Get Growing! Lesson 10

Rainy Day Gardening

Once again it was raining on class day, so instead of going out to the school garden and planting cool weather vegetables like radishes and spinach, we gardened indoors.

We started off with "Pea Buddies". I was introduced to this activity at a Gardener's Gathering workshop taught by Kelly Cannon. In addition to the silly fun of crazy "hair" made from pea sprouts, the fresh leaves and stalks are not just edible but tasty!

The idea is to plant a bunch of soaked pea seeds so that they grow close together. These pea plants will never get to a size that will produce peas, but we are growing them for the greens. After a few weeks of nibbling on the greens the peas will slow down their growth and you can compost the whole thing. You could try transplanting these to a garden but it would be more successful to just plant some fresh seed.

My favorite ways to enjoy pea greens
  • as a snack, fresh off the plant
  • in a salad - I usually keep it simple with a dash of sesame oil, sesame seeds, sea salt, black pepper, and maybe a little fresh burrata.
  • stir fried with garlic: recipe from VietWorldKitchen though I admit I usually am lazy and just order this at restaurants

Wildflower Seed Balls

These balls are a mix of clay, soil, and seed that can be tossed into abandoned lots, along train tracks, or into untended parking lot islands to beautify our urban environment. (This idea comes from the guerilla gardening movement, I just can't stomach calling them 'bombs' anymore)

I chose a wildflower seed mix from Botanical Interests that didn't seem to have any big nuisance plants for our area like Dame's Rocket and added some of my own saved zinnia and cosmos seeds. I used some potting soil and air dry craft clay for a binder.

I handled the stirring, but the students helped me "cook" the batch of seed balls by adding the ingredients. Then they each got a scoop of the mix to form into balls. And yes, as one determined student repeatedly pointed out, "they look like poops". We played a game while the balls dried a little and took them home in decorated paper sacks. This class loves to decorate.

The seed balls were pretty messy and required serious hand washing but the floor was looking good until the end of class. We haven't had any major soil spills in doors all spring, but as we lined up to go home the Pea Buddies just kept tumbling out of hands. I think it was hard for the younger students to hold both the Pea Buddy cups and the seed ball bags.