How to Grow Vegetables in a Jar

Katie is sharing a fun summer project we can do with our kids: Grow vegetables in jars! Who says learning has to stop, just because school is out?
How to grow vegetables in a jar - fun summer project for kids

The first question you might be asking yourself is, why on earth would anyone want to plant vegetables in a jar? After all, isn’t that what a garden plot or flower pots are for? Well yes, they are, but something unique happens when you plant vegetables in a jar. When you plant root vegetables in a jar such as carrots, radishes, or onions, the clear glass of the jar allows you to watch the underground growing process. This is something you can’t do when you plant in a garden or pot! In just a few days, you can easily watch the roots sprout and grow under the dirt, and soon after watch the vegetable form to maturity. It is almost like having a secret window to an underground world where vegetables flourish and grow, just waiting to be picked and enjoyed.

If you have kids, they will love getting involved in this activity. It is easy for them to help with and they will enjoy checking the below ground progress each day. Vegetables in a jar are ideal for windowsill gardens, or if it is warm enough you can choose to place them directly outdoors on a deck or patio. Are you ready to get started? Let’s take a look at how easy it is.

How to Plant Vegetables in a Jar:

Supplies Needed:
Glass canning jars. (Use the larger jars for optimum depth. These can be found at most craft stores and thrift stores. You don’t need the lids so don’t worry about those.)
Potting soil
Small pebbles
Root vegetable seeds. This includes: onions, radishes, turnips, and carrots.

As you can see, these supplies are easy to come by. You should be able to find everything you need at your local big box retail store. Your local dollar store will even carry the seeds and potting soil for $1.00 each so be sure to keep your eyes peeled the next time you stop in. Your pebbles can be found in your own backyard. These don’t need to be fancy, just something that is pea sized.

1. Rinse out your jars to remove any debris.
2. Fill your jars ¼ full of your pebbles. They should coat the bottom well. This step is important because the pebbles will provide some drainage since you don’t have drainage holes.
3. Now add your soil. Fill to the top of the jar, leaving about 1 inch of space.
4. Use your finger to make a hole for your seed. Consult your seed packet to find out how deep the hole should be for proper growth.
5. Put in 2-3 seeds. Not all of the seeds will grow, so by putting in 2-3 you are insuring yourself with some back up. Cover with more soil.
6. Water gently. Don’t allow the water to pool or puddle.
7. Place in a sunny spot and continue to water to keep the soil moist.

In a few days, you will start to see the sprouting take place. The roots will develop quickly and begin to show through the glass. Eventually, the vegetable will start to take place and you can watch its development! The amount of time the vegetable takes to reach maturity will depend on the variety of vegetables you have planted. The important thing to remember is to keep your plant watered and in a sunny spot as you would any other plant. When it does reach maturity, you can pull directly from the jar and enjoy!

This is such a fun experiment to do with your family and one you will want to try each year. It is inexpensive, easy, and quite the conversation starter when guests come over and see it sprouting in your window. So give it a try, and see what results you can come up with. Happy growing!

Katie Femia is a wife and mother of three. She loves vintage finds, handmade goodness, the frugal life, and the long road to publication. You can find her at The Savvy Luna Bugg, the blog for frugalistas seeking simplicity through a handmade and vintage lifestyle.



  1. says

    Great idea! I could grow herbs this way in the winter. My sunroom gets lots of sun then, so this is perfect. Doesn’t take up a lot of room. Thanks for the idea!

    • says

      Great minds think alike! This is a fun project to do with my 6 year old now, but I think I am going to use this idea to create a windowsill herb garden this fall too.


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