Take Home Earth Day Project: Microgreen Planter From Recycled Materials

Make this cute Hedgehog Microgreen Planter to celebrate Earth Day! The Livingston Library will offer Take Home Kits for this project during the week of April 19th, while supplies last. The project uses found and upcycled materials, and is perfect for older kids, teens, and families.  If you want to explore growing microgreens on your own, here are a few tips to get you started.  What are Microgreens? Microgreens are the edible seedlings of vegetables and herbs. They’re packed with flavor and nutrition, and make a great addition to salads or sandwiches. They’re also fun and easy to grow!  Education:There are many online resources explaining how to grow microgreens. Most of them have useful information. However, some call for special containers, lights, fertilizers or growth mediums. In my opinion, if you are just getting started you don’t need to buy any special equipment. In fact, except for seeds, you probably have everything you need at home.   Seeds:Start with seeds that are easy to grow! Our project uses organic broccoli seeds. Broccoli microgreens sprout in one day and are ready to harvest 10-14 days later. Other easy microgreens are radish, cress, arugula and kohlrabi. These take a little longer to sprout, but like broccoli, they don’t require any presoaking. When shopping for seeds, choose organic seeds specifically labeled as microgreens rather than seeds that have been developed to grow in the garden.  Containers: Use any food safe container that is 1-3 inches high. If you are recycling, wash it really well. Our project uses a milk carton that has been washed and cut down to size,  Growth Medium: Soil is the most common growth medium, however our project grows microgreens hydroponically. Most microgreens do well when grown this way. The plants need a growth medium for support. Our project uses cheesecloth as the growth medium.  If you don’t have cheesecloth, you can use paper towels (4 layers). I’m tempted to buy some coconut coir mats for future “crops” but I haven’t done it yet. Planting: Spread the seeds evenly across the growth medium. Our project used 1 teaspoon of broccoli seeds to cover 4 square inches.  Drainage and Water: Microgreens need to stay moist, but you can’t let your seeds sit in pools of water. You need to create good drainage. Our project uses a layer of clean pebbles at the bottom of the container. The cheesecloth sits on top of them, and excess water drains into the pebbles. Another option is to make drainage holes in your container and place a plate or container underneath it to catch excess water. Check your microgreens daily to make sure the growth medium is moist. Use a spray bottle to water them.   Light and Warmth:Most seeds germinate best in darkness, so you’ll want to cover your seeds until they have sprouted and started putting down roots. Make sure the cover is loose enough to let air in! Once the plants start growing upward, they need light. Place your container in a sunny window. You’ll want a location that stays about 65-75 degrees.  Harvest your microgreens when they are about 2 inches tall. Use scissors to cut the plant above the growth medium. The plants won’t regrow, so compost the roots and plant a new crop!  Have fun and don’t be afraid to experiment!   Karen deWilde, Teen Librarian

Joe’s Jukebox – “Redbone”

Recently I’ve been digging into the catalog of the funk-rock band Redbone. If you’re not familiar with that name, you might be familiar with a joyously groovy song of theirs called “Come and Get Your Love.” It hit #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974, it’s heard in the Marvel movies Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1 and Avengers: Endgame, and it’s currently featured in a commercial for Applebee’s. Redbone has a bunch of other great songs too, like “Maggie,” and “The Witch Queen of New Orleans,” and “We Were All Wounded at Wounded Knee.” Those first two tracks also appeared on the Billboard singles chart, but “We Were All Wounded at Wounded Knee” did not, even though it hit Number 1 in countries like Belgium and the Netherlands in 1973. That’s because the song was an unapologetic protest against the brutal treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government, particularly in light of a siege earlier that year in the Oglala Lakota village of Wounded Knee in South Dakota– the very same site of the infamous Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. It was an especially meaningful topic for Redbone, since their core members were proud Native Americans themselves. And while the band’s record company was happy to release, and profit from, Redbone’s more upbeat music, they were reluctant to promote a rebellious, anti-government protest song in the wake of the Wounded Knee conflict. That’s just one of the many fascinating things I learned from the new graphic novel Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band, written by Christian Staebler & Sonia Paoloni, with art by Thibault Balahy. It was also created in cooperation with Pat Vegas, who founded Redbone with his late brother Lolly back in the late 1960s. This book is a vivid portrait of an underappreciated band, including their interactions with rock legends Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. But it also chronicles some important yet often-neglected chapters of American history from an Indigenous perspective.  Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band is, of course, part of our print collection here at the Livingston Public Library, and if our copy’s currently unavailable you can also request one from a number of other BCCLS libraries. It’s also available as an ebook on Hoopla Digital— where you can also stream or temporarily download some of Redbone’s most popular songs.  And if you’re looking for more great graphic novels about stellar musicians, here at the Livingston Public Library we also have titles like Chasin’ the Bird: Charlie Parker in California; Fab 4 Mania: A Beatles Obsession and the Concert of a Lifetime; and one of my personal favorites, Bowie: Stardust, Rayguns, and Moonage Daydreams. That’s all for this edition of Joe’s Jukebox, so until next time, remember: find it, find it, go on and love it if you like it…