Giving your child the chance to care for a garden can be an empowering learning experience. They will feel curiosity, they will use fine-motor skills, feel a budding interest in science, learn about patience and observation, use measuring and counting skills and they will manage a bit of responsibility.
Wherever we’ve lived we have tried to have some form of a garden. We have grown flowers, veggies and herbs on a deck, roof and fire-escape. In Yonkers, NY we had a prize-winning tomato patch in our backyard (at least I thought so)! Oh, how Nora loved digging in the dirt in our yard there and then filling the holes with water from the hose. She still loves to pretend she is taking care of her “garden” while she plays inside and arranges plastic flowers on the floor. I thought she might like to plant some kitchen herbs and the large sunny window above our kitchen sink seemed like the perfect place to put them. She was very eager to do this, and reveled in each step.
We planted Basil, Italian Parsley, and Oregano. We look forward to smelling the wonderful aroma these plants with give our kitchen when they begin to grow. My three-year-old loved measuring the dirt, pouring in the water, and making a little well in the dirt with her finger to drop in the seed. When we were finished she stood and stared at the pots for a while. I assured her that it would take several days before she would see a sprout, but she simply replied, “Oh, OK”, and continued to stare, wondering what might happen. She checked on the pots a few times that day, just to see if there was any action yet, and I admit I was amused by this. ☺ I will post pictures of our herbs once they have grown to a respectable size. I am sure Nora will be very proud of them.
If you would like to give this a try you will need: A sunny spot to place your planters, small/medium sized planter pots that drain, seed starting potting soil and seeds. Reading the back of the seed packets before you plant is important, because you must be sure that you can provide the right environment for the plant you are trying to start and know how often to water the soil. The seed packet will also indicate how deep to plant the seed, and how far apart they should be from each other if you are planting multiple seeds in one planter. I am told that a common mistake in starting seeds indoors is over-watering the soil. The soil should be springy and moist at all times but never drenched or flooded, so watering daily may not be necessary.