seeds

Hello,
As you know few seeds are available at home in kitchen
how to see the germination of those ?
It would be great fun to germinate this seeds and
encourage school going kids to understand & love "nature"
I heard few seeds need 24 hrs socking in water ,some need warm water socking ,but need proper guidence to enjoy this activities.
Which one are "tough"ones to germinate? grow? why?? Hope some will share experience on this activity.
ManyThanks
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Yes. I can still remember science class when I was about 7 or 8 years old. The teacher prepared gallon (4 liter) glass jars lined with paper towel and filled with moist vermiculite. She put seeds between the glass and the paper towel, and put a jar on each table. Over time we watched the seeds germinate. I still remember being eager to see the change from day to day and over the weekend. It may well have been an influence in my life long interest in biology and plants.

Some benefit from soaking, but it's a bad idea for most large beans, which will often break if soaked.

I don't recommend seeds of temperate climate fruits and nuts, as they usually need a period of stratification (exposure to cold while moist) before they can germinate. In nature, this prevents them from germinating in the fall, when they won't survive. Some seeds require darkness to germinate, notably lettuce.

Your best bests are relatively large seeds for small children. They should be the seeds of annual plants or tropical perennials. Be sure they haven't been hulled or heat treated, as many foods are. E.g. barley, rice and buckwheat have been hulled, and many nuts have been hulled, roasted and/or heat treated to kill pests. Seeds that have been stored for a long time or under warm conditions often lose viability.
Depending on what kinds of things you normally keep around your kitchen, you may need to go to a health food or bulk food store to get suitable seeds. Wheat kernels and mung beans are usually reliable, as are lentils. You can try other kinds of beans such as kidneys or limas, and whole peas. Soybeans often have low germination, for me at least, and are pretty revolting when they rot instead, due to the high protein content.
Often you can find seeds that are sold for the purchaser to sprout before eating. These will almost invariably have high germination. You can usually find mung beans, wheat and alfalfa seeds, often radish or broccoli seeds, and some interesting mixtures.
Now that it's getting on toward spring in the northern hemisphere, you can buy garden seeds off the rack in supermarkets and elsewhere. This is a good way to get viable corn (maize) and pea seeds. Try to get untreated seeds especially if your children are involved. Treated seeds are coated with a fungicide and a dye, usually bright pink. If treated, the seeds will be labelled as such, and should be handled carefully -- not something I'd trust a little kid around, especially with that candy-pink colour!
Another source of interesting seeds are tropical fruits. Avocados, mangos and litchees sprout well and produce attractive plants. You can make a hobby of growing tropical plants from pits and seeds. There used to be a book about it called something like "The After-Dinner Gardening Book". You can also sprout the seeds of the squash, tomatoes and ripe peppers that you eat.
I'd recommend you set up some jars as above to observe the germination process for most seeds. If you want to sprout seeds by the methods usually used to produce sprouts for eating, remember that you should wash the seeds frequently, and keep them under high humidity conditions.
You can find more information on germinating seeds of common plants both in the context of sprouting seeds for eating, and for growing garden plants. Perhaps your older children can look for suitable books in the library or information on the web, to involve them more in the effort.
This is a really good project, and I think your children will enjoy it and remember it. Note that even if you don't have a garden, it's possible to grow food plants in pots and tubs on a balcony or in a window, if you or your children get more interested. This is called container gardening, and there are many books about it. A potted miniature tomato plant, or a pot of lettuce that the child can pick a few leaves off of for a sandwich can be very gratifying and memorable.
I'm adding rec.gardens and sci.bio.misc to the newsgroups. Perhaps others would like to add their experiences and recommendations.
Best of luck to you and your family!
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