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4-H Germination Kit – Cleaning Out the Seed Shed

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4-H germination cleaning out the seed shed are those seeds viable

At the conclusion of your project please provide us with valuable feedback on this simple survey.

TAKE LOTS of PICTURES for your 4-H project record.

Before beginning please view this video we shared during registration. If you landed on this page and have not received a kit please order one from Lee County 4-H.

Supplies provided in your kit by Lee County 4-H: seed potting mix, cardboard tubes, seeds for planting, pinto beans for seed dissection, seed dissection card, and a workbook for additional seed and soil science exploration.

Supplies you will need to gather: scissors, ruler, pencil, heavy-duty paper plate, water, and glue

Step 1 Cardboard Container Construction

Supplies Needed: toilet paper tubes, scissors, ruler, pencil

Construct five pots from cardboard tubes using the instructions in this video:

Step 2 Soil Fill and Watering

Supplies Needed: Potting Mix, 5 or 6 constructed recycled toilet paper tube pots, something to hold the pots like a heavy-duty paper plate, and water.

While you fill your 5 or 6 constructed pots to the rim watch this video to learn about the potting mix (soilless media) that came in your kit.


  • Examine your potting mix for the three parts of the substrate.
  • Can you find the dark bits of Sphagnum Peat Moss, the white bits of perlite, and the shiny bits of vermiculite?
  • What does it mean that the potting mix is hydrophobic?
  • Go ahead and water the filled pots. Observe if the water is readily absorbed. Add potting mix if the level settles after watering.

Step 3 Seed Science

Supplies Needed: Pinto Beans soaked for at least an hour, dissection card, and glue.

Was the pinto bean seed a monocot or dicot?

Additional Resource: Great time-lapse of a planted bean seed, Video Content resource

Step 4 Seed Planting & Germination Science

Supplies Needed: seeds for planting and the five constructed pots, filled and watered in step 2, Five takeout forks/knives/spoons, permanent marker.

  •  You have 5 or 6 seed varieties with packet information. Consult the packet for planting depth. Each seed is different.
  • RECYCLING – using leftover takeout plasticware write the seed variety and planting date on the handle and stick it in the pot without disturbing the seed.
  • You have 2 pea varieties. Do you remember the germination rate of each of them?
  • You have 2 tomato varieties. Do you remember the germination rate of the Cherokee Purple?
  • You have 1 onion variety.
  • You may have 1 sweet corn variety.
  • Check moisture regularly by sticking your little finger into the soil up to your second knuckle. If it is dry water it.

You may have ordered a hydroponics kit too. Here are the instructions for Hydroponics to Go:

INCLUDED: Styrofoam containers, clear plastic cups, circle templates, lettuce seeds, nutrient solution, clay pebbles, Rockwool, instruction sheet, graphs for further study.

Soak the rockwool before beginning. Once the project is assembled check on the Rockwool daily to be sure it stays wet until the roots of the lettuce are able to reach the nutrient solution.

My classroom photo

  • At the conclusion of your project please provide us with valuable feedback on this simple survey.
  • If you are interested in finding out why your plant doesn’t behave as expected contact Minda Daughtry at 919-775-5624 or email Pam Kerley with photos.
  • This was a germination project and not about garden growth. The date of our in-person workshop (April 3) was the last premium date for 2021 to plant seeds and have sprouts in time to transplant into a summer garden. You are more than welcome to attempt to transplant your sprouts but they may not have time to bear fruit before weather conditions are less than prime. Consult the packet information for planting suggestions.
  • When planting seeds it is important to know the planting depth so the seed will perfectly emerge before it starves to death. Consult the packet information for planting suggestions.
  • The wonderful thing about the cardboard tube is you can plant it right into the ground and it will breakdown into the soil. Just be sure to plant the entire tube. DO NOT leave any part of it sticking up because the tube may wick the water up and away from the roots where it is needed by the seed