By REBECCA LEFTWICH | Apr. 27, 2019 – 11:58 PM
Herb gardens can thrive just about anywhere, from sunny windowsills to the eight brand-new planting boxes at Ruth Hill Elementary School.
Leadership Coweta has partnered with the school to teach students about entrepreneurship through a business project centering on the planting, nurturing and sales of herbs by students. Using mostly materials donated by local businesses like Home Depot, Carl Smith and Sons, and Blickle, Leadership Coweta volunteers built six large, movable planter boxes with casters and two smaller, stationary planter boxes for the school.
Last week, students took turns shoveling soil into wheelbarrows to fill the boxes and planting the herbs that will form the backbone of their school’s business project. Kitchen standards like mint, parsley, tarragon, oregano, rosemary and dill will join specialty groupings of herbs to flavor specific dishes. It’s all part of Ruth Hill’s Launch Pad Library, which debuted last October and is aimed at allowing students to explore their interests through hands-on learning.
Leadership Coweta’s William “Dub” Pearman III did the lion’s share of box-building, ensuring they will withstand the students’ use – as well as the moody Georgia weather – without potentially harmful chemicals often used to treat lumber.
“They’re built from western red cedar, which is resistant to the sun and rain,” Pearman said. “There are no toxins in the wood, so we don’t have to worry about it leaching into the soil.”
The boxes may eventually will turn gray and lose their rosy glow, Pearman said, but they won’t lose many splinters, which could potentially make their painful way into little gardeners’ hands.
Herb gardens don’t have to be large, or even outdoors. For those who want to grow herbs on a smaller scale, Mother Earth News (www.motherearthnews.com) offers the following tips:
Most herbs will grow in any type of container, indoors or outdoors. Soil should consist of equal parts potting soil, coarse sand and peat moss.
Pots should be placed somewhere that ensures plants get four to five hours of sunlight each day.
Indoor herbs should ideally remain at temperatures between 50-75 degrees – never near heat sources or in drafty areas. Most herbs can be harmed by extreme cold and heat.
Plants should be watered about once a week, preferably with lukewarm (not cold) water.
Inexpensive supplies for beginner herb gardeners can be found at many discount outlets. The Prudent Penny Pincher (www.prudentpennypincher.com) recommends searching dollar stores for items like terra cotta pots, planters, soil, pebbles and river rocks, gardening tools and gloves, plant labels and coconut liners.
Beginners should start with herbs like parsley, sage, oregano, mint, coriander, rosemary, basil, bay and chives, according to the website.