Growing herbs is a wonderful way for children to learn about gardening. Most herbs are easy to grow and take little care to flourish. Herbs make terrific first plants for a child. Let’s learn more about starting a children’s herb garden.
Children love to learn about and explore nature. A child as young as three years old will marvel at the different and exciting scents that are available in a fragrant herb garden. Children are delighted to learn that they can grow many of the herbs that you use in cooking their dinner.
Starting a Children’s Herb Garden
Young children may not have heard of many of the herbs that they eat or come into contact with daily. By starting a child’s herb garden with him or her, you can teach the names of the different herbs and how they are used every day.
Herb gardens for children should be kept small. A few herb plants in the corner of your garden, or a couple of containers, is enough to get your child started. By keeping the herb garden small, you are helping make sure you keep it a fun project for the child.
Place your child’s herb garden near your own. That way, you will be better able to help them do it for themselves, without hovering over them, giving your kids a great sense of pride and accomplishment.
The Pizza Herb Garden
Most kids love pizza. Who can blame them? Pizza with its gooey cheese, delicious crust, and tomato sauce dripping with herbs and spices is a favorite of many adults as well. A pizza herb garden is a terrific way for a child to learn about culinary herb gardening and where one of their favorite foods gets its great taste.
A pizza herb garden consists of growing basil, parsley, and oregano. To make it even more exciting for the child, you can let him or her grow a few tomatoes as well. Plum tomatoes make a good choice, as these veggies work especially well when using them for making tomato sauce.
A fun way to design a pizza herb garden is to make it in the shape of a slice of pizza.
- Start by planting two plum tomato plants in the back of the garden, leaving two feet (0.5 m.) between them.
- Next, plant two basil plants in front of the tomatoes, leaving about a foot (0.5 m.) between them.
- In front of the basil, plant two parsley plants, leaving six inches (15 cm.) between them.
- Finally, in front of the parsley, plant one Greek oregano plant.
Once the tomatoes are ready, you can include the child in the pizza-making process by letting him or her harvest the tomatoes and herbs, and depending on the age of the child, help in the preparation of the sauce and pizza.
The Tutti-Fruity Herb Garden
Another exciting idea for a child’s herb garden is a tutti-fruity herb garden, where all the herbs smell like their favorite fruits or candy. A tutti-fruity herb garden will introduce the child to the idea of growing an aromatic herb garden. Be sure to explain that these herbs are for smelling only and that no one should ever eat anything in the garden without asking an adult first. In fact, your children should know not to eat anything that they haven’t shown you first.
You can help your children start a tutti-fruity herb garden by bringing them to your local gardening center and letting them select a few of their favorite scents. Good plants to let the little ones try out are:
- pineapple sage
- lemon balm
- scented geraniums (which come in scents like lime, apricot, orange, and strawberry)
Letting your child grow his or her own herb garden is a fun way to learn about nature, gardening, and cooking while giving your child a strong sense of accomplishment and boosting self-esteem. By introducing your children to herb gardening, you are giving him or her the chance to get involved with a wonderful hobby that the two of you can enjoy together for the rest of your lives.