Posted by: Julie Schaeffer
Many families with young children enjoy exploring herbs because of their pleasant and surprising tastes and smells. Herbs are easy to grow, too. A window sill that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight makes a garden site. If you have never grown anything before, this is an ideal way to develop a “green thumb.” Just make sure that the plants are in a place where your child won’t be able to pull them down!
Young children will often eagerly eat foods that they have grown. Try snipping some chives into a salad – you may be surprised that your child will devour it!
Your family may choose to have a themed garden such as a kitchen garden, a pizza garden, or a sensory garden.
- A kitchen garden may include herbs that you can use for daily cooking, like chives, parsley, mint and basil.
- For a themed pizza garden, consider basil, oregano, and garlic. These plants come in many different varieties, so don’t be afraid to experiment!
- For a sensory themed garden which will have lots of different scents, try pineapple sage, lemon balm, or any of the mint family – apple mint, peppermint, spearmint, and chocolate mint are just some of the options available.
If you are beginner gardener, I suggest visiting your local home improvement store or garden nursery. Most herbs come in a 3- or 4-inch plastic pot. As the plants get bigger, you can transplant them into a bigger container. At that point, you may choose to place all the herbs into one container – most people like the looks of an overfilled container. If your plants get too big, simply break up some clumps to give to friends and family.
The herbs you purchase will have directions that indicate growth conditions (full sun, part sun, shade), watering guidelines (once a week, do not let dry out, etc.), and fertilizing recommendations (an all-purpose liquid fertilizer should work for most plants.) Don’t be afraid of cutting the leaves or stems. As a general rule, the more you trim the plant, the better it will grow!
Here are some of my favorite ways of using herbs:
- Mint in a fresh watermelon salad or smoothie
- Chives in salads and dips
- Parsley in mashed potatoes or as a breath freshener
- Basil in pesto
- Basil, thyme, and oregano in soups and stews
- Oregano in pizza, bread and salad dressing
- Lemon balm in lemonade, tea or fish
A children's herb garden will provide hours of enjoyment while teaching children about gardening and nature…lessons that will last a lifetime. I would love to hear your stories about growing herbs.
Massachusetts Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) & Climate Change posted on Jun 23
The Environmental Toxicology Program in the Bureau of Environmental Health has developed a climate assessment approach that leverages the combined resources of the Massachusetts Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) tool and the CDC Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework. The approach actively engages stakeholders …Continue Reading Massachusetts Environmental Public Health Tracking (EPHT) & Climate Change
Love in Action: Supporting One Another in Challenging Times posted on Jun 15
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr. What do we do when horrible things happen? A tragedy like what happened at Orlando’s LGBTQ Pulse nightclub is so …Continue Reading Love in Action: Supporting One Another in Challenging Times
Getting Hurt is Not in Your Job Description posted on Jun 13
POP QUIZ: Deli slicers – How hard can they be to use? Everyone seems to have story about someone being cut at work while using a deli slicer*. If you don’t have one yourself, ask a friend or colleague—they almost certainly do. And more often …Continue Reading Getting Hurt is Not in Your Job Description