Younger offspring: Hey, look what I grew!
Dr. Free-Ride: Wow, those are tall.
Younger offspring: It’s a bean plant.
Dr. Free-Ride: I recognized the shape of the leaves. From the looks of it, you actually have more than one bean plant growing in there.
Younger offspring: When it gets warmer, we should transplant it into one of the garden beds.
Dr. Free-Ride: Mmm. We could try that, but all my garden books warn that beans don’t transplant well.
Younger offspring: Then we can just grow it in the cup.
Dr. Free-Ride: OK.
Younger offspring: And then I’ll harvest the beans. But I won’t eat them, because I don’t really like to eat beans.
Dr. Free-Ride: Kiddo, I’d be really surprised if we were able to harvest any beans from a bean plant growing in a cup. It has so little room that the growing is all sped up, but I don’t think it’s necessarily healthy enough that it can set beans to harvest.
Younger offspring: But look, it’s already grown some beans!
Dr. Free-Ride: Umm.
Younger offspring: See them?
Dr. Free-Ride: So, what did you plant to grow this?
Younger offspring: Beans.
Dr. Free-Ride: Yeah. What you see right there, on the stems that came up out of the soil? That’s what’s left of the seeds you planted. The embryos of the new bean plants were inside the seed. When the seed germinated, it split and the embryo grew roots and a stem and leaves.
Younger offspring: Oh.
Dr. Free-Ride: To get new beans, the plant has to make flowers, and those get pollenated. Then you grow the pod that has more bean seeds in it.
Younger offspring: I didn’t know that.
Dr. Free-Ride: I guess when we’ve talked to you about “the miracle of life,” we’ve focused on the animal kingdom, rather than the plant kingdom.
Younger offspring: Yes, I know all about where animal babies come from.
Dr. Free-Ride: We needed to have a talk that was actually about birds and bees and flowers!