Bean There, Done That

Mung beans are a healthy food source that grow without being planted in soil. To begin the growth process, they are soaked in water for twelve hours over night. Afterward, the water is poured out and the beans start growing [courtesy of photosynthesis*]. My experiment explores whether it is better to soak mung beans in plain water, salt water, sugar-water or vinegar-water for optimal growth. The problem with raising these beans is that they can be completely unpredictable when sprouting and it is uncertain how long they will take to grow.

* Photosynthesis is the way plants eat. To make food, all plants need carbon dioxide, light and water. Plants use these materials and turn them into sugar and oxygen. The sugar is used for food and the oxygen is breathed out. This is photosynthesis.


My hypothesis is that the sugar water will be best for raising the mung beans and vinegar will be the worst. I think this because plants, [ beans, flowers, etc.] take water and turn it into food [thanks to photosynthesis] that tastes like sugar. If they have sugar in the water already, perhaps the beans won’t have to go  through the complete process from scratch.


Day 1:

The beans soaked in each of the different water solutions  for twelve hours overnight.  The sugar solution beans absorbed the most liquid, while the vinegar solution absorbed the least.

The water solution was emptied out each mason jar and the beans were rinsed with clean water.  As much liquid has been emptied from the jars as possible and they have been left in the window for sun exposure.  The sugar beans have started sprouting several small sprouts. The water-only beans have only one sprout, though it is larger than than the sugar bean sprouts.  Salt and vinegar have been equally unresponsive.

mung day 1

Day 2:

The sugar beans continue to have the most sprout, sprouting far more than the water-only beans.  Salt and vinegar have still made no process.  The vinegar solution is still present at the bottom of its jar; the mung beans have been unable to absorb all of this solution.

Day 3:

Sugar and water continue to grow new sprouts, with the sugar solution still leading in the amount of beans sprouted. Vinegar has finally soaked up all of its liquid, but has not sprouted yet.

mung day 3

Day 4:

Sugar has plenty sprouts and is looking healthy. Water has fewer sprouts than sugar, but is looking just as healthy. Vinegar still has no sprouts, and salt finally grew one.  When compared overall, the beans from the sugar solution are clearly processing liquid the best, with maximum growth/sprouts occurring.

mung day 4


The sugar beans grew best, with water in a far second. The water was good for growing the mung beans, but sugar is definitely the best source. The salt solution did grow a single sprout, but will not be best for future experiments. The vinegar solution didn’t grow sprouts at all, so it will definitely not be used in future experiments. This experiment has proved my hypothesis correct.


  • 14 dry measuring cup
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Mung beans
  • 4 Mason jars
  • Cheese cloth
  • Rubber bands
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Vinegar


  • Photosynthesis for Kids
  • Gardening Know How

Parent Notes:

  • My daughter did not save the links to the aforementioned resources. This is an exact copy/paste of her google doc.
  • We found the mung beans were easy to sprout from
  • This project received a high grade
  • Parent effort consisted of
    • shopping and transportation
    • developing pictures
    • help with unit conversions in solutions
  • cover image courtesy wikipedia