As a city-dweller space is beyond limited and that often means no outdoor area to garden. We have been lucky enough to have a porch where we have been able to plant some herbs like basil, rosemary and mint that I use for soups and cooking. I recently went to an event sponsored by Miracle Grow where I learned even more gardening tips as well had the chance to check out some products from their line.
Some of my favorite items were the Miracle Grow Kids Kits including the Miracle-Gro® Kids Root Viewer where kids can learn about plant growth and root systems, by viewing the development of an onion, carrot and radish above and below the soil and the Miracle-Gro® Kids Terrarium where kids can grow their own habit.
For home herbs, I really liked the Miracle-Gro® Culinary Herb Kit that makes it so easy to grow indoors. It also include easy-to-plant seed disks, potting mix, eco-friendly bamboo pot, pot liner, and a delicious recipe. I tried this with my daughter and we were amazed that the herbs started to sprout in a few days.
Hosted by William Moss, an authority in greening, gardening and urban agriculture, spoke with Momtrends about how to make gardening fun and easy with kids, including how to get them involved and his top herbs to get started.
Momtrends: What are some tips to get kids involved in gardening?
William Moss: The key to getting your kids gardening is to make it fun, simple and interactive. For example, if your child’s favorite color is blue, then plant blue flowers. If your family loves salsa, then plant a ‘salsa garden’ by using tomatoes, cilantro, onions and jalapeÃ±os. Add your own touch and make it personal. Collect things with kids to make garden sculptures or bird feeders that the whole family can enjoy. Green plastic bottle caps can be turned into ornamental ‘trees’ and grandma’s cracked tea cup could become a bird feeder with a little imagination.
With toddlers, head out to the garden ‘ or a local park with flowers ‘ and create a list of items to find and count. For example, ask them to find one blue object, two soft and fuzzy plants, three flowers that smell pretty and four objects that are round in shape. This game incorporates shape, smell, touch and counting’all into one fun activity.
To encourage birds to visit the backyard, work with your child to make different kinds of birdfeeders. Find designs online using recyclable materials like soda bottles or milk cartons. Fill these feeders with different kinds of foods ‘ dried fruit, an ear of corn, black oil sunflower seeds or a high-quality bird seed mix like Scotts Songbird Selections NutriThrive, and ask your child to identify the colors and types of birds attracted to the feeder. Different species of birds prefer different kinds of foods.
For older kids, create seed bombs to share and plant in fun spots. First, use a mixture of either Miracle-Gro Potting Mix or Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Potting Mix, clay and flower seeds. Wild flower seeds work well here but a blend of annuals and perennials is also nice. Work with your children to pick the best seed mixture. Once the seeds are selected, carefully mix the ingredients together and form balls. Have your children wrap two or three seed bombs in colorful tulle, secure the package with a ribbon and hand them out to family and friends to plant. Once planted, the seeds will germinate inside the toile and blossom beautifully all season.
Momtrends: What are the top 5 herbs that families should plant?
William Moss: Families can save money and time if you grow your own fresh herbs, right on your kitchen windowsill. Basil and parsley are two of the most common herbs grown in kitchens. This is because these herbs have a wonderful scent, are relatively easy to grow, and are very common ingredients in both winter and summer dishes. Other popular herbs include dill, cilantro, rosemary, oregano, thyme, mint and sage.
Momtrends: What are some basic tips on how to take care of plants and herbs.
William Moss: From growing vegetable gardens to small herb plants, it’s easy for parents to garden with their kids by following three simple steps:
- Choose the right soil ‘ Most plants need soil to find enough nutrients for growth. Try Miracle-Gro Expand ‘n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix which can be used in pots or in the ground. The small, lightweight package is easy to carry and store, and it contains mix that expands up to three times its size with the addition of water.
- Feed your plants ‘ Plants need nutrients to grow larger and Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed Continuous Release Plant Food takes the guesswork out of feeding. These are ready-to-use granules which shake directly onto soil, using the extended shaker spout, no measuring needed.
- Hydrate daily’ Water your plants daily to keep soil moist but not soggy. Mix a Miracle-Gro Watering Can Single into 1 gallon of water and pour over soil every two weeks, following instructions on back of packet to grow larger, more beautiful plants.