Growing a simple kids’ container herb garden

June 20, 2014

2009_West_Yorkshire_England_3698905473_herbsIf there’s one thing we love more than growing herbs, it’s growing herbs with kids!

Gardening with kids is fun and educational, but if you’re not already a green thumb you might feel a bit intimidated, or maybe confused about where to start.

So here’s our guide to creating the simplest of simple herb container gardens with kids!

What you’ll need:

  1. Some herb starts (these are young plants, available at garden centers and some supermarkets).  Some suggestions:  oregano (which kids can add along with basil to spaghetti or pizza sauce), basil (which kids can use to make pesto), cilantro (to include in salsa), mint (which kids can add to a cold summer drink or use to make tea), and lavender (which kids can use to create fragrant sachets).  You can let kids choose if they’d like to make a “pizza garden” a “bath garden” or a “tea garden” (though chances are they’ll say “all of them!”).  You can also grow plants from seed if you prefer.
  2. A container with drainage holes.  You can purchase planters at a garden center or make them from colanders, coffee cans, even old boots!  Just be sure to avoid plastic that might break down in the sun, or anything that might have lead paint.  Large containers or multiple small ones are best, since they’ll allow the plants room to grow.  Just punch or drill holes in the bottom for drainage and you’re set.  Kids can paint or otherwise decorate the containers if they like.
  3. Potting mix, organic if you prefer, available at garden centers.  These are called “soil less” mixes and are better than dirt from a garden because they’re less dense.
  4. A nice sunny spot, either outside or on a sunny windowsill.  Most herbs need about 6 or more hours of sunlight a day to thrive.

Then, with your kids, just add potting mix to container, and plant your starts, leaving plenty of space between each plant to allow for growth (check the information that comes with the plant for spacing requirements).  Water, and place in a sunny spot.  Thereafter, water according to the instructions that come with the plants.  Kids can harvest the herbs continually once the plant has enough foliage to sustain growth.

Plan some opportunities for kids to harvest the herbs to make spaghetti sauce, pesto, mint tea, or a sachet using lavender flowers.  If you’d like, engage kids in some observations about the impact of different amounts of light on growth,  or a soil investigation.  Enjoy!

Tags: basil container herb garden kids gardening kids herb garden lavender oregano organic gardening

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