Ready, Set, Grow!, p.2
To make the project
1. Let your child sow 4 or 5 seeds of one type of herb in a peat cup filled with fine soilless growing medium. For oregano and thyme, your child can simply press the seeds gently into the surface of the soilless medium; for the mint and sage, he should cover the seeds with 1/4 to 1/2 inch of it. (Note: If you would prefer not to start from seeds, you can buy small herbs at a garden center and transfer them to the pots or grow plants from cuttings or root divisions of herbs in your garden.)
2. Place the germinating peat pots in a warm, sunny spot (ideally, full southern exposure), and ask your child to keep the surface moist but not soggy by spraying it with water once or twice a day for the first 3 or 4 days, advises Travis Smith, garden coordinator for the Berkeley Unified School District in California. After a week, add a tablespoon of fish emulsion fertilizer to a quart of water, and use the spray bottle to water the seeds until they sprout. (Oregano and thyme germinate in 10 to 21 days, sage and mint in 7 to 14 days.)
3. In the meantime, have your child prime the pots and tray with a 2-inch foam brush and white poster paint. (Only the outside of the pot and about 1 inch of the inner rim should be primed and painted.) Let dry. Mix a peanut-size dollop of blue paint with a tablespoon or so of white to get a pale blue color, and brush onto one of the pots. For other shades, repeat the process, using violet, green, or turquoise mixed with white. Let dry. Encourage your child to add texture to the pots by dipping the edge of a sponge in white paint and then randomly pressing over the painted surface and rubbing to blend. Brush the pots with waterproof sealer when dry.