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GERMINATE SEEDS IN SAND

This project might show us a new reason to appreciate some
of the foods we eat! We will save seeds from oranges,
lemons, apples, pumpkins, grapefruit, tomatoes, and any other
fresh fruit we have. We already have some beans, peas, corn,
and grains, such as oats, wheat, and barley. Let's put
clean, wet sand into all these little pots, and make three
finger-holes in each one, about 1/2 inch deep. Into each
hole, we will drop one seed, and cover it with more clean,
wet sand.

Each pot will have three each of one kind of seed, to give
them a good chance, and to make it easier to make a list of
what kind of seeds are in which pot. We could put stickers
on the pots, with the name of the seeds, or we could just
number the pots, and put the kinds of seeds beside the
numbers. Like we always do, we want to remember to put the
date on our list.

Carefully put a little more water into each pot. Don't just
pour in the water, because the seeds will move, and either
bunch up together, or wash up to the top of the sand. When
the sand starts to get dry on top, put in more water. After
the seeds have germinated, there will be tiny stems poking
out of the sand. On your lists, put the dates that each pot
showed a little green, so you know how long each kind of seed
takes to germinate.

Some take longer than others. There will be a surprise here.
Some of the pots won't show any green. After a few weeks, we
can empty the pots that haven't germinated, and see what the
seeds look like. Some of them look just like they did when
we planted them. Why do you think that is?

Some of the seeds may not have all the right stuff; the
weather during the time the seeds were forming inside the
fruit may have caused the seeds to be incomplete, and they
would never germinate. Some kinds of seeds need to be cold
and dry before they can germinate. Seeds from some kinds of
trees, especially conifers (fir, pine, cedar), have to be put
in the freezer for a few weeks before they can be planted.

Nature takes care of that in the wild because the kinds of
seeds that need to be cold do not fall from the trees until
winter time. Conifer seeds are often buried in snow all
winter, and when spring comes and the ground warms, the seeds
thaw, rain pushes them into the soil, and then they
germinate. Apple seeds are like that.

Some seeds have very hard coats, and take a very long time to
soften enough to germinate. Grandmother used to use a sharp
knife to cut a little notch in hard seeds, then soak them
overnight in a little dish of water before planting them.
They germinated faster that way. We can look at our lists to
check germination times, and classify the seeds by how fast
(or slowly) they germinate, or if they need special treat-
ment, like freezing, before they are planted.


 
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