Many people take the opportunity on Tu B’Shevat to plant herbs (especially parsley) which can be harvested and eaten on Pesach. Whether or not you do this, you might like this fabulous herb-growing kit that Kipper and I have been trying out.
Kipper loves it when she can review things for family-friends-food, so she was thrilled to have a go with the Handy Herbs kit. It’s designed to get kids interested in growing plants and learning where their food comes from, as summarised by the motto, “sow me, grow me, eat me”.
Our kit contained:
- Self-watering pot with 4 compartments
- 4 compost discs
- 5 packets of seeds (Chive, Parsley, Coriander, Marigold & Basil)
- Recipe cards
- Character stickers
- Coloured plant labels
The first job was to hydrate the compost. Neither Kipper nor I could believe that the tiny discs would provide enough compost to fill the pot, but they did! However, they took a lot longer to soak up the water than the instructions suggested. I’d hoped to get the pot set up and planted as a post-school-pre-dinner activity, but in the end we had to leave the compost discs soaking overnight and finish the job of planting the seeds the next day.
Having divided the compost between the pots, Kipper was able to sow the seeds and cover them herself. She was also able to apply the character stickers to help identify which plant was which. Like all kids her age, Kipper loves stickers! She was very taken with the characters – Corina Coriander, Charlie Chive, Pete Parsley and Mandy Marigold – and kept chatting about them for several days after the seeds were planted.
We also got a packet of Basil seed, and a note explaining that Marigolds wouldn’t flower in the winter. We have saved our marigold seeds for later in the year.
We had an exciting few days waiting for the seeds to germinate, but sure enough, sprouts started to appear! This was a great learning experience for Kipper, as although we do grow vegetables in the garden, we rarely start them from seed. She was very interested to see them unfurl their leaves and grow taller.
Unfortunately, despite all the fun we had getting our Handy Herb kit started, the weather has been against us 🙁 . We left the pot on our kitchen windowsill, but I think it was just too cold and not light enough during the winter, as our sprouts have not done well at all. At this point the parsley and a couple of hardy chives are the only survivors.
Fortunately Kipper has taken this better than I expected, and is excited to have another go planting new seeds when the weather warms up 🙂
I can’t really blame the kit for our lack of growing success, but I think a warm, light position is probably more essential than we thought – we’ll know for future attempts at growing! We have had a lot of fun with the kit and I would certainly recommend it if you have children from around the age of 5 and up. The kit costs £15.99 and you can see more details and buy a Handy Herbs kit here.
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Some of my recipes featuring herbs include:
Tangy potato salad with garden herbs
Baked sea bream with herbs and lemon
Fragrant beetroot risotto with herby feta cheese
Cod with garlic, herb and parmesan crust
Cauliflower with tomato and dill
Tagliatelle with garden herb pesto
Warm vegetable pasta with lemon-herb dressing
Watermelon & berry salad with basil-mint sugar