Friday, April 12, 2013

Rainy day activity - making homemade Chia Pets(!!)

After a few days of summer-like weather, we finally had a two straight days of nice rain.  The plants are happy.  But, we had to rely more on indoor activities for my After-School gardening class.  Below is one easy and fun thing to do...

Homemade Chia Pets(!!)

Everybody loves the Chia Pets that are advertised on TV.  While we won't make a ceramic animal, we can make our own homemade chia pets with the correct supplies and a little creativity(!!!).

What is chia?

Chia seeds are not a grain, but the seed from either of two different chia species, salvia hispanica or salvia columbariae.  They are in the mint family, and close relations of other salvias, many that we grow for flowers, plus sage.  Salvia hispanica is native to southern Mexico and Guatemala, and salvia columbariae is native to the deserts of the United States' Southwest.  The indigenous peoples of both regions traditionally ground the seeds for food, or added them whole to nutritious beverages.

Chia's recent emergence   

While most Americans were only familiar with chia's utility in growing fur-like sprouts on cute ceramic animals, chia has made a recent emergence as the latest “miracle seed”, which can be found in any health food store and many smoothie shops.  Chia seeds placed in water quickly emit a gelatinous-like substance that closely resembles tapioca.  Both the health benefits and texture are appealing.  Chia sprouts are enjoyed as any other sprout.

Supplies for a homemade chia pet

-  Cheesecloth or old stockings, cut into 1' squares
-  String
-  Googly Eyes
-  Chia seeds (!!).  Or, if cheating, grass or wheat will suffice (but don't say
    that I recommended this).  A mix of chia and grass is also nice.
-  Soil
-  Small cup or jar


1) Soak chia seeds in water
2) Cut cheesecloth into square
3) (Optional) Us string (or if fancy, us a thread and needle) to create ears and a nose, etc.
(or) just draw a face with a Sharpie when all done.
4)  Add a spoon full of waterlogged chia seeds to the area of the cloth that will grow sprouts
5)  Add a handful of soil
6)  Bring corners together and tie shut with string.
7) Place string side down in cup, jar or any water-tight base.
8) Water
9) Enjoy!  

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