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Urban Herb Garden – Part 1: Getting Started

Growing your own herbs that you use in your food is a simple and fun process. Not only you will enjoy the aroma and the flavor of fresh herbs but also tending to the plants helps you release negative energy and helps to calm your mind.

Involve your kiddos in the planting process and enjoy together watching the herbs grow.

Not sure how to get started? Here are some simple steps:

1. What to grow

Think about the herbs you use more often. Or look at some recipes that you like. Italian style uses lots of oregano, basil, thyme. Mexican dishes call for a lot of cilantro. Rosemary is great in soups and with meat dishes. Parsley is a great compliment to salads or soups.

2. Urban garden design

This is the fun part!

· Do you want to grow multiple herbs in one pot? If you have a big enough pot or container, you can add for example rosemary, oregano, and thyme.

· Or would you like each herb to have its own pot? I would keep the parsley and cilantro in their own pot, so it is easier to harvest. Your kiddo can play “hairdresser” and chop some cilantro in several snips.

· Do you have a small garden in the backyard? You can start in planter boxes like I did, as you see them in the pictures.

3. Find a place

Find a place where you are going to keep your containers or pots. Find a mostly sunny spot near the window but make sure they will not burn by the direct sunshine through the window glass.

4. Pick your style

Designing your pot, painting them, and decorating them can be a great project for kids and adults as well. Do you want to have a theme or create multiple unique pots? Get creative and have fun!

5. Make a plant list

Rosemary, oregano, and thyme can be your plants for lots of years to come.

Rosemary: will grow into a nice bush, so leave enough room in your pot. (Rosemary is great to even rub your hands over and take a deep breath for a quick brain boost.

Oregano: can spread fast in the garden, so make sure to keep it contained. Nothing some scissors cannot do.

Thyme: grows into a small bush.

Basil and cilantro will produce green leaves as you “prune” them while they are in season.

Parsley can last for two years, just keep trimming and using it in your dishes.

Sometimes just looking at the selections at your store can give you ideas.

6. Time to plant

Do you want to watch the herbs grow from seeds or buy smaller plants? As I show in the picture, I have started some seeds in a planter box that is very inexpensive. When they are ready, I will move them into your outdoor garden. You can also just buy smaller starter plants.

7. Soil

Make sure to get good quality organic soil for your indoor or outdoor garden. You will eat what the plant is feeding on. In good quality soil, the herbs will be able to grow to their full potential and be more potent and flavorful.

Planter box: most of them come with their own soil and step-by-step directions.

Pot: I like to put some smaller pebbles on the bottom of the pot for better drainage and add the soil.

Garden: Every year I like to add a fresh layer of good gardening soil.

8. Ready to plant

Follow the instructions on the package of your seeds, planter box, or small plants. Pay attention to how tall they grow, how to space them out when planning your pot or garden.

9. Water

Water according to the directions that come on the packets.

10. Watch them grow and enjoy harvesting

Some herbs are fast-growing, some are slower. It’s so much fun to watch them grow daily. You and your kiddos can even start a journal and take notes and pictures of the growing process.

Enjoy the results: the freshly chopped herbs in your cooked dishes, or sprinkle them on top of your dishes or use them as a garnish.

Growing your own herbs can inspire you and your kiddos to try out new flavors in your dishes or smoothies.

Try and taste the fresh leaves from the plants. My boys have always loved picking basil, parsley, and mint from our garden. They can now even guess what I flavored our smoothie with. “Did you put basil in this smoothie?”

Note: With my sons, we started with the following seeds: green beans, cucumber, snow peas, basil, and parsley. In this order. It's fascinating to watch how some of them germinate and grow super fast. We can see the difference from morning to evening.

Are you excited to get started?

Keep an eye out for Part 2. of this series.

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