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Home » Simple Gifts

Simple Gifts: A kitchen gift that will grow on them

Submitted by on Saturday, 6 December 2008 2 Comments
How about some fresh basil and parsley for that winter batch of pasta sauce? Or just-cut cilantro for some out-of-season salsa?

If someone on your list loves to cook, an indoor herb garden might be the gift for them. You could order an indoor Chia herb garden – they’d branched out from the pet business -- for $25. Or you could create your own.

I had one for almost a year, before the mites invaded, which is why you need to include a mister in your gift.

It’s so easy even I can maintain it – and in general, I have no luck growing anything other than indoor herbs and lemon sage outdoors. But then, nothing can kill lemon sage. My husband has tried and couldn’t do it. Bitter freezes and parching droughts can't do it.

Even if you’re a gardening novice, you can pull this off. There are easy, step-by-step instructions at a number of Web sites, such as doityourself.com.

Granted, seeds are a little hard to find this time of year, but some home supply stores still have a few in stock. You might be able to find a mail-order place that could ship them in time. I’ve also turned up several such as this one, though I’ve never ordered from any and can’t vouch for reliability.

The only other things you’ll need are pots and potting soil. I used simple terra cotta pots, which could be painted or ribboned for a decorative touch. Most Web sites recommend 6-inch pots. I used 12 inch, so I had more of an herb jungle than mere garden. I also had a lot of room in my kitchen back then – make sure you consider the size of your gift-recipient’s kitchen before you plant.

Of course, starting this late, the recipient will have to take your gift a bit on faith: “Yes, those tiny things will be edible one day.”

In my late, lamented garden, chives, cilantro, basil, oregano did well. I also had success with arugula. I was going to branch out into rosemary, dill, mint and thyme, which I’ve also heard grow well, but, alas, the guys came along and their art supplies ousted my crops.

I do, however, have a hand-me-down plant stand sitting in a corner that's just waiting for something to hold. Maybe I'll replant my own garden this weekend. At least it would be a more figure-friendly project than all the cookies we've baked lately. And I'm sure that where dirt's involved, the guys would love to "help."

Copyright 2008 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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2 Comments »

  • MtnMom said:

    I’m making this for Christmas…for myself! After playing around with fresh herbs I discovered that there is just no substitution! I’m not a kitchen person but when I do cook I want it to be good and I want good feedback, not untouched leftovers (in my house that is the unspoken “gross” no matter what they say when I serve it!).

  • Debra said:

    I still haven’t gotten around to replanting my own yet, though next week might be a good time. Big Guy has a corn-stalk growing in the kitchen — it’s left from studying Native Americans at school — and I know it’s going to break his heart when it croaks. New plants might console him.