Growing Outdoor Herbs with Kids

28 January 2016, BKK Kids

These days there’s a whole world of herbs available for growing outdoors. This activity can teach children how to add flavour to meals, as well as give them something wonderful to nurture in the garden come rain or shine.

Here’s a low down of what to grow for quick results and enthused children, whether it’s from seed, from cuttings or from bought plants.

Lemon Grass

Probably one of the best known herbs grown and sold in Thailand, this bushy grass plant not only produces an abundance of stems to harvest, store or use straight away, it’s also an incredibly attractive plant that is relatively hardy and helps repel mosquitoes.

You can pick up lemon grass plants from most Thai garden centres. They tend to be sold in minimal soil. Transfer them into a pot or the ground quickly so they don’t dry out, and water until established.

This plant can be divided and multiplied by removing from the ground, splitting at the roots and repotting or planting. It’s a great way to create more of this wonderful herb in your garden!

Galangal

The part of the plant used in cooking is the root. It’s easy to grow and takes no time to establish but be careful not to let it take over your garden. It is advisable to plant galangal either in a plastic pot in the ground, or in a ceramic pot above the ground. It can be quite prolific.

Buy roots from supermarkets that have visible shoots, or plants from local garden centres. Water in and harvest when the main shoots are whitish. They are still delicious, but a little tougher, when they have turned browner in colour.

Chilli

These are such brilliant plants to grow with children and best grown from seeds. Packets can be bought in most supermarkets. With warm, sunny and moist conditions, plants flourish when planted at any time of year.

When the seedlings have germinated and are strong enough, transplant them into pots, or into the ground and keep watering. When they are around 10cm tall, prick out the top shoot to encourage more side shoots and ultimately, more chilies.

The colours available are amazing and so exciting to watch, from bud to fruit.

Bay Leaves

Taken from a tree or shrub, bay can be harvested all year round. The shrubs can be hard to find so ask a trusty garden centre owner. Once you have a tree or shrub, you’ll begin to regard it as a staple in your garden or outside area.

Dig a hole that will allow the entire root base to be covered with earth and water in. You may notice some leaf loss at first but persist and they will grow back. Harvest and hang to dry to intensify the flavour of the leaves. They will store for a few months if kept in air tight containers but will lose their flavour if left for too long.

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Photo credit: Wikipedia

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