Create a mini greenhouse in an afternoon

It's wet and miserable today, with sudden downpours of rain that are too heavy for a fun walk in the rain and certainly too cold to take two small boys puddle jumping. But they will be here soon looking for an exciting afternoon adventure with grandma.

Fortunately, I've stocked up on indoor activities for just such a situation. Today's plan?... a wonderful mini vegetable garden.

 'Woolworths Fresh Food' store's latest shopping incentive for families and the latest in their range of collectible cards, is Jamie Oliver's Garden.

The collectible cards are very attractive with some textured, embossed and even heat sensitive that change if you hold your finger on the print. There are also some cards that are fragrant.

An optional journal can be purchased to store the cards and stickers or you could also buy a coordinated designer tin.

I noticed that, among other matching items that can be purchased, there were some small aprons, gardening trowels and watering cans. So I stocked up on those items for the boys. You have to look the part.. it's half the fun!

And... I bought the mini-greenhouse. It's really great. There is a shallow rectangular tray as the base ready to fill with the provided potting mix.

The rest of the greenhouse is pre-printed and cut clear plastic ready to be assembled. When finished, it rests on the tray and is easily removed to water the garden. Stickers are provided to decorate the greenhouse and herb seeds are included ready to sprinkle over the tray of potting mix.

It's very simple and lots of fun.
But if you can't obtain one of these little greenhouse kits, you can still create your own.

You will need:
* large clear plastic drinking glass (You can use any container but I used plastic for safety with small boys. A glass or plastic jar, bowl or container would look very attractive. Be imaginative.)
* small amount of gravel for drainage
*filtering charcoal if you have any but it's not essential
*potting mix
* herb seeds or seedlings (chives, cress, mint, oregano,parsley)
*colourful stickers
*herb labels are optional but look great to pop in amongst your herbs. You can find some to download here..

The instructions are simple: add some gravel in the base of your clear container, then some charcoal, if you have some.
Half-fill the container with potting mix and sprinkle with the herb seeds. If you have seedlings, gently plant these in the potting mix. Don't over-fill your container.

Then add some stickers to the outside of your container. (The boys wanted to add lots to their garden container.)

Don't forget to water your mini-garden; that's a big part of the fun for small boys. It might be better to use a spray bottle of water to avoid drowning the seedlings.

And, once the herbs begin to grow, they can be pinched off to use in cooking, added to butter for a herb spread or sprinkled over salads.


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