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Do Packaged Seeds Expire?

based on 8 ratings
Author: Sofia PC

Grade Level: 4th - 7th; Type: Botany

Objective:

Discover whether packaged seeds, despite having an expiration date printed, actually do expire.

Research Questions:

  • What are the parts of a plant seed?
  • What causes a seed to germinate?

Seed packages have expiration dates--but does that mean they'll no longer grow if planted? In this experiment, we'll find out.

Materials:

  • Packages of old, expired seeds: You'll need to ask friends and family, or ask your local gardening supply store
  • Packages of new seeds that are the same kind/variety as the expired seeds
  • Soil with fertilizer
  • Water
  • Sunlight
  • Ruler
  • Patience

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Pick a location rich in equal amounts of sunlight to plant your seeds.
  2. Separate two spots for your two groups of seeds, at least six inches apart.
  3. Dig holes for your seeds- insert your expired seeds in one section and the new seeds in the other. Cover the hole(s) up.
  4. Give the seeds their first taste of water- you should water it a bit everyday or when it looks dry and the soil feels dry. You don't need to water them when it rains.
  5. Observe the seeds daily and see which one germinates first.
  6. If growth is spotted, measure the height with your ruler and record the measurement.
  7. Compare the heights when several weeks have passed and note any significant differences.

Suggested Chart

 

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Old Seeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Seeds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terms/Concepts: Plant growth process; germination; Photosynthesis; Seeds; Water

References:

 

Rabinowitch E, Govindjee (1969). Photosynthesis. London: J. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-70424-5

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