Sunday, March 18, 2012

How to Grow Your Own Easter Grass

It's getting to be that time of year again. When our cultural traditions threaten to make every plastic-averse parent tremble in fear. When toxic chemicals combine with sugar to make our children run around in a weird haze. It's time for...EASTER!

Ok, so maybe it's not that dramatic.

But I hate unnecessary plastic and I feel like Easter "grass" is the epitome of unnecessary plastic. It's not pretty, lacks any kind of real purpose, is not recyclable and it gets tracked all over your house before getting dumped in the trashcan. Last year, we started a tradition of growing our own Easter grass and I love it!

Three Reasons to Grow Your Own Easter Grass...
  1. It costs less. I paid $0.30 for enough wheat berries to grow 2-3 large baskets worth of grass. That's $0.15 per basket instead of $1 or more for each basket's worth of plastic shreds. That's an 85% savings! 
  2. It's a fun activity to do with your kids before Easter. (plus Easter Bunny believers will love leaving it out as a fresh snack for their favorite cottontail)
  3. No waste. You can compost your leftovers.
Look for wheat or rye berries in the bulk foods section of your local grocery or natural foods store.
What You'll Need: 
  • A basket or other container (I used a small plastic storage tub I got at the Dollar Store)
  • Approx 1/2 cup or wheat or rye berries per basket
  • Water
  • Small amount of potting soil
  • Approx 7 days of growing time

Get Started!

Step 1: Get your basket or tub ready
If you are using a woven basket, line the bottom with a piece of foil or plastic wrap to protect the basket from the dirt and water. Roll up the edges to create a lip to hold in any excess moisture. I'm re-using a small plastic storage tub so I didn't need to line mine.

Step 2: Spread in some dirt
Spread out a thin layer of potting soil in the bottom of your container. Make sure that is is thoroughly damp.

Step 3: Generously scatter the berries
Generously sprinkle the rye or wheat berries across the top of the damp soil.

Step 4: Sprinkle with water.
Sprinkle the berries with water. I used a sippy cup which had the non-spill stopper removed. If you don't have a sippy cup, you can use a spray bottle or sprinkle the water with your hand.

Step 5: Put in a warm place and wait
For first few days I kept my basket on top of my fridge where it was warm (the plants don't need sun until they start looking like plants). On day four I moved the basket to a sunny window during the day and kept it warm at night. Make sure to keep sprinkling water on the seeds once or twice a day to keep the growing plants happy.
It's really quite amazing how quickly this stuff grows! If you're homeschooling, you can use this as a fun way to incorporate science and math (measuring!) into your curriculum, too.

After six or seven days, you should have some pretty hearty growth:

Please note: Do not be alarmed if the basket looks a bit sparse because you can still see the seeds when you look straight down into it even after about a week:
Once you add basket filler (it doesn't take much!), it shifts the grass around and you will have adorable tufts of living grass peeking up from between your eggs and other baskety gifts. This is the same "sparse" looking basket five minute later:

This project is so easy and fun that I hope I've encouraged you to start your own Easter grass growing tradition, too!

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  1. I love this idea! I am so glad I found it in time to try this for Easter. I hope that they have wheat berries at our grocery store.

  2. I'm with you on the plastic stuff. It's such a waste and is sooo messy! I'm too late for this year but I've pinned it for next year. Thanks for the great idea!

  3. Thanks so much for leaving this link...a few questions if you don't mind. Are wheat berries the same as regular wheat. So if I got red wheat and used it would it grow? If I get wheat meant for eating, do they process it or do something that would make it not grow? Thanks for your great post!!

    1. The wheat berries I show are meant for eating. Most people who buy them would grind them to make flour or might soak them and cook them to make hot cereal. What you want is a whole seed-looking thing - not something ground, processed or cooked.

      It's possible that anything that isn't organic has been treated to prevent sprouting so I would purchase something organic if possible. If not, I wouldn't stress too much about it (the wheat I used in this post is not organic and it worked fine).


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