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U.S. Forest Service

Growing a Surprise Garden

child walking in the rain holding an umbrella over her head

You can grow a surprise garden from the seeds you pick up on your sneakers on a muddy walk!

What you will need to get started

  • A rainy day
  • Sneakers
  • Clean jar or plastic container
  • Sterile compost or potting soil
  • Clear plastic
  • A warm place

Step 1

Put on your sneakers and take a walk after rain. It doesn't matter where you go, as long as it's muddy.

Step 2

  1. Scrape the mud from your sneakers when you get home, and put it in a clean jar or plastic container.
  2. Mix enough water with the mud to make it runny and leave the mixture to soak overnight.

bag of soil and three pots

plant sprouts growing in a planting tray

Step 3

  1. Add sterile compost or potting soil from a garden center to the mud and water mixture.
  2. Cover the tray with a sheet of clear plastic and store it in a warm place.

Step 4

The seedlings will begin to grow after two to three weeks.

As they get larger, carefully move them to bigger pots so you can watch them grow to full size.

Can you identify all the plants?