Seed experiment, home science for youth

Seed Be Free Experiment

Do seeds need soil?

Back to Activities


In this experiment you need to answer the following question: Can a seed grow with or without soil? Choose some seeds and place them in jars with soil and without soil. Make observations throughout the week to determine whether your seed can grow with or without soil.


Seeds—(quickest seeds: zinnias, marigolds, mung beans or alfalfa; easiest seeds: lima and kidney)
Paper towel
Clear cups


  1. Choose your seed type. Seeds to use for this experiment can vary from the quickest seeds to grow: zinnias, marigolds: mung beans or alfalfa, or the easiest seeds to grow: lima and kidney. Technically, however, any seed should work (just might take more time and care).
  2. Place one of your seeds in a wet paper towel and place it in the clear cup.
  3. Next place your second seed in a plastic cup half filled with soil. Water the soil until it is damp.
  4. Make sure you place both cups by a window that will get plenty of sunlight during the day. THEY MUST BE AT THE SAME WINDOW!
  5. For the next couple of days, make sure you water your seeds and check on our growth. See what happens?
  6. Use this table to help you keep track of your seeds’ progress. Make sure you include the seed that you used. During the week when you check on your seeds, write down the date and whether or not you see growth. All you need to do is circle YES or NO if you see any signs of growth and write OR draw what you see.

*Remember, we are not trying to see which is growing faster, but if a seed can grow without soil. HOWEVER, you can still keep track on how quickly it grows or by how much. If you would like to do that try to measure the growth with a ruler and write it on the table.*

After you have completed a week of observations maybe try to change up your experiment and see if you find the same result. Try different seeds, different towels, different cups OR maybe change up your experiment completely. Think about what an astronaut would want to test if they were in space with a bunch of seeds.