My son is a huge fan of The Magic School Bus Series. Thanks to Netflix he has seen every episode 3 times. He can explain, in detail, every step of the water cycle and at 5 years old he is adorable when he says big words like condensation and evaporate. What I am trying to say is that he loves science. When it came time to start some plants for our vegetable garden, I thought he would enjoy seeing the whole process for himself.
Growing a plant from seed inside a clear glass jar means that you can see every detail.
You will need:
* a clear glass jar (or two)
* seeds, beans work best
* cotton balls
Start with a layer of cotton balls in the bottom of the jar. We made two jars with 2 seeds each because it is always possible to have a bad seed or two and it would be very disappointing if nothing happened.
Our bean seeds are white so they are bit difficult to see in the pictures, though we could still see them clearly in person.
Place your seed very near the edge
so that it can be seen easily. We placed two in each jar, on opposite sides.
Then fill to the top with more cotton balls.
Add water. You want the cotton balls to be pretty wet but you do not want sitting water in the jar. Try to maintain this level of moisture for the duration of the experiment.
Place the jars in a warm sunny location.
Day 7: This was the first seed to sprout. It opened up on day 5. We were able to witness every step of the process as the seed split open, then sprouted, and began growing roots.
This one opened on day 7. The other two have done nothing at all.
Day 12: Despite the 2 day head start both plants are almost even now. Over the last few days we saw first hand how the leaves emerged.
And a 3rd seed has now sprouted. The 4th is still not doing anything
Day 14: The first two are about 6 inches tall now, each with a healthy set of starter leaves. At this current rate of growth I am guessing we will be able to plant them outside in another 2 weeks or so. The plants will not survive indefinitely without real dirt but the good news is that the cotton balls are biodegradable so when the time comes to plant them in the garden we won't need to disturb the roots much. I can simply shake off the excess cotton balls and plant the remainder right into the dirt. I'll continue to update the progress over the next few weeks so be sure to check back!
Update 4/29/15- Day 36:
Just over a month after planting and the tallest is now around 12" tall! The weather has been a little funky around here this spring so I am hesitating to put them outside but I think we'll move them out in the next week or so.
The growth has definitely slowed and they need real dirt and nutrients but they are still pretty happy and healthy.
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