Easy Herb Garden

Spark your child's interest in science with our easy herb garden.

Ready, Set, Grow!, p.1

ready grow pix1

Your child can learn a wide variety of lessons and derive enjoyment from watching something grow by working on a planting project with you. "Through gardening, kids will begin to learn how to observe and document -- two essential skills related to scientific inquiry," says Sara Wilford, director of the Early Childhood Center at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, NY. "Tending to the herbs also encourages nurturing qualities and patience as your child waters, fertilizes, and trims the plants."

Before planting, learn what each herb needs to thrive, then help your child select a spot with the appropriate amount of sunlight, and agree on a watering schedule. Older children can boost the learning experience by keeping a journal. Encourage your child to measure and draw what he sees as the plants grow.

"Payoff time comes when your herbs are mature enough for you and your child to pick and use in a dish together," says Wilford. "Ask him if he can identify the different flavors, then savor the meal with your whole family."

Materials:

  • Seed packs of 3 or 4 different herbs, such as oregano, mint, sage, and thyme
  • 3 or 4 peat cups, 2 in. by 2 in.
  • Soilless growing medium (try a 50-50 mix of sand and peat moss)
  • Spray bottle and watering can
  • Fish emulsion fertilizer
  • 3 or 4 terra cotta pots, 6 in. wide by 7 in. deep, and a long terra cotta tray
  • Poster paint in white and various colors, plus waterproof sealer
  • 3 foam brushes, 2 in. long
  • Small sponge
  • Vellum
  • Chopsticks or popsicle sticks
  • Small scissors
  • Trowel
  • Craft knife
  • Potting soil
  • Glue
  • Complete fertilizer

Ground Zero Garden with Paul Greenburg
Ground Zero Garden with Paul Greenburg

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