That´s a good set of questions! To sprout a bean
plant, all you need is a consistently damp paper
towel to wrap the seed in. It will put out a
little shoot and roots if it is moderately wet
and in dark conditions. To grow a bean plant,
you want a pot of soil (at least) so it can
expands its roots and use the soil nutrients to
grow its shoot. It would need to get plenty of
sunlight (for photosynthesis) and water. If you
want a very healthy bean plant, it would
probably do best planted in the ground, in soil
supplemented with broken down compost or top
soil from a store. That way it can fully expand
its root system. You want to water the plant
when the leaves begin to look a little droopy
(due to loss of water pressure in the veins of
the leaves) or when the soil is becoming dry to
the touch, but do not overwater (the soil can
become very saturated and rot the roots)!
Santa Barbara soils tend to be clayey,
meaning that they clump up together, making it
difficult to grow plants in because it restricts
water and nutrient flow. Many farmers will till
the soil, to mix it, and add compost or top soil
to enrich it.
My field of expertise is in Ecology.
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