"Ch-ch-ch-chia!" You might recall the annoying commercial. Or maybe you had your very own Chia Ram. Maybe you just know Chia via Jeff Koons or William Gibson. Either way, you probably didn't know that this clay icon of late 70's tackola originated right here in San Francisco. Or that its maker, Joseph Enterprises, Inc., also makes herb garden kits that use the Chia "technology."
The secret to the magic is the patented Chia sponge, so famous for keeping Salvia Columbariae seeds poised to burst forth as hair or fur. Turns out the sponge (made of peat moss, bark, and "sponge material") is also good for keeping herb seeds moist and nourished. All you do is insert one into one of the four terra cotta pots that come with the kit, sprinkle on seeds (dill, basil, cilantro, chives, parsley or marjoram), and water. Eventually you do have to transplant your herb plants into bigger pots, but the sponge makes this an easy pull-and-drop affair. If you run into problems, you can actually call Joseph Enterprises' customer service line. Now wouldn't it be great if the pots came in the shapes of rams and puppies? Chia Herb Gardens run about $16.95 and are available at Amazon. Image from En Route.