I’ve always loved the idea of gardening with my kiddos — pulling weeds and planting veggies side-by-side in the dirt. We’ve done some of that in our yard and they’ve enjoyed it. But growing things takes A WHILE and by the time our veggies are ready for harvest the kids have totally lost interest. So this year, we tried something different. Something that required their involvement daily from seed to harvest, only took a few weeks to bear edibles and — best of all — ended with pizza (who doesn’t love that idea?). Meet Herbie, our Aerogarden.
If you’re unfamiliar with Aerogarden, its an indoor gardening system that can be used year-round, requires no soil or weeding and only occasional watering. The Herbie is an Aerogarden designed specifically for kids — brightly colored and designed with little windows that allow the kids to observe the entire growing process in real-time. The system is fairly fool-proof and really fun to use.
Since our kids are certified pizza addicts, we selected the Herbie Pizza Party Growing Kit, which includes seeds for growing basil and oregano—some of their favorite pizza toppings.
Setting up our Herbie was pretty easy. The kit included seeds and “Grow Sponges” made from a small amount of dirt. The kids inserted the seeds into the sponges and we dropped them into the Aerogarden. Next we added water and plant food and plugged it in.
From there, the process was really simple. Every day, we turned the lights on in the morning and turned them off again after dinner. Once a week we added more water and plant food.
My six year old daughter in particular took this responsibility very seriously. Each day she checked the plants’ growth and reported when roots became visible through the windows and spouts appeared at the top. She often consulted the activity book to find out what would happen next and write notes about our plants’ progress.
About eight weeks after we planted our herbs, they were ready for harvest! Time to eat some pizza!
Just before dinner time, we used herb scissors to snip the top portion from each our our plants. Our nifty herb scissors are designed to mince herbs into small pieces easily and the kids really enjoyed this task — perfect for spreading on pizza!
The kids gobbled up their pizza and insisted it tasted better than usual thanks to their fresh herbs. It was cool to see them make the connection between those little seeds they'd planted and the food they were eating weeks later.
I suspect Herbie is going to be a part of our family for a long time. In addition to herbs, you can get kits for growing lettuces and even flowers. Since the system works year-round I suspect those will projects will offer a welcome dose of green next winter. And if we get started now, the Mint Ice Cream Kit should be ready just in time for the dog days of summer.