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Garden Experiment: Radishes Rule

This isn't your average bean sprout experiment! Check out our radish activity below.

Goal: Engage students in scientific processes. Included are basic instructions. Further instructional goals to be determined by teachers.


1) Radish seeds: radishes are the ideal plant to use in class rooms. They germinate quickly and can take a fair amount of abuse. Give each student/group a few extra seeds – they can be dropped!

Source: Carolina Biological Supply (you can buy by the pound) or local sources.

2) Pots: either 3 or four inch pots - obtained at garden centers

3) Soil: any potting soil. The goal of a study may dictate other types of soil (see below).

4) Light: 4 foot shop lights in a stand are fine; dedicated plant stands; window-sills;

desk lamps with LEDs, etc. Radishes will grow on your desk – more time will be required!

Planting instructions:

The soil should be damp. Fill the pot to within 1 inch of the top with soil. Place 3 -5 seeds in each pot and cover with 0.25 inches of soil. Pat down the soil and water. Watch to see if the seeds float out and replace/replant as necessary.

Possible studies: (Note: each treatment should be done to at least three pots of planted radishes. There should be at least three pots that serve as controls. Each group could be in charge or one treatment.)

Varying amount of light

Varying the wavelength of light (different colored CFLs or LEDs in lamps).

Varying the soil: making soil mixes with variable amounts of sand, gravel, organic material

Varying the amount of fertilizer – this is best done with poor soil

Treating pots with different amounts/concentrations of salt water.

“crowding” pots by planting a large number of seeds

competition studies with other seeds: eg; corn and peas. Plant all together.

Possible Observations

Number of leaves

Distance between leaves on stems

Length/width of leaves

Total height of plants

Color of plants

Extent of root growth

Have fun on your radish adventures! Comment below how it goes!

Special thanks to one of our resident scientists, Merle Heidemann, for this activity. Check out this science superstar at

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