The Magic of Seeds

Bean seed germinating

All the magic of a fairy story is right there in a packet of bean seeds.

It’s almost spring. Need some excitement? Looking for a thrill? Seeing a seed come to life as it germinates and unfurls is one of the best ways to get a jolt of “Wow!” in your life. These little, hard, dull-coloured things are the source of all growing plants, from a tree to a marigold.

Jack and his magic beanstalk didn’t come into the world for no reason. Seeds are magic, one of life’s most mysterious objects. There have been stories and myths about seeds and gigantic trees and vines stretching to the heavens since the beginning of recorded history.

Jack’s beanstalk story may have originated with the Norse myth of yggdrasil, the tree of life.

In some ancient writings there can be found references to mystical structures, ladders and trees that provide passage to the upper world. Among these are the Old Testament tales of the Tower of Babel and Jacob’s Ladder reaching to heaven. Most early Indo-European cultures had tales of wondrous trees. The World Tree of ancient England held up the sky. In Nordic legend the Yggdrasil is a gigantic ash tree whose branches reach to heaven, while Buddhism has a giant bodhi tree.

Become a kid again as you watch a bean grow in glass jar. It’s easy to set up a bean-growing experiment with your kids. All you need is a jar, some paper towel and a packet of bean seeds.You’ll see the seed swell, burst open and the first roots and leaves emerge. Of course, it’s not really magic, it’s science. But with seeds, it’s easy to mistake the two.


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