Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Container Gardening: Basil

Henry and I have decided that it's time to start gardening (well, I'd like to think that Henry is as excited as I am--humor me, okay?). On a recent trip to Whole Foods, we picked up a basil plant, grown at a local nursery.

My Little Herb Gardens book says that we should do the following:
  1. For five to six plants, choose a container about 18 inches in diameter and at least 12 inches deep.
  2. Make sure the container has a drainage hole.
  3. Cover the hole with a little gravel, a few small rocks, or bits of broken pottery.
  4. Fill a sink, bowl, or bucket with water and submerge the seedlings, still in their pots or trays.
  5. Leave them until no more air bubbles appear so that the potting mix is saturated.
  6. While the seedlings are soaking, fill the planting container with potting mix to within 1/2 inch of the rim. Soak the mix with water until it is thoroughly moist.
  7. Scoop out holes 4 inches apart for the seedlings.
  8. Put the seedlings and their root balls into the holes, packing potting mix around them.
  9. Pat down the surface.
  10. Water to fill in any air pockets.
  11. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.
  12. Fertilize every three weeks with liquid fertilizer.
  13. Cut back flowering stalks in order to continue leaf growth.

Sounds pretty easy!

I'm so excited to start gardening. I think gardening with children is important for so many reasons:
  • Children need more time in nature
  • Children need to see where food comes from
  • Gardening helps children develop their gross- and fine-motor skills
  • Gardening helps children develop respect for the Earth
  • Gardening helps children develop their independence and therefore their self-esteem
  • Children learn more about cause and effect from gardening
  • Children are more invested in eating healthy food if they grow and cook it themselves

I know five months is a little early to start gardening with Henry, but my goal is to make it a habit now.

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Carrie said...

I think this is WONDERFUL! Our son loves picking and eating blackberries, raspberries and blueberries on our property. We also have an attempt at a garden, and he helps dad pick tomatoes of many sizes, lettuce and basil--can't get him to actually EAT those things yet, but at least he is familiar with these additional healthy foods!

Julie M said...

How exciting! I garden in Austin and have been given the advice to add liquid seaweed fertilizer to the soaking step to help ease transplant stress in the heat. Happy Planting!!

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