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Seeds From Fruit

Can you make a garden grow from your lunchbox? Collect seeds from your leftovers to find out

Australian Curriculum links

  • Science > Biological Sciences > Year 1 > ACSSU017
  • Science > Biological Sciences > Year 2 > ACSSU030
  • Science > Biological Sciences > Year 4 > ACSSU072

You’ll need

  • Seed-raising/potting mix
  • Old CD cases containing 1 x 1 cm grids printed onto transparencies and trimmed to fit
  • Clear soft drink bottles
  • Plastic cups
  • Plastic trays to contain spills of water and potting mix
  • Toothpicks
  • Seeds
  • Spray bottle for water

Try this

  • Collect fruit and vegetable seeds from your lunch, snacks and dinner. Try tomatoes, capsicum, pumpkin, watermelon, apples and citrus.
  • Clean off seeds and allow to dry.

Small seeds (e.g. tomatoes, capsicum, apples, strawberries and raspberries)

  1. Lay transparency grid into CD case and fill with potting mix to the third line from the bottom.
  2. Place the seed at twice its length below the surface level.
  3. Spray lightly with water and close.
  4. Stand upright in a tray (to catch the water) in a warm area with access to sunlight.
  5. Open and spray with water every few days.

Medium seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sunflowers, watermelon)

  1. Carefully cut the top off top half of the plastic bottle and recycle it.
  2. Place two or three small holes just above the base of the remaining bottle.
  3. Half fill with potting mix and place two to four seeds against the sides of the bottle, depending on size, and continue to fill with potting mix until the seed is covered to no more than twice its length.
  4. Spray generously with water and stand upright in a tray (to catch the water) in a warm area with access to sunlight.

Large seeds (e.g. avocado)

  1. Carefully insert three toothpicks at equal distances around the avocado, with the point facing upwards.
  2. Fill a plastic cup with water to the point where the base of the seed is in the water. Change water regularly to stop it going mouldy.
  3. Record what is happening over time. Did all of your seeds grow? Using the grid or a ruler, record growth regularly. How quickly do your seeds grow? How many leaves appear?
  4. Once plants outgrow their containers, you might like to replant them and continue to watch them grow.

Further investigation

  • Which seeds grew and which seeds didn’t? If your seeds didn’t grow, think about where they grow and what you could change to help them grow.
  • How many leaves did your seeds sprout at first? What happens as your plants as your plants grow older? When do they develop flowers, fruit and seeds?
  • What about plants such as garlic, potatoes and pineapples? Do they follow the same life cycle? What about mushrooms? (Mushroom kits are widely available)

What’s happening?

The seed contains a small plant embryo as well as food stores to get the plant through the early stages of life. This will be housed in a protective coating or shell.

Seeds require the right amount of water, heat and oxygen to germinate. The seeds need to absorb water for the chemical messengers (enzymes) to let the seed know it is time to grow. If there is too much water, this will rot or drown the seed. Some plants need a certain temperature range to germinate.

When plants first germinate, they will sprout a root at the base to seek out water in the soil. Once the roots start to grow, the young plant will send a root up through the soil and sprout leaves from the seed. If the seed sprouts one leaf to begin with, it is what we call a monocot (one leaf), if it sprouts two, it is a dicot.

Real world links

The biggest individual flower is from the Rafflesia plant in South-East Asia. It can grow up to 1m in diameter and weigh up to 10kg. It produces a smell like a rotting body that attracts flies, which spread its pollen.