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Brian Rawlings wrote in to share an experiment he’s working on with his 9-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son: using Cheetos as a hydroponic medium.

Hydro-priming is the process of soaking seeds in water before planting. Hydro-priming decreases the time it takes seeds to germinate. For this experiment, we wanted to test how different concentrations of Cheetos in the water would affect the germination rates of pea seeds. Do you expect that Cheetos will help or hinder the germination of seeds?

Brian and kids prepared seven cups with a varying number of Cheetos and either a half-cup of water or else no water. 100 snow pea seeds were added to each cup and every 12 hours, the seeds were removed to see how many had germinated.

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal



  1. Id expect the salt might be high enough to kill the seeds.

  2. Hydroponics? Big bags of Cheetos? That suggests some other experiments that might not be as kid-friendly.

  3. bobmccormick says:

    Is anyone else sick of the obligatory Marijuana jokes on *every* article about hydroponics? Seriously people, it’s about as clever and original as “First Post!” or rickrolling.

    1. David s says:

      Lighten up. :)

  4. Not my best work, it’s true, but I didn’t have a tilapia joke handy.

    1. So it was *you* who dropped the bass.