When kids put a seed in the ground, what comes up looks nothing like the seed they started with. So, to get a bug’s eye view of the sprouting process that usually happens under ground, and to help in the identification of what is going to come up in their garden beds, it’s fun to make a sprouting jar when you are planting your garden bed with seeds.
Take any clear glass or plastic container and line it with a fairly sturdy layer of absorbant paper, like a good paper towel. Pour an inch or so of water into the jar and let it soak up the paper towel, wetting the towel to the sides of the jar. Adjust as needed to see that the paper makes good contact with the side of the jar.
As you choose seeds to plant in your seed bed, save one seed of each variety you plant for the sprouting jar. Using a flat plant label or a popsicle stick, slide the seed down into the jar between the glass and the wet paper towel.
Then mark on the outside of the container what you’ve added. I wrote right on the outside of the jar with a permanent marker. At this point it’s also a good idea to tape down the top edge of the paper towel so you don’t accidentally move the seeds away from their labels.
Set the jar in a warm spot where you won’t forget about it and make sure to add water every day so that the paper towel, and the seeds, stay moist.
In just 24 hours we already had our first sprout, a radish!
Here’s how the radish is looking. And you can also see that the cucumber next door has begun to sprout as well.
And here is the very beginning of a pea sprout.
Sprouts are here!