Kids Herb Garden: Designed With Utility And Creativity

If your family has grown up with a garden, the thought of a kids herb garden may not have occurred to you.  The children may have been expected to help with the weeding, hoeing and even planting and watering of the garden patch.  If gardening is new to your children or if they have never been exposed to the fun of gardening instead of the work, choosing a child-sized area indoors or outdoors where they can plant and harvest herbs is a way to build interest.

Choosing the right size and location for the garden is important.  It should be small enough to allow the child to manage the entire plot.  There should be enough room to allow for several different types of herbs so that the child won’t get bored or anxious when it takes a while for the plant to develop from seed.  An area the size of a window box is adequate to handle several small herb plants or plots.

Rather than a single plot, you might want to consider several pots with different herbs in each one.  That way, each type of herb can be moved to a proper location for its watering and sunlight needs.  Allow your child to help pick out the decorative containers if you plan to purchase them.

Although you should allow the child to help pick out the herbs, it is important that the selected plants should be ones that are relatively easy to grow and yet are interesting in shapes, smells or colors.  Plants that grow only in direct sunlight are not going to be successful if the herbs must be grown in partial shade.  Plants should be ones that grow relatively fast.  A child watching for sprouts has been known to dig up seeds to see what they are doing.

Watering is a significant part of keeping a garden in ideal condition.  Children can be taught to monitor moisture levels in a pot or other containers.  The responsibility learned by children who are caring for plants will stand them in good stead throughout the rest of their lives.

From planting, to watering to harvesting, a child with an interest in gardening developed through an herb garden may enjoy carrying the interest one step further and see how the herbs are used in cooking.  Add a few sprinkles of basil to potatoes and zucchini. Summer savory is excellent in soups and stews or stuffing a turkey at Thanksgiving time. Thyme is another notable herb that is used in delicious dishes.

Another interest that children can gain from growing a small herb garden is that of drying the herbs for later use.  Those children who enjoy craft activities can prepare packets of dried thyme or basil as gifts to a friend who enjoys gardening or cooking.  You can also teach the child to take cuttings or prepare plantings to give as gifts.

A kids herb garden provides for creativity in picking containers and plants.  Teaching children to enjoy the responsibility and work of a garden as well as exposing them to the joy of growing plants is a two-fold benefit from caring for living plants.  The additional benefit of having fresh herbs for use in food preparation is an added result.