A great family project is one where there really are no rules and creating grassheads is one of those projects. It is a cross between horticulture and fashion.
To begin the project, one must start to collect eggshell halves. One of the best times to do this is during the Easter holiday. The colored eggshells add a designer look to the grassheads. Do not worry about washing out the eggshells before doing this project. The inside of the eggshell will be covered up. Also, begin to collect different types of egg cartons. Different colors of Styrofoam and cardboard cartons work great for this project.
Next gather an assortment of seeds. Herbs, flowers, and grasses are all plants that work well for this project. This includes chives, marigolds, creeping thyme, carrots, and fescue.
To begin the project, give everyone an assortment of eggshells, accessories such as lace, cloth, markers, and glue. Have the “kids” draw faces, clothes, and accessories on the eggshells. Another type of decorating can be done by gluing accessories to the eggshells. Place the decorated eggshells into the chosen egg carton and fill with an all-purpose potting soil. If the whole egg carton is not being used, then cut it down to the needed size. Finally, sprinkle the chosen seeds on top of the soil and cover with a light layer of soil. Gently water the seeds in and place on a sunny window.
Teach the kids how to test the soil moisture by gently sticking their finger in the soil. If it feels dry, then the grasshead needs to be watered. If the soil coats the finger and it feels wet, then the grasshead does not need to be watered.
The seeds should start germinating in five to seven days. Once the seeds begin to germinate, watch the watering schedule. Since the plants are planted in such a confined space, they are susceptible to damping off.
When the plants are about ½-inch in height they can begin to be pruned. This is the fun part where the kids can experiment with different grasshead hairstyles and watch them grow back. A sharp pair of scissors is all that is needed to cut the plant’s hair. Keep in mind though that only herbs and grass like plants should be cut. Other types of plants do not recover as well from pruning.
Ideas for some classical grasshead looks exist. To create one that can utilize a lot of pruning or hair trimming, consider using herbs. This pruning can provide a gourmet addition to any meal and a creative outlet for a child. To create a grasshead with long hair, consider using creeping thyme. This herb will grow over and down the edge of the eggshell, creating flowing locks of grasshead hair that smell wonderful when cut or squeezed. To create a girl grasshead in formal wear, consider using marigolds. This plant will create a flower bonnet that will dress up any grasshead, but remember to keep the marigold blooming do not forget to deadhead the blooms.
When the gardening season is over, simply place the annuals in the compost bin. If using perennials, remove grassheads from their egg carton and plant into a container, pot or ground. Take care of these perennials just like one would with any planted material.
This project is a great way of using up those extra seeds laying around and provides a rainy day activity that keeps on giving with additional activities. Remember though that this is a creative process that can encompass every family member from the youngest to the oldest and can build generational bridges as the project is being completed.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mindy McIntosh-Shetter has been an Agricultural Science educator, and is a horticulture and/or environmental blogger who earned a degree from Purdue University in Agriculture Education with a minor in biology, and natural resources. Presently she is finishing up her Masters in Environmental Education and Urban Planning for the University of Louisville while working on her own agriculture/environmental blog.