans it was not one of the usual garden pests. The culprit was Ruby, his pet rabbit.

Campbell lives in Orewa north of Auckland with his parents and older brother Stewart. Two years earlier he and a friend started spending Friday afternoons with a green fingered neighbour who gave the boys some seeds to cultivate. The seeds sprouted and Campbell's interest in growing things had begun.

An aunt gave him a list of gardening website addresses. On this treasured piece of paper was www. Campbell read about the Bean House Competition and made up his mind to enter.
Campbell and his winning Beanhouse
Campbell and his winning Beanhouse
His father helped a little with the Bean House design, Stewart with sawing the timber and they all nailed it together. After that Campbell went to work. Preparing the soil, lining up the string, planting the seeds and watering. The resulting crop of healthy beans not only tempted Ruby (who had to be barricaded out) it provided meals for the family and won the prize of a wheelbarrow and tools.

Hydroponics is another of Campbell's gardening interests that began after he visited a commercial hydroponics site. He straightway started saving his money to buy his own small set. He keeps this in his bedroom by a window and grows silver beet, chillies and four types of lettuces.

Campbell next project is to have a worm-composting bin. On bush walks Campbell is always absorbed in the native flora and his family feel sure when horticulturists work in outer space Campbell will be there,

Congratulations and well done to everyone else who participated.
Happy Gardening, Guys!Kids Club- Projects
Other great gardening ideas include Growing Sunflowers. It's easy and it's great fun.

Happy Gardening, Guys!

More Great Projects for You to Try!

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Last revised 20 Sep '02