At the weekend, the kids and I decided to do a spot of gardening. We have a walled area at the front of the house that contains our ever-growing population of bins and recycling boxes, a small bike shed and anything else destined for the dump! I have grown veg, salad and herbs in planters, in the area, in the past, but it has been neglected over the past couple of years, with life getting in the way. We’ve now decided to revive our little kitchen garden, put in a watering system and enthuse the children in the art of growing your own!
So, we began with a basket of herbs that now sits under the kitchen window. After a trip to the local garden center to purchase the basket itself, some compost and some herbs, we were ready to begin. We chose herbs that we regularly use in our cooking, but the plan is to do a second basket with others to experiment with! The only ones you should really avoid are the mint family, as they are rampant and will spread, taking over your basket. Give mint a pot of it’s own, where it will thrive noninvasively. We chose:
- Basil- great in salads or anything with tomatoes (soups, sauces)
- Flat and curly leaf parsley- mix into mince for burgers and meatballs, sauces for fish, great garnish
- Coriander- my favourite herb! Great in salads, added to soups and curries. I add it whenever I can!
- Thyme- fab with most meat especially chicken and pork
- Chives- I often use as spring onion in salad and as a garnish
- Rosemary- goes well with chicken and lamb, fab combined with thyme
- Sage- good with pork and chicken, make your own sage and onion stuffing!
We already have a rather spindly sage and a recently revived rosemary, both in pots and rather sad looking! So I’ve taken cuttings of each and placed them in some water, hoping that they will root and I can add them to the herb basket and discard the sorry-looking mother plants at a later date! Taking cuttings sounds really daunting but it really was as easy as that (don’t you just love google!)
We also have some onion and garlic chives (that seem to thrive on being neglected) so I took the best clump of each to add to the basket.
Once the basket was on the wall, (care of my handy hubby) the kids and I mixed ¼ cup blood, fish and bone to ¾ bucket of compost to give the new plants a good start, with plenty of nutrients in the soil. We chose compost that also contains a wetting agent, which helps to hold water in the soil. Otherwise, we would have also mixed in water saving gel crystals as well before filling the basket. It’s always a good idea to mix in these extras before filling containers as it insures an even spread and less mess!!
So, once the container was filled, it was time to decide where the plants should go. Lou loved this job, and between us, we spaced the plants, leaving room for our new rosemary and sage once they are ready to be transplanted into their new home in a couple of weeks. The Boy was in charge of watering all the plants before they were planted, while Lou made a hole in the right place for each herb, K decided to go and watch Harry Potter instead- you can’t win them all and that was a battle I chose to ignore!
Half way through the planting, the Boy was distracted by a snail and as I finished off and prepared to water them in with some seaweed feed, I realised that he was hosting a party………..
Tada!! What do you think?
The kids have been really keen to keep it watered and are desperate to start picking! It’s lovely to see them getting excited about growing our own! We have left it a bit late this year for some veg, but salads grow quickly and can be ready to crop in a couple of weeks with the right weather, so I think that might be next weeks activity!
Do you grow your own? Have you got the kids involved? What have you found, grows best in containers?