Cook Seeds Before Planting?

based on 5 ratings
Author: Muriel Gerhard




Difficulty of Project



$ 10-$15

Safety Issues

Wear safety glasses, apron and plastic gloves.

Material Availability

All materials are readily available from the neighborhood garden center.

Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project

3 -4 weeks. This includes collection, recording and analysis of data, summary of results and completion of bibliography.


To determine whether cooking seeds before planting will speed up plant germination and growth or whether just soaking the seeds suffice.

Materials and Equipment required

  • zinnia seeds,
  • potting soil,
  • fertilizer
  • one pair of  forceps
  • 12  plant pots or 3 planter quads
  • water, watering can
  • measuring cup
  • a small tea strainer
  • medicine dropper
  • 2 pots
  • a stove
  • labels
  • pen
  • centimeter ruler
  • paper towels
  • plastic gloves
  • safety glasses
  • apron


Background Information

On the information level, this experiment serves to acquaint pupils with some basic concepts in plant science, Botany. Pupils learn what seeds are, contain, what are the basic conditions under which seeds germinate, how these conditions may be altered such as the process of soaking the seeds to hasten germination, what the resultant plants need in order to grow and flourish, how plants deteriorate when they lack sufficient nutrients, warmth and light or when they are subjected to excesses of water, light, warmth or food.

This science fair experiment also serves to acquaint students with the essential processes of sciencing such as the importance of the use of a control, of identifying dependent and independent variables, of data collection, of pictorial and or graphic presentation of data and of being able to make better judgments as to the validity and reliability of their findings.  They take on the role of scientists and in the process they learn to act as one. In this particular experiment, pupils learn to use a large number of plants in case of loss of specimens due to “deadly” conditions.

Research Terms

  • botany
  • plant science
  • seed
  • soil
  • peat moss
  • fertilizer
  • germination
  • soaking vs cooking
  • standard conditions of light and temperature

Research Questions

  • What do plants need in order to live and grow?
  • How do plants grow?
  • What makes plants grow faster?
  • What are seeds?
  • What do they contain?
  • How do you soak a seed?
  • How is soaking different from cooking?
  • What is potting mix?
  • What is fertilizer and what purpose does it serve?
  • Why would we want to germinate seeds faster?
  • What are seedlings?
  • How do we plant seedlings?
  • What is the proper method to soak seeds at home?

Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research

  • What is a control?  A control is the variable that is not changed in the experiment.
  • What purpose does a control serve? It is used to make comparisons as to what changed or possibly caused the change.
  • What are variables?  Variables are factors that can be changed in an experiment.
  • What  is an independent variable? The independent variable is the one that is changed in the experiment.
  • What is a dependent variable? The dependent variable is the one that changes as a result of the change in the independent variable.
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