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Earth-Friendly Project: Herbs in a Can!

By Rebecca Joerres, March 31, 2011  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Rebecca Joerres
We’re so excited! Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd. Around here, we simply aren’t capable of limiting our Earth celebration to just one day. So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to call April “Earth Month” and we’ll be sharing eco-tips and activities all month long on the blog. Once a week, we’ll feature a fun kid-oriented and earth-friendly project. First up is a compact herb garden planted in an aluminum can from your recycling bin (though you might want to give it a rinse first!). This is a fun way to get the kids (or your inner child) gardening and recycling all at once. Herbs are a healthy and tasty way to add fresh flavor to your favorite dish, salad, marinade or even sorbet. Herbs also contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants like all fruits and vegetables. And they’re simple and fun to grow with a quick payoff. To ensure you’ve got everything you need to begin, gather your materials and then spread them out on your work area. This project can be done just about anywhere — at the kitchen table, on a deck or patio, or in the yard. To make this compact herb garden you will need: 1. Empty aluminum can 2. Drill (or hammer & nail) 3. Construction Paper 4. Scissors 5. Glue 6. Markers 7. Small plastic container for drainage saucer 8. Potting Soil 9. Herb Seeds Once you have your materials assembled, follow these simple steps: Step 1 Begin by drilling several holes in the bottom of the aluminum can. This will allow water to drain through the container. You can, of course, plant more than one can of herbs. Step 2 Cut out the construction paper to make a new label for the can. Decorate the paper with drawings and then glue the paper to the can. Step 3 Place some potting soil in the can and plant a few seeds near the surface. Put the can in the drainage saucer and water the surface. Check your packet of seeds for specifics on how many seeds to plant and how to care for the seedlings. Most herb seeds will germinate in a week or two, and will be ready to harvest within a month or so after sprouting. Be sure to water them occasionally to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. So tell us, what are some of your favorite earth-friendly projects for kids?
Category: Green Action

 

26 Comments

Comments

Jessica says ...
What a wonderful activity! I've been wanting to start a Garden Club for the Boys & Girls Club in McKinney, and now I can use this great idea to implement it. Thanks for sharing!
03/31/2011 12:38:35 PM CDT
amber sullivan says ...
THIS IS FABULOUS INFO....EXACTLY THE TYPE OF KNOWLEDGE I AM LOOKING FOR..."SUSTAINABLE LIVING"..HEALTHY PROJEECTS WITH THE KIDS..TO GET THEM OFF THEIR WI'S AND D.S'ES..TO BRING BACK A "HEALTHY POPULATION AND MOST IMPORTANTLY...RESPECTING MOTHER HEARTH"...SO THANK YOU!!!!
04/01/2011 8:42:59 PM CDT
TheGourmetCoffeeGuy says ...
Your post is very interesting and practical. We were looking for a fun activity around the garden to use at a community project this Spring serving the needs of low income families in the South. You have provided an excellent idea. "Playing in the dirt" is always appealing and using recyclable materials will further emphasize conservation principles. The diagram and detailed instructions are very helpful and easy to follow. Thank you for the post.
04/01/2011 11:58:11 PM CDT
GER says ...
I was just about to head out for pots for my basil and cilantro seeds. Vegans always have cans to recycle on hand. Thanks
04/05/2011 4:00:25 PM CDT
Megan says ...
How much sun do herbs need in general?
04/05/2011 4:36:10 PM CDT
Ingrid says ...
Good idea, and I suggest using non-BPA-lined cans (that's the white, plasticky coating found in some cans; tomatoes, for example). I don't know if plants can absorb it, but best to avoid it in any case.
04/10/2011 1:12:59 PM CDT
Leslie Sarna says ...
Funny you posted these! I just used these are place card holders and take away gifts for a baby shower I threw. Click on my name for all the details!
04/13/2011 10:19:19 AM CDT
Carol Carrier says ...
good project idea, bad photograph that shows that sharp can lid still attached. Can you say, "emergency room visit"?
04/13/2011 11:56:58 AM CDT
Douglas Mitchell says ...
This project is wonderful to motivate for my elementary nutrition class, many thanks. Will you create a PRINTER FRIENDLY version of this type of web page. Perhaps I missed it, but this KILLS INK on both color and BW. Blessings on Whole Foods. Douglas
04/13/2011 12:11:07 PM CDT
Dianna says ...
Reply to Douglas Mitchell: If you want to print it in MSWord, you can use your Print Screen button, then open PAINT and paste it to Paint. Use the Crop feature in MS Paint to outline just what you want to copy. Use copy feature to copy and paste it to MS Word. This article will only take 3 print screen and copying to transfer the whole article in sections so that you can print it out. (Except that the green background of it uses a lot of green ink!) I noticed and "email this article" above.
04/13/2011 6:03:28 PM CDT
GFennelly says ...
I teach science in a Title 1 middle school in NYC. I do a similar project with my kids for Mothers Day.The students learn about germination, optimum growth conditions and just the joy of seeing something grow. Their mothers get a priceless individualized gift which continues to give pleasure well past mothers day.
04/13/2011 6:03:45 PM CDT
Erin says ...
Love this idea. Not convinced that a recycled tin can is a good idea for kids, though -- I've cut myself many times on the edge and I wouldn't give one to my kids to play with (even w/out the lid). Maybe I'll try this in my single-serve yogurt containers instead....
04/13/2011 6:18:17 PM CDT
Kari says ...
Fabulous idea - I am completely inspired.
04/13/2011 7:25:41 PM CDT
Sandy says ...
How about using a can opener to make drainage holes? This is a great idea. I just received my Seeds of Change seeds and I can use this idea for some of them.
04/13/2011 8:23:53 PM CDT
Rochelle says ...
Great idea but will the plant get too big for the container? I found this great urban gardener site where he uses 2 liter bottles as planting containers! http://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/how-to-make-a-hanging-herb-planter-using-recycled-soda-bottles/
04/13/2011 10:39:24 PM CDT
Linda Klein says ...
I buy & save all my cardboard egg cartons and plant in them. You have to make a hole in the botton of each egghole. Cut lid off and place under the egg bottom. Also I save all the cut off roots of green onions and replant into the soil. Almost instant onions. I store the onions (bought) standing straight up in a cylinder pitcher with water. I store radishes this way also. Just cut the big greens off so you only have 1" of stem, cover with water Change water every couple of days. This also works with Radishes & Carrots. So I've recycled the cartons and the store bought roots of food. Saves buying seeds & roots are already established!!!!
04/14/2011 12:36:10 AM CDT
kev says ...
Save those large plastic salad containers for "mini-green houses". Just add dirt, seeds and sun for an instant herb garden. The clear plastic and hinged locking clamshell design make it really easy to germinate and grow green goodness!
04/14/2011 6:26:49 AM CDT
Lynne Velazquez says ...
This may be a great project, but if your container is made from tin it could be toxic -- and the toxins could be absorbed through the roots of the plant -- therefore using tin for edible foods might not be such a good idea.
04/14/2011 8:12:52 AM CDT
Randi Warren says ...
Here is another earth-friendly way to grow herbs. Fill a cardboard egg container with 1/2 an eggshell (rinsed) in each space. Poke a hole through the bottom of the eggshell for drainage, then fill with seeding soil. Sprinkle herb seeds on top, cover lightly with more soil, water. When seedlings sprout, everything can be planted in the garden or pot. Very easy to do in a sunny window in early spring and a great way to reduce, reuse and recycle.
04/14/2011 9:31:28 AM CDT
bepkom says ...
@Rochelle: You can always transfer to another container if the plant gets too big for the can.
04/14/2011 9:50:07 AM CDT
bepkom says ...
@Dianna: Thank you so much for sharing that tip.....much appreciated!
04/14/2011 10:04:56 AM CDT
Kellee Harris says ...
I wonder if your idea would have more "plantability" if you suggested that kids plant their seeds in compostable small bags that are then placed in temporary holders (biodegradable berry holders)? Our company makes these small bags for WF Chicago.
04/14/2011 11:16:19 AM CDT
april says ...
I did this for the first time this year and it's working out well! Mint is my only problem herb at this point but 1 out of 6 isn't so bad (I planted 6 different herbs total). And I used my aluminum cans so I could get some use out of them as opposed to simply just throwing them in the recycling bin. I'm so glad to see this idea is catching on!
04/14/2011 2:32:36 PM CDT
Meg says ...
Hello - Great idea, however be certain to use a BPA free can. (i.e. Eden Organic)
06/08/2011 8:45:53 PM CDT
Jill Mulligan says ...
I am looking for stevia seedlings. Do you carry them or know who might? Thank you.
03/25/2013 11:17:36 AM CDT

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