Mount Vernon Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center

Vegetable Research and Extension

Photo collage of watermelon tasting, tractor, dry beans

School Garden Education

Poster: Promoting health & nutrition through school garden education

Click on the image to the left to view and/or download the poster.

Health Benefits of Pulses

Pulses in the diet can reduce risks of heart disease and diabetes, yet remain an underutilized food in the U.S. Garden-based nutrition and biology education can be an effective tool for teaching K-12 students healthy eating habits which will likely be carried into adulthood.

What is a Pulse

Pulse crops are in the legume family, Fabaceae, and consist of plants that fix (absorb) atmospheric nitrogen through roots in the soil, are high in protein, and bear seeds in pods. Pulses include dry beans, dry peas, garbanzos (chickpeas), and lentils. The name pulse comes from the Latin word, pulse, meaning a thick soup.

   WSU Mount Vernon graduate student

School Garden-Based Education Program

Our goal is to share school garden-based education to increase pulse consumption. We have developed a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)-based curriculum for 4th graders that follow the Next Generation Science Standards. Lessons include planting, harvesting, and threshing dry beans in the school garden as well as hands-on activities with beans in the classroom. This curriculum will work well for any pulse crop that is to be planted in your school garden. In northwest Washington, dry beans are the crop that grows best and so are used in this curriculum.

Download the Curriculum (PDF)

Curriculum Cover

(PDF 8.8MB)


   WSU Mount Vernon graduate student

Growing Dry Beans

Dry beans are an easy crop to grow in the garden and are a healthy food choice. Our publication Growing Dry Beans in the Home Garden provides planting guidelines, common disease and insect pests in Washington, and harvest and storage tips.

Cooking With Pulses

   WSU Mount Vernon graduate student

Demonstration of Pulse Cooking

Learn how to make two recipes (Bean Dip and Midnight Black Bean Cake) using pulses. One savory and one sweet dish made with black beans.



WSU Mount Vernon graduate student

Black Bean Bars

Black Bean Bars are a dense, gluten free dessert bar made with brown sugar and butter.

   WSU Mount Vernon graduate student

Black Bean Dip

Bean Dip is a simple, healthy dip for vegetables or spread for quesadillas.

   WSU Mount Vernon graduate student

Midnight Cake

Midnight Black Bean Cake is a dessert made with black beans and flour, topped with coconut and honey frosting.

Resource Information

WSU Mount Vernon graduate student brings taste of dry bean education to local fourth-graders




Growing Dry Beans in Home Gardens. WSU Extension publication FS135E. 7 pages. Published May 2014.