Monday, May 7, 2012

DIY Easy Herb Garden

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easy grow herb garden a baby bear hugs tutorial
easy grow herb garden by bear hugs tutorial
If you have a black thumb,  this garden project is a great way to turn your thumb back to green.  Not only is this a garden that will be easy to grow and take care of, it will also be a great addition to your family's diet. 

It is fun for kids to know where their food comes from.  If you are not ready for a full veggie garden, they can help keep this garden growing and then eat it all up.  Plus there are other ways to interact with your children when doing this, from picking out the plants or watching them grow from seeds, to smelling and tasting the herbs.  It is a continuous project that can last for the summer and beyond.   

small shovel
3+ herbs
large shallow planter
optional- garden gloves

Herbs that I recommend to try

If you are going to plant an indoor garden, then you will want to start with seeds.  I find that they grow better indoors rather then using already started plants indoors.  I am not sure of the reason.  You can also just plant seeds outside.  You will just have to be more patient to get usable cuttings.

The other way to keep your plants growing and healthy is to cut them and use the herb leaves (a little at a time).  

Some of the herbs are very prolific and like to take over containers.  If you are growing mint, you will want to keep it in its plastic pot and 'hide' it under the soil.  It will keep the mint from taking over your pot.  I know this from experiance. Where I used to live in Chicago, my landlord in the apartment building kept some like this on the side of the building and it drove me crazy.  (She did not hide the pot!)  I took it upon myself to take them out and plant them. The next few years, they totally took over the side of the building!  Whoops...

Make sure that your bowl has drainage holes in the bottom so you do not get sitting water.  I chose a large shallow bowl because you need less soil.  If you have a deeper pot, either fill the pot with a light material under the soil or you can buy a false bottom to make it a smaller planting area.  

Some of these herbs are perennials, which means that they will come back every year.  You can see that I have some chives from last year.  You will want to start by filling up your pot so that there is at least one inch left from the top.

herb garden planting container with stand

Make a hole that is the size of your plant.  You will want to gently squeeze the plant roots after removing them from the container and add your plants so that there is plenty of room around them for your plants to grow.  You will want the dirt to go up to the same dirt line as herb has from its original pot. 

I used organic vegetable growing soil. I do not want any chemicals near my food.  If you go to a small local nursery to pick out your plants, they will be able to help you get the correct soil.  

Let your Baby Bear smell all the herbs and help plant if they are old enough.  If you are lucky, you will get a little "mmm"

You can see how much room I left around each species.  You want to give your herbs a very thorough watering this time.   Water the herbs at the base and not on the leaves.  You will want to only water your plants when the soil starts to feel like it is dry.  You do not want to over water them.  If you notice a color change in the leaves, this may be a sign of over watering.  

PS - My plant stand is 'rescued' from the garbage! 

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