DIY Kokedama at Brooklyn Brainery: Making A Herb Garden

Kokedama at Brooklyn Brainery: Make Your Own Living Moss Balls Class in New York City
Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Since my macrame plant hanger class, I’ve been thinking about starting an indoor herb garden. A windowsill full of fresh herbs would add a bit of greenery to my kitchen. I could also use the herbs to garnish cocktails and add unique flavors to my cooking. There was only one problem. I was clueless when it came to gardening. But there was hope because I was eager to learn. Just in time for spring, I signed up for kokedama at Brooklyn Brainery.

In this hands-on gardening class, I learned how to make living moss balls, an ancient Japanese art form. I also learned how to take care of them and the different ways to style. My new herb garden now has two beautiful kokedama additions!

What is Kokedama?

Never heard of kokedama? Don’t worry, I hadn’t either.

Our instructor Anna started the class with an insightful presentation introducing us to kokedama. Kokedama means “moss ball” in Japanese. “Koke” means “moss” and “dama” means “ball”. Kokedama originated in Japan and they are known for their simplicity and neatness.

Kokedama is a versatile alternative to growing plants in a pot. You can suspend them in the air with string or place them on a flat surface.

Brooklyn Brainery

Brooklyn Brainery offers casual classes for curious adults. It’s a community-driven space where students can take classes on anything from the archaeology of cats and dogs to making wonton & dumplings.

Anyone can teach at Brooklyn Brainery and classes range in interest and discipline. All you have to do is be eager to share your passion. Brooklyn Brainery takes care of sign-ups, marketing, and materials. They also host free events.

The Ambiance

Brooklyn Brainery was bright and spacious. There’s a small seating area in the front and a kitchenette in the back. Peeking through the windows I saw a picnic table and garden outside. The walls were decorated with maps and the exposed brick added to the creative space.

Open space with hardwood floors and high ceilings.

DIY Kokedama at Brooklyn Brainery

With less than 20 students, my kokedama class was small and intimate. On each table, there were a handful of supplies including scissors, colorful string, sphagnum moss, and twine. We also used a mixture of peat moss and quality potting mix. When making kokedama at home, you can get moss at your local gardening store.

After the presentation, we picked two small houseplants plants with compact root systems. Since I wanted to start a herb garden, I chose rosemary and thyme. We created our first kokedama with our instructor. After, we experimented on our own.

Creation Mode

Tied roots with twine.

First, we removed most of the soil from around the roots. We avoided damaging the roots since they’re critical for survival. Next, we took a handful of damp sphagnum moss and wrapped it around the roots of the plant. We then tied the roots with twine. This slows down the plant’s growth. The plant will no longer use its roots for nutrients, only stability.

Here’s where things started to get interesting!

Can’t remember the last time my hands were full of mud, so much fun!

Next, we created a large mud ball with our hands. Once it had a nice spherical shape, we split it in half. We placed the roots of the plant (wrapped in sphagnum moss) inside. We made sure the roots were completely enclosed.

Later we covered the mud ball with moss. To hold everything together, we tied our kokedama with colorful string.

Kokedama Care

During our class, we also learned how to take care of our plants.

One way to know when a kokedama needs water is to feel how heavy it is. When my kokedama starts to feel light, I soak it in room-temperature water for a few minutes. I do this once a week. I also spritz it with water every few days.

So far my plants have been temperamental so I’m keeping a close eye on them.

The Perfect Gift or Decorative Accent

Kokedama is a great gift and a unique accent for your home or office. Add it to a clear bowl or wooden shelf. Mines hang upside down and sideways in my kitchen.

I had a great time making kokedama at Brooklyn Brainery. I enjoyed getting my hands dirty and learning more about Japanese gardening. Also, my instructor was knowledgeable and enthusiastic. She shared lots of tips to keep our plants healthy and she answered all of our questions.

Taking a class at Brooklyn Brainery is a great way to discover new interests. It’s also an affordable way to learn something new or perfect your skills.

Subscribe to their email list to stay updated on new classes. I have my sights set on the upcoming Women & Money class ($10) and photographing spring blossoms at Brooklyn Botanical Garden ($20).

I was a guest of this class, of course, all opinions are mines.

16 replies
  1. Carmen's Luxury Trvl (@carmensluxtrvl) says:

    What a unique idea! I’d love to do this with my kids. Great post, thanks for sharing :) Happy travels!

  2. Anf Braybrooke says:

    Excellent idea. I really want to grow some herbs like this – having just bought some potted ones a week or so ago!

  3. Cyril Deeming (atrekinthesun) says:

    Looks a really good idea. I am not a cook myself but wife would be really interested in making a herb garden

  4. The Family Voyage says:

    I’ve never heard of Kokedama, so this was an interesting education. This seems like one of those “only in Brooklyn” classes.

  5. jusztravel says:

    I’ve noticed that you’ve been doing a lot of classes and that you have been invited to them! I am so jealous and aspire to be like you one day! I guess it also helps to live in such a beautiful city like New York where there are a lot of things going on! But going back to the topic, it would be a nice class to attend for someone who doesn’t have a green thumb like me :)

  6. OurSweetAdventures says:

    Hmm….very very interesting. I had never heard of this before. Though I am not much of a green thumb, this sounds easy and enjoyable to do.


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