Every spring we make living spring baskets. They are so easy to create, and children love them! They love using them and making them. We made some a few weeks ago and I wanted to share an updated tutorial here (updated from the one I shared years ago) with some fresh pictures. Children can participate in the entire process, it’s a great hands-on project. I think many children enjoy how tactile it is. It’s great to have another excuse to get your hands dirty and dig in the soil. Bracken has soil underneath his fingernails pretty much every time he’s playing outside, and when I see that I know he has been having a fun day.
To make your spring baskets, first choose your baskets. We used baskets we’ve had for years. If I were to buy baskets specifically for this purpose (a nearby thrift store has a great selection of baskets, I’ve been meaning to grab some) I would probably choose baskets that are rounded on the bottom because that shape makes for such wonderful grassy nests. But I like variety too!
I cover our baskets with aluminum foil because I want to keep using our baskets afterward. You can skip the aluminum foil if you want, but know you might not be able to use your basket for anything else in the future but planting. You would also need to water your baskets in a place where you didn’t mind the water running out. The aluminum foil keeps that from being an issue, and we like to keep our baskets inside to water them every day and watch them grow.
Next, cover the bottom of the aluminum foil with some potting soil. (We used dry potting soil, but Jeff mentioned that it would be a good idea to have the potting soil slightly damp before you sprinkle the wheat berries on top. Ours turned out fine, but I would recommend having your potting soil damp if you think about it.) I like to thickly cover the soil with the wheat berries, so plenty of grass will grow. (Even though we aren’t eating the wheat berries, I buy organic. They don’t cost much at all. I don’t want to fund GMOs and I choose to support organic, by voting with our dollars, as much as possible.)
After the layer of wheat berries, cover with another layer of soil. For the watering part, we like to use spray bottles. You can get the soil nice and damp with a spray bottle, but you are less likely to over-water it. (There are no drainage holes after all.) Plus children love to be able to spray their basket every day. It’s fun! Since we typically have our baskets in the vicinity of the woodstove, where the windows are, the soil can dry out a lot faster with the extra warmth and needs to be watered more regularly. The temperature where you keep your basket will determine how quickly the soil will dry out and how often you’ll need to water it.
It’s so fun to see the first green shoots popping up and then to watch the grass grow day by day!
And one week later… you have a grassy basket! (Or two, or however many you plant.) This picture of our baskets was taken exactly one week after we had planted them. I typically like to plant them about a week before we will want to use them, so I mark our calendar before our annual egg hunt.
Children are delighted with these grassy baskets and it’s a fun spring tradition to make them each year! We especially love to use our living spring baskets for egg hunts. I love the way the eggs look all tucked in there, I think they look so cozy. (Our little basket was stuffed with hard-boiled eggs above, if any fell out it wouldn’t hurt them any.) You can use your baskets to carry nature treasures, for May Day Baskets, or simply as a celebration of spring. Enjoy your green, grassy nests and Happy Spring!
P.S. When we are all done using our baskets, we give the wheatgrass to our chickens who go crazy over it.
………………What are your favorite spring traditions to mark the season?…………………