School-Garden Based Education

Dry Beans

Children showing dry beans
Dry beans varieties in a bowl
Children planting dry beans in a raised bed
Diet plan for healthy life

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.

group of kids planting bean seeds in the soil

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.

Pulse on health curriculum cover page.

                                                                Open the Curriculum (PDF)

growing dry beans coverpage

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 (PDF) provides planting guidelines, common disease and insect pests in Washington, and harvest and storage tips.

Cooking With Pulses

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

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

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

Vegetable Grafting

Educational materials

  • Hosting a Vegetable Grafting Workshop (PDF). This information packet from Washington State University provides instructions for how to host a vegetable grafting workshop, including a step-by-step guide for hosting the workshop and a list of supplies for the presenter; and for the participants there are useful handouts and a survey.
Participants are grafting watermelon in vegetable grafting workshop
Figure 1. Vegetable grafting workshop session at Oregon State University Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center (OSU HAREC), 12 April, 2019
Vegetable grafting demonstration for school students
Figure 2. Vegetable grafting demonstration for Cascade High School students in the laboratory at WSU Mount Vernon NWREC on 29 April, 2019.

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