Answer: The interesting thing about science projects is that even though the seeds didn't sprout, there is a lesson to be learned. Lima beans (Phaseolus lunatus) have about an 80 percent germination rate. It's possible the non-sprouting seeds were not capable of sprouting, even under optimal conditions. Another common problem with failure to produce seedlings is planting seeds too deep. Seeds contain an embryo plus enough stored energy for a root, a stem, and two leaves to develop. If sown too deeply, the plant will run out of energy before penetrating the soil surface.
Beans germinate best at soil temperatures of 65-85 F. Once the seeds imbibe water (swell up), they need a constant source of moisture or they'll dehydrate and die. Moist soil is a must, but soil that's really wet will exclude oxygen, essentially suffocating the roots.
Beans do not need light to germinate, so unless sunlight was their only form of heat, it wouldn't matter whether they were placed in an east or a south window until after the seedlings had developed a second set of leaves. These are the leaves involved in photosynthesis (conversion of light into carbohydrates).
My guess, based upon your description of the project, is that the soil was too wet. Incorrect instructions were given for germinating the seeds - 2 ounces of water each day is excessive, unless the soil actually dried out overnight.
Hope this information sheds some light on the results of your experiment!
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