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What would you trade for a handful of magic beans? As it turns out, all beans—all seeds, for that matter—are magical in their own way. If you don’t believe it, just plant one and watch it germinate, grow, and transform. Use clear drinking glasses rather than opaque pots, and opt for large seeds such as beans, beets, or peas, so you can observe every step in the process.

Photography: Monica Buck

Source: Martha Stewart


Tip: You can choose just one or both of the methods below to plant the seeds, depending on whether you have soil. Either way, once the seeds have sprouted, you can transfer them to a pot with drainage or plant them outside.


  • Clear glasses

  • Potting soil

  • Seeds (we used beans, beets, and peas)

  • Paper towels

  • Reusable plastic bag (optional)


  1. To plant in soil: fill glass with damp potting soil, and insert 2 seeds close to the sides, pushing them to a depth of 3 times their diameter.

  2. To plant between glasses: use damp paper towels to pin 2 seeds in place against a glass’s side; insert a smaller glass to hold paper towel and seeds in place. (Seeds in damp paper towels will also germinate in sealed plastic bags.)

  3. Place in a dark spot to mimic conditions underground until you see some growth. Then place in a spot that receives bright natural light. Keep soil or paper towels damp.

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