Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children
Henry’s Herb Garden
When Henry’s parents tidied up their garden recently they put aside a little raised bed with stone sides for Henry to grow some flowers in next summer.
They said he had plenty of time to think about what he would like to grow.
But Henry thought that it would be more interesting to grow some vegetables and fruit like Bill and Bob did in their garden. Then he could eat his crops.
However, the place he had for his garden wasn’t really very big and he wasn’t sure it was big enough to get a really good crop of anything.
Then Emily suggested that he could grow some herbs. There was enough room to grow some herbs. And then they could make some magic spells with them and use them on Halloween.
Henry thought that was a fantastic idea.
So he set to work learning about herbs and also what spells they could be used for.
This is what he found out…
Most herbs are easy to grow. They can be planted into miniature gardens or grown in pots.
lf you paint faces on the pots, the characters will start to grow green hair.
Herbs can be grown in beds with flowers because they often have attractive foliage. They can be grown in small, raised beds or containers in courtyards or on sheltered balconies. lf you have no outside space in which to grow plants, herbs can be grown in pots on a kitchen windowsill.
lf herbs are to be left outside over winter, it is a good idea to keep them by the back door so that you can get to them easily in the cold weather.
Some plants like French tarragon, rosemary, sage and marjoram will survive through the winter months. These perennials benefit from being cut back in the summer after flowering. This keeps the bush compact and the fresh, new leaves are good for picking.
Others like bay will have to be kept in a frost-free greenhouse or conservatory over winter.
Herbs are a perfect crop for children to grow because you only need small pots to grow enough for your needs and those pots can be in the shape of objects or characters to make the experience more fun. Herbs can also be grown as individual plants in a flower or vegetable patch.
Then the fresh herbs can be added to simple dishes like salads or omelettes. Parsley can be added to egg sandwiches and basil to cheese and tomato sandwiches. Chives can be added to omelettes.
lf you have heavy soil in your garden, like clay, putting herbs in a container with free-draining soil is your only option to make sure they will grow well. Put broken crocks at the bottom of the pot and use compost suitable for herbs. Grit added to the compost can help to improve drainage. All herbs benefit well from organic matter added to the soil.
Mediterranean herbs such as marjoram, rosemary and thyme like a position in full sun and will need well-drained ground. They can cope with growing in quite poor soil. Marjoram is loved by bees and butterflies and grows best in full sun but the variegated varieties can tolerate a little shade.
Some other herbs like parsley and chives prefer moister conditions and will tolerate some shade. Mint has similar requirements but must have its roots restricted in a container because otherwise it will want to spread about all over the garden. The container can be sunk into the ground.
Basil, dill and coriander are annuals and will have to be sown from seed each spring or early summer. Kept inside, basil may last for more than one growing season but it will become straggly.
Basil grown outside likes full sun and heat because it is thought to originate from tropical Asia where it is very hot. lt likes being watered.
Parsley is a biennial plant which flowers in its second year but can be sown every spring to ensure a continuing crop.
You need to sow a few seeds every two or three weeks from mid-spring to mid-summer to ensure a constant crop for harvesting. This won’t be too time-consuming if each new crop is planted into a single pot. Sowing instructions come on seed packets and you can keep the packets to remind you of what you need to do if you intend collecting your own seed. You should keep seed in labelled paper bags or envelopes to keep it dry, never in plastic bags.
So Henry got a calendar and started to devise a planting programme.
He counted the days from weekend to weekend when he knew he would have some free time so that he could set out a plan for succession sowing.
He would buy some seeds from the Rocky Bay Nursery at the end of the winter.
He found out that sage could be used in hot water as a gargle for sore throats and thyme tea helped a cough. He thought they were good spells to make.
Then he drew a diagram for a planting scheme for his small herb bed on a plain sheet of paper.
Of course, if you haven’t got a flowerbed to plant herbs in you could use a window box, an old sink or small raised bed.
Then Henry found a folder that he could use to keep the empty seed packets to remind him of all his plant’s needs and sowing instructions.
And also he found a notebook where he would keep a gardening diary with notes of his ideas, activities and results.
Then Henry told Miss Pringle about all his plans and she thought it was a wonderful idea.
ln fact, she wondered if she should start a class project to do the same thing with all the children.
lnstead of a diary like Henry was going to keep they could have a notice board with written reports and diagrams and photographs of the growing plants.
She would ask the class what they would like to grow. They could start with herbs and then if all went well, the next year they might try to grow some other crops as well.
She would ask Mr Grump the school caretaker if she could have a corner of the garden at the back of the school so that they could have some nice soil to grow their plants in.
She said that Henry could come to the front of the class and teach all the other children what he had already learnt.
Henry glowed with pride.
Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!
Love and kisses
Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Week
Bob: What do you do when you see two snails fighting in the garden?
Bill: l don’t know. What do you do when you see two snails fighting in the garden?
Bob: Nothing; just let them slug it out!
Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.
Links may be used to www.christina-sinclair.com
Herbs can be grown inside
Everyone has their favourites
Rosemary must have free-draining soil
THE SALTY SAM NEWS DESK
This week we had a little bit of nice weather so the children went over to the park for some fresh air.
The leaves have all fallen off the trees now but you can still recognize them by the shape of their branches.
There are lots of skeletons around on Halloween but of course trees have them as well in a way.
Do you know which trees are in the photographs?
TO ADVERTISE ON THIS BLOG
lf you harvest your lavender when it is in full bloom, you will need to hang up the sprigs to let it dry.
The flowers can then be pulled off the stalks and kept in sachets.
Just a square of muslin will do sew it into a square bag.
You could knit this little bag to put lavender sachets in.
LAVENDER BAG (KNlT ONE)
Using 4mm knitting needles and lavender dk yarn cast on 18 stitches
Knit 2 rows
S1 (k2, p2) repeat last 4 stitches until last stitch k1
Repeat the last row once more
S1 (p2, k2) repeat last 4 stitches until last stitch k1
Repeat last row once more
Repeat this 4 row pattern 5 times
Stocking stitch 10 rows
TO MAKE UP
With right sides together using over-sew stitching, sew along side and base
Crochet 70 chains into a length of yarn and tie this cord around the top of the bag
(You can neaten the ends of the cord or leave them long)
The smell of lavender will last for years to come!
lt’s the Weekend!
HOW TO PRESERVE HERBS
If you have lots of herbs that you want to keep for the winter, there is a way of storing them before the first frosts claim your plants.
Your crops can be laid on a wire rack, separated out and left for a few weeks or if possible, like in the case of chillies, strung onto string and hung up in order to save space. It is important that air can circulate around each individual vegetable. Don’t rub your eyes after handling chillies; and wash you hands well.
Some herbs can be dried more easily that others. Bay leaves and sprigs of sage or marjoram are good candidates to be hung in bunches, but soft-leaved herbs such as basil and parsley would be better chopped up and packed into ice cube trays to be frozen.
When the cubes are frozen, they can be popped out of the trays and put into bags.
These individual portions can be added to stews or home-made soups through the winter and they retain their taste better than if they had been dried.
To slow-dry herbs you can use clothes pegs to attach a line strung up across the room near to the ceiling.
Otherwise, try drying herbs in a microwave with the setting on high for two minutes. Or put your oven on its lowest setting and put the sprigs of herbs on the racks and trays inside. Open the door at intervals to lower the temperature and change the air.
Regularly check on the herbs and when they are thoroughly dried out, allow them to cool.
Store the dried herbs in air-tight jars and store in a cool, dark place.
Then they can be added to your cooking – dishes like pasta and home-made pizza.
Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.
It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.
Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.
©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015
Answers to the News Desk Quiz
The first one is a lilac
The second is a weeping willow
The third is a silver birch – and there was a very interesting fungus that was growing on the trunk