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Adding Value To The Business of Cropping

Grassy numbers

Learning Intentions:

    Students will be able to:
  • germinate seeds using a basic set-up.
  • distinguish the growth form of a seedling from the grass family.


  • Seeds from the grass family work best for this activity as they grow straight upwards, thus keeping inside the margins of the shape you plan to create.
  • Lawn or ryegrass seeds are best for small shapes. Purchase from garden supply shops or online.
  • Cereal seeds are best for larger scale projects. Purchase seeds from health shops or online.

What You Will Need:

  • Lawn or ryegrass seed, or cereal seeds (wheat, oats, barley). Ensure the seeds have not been treated if you are going to harvest the resulting seedlings as microgreens.
  • Clean, used meat trays (or larger trays for scaled-up projects).
  • Paper towels.
  • Plastic bags big enough to fit the trays.
  • Cotton wool buds or small artist's paint brushes.
  • Water.

What to do

Follow the pictures and steps described below.

    1. Cut two paper towels to fit a clean plastic meat tray. Draw a numeral on the top sheet with a soft pencil, e.g. '7', then stack both sheets back into the tray.
    2. Sprinkle grass seeds inside the margins of the shape. Slowly pour water into the tray till the towels are damp (not wet), being careful not to disturb the seeds.
    3. Use a cotton wool bud or small paint brush to carefully position any seeds that may have moved.
    4. Slip the tray inside a plastic bag and fold the end over to keep the moisture in. Leave in a warm place till the seeds germinate, then remove from the bag and keep watered and positioned in sunlight so they can grow tall and straight.
    5. Take photos or draw pictures and write about what you did.

    Hints and tips

    • You can harvest the grass as microgreens if the seeds have not been treated.
    • Individual grass or cereal seedlings can be lifted off the paper towels and planted in soil or potting mix for growth observations. Observe how the growth form is very different than most types of vegetable plants.

    Going further

    Use a large plastic serving tray or similar to create a scaled up version of grassy numbers, or to create patterns of your choice.

    Related resources

    Microgreen sandwiches

    Egg carton caterpillar

    Garden in a glove

    Egg grass heads