Growing grass heads is an easy, fun activity for kids, and you could find out from your local nursery about other gardening projects that you can do with your children. Here are some simple directions for how to go about it.
The head is formed from the toe of a stocking and the grass grows from the seed that’s sprinkled into the top of the head.
Start by cutting the bottom section off a nylon stocking (or use knee-high stockings). A toe piece approximately 20cm long should be just about right. This will allow enough space to stuff the toe and leave room to tie it up.
Purchase a small amount of lawn seeds. A 50 g packet of lawn seed is about the same size as a bean packet. Although they’ve been developed for patching and thickening lawns, they’re also ideal for growing grassy heads.
Shake a generous sprinkling of seed into the toe of the stocking, then fill a moisture-holding medium that the grass will be able to get its roots into. Sphagnum moss is best because it’s light, clean and holds moisture well. Dampen and squeeze out the moss before stuffing it into the toe. Sphagnum moss is available from gardening outlets but, if you find it hard to get, you could use clean sawdust.
After the toe is firmly filled and is about tennis ball size, fasten it at the bottom with a rubber band to enclose the contents. The next step is the creative stage – giving the head a face. Stick on or draw eyes and a mouth, preferably using waterproof pens or glue (kids will need some adult help with this).
Then select a cup that’s about the right size to hold the head without allowing it to fall in. Fill it with water and place the head upside down on the cup, so that the top is just sitting in the water.
When the top’s well moistened, remove the head and place it on a bright windowsill, out of direct sunlight. Check each day to make sure it remains moist. If the head starts to dry out, wet it again in the same way or by spraying with water from a trigger pack.
After a while (usually about a week) the grass shoots will start to sprout out from the top of the head. Keep them moist as they grow and give them an occasional spray with fertiliser. Find out from your nursery which one is best. Once the grassy head’s hair is well established it can be given a haircut by trimming with scissors or being tied up with a pretty ribbon.
For more information see Gardening with kids or Parenting.