Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Mr Bean and Mrs Bean (deceased)



This is a bean plant Sean brought home from school last Friday. At first there were two bean plants, but some rough play in the car caused the top 2 cm of the other bean plant to lop off.

Later in the day, I saw there was only this plant left and shouted, "What happened to the other bean plant?!"

Brian came out of his room, "I threw it away."
Me: But why??? It was still alive!
Brian: It was gonna die anyway. It had no more leaves and it can't live without leaves.
Me: Yes, it can. It still had its roots, it could still have lived, it could have grown new leaves.
Brian: No it can't. Without leaves, it can't make food.
Me: Er, I'm sure it can, it still had its roots.
Brian: Then how will it get food? You need the leaves for photosynthesis so that it can make sugar.
Me: If it can't get food without leaves, how does it grow from a seed?
Brian: The seed has nutrients and later it gets its food from a seed leaf, but once the first leaves appear the seed leaf dies.
Me (remembering something about the green parts of the leaves being essential for photosynthesis): The stem is green, so why can't it make food from the stem?
Brian: I dunno.
Me (grumbling): I still think it could have lived.

While writing this, I googled and found that "Photosynthesis takes place primarily in plant leaves, and little to none occurs in stems, etc." But I still haven't found the answer to whether the plant could have survived anyway relying on food reserves, and later on grown new leaves. Can someone help or should I lop off this bean plant too, just to see what happens?

18 comments:

Roslyn said...

Not sure if it's relevant but my plants that dry up in winter start sprouting leaves and grow and flower all over again from spring.

Lilian said...

Maybe those plants store nutrients in preparation for the winter. Do me a favour, cut off all the leaves from your plant now, and see if it survives the next couple of months...hehe.

I'm actually thinking maybe I should just lop off the top of Mr Bean plant now and see what happens. The tricky bit is how to convince Sean to sacrifice his beloved bean plant. Think think think....

Alcovelet said...

Solution: grow another bean plant surreptitiously. Lop the leaves off that one. If it survives, yell out "Ah-ha! Told you so". If not, quietly dispose.

Lilian said...

Haha, good idea. Need patience for that, plus I don't have green fingers. I'll ask Sean's teacher if she has extra seeds.

Roslyn said...

Oh I remember! My tomato plants. I pull out the leaves that are yellow and soon new ones grow in place. But yours is a seedling so probably different scenario altogether.

Lilian said...

When you pulled the yellow ones out, are there still green leaves on the plant or no leaves at all?

This is driving me nuts.

bACk in GERMANY said...

Hi Lilian!

I snip off my roses and lavender in winter too. And believe me, when my chrysanthemum was growing wild, I snipped them off too.

But I don't have much knowledge of gardening other than these three years. To play it safe, growing another bean plant as suggested by Adeline sounds like a good experiment.

Oh yes... maybe you can lop off the top and put in fertilisers.
I know for a fact that my plants grow inches after that. Then again, my soil here could be blessed by the pollens from Palmengarten.

Roslyn said...

Oh haha! Yes, the top part still has leaves.

Tsu Lin + + said...

Hi Lilian,

Regarding your question : It will not survive. I am pretty sure of it, but sometimes miracles happen. Let's see what your experiment says.

Lilian said...

Thanks Tsu Lin. Is this from experience or you read it somewhere? Hope you're having a great spring in London.

My Gems said...

Not sure it holds for all seedlings, but mine never survive! Yup, if the first 2 leaves (known as the seed leaves or cotyledon) were snipped off before the true leaves emerge, the seedling will not survive. At least that is my experience :)

Lilian said...

Thanks Vivian for your insight. Your experience, is that from experimenting or gardening?

My Gems said...

Purely gardening experience :) Before the kids came along, gardening (in pots) was my passion. Initially, some seed coats would stick on the baby leaves, thus causing the leaves to turn brown at the edges. I would snip the baby leaves off, thinking I was saving the seedlings. Imagine my surprise when I found them dead the next day (or was it few days?). In any case, the 2 baby leaves will drop off once 1-2 pairs of true leaves start to emerge. But anything before that seems to be detrimental for the seedlings.

Lilian said...

You sure know your plants, Vivian. I think anyone who loves gardening must have tonnes of patience. I tried planting a bean plant a week ago I think, and I've been kacau-ing the soil looking for the seed to see if anything has grown! I think any chance it had of living has vapourised from the meddling of my itchy hands.

My Gems said...

Er, shan't even mention the number of seedlings that were murdered mercilessly as a result of my impatient nature.

But there are tricks to planting. Try placing the beans on some damp cotton wool. The beans are more likely to germinate in this manner. :)

Lilian said...

I think I've murdered that bean seed. I took a skewer and started poking around the soil, then tried to dig it up to see if it had grown. And then I began to wonder if I should have buried it or just left it on top of the soil. Brian said in nature, the seeds would just drop on top of the soil? I gave up on the bean seed, and just placed 3 pea seeds on top of the soil. Will see if they have better luck surviving my un-green fingers.

My Gems said...

That's exactly what I did when I first starting planting! Not the let nature takes its course part, but the digging up part :P

Brian is right. Time to revisit The Carrot Seed. ;) Just make sure the soil doesn't dry out...

Lilian said...

How did you know I have that book? Do you have another really short book, Love that Dog? These two books are for keeps.