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Friday, April 24

Let It Grow (Eric Clapton)


During our Medieval studies, we began a science unit on botany - specifically on growing herbs.  Since we already had a big herb garden planned for spring, we decided to purchase an AeroGarden light system to start the seeds.  
..........unfortunately, there was a communication breakdown, and we ended up with two of them!  They had different lights, though, and we decided to make it a science experiment.  Just like in our Egypt study, it's time to work smarter, not harder!
The boys got the seeds planted and the water and nutrients started.  It became one of their chores to keep the gardens tended, and to note how well each of them was growing, so that we could compare.
In the meantime, we started bringing home old pallets from our food co-op.  We plan to use these for various projects around the house (which we promise to show off later!), but two of them were designated as herb planters.


Herb Planter Tutorial

Start with your basic wooden pallet.  Using a crowbar, rip out all of the vertical slats except the two outsides and the center slat.  Paint your color of choice, if desired.
I'm sure there are cheaper ways to make the planters, but this was MUCH easier.  We found a bag of reusable shopping bags at a garage sale for a dollar.  There were fifteen bags in there, and they were perfect for our "pots."  Cut the handles off the bags.  I think the time saved on making all of those little planters was entirely worth a dollar!

If you're going to go this route, make sure that water runs through them (they're not coated with a water-resistant layer), or your plants will mold and rot.  
Fold the bags on themselves until you have a baggie that fits so that it just hangs below the wooden horizontal slat.  Using a staple gun, secure the bag to the pallet.  Just staple, staple, staple away!
If desired, paint the name of which herbs will be in those planters.  Since we are using this as a teaching tool, and we want the children to be confident about which herbs they are using in the kitchen, we opted to label our planters.
Fill the bag planters with a combination of soil and peat moss, since that makes a good base.  Plant your seeds or (in our case) transplant them from your seed starters. 
We used another one of those pallets and a leftover plastic bin to create another raised bed...this one with onions and radishes.  Remember when using raised beds that they need to be watered more frequently, since the roots won't reach into the ground water!
                                  
....in case you're curious, both versions of the system grew the plants at essentially the same rate.
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