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Starting an Herb Garden with my Children

starting herb garden with kids

My daughter and I started a herb garden. At seven years of age, my daughter is fascinated by wildlife and plants, enjoys being outdoors, and is constantly picking flowers from my gardens.  She has a deep love for nature, and I want to help her nurture that love.

Recently, I spent an afternoon building three raised beds out of treated wood.  Standing at three feet high, these raised beds are four feet long, and three feet deep.  With some help from my son, I was able to fill these raised beds with rich soil.  Then, after a trip with my daughter to a nursery in our area to buy various varieties of basil, lemon balm, parsley, cilantro and oregano, I introduced the smiling seven year old girl to the world of herb gardening, a world that I hope will benefit her in a number of ways in the years to come.

To be sure, herb gardening is a great way to introduce children to the joy of gardening, and is a great starter plan for a child learning how to be a gardener. Growing herbs is easy, and often does not involve a great deal of space.  Indeed, many people grow herbs in their kitchen windows, or in small pots and containers.

Some herbs she enjoys pinching off and eating. Others she enjoys putting in salads, and even on pizzas.  She even enjoys the simple pleasure of rubbing some herbs in her hands and delighting in the aroma and smell of these plants.

Recently, when I took a business trip out of state for a few days, I gave my daughter the responsibility of watering the herbs each day. In truth, I half expected her to forget about it, and come home to some withered plants.  To my delight, I instead came home to three raised beds, bursting with growth and greenery.  With a smile from ear to ear, my daughter was excited to show me how the herbs had grown while I was away, and how she had watered them not once per day, but twice.  Great life lessons in responsibility and the importance of work ethic!

One thing I hope to cultivate in her is the knowledge that herbs can also be quite helpful to people.  Indeed, having a herb garden is a great way to learn about natural medicines and natural remedies. As a lover of history myself, I appreciate the fact that natural home remedies have long been a part of how people treated sicknesses throughout history, across cultures and continents.  It is my hope that my daughter learns not just the historical aspects of this, but also the health benefits, as well.

Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention her favorite part of our new herb garden; the wildlife.  What child does not love the magic that is the butterfly. These winged colorful jewels have made our new herb garden their home, and my daughter could not be more thrilled.

Dr. John DeGarmo's picture
Foster Care and Parenting Specialist

Dr. John DeGarmo is considered a leading expert in Foster Care and Parenting.  Dr. John and his wife have been parents to over 50 children, including adopting three children from the foster care system. He is the host of the weekly radio program Parent Factors with Dr. John. Find out more HERE.