Herb gardening is one of the most simple and easy ways to engage children of all ages in the hobby of gardening. Both very young children and older teens enjoy herb gardening. Learning about the different uses of herbs throughout history in cooking and everyday life is almost as much fun as the sense of achievement that comes from growing something from a mere seed.
Herb gardening has been a popular pastime for centuries. Most types of popular herbs are resistant to both disease and arid climates. Furthermore, as herbs can be planted indoors anytime or only need a few weeks to sprout outdoors, an herb gardening project is the perfect activity for children any time. Selecting herbs having a pleasant aroma such as lavender or herbs that are tasty used in meals such as basil on pizza, are additional fun benefits to herb gardening.
Only a few basic easy to find items are necessary to begin an herb gardening project with your child:
• 6 Pots or planters having holes in the very bottom (allowing children to paint the pots is an extra touch that is fun on a rainy day)
• Herb seedlings or Herb seeds -found at grocery stores, on the Internet, or a local nursery- most popular selections for children are:
• Potting mixture (most commercial potting soil is appropriate for herb gardening)
• Plastic wrap
• Popsicle sticks
• Felt tip pen
• Optional- primary color poster paints
Herb Gardening indoors:
1. Fill pot with soil.
2. Allow child to scatter herb seeds on top of soil paying attention seeds do not overlap.
3. Gently place soil over herb seeds and lightly press down. Make certain there aren’t too many or too few seeds. Not every seed will sprout.
4. Water with consideration to not soak the soil. As with most gardening, herb gardening does not do well with too much water. The best tip is to not allow the soil to completely dry out but to keep it on the semi-dry side.
5. With felt tip pen, write name of the herb on Popsicle stick and place in pot.
6. To maintain soil moisture, cover potted seeds with plastic wrap. Be careful to avoid mildew by allowing fresh air in every other day.
7. Place pot on window sill or near window to provide necessary light.
8. Depending on the herbs you select, it will take 2 to 6 weeks for the seeds to germinate.
9. When sprouts appear, take away the plastic wrap.
10. Enjoy! Children love smelling and tasting the results of herb gardening.
Herb gardening truly is a perfect way to inspire a love and appreciation of herbal plants in children.