How to Grow a Chia Obama

Remember the commercial for Chia Pets with that ridiculously annoying “ch-ch-ch-chia” jingle? While it stayed in my head, it sure didn’t make me wanna rush to my computer and order one. But after the 2008 elections, they came out with a “limited edition” Obama Chia pet that J thought was too awesome to pass up. Soon, we were in possession of a Chia Obama, poring over the instructions and trying to figure out how to grow it.

Our first try was really dismal.

“The Chia people LIED!” J growled. “He looks like Julius Caesar, and the leaves aren’t growing like in the ad!”

So we put the Chia away in a cabinet where it stayed for over two years.

I recently found it while cleaning out that cabinet, and thought I’d try it again since there were a lot of seeds left.

J: “You’re gonna try that again? It didn’t work the last time, remember?”

Me: “Well, because we left it on the window ledge and hardly cared for it, remember?”

This time, I spread as many seeds in the groves as possible to get a thicker growth leaves and placed it out on the balcony. Unfortunately, the weather insisted on being chilly during the first three or four days that I was growing the Chia. Thank goodness the sun emerged just as I was about to write it off as yet another failed attempt. After nearly three weeks, my patience yielded results. Yes we can!

It still doesn’t look like the picture on the box, but at least it’s a lush and full head of Chia plant. Perhaps if I had started it during a full week of good weather, the leaves would have grown out closer to the “scalp.”

Here’s some tips on growing a successful Chia pet:

-Spread the seeds abundantly so that it grows thickly.
-Keep it in a spot with ample sunlight.
-Ensure that the water level is filled all the way to the top at all times. This is really important if you don’t want a chia head with a bald spot.
-It really helps to use a spray bottle to wet the top part of the Chia, where water evaporates the quickest. The seeds grow more quickly when they’re moist. Mist your Chia every two hours for the first two or three days. Start growing it on a weekend when you are at home and can tend to it.
-Alternatively, you can put a plastic bag over your Chia seeds to retain moisture. I’ve never actually tried this method, but it’s supposed to work.
-After the seeds sprout, ensure that all sides of the Chia is getting equal amount of sunlight. Rotate it periodically as needed.

That’s what worked for me. If you are just getting onto the Chia pet-growing bandwagon, I hope this helps!

And finally, enjoy this very cool time-lapse video showing the growth of a Homer Chia:

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