Seed Sprouting Suggestions

In the Oak Meadow course books, growing seeds and rooting plants are two of the science projects offered in the lesson plans. Sometimes, due to external variables, experiments are not always successful; and observing no changes can certainly lead to the disappointment of an innocent, wide-eyed, hopeful child. In the kindergarten and third grade coursework, rooting an avocado pit and sprouting a sweet potato are suggested science experiments. Several of the Oak Meadow K-8 teachers provided helpful hints for more successful results, along with alternative activities to try:

Sarah Antel: The sweet potato must be organic as standard sweets are sprayed with something to prevent sprouting.

Andy Kilroy: You know what works well – a regular white potato put into a pot of dirt. I always plant one on St. Patrick’s Day (old Irish superstition) and it always comes up with beautiful green leaves. The home teacher will need to buy the potato a month before they want to plant it so it can start eyeing out. The avocado will grow again if you put it in dirt. Somehow the dirt seems to be the key, but again, you must leave it plenty of time. Avocados are sensitive and dry out and can die quickly, if not enough water is applied. I did both projects with my granddaughter last year and she loved it – especially when we dug up the tiny taters and ate them for lunch (takes about six weeks). Also mung beans!! You can get those any time in a good farmer’s supply store, wet them, put them in a mason jar under the sink and wait for a couple of days. We did this all the time when my kids were little to have bean sprouts in our stir fry. Alfalfa works, too.

Leslie Daniels: I’ve planted sweet potatoes in garden pots. The student may not be able to view the root growth, but the vines are SO pretty! I have also suggested sprouting wheat berries. The roots and sprouts are fun to watch grow, because it is a speedy process, and they are wonderful edibles, too.

Meg Minehan: My kids also do soil sprouts

We use sunflower, radish, buckwheat, peas… they are fun and really tasty. This is a great time of year for them, too.

Michelle Menegaz: I remember as a kid being totally fascinated with the greens that eventually shoot out of the top cut off a carrot when it is placed in a shallow dish of water.

Lesley Arnold: Me too! I loved watching that carrot top sprout. When I was student teaching in a kindergarten…40 some years ago…the teacher had put bricks into water (about half way up the sides) and sprinkled wheat berries on top. The bricks sprouted greens! (Maybe a precursor to chia pets?)

4 thoughts on “Seed Sprouting Suggestions”

  1. How long until the sweet potato sprouts? We have organic ones in water for over 2 weeks now. We see root grownth but no green leaves on top?

    1. Hi Rachel! It can easily take up to four weeks before you see green leaves. However, as a hint, if you place your sweet potato in a location where it can receive full sunlight, the process of photosynthesis will begin its work more rapidly. You might like to freshen the water every few days, as well. Good luck!

  2. can you please help me…we have tried over…and…over again to get avacado pits to grow,with NO results…what am i doing wrong?

    1. Hi Lori!
      I’m sorry you’ve had so much trouble sprouting your avocado pits. Patience is a big part of the process because some avocados can take months, while others will sprout within a couple of weeks. Sometimes, they just won’t sprout at all! Have you washed the pit before inserting the toothpicks? Did you use an organic avocado? Make sure the pit is placed with the broad bottom end in the water. Also, be sure to place it in a bright spot. Good luck, and let us know if these little tricks work for you!

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