Herbs are a great way of getting children involved in the garden. If you are looking to give your children a summer long project as well a provide you with some tasty herbs for the kitchen, this is one for you!
When it comes to herbs, there are certainly a few that stand out as staple herbs for the kitchen making them great to have in your herb container garden.
Herbs that can be used in a container garden
Mint is a great herb to grow in the garden and there are many varieties to choose from. It is important not to mix up the varieties in one container as surprisingly, it affects their unique characteristics. Mint is always best grown in containers because otherwise it will take over the area in which it is planted.
Similar to other herbs, there is always a space for oregano in the kitchen. It goes well with so many summer dishes and children will love getting involved in picking it for the cooking.
Basil is a great herb and it can be used in so many dishes in the kitchen. If you are able to grow enough of it, you can even make pesto with it. This recipe from Jamie Oliver is just divine and the kids will enjoy making it too. Another great recipe that will be loved by all the family is this spaghetti – a family favourite.
Thyme should be in every english garden, no matter how big or small. Being able to walk out the door and collect fresh thyme for cooking is such a luxury and just so easy to do. A very versatile herb and also extremely easy to grow.
Rosemary is an easy herb to grow and come the winter roast season, it is one that you just won’t be able to live without. After looking after the herb all through the summer months, there is nothing better than children being able to pick it and bring it back into the kitchen.
Chives are wonderfully easy to grow. They certainly have their place in the kitchen and go really well with some potatoes if you’ve been growing them in the garden. They also produce some lovely flowers in May which the bees absolutely love.
How to create a herb container
Now that you have chosen the herbs that are going to go into your child’s container, here is how you plant them up so that they can grow on over the summer months.
Find a big square or long container
You will want to ensure that the container that you have will comfortably fit the herbs that you have and allow them space to grow.
A container doesn’t have to be one from the garden centre. You can find lots of inspiration from around the garden and sometimes from the corner of the garden where old items get ‘stored’. Here are some ideas for you; old plastic wheelbarrow, up cycled trough, large terracotta pot, old metal dustbin.
Make the container suitable for planting
If you are using something from the garden or around the home instead of a shop bought planter, you are going to need to make sure that it has good drainage. To get good drainage in your container, you are going to need to drill some holes in the bottom. Then get some large stones or broken terracotta pots and place them over the holes. Be careful not to block the holes by leaving some air in-between. This will make sure that excess water can flow freely out of the container.
Adults: Supervision is required if using any tools.
Add the compost mix
You are going to want to make sure that your herb garden has good drainage. We’d suggest using a normal compost (from a garden centre) and adding in some course grit. Herbs will love this. This is also a wonderful sensory experience for children and gives them a good chance to get their hands dirty!
Add the herbs
Now the fun begins. Depending on the planter that you have chosen, you will want to make sure that you have your higher herbs in the middle of the planter and the lower ones around the edge. If using a trough style planter, alternating the heights creates a dramatic look.
What works really well is to add a small layer of compost to the bottom and then place your herbs in the planter whilst in their pots. Once you are happy with the layout, remove from the pots and fill the gaps around them with the compost mix that you have created.
Put in a nice sunny position
Herbs thrive in a nice sunny position. You want to make sure that they get as much sun as possible and are in a place where you’ll remember to give them a good drink. It’s important not to let them dry out completely and will require a nice drink to maintain their health.
Now sit back and enjoy the herbs throughout the summer.