Teach children about growing plants or keep the winter doldrums from taking over by sprouting a potato (Solanum tuberosum) in a glass jar, along with other kitchen produce. Later, you can transplant it directly into the garden or into a container. Since grocery store potatoes can harbor disease, you might not get a harvest of potatoes, but you'll be able to enjoy the lush green foliage. Use a clear jar so you can watch the roots developing.
Things You'll Need
Wide-mouthed glass jar
Fill the jar about two-thirds full with water, deep enough to cover half of the potato.
Stick the toothpicks around the middle of the potato, spreading them around evenly.
Insert the bottom end of the potato into the water and suspend it against the top of the jar by the toothpicks. If your potato already has a growing eye, place that end in the water.
Set your jar and potato in a sunny location, as potatoes love full sun. Keep the water level consistent and change the water if it begins to cloud.
When the roots are established and the plant has two sets of leaves, transplant it to a pot. Potatoes are hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 2 to 11, so you can put your new plant outside in most places during much of the year.
You can transplant your potato plant into nearly any kind of well-drained container, as long as you allow for about 1 1/2 to 2 feet of depth. If you don't want to use a pot that large, place your potato plant in a large plastic bag, a trashcan or even a tube of chicken wire lined with newspaper or cardboard.
Pamela Martin has been writing since 1979. She has written newsletter articles and curricula-related materials. She also writes about teaching and crafts. Martin was an American Society of Newspaper Editors High School Journalism Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching in elementary education from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Arts in curriculum/instruction from the University of Missouri.