The First Plant To Teach Your Child Gardening – Mint!

Why start an herb garden with your child?

Gardening with children is not only healthy, it teaches them respect for the environment. Your yard or garden becomes an outdoor classroom and learning becomes fun. No wonder gardening (and playing with dirt) is something the little ones enjoy.

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The First Plant To Teach Your Child Gardening – Mint!

My goal is to spend time with my children, do some projects together, and in the process teach them life skills that will always be with them. I have learnt that it is so much easier to learn skills when you are young. What better than to do as many diverse projects and activities with your children when they are young, as children are quick learners. And starting an herb garden is a nice activity to do with your child.

According to studies, childhood hobbies can make for emotionally stable adults. What better hobby than gardening, which can be pursued right from age 3 to well into your 70s or 80s. The love of the outdoors, and gardening will stay with your child for years if you create good memories with them in the present time..  

Do you know how to grow mint? It’s a beautiful herb that you can grow in pots, on your patio, or even in your home. It’s a perfect plant for kids and families to enjoy together. Once you know how to grow mint, you’ll be able to enjoy it all year round.

Mint is easy to grow and easy to take care of. It is a hardy plant that will flourish with minimal care. The 2 most common mint plants are spearmint and peppermint, and both will make your yard smell wonderful.

Growing his/her own mint is a great way for your child to learn more about plants and the environment. Your child’s first introduction to gardening can be through the gift of a mint plant, which is a perfect gift for kids. It has a unique scent and flavor that makes it a great choice for growing your child’s interest in gardening.

Starting a Children’s Herb Garden 

A few herb plants in containers is enough to get your child started, and a mint plant is the best one to start your child’s herb garden. Place your child’s mint pot next to your own. Or you can have one large mint pot that you both tend together. 

5 tips to grow a ton of mint in one container

  1.  Mint is very invasive – it will take over the whole backyard if you plant it in the ground. The best way to grow mint is in isolation – in a separate garden bed or in a pot or container. Mint is a versatile plant, and it will grow well in full sun and also in part shade. 
  2. Prune your mint. Pruning encourages new growth that is not woody.  After pruning, it will be much better in cooking, as it will not be tough and stringy. Prune mint through the growing season as you eat it. Prune your mint heavily when it goes dormant. 
  3. Feed your mint once with an organic fertilizer. Fertilize towards end of its dormant stage or as it is just starting to shoot in spring. Sprinkle fertilizer around the base of the plant, making sure not to get it on the leaves. After applying fertilizer, give it a good watering.
  4. Water mint regularly, specially if it is growing in a container.  Water it at least twice a week. 
  5. Don’t spray mint with pesticides or other chemicals. Pick caterpillars and grasshoppers off your plants. Pick the diseased leaves and throw them away. Regular pruning will help control pests.

Health benefits of mint:

  • Mint is a good source of vitamin A which is critical for eye health.
  • It is a specially good source of antioxidants.
  • Mint is also effective against upset stomach and indigestion, and helps reduce nausea.
  • Eating mint will alleviate the symptoms of bloating, gas, and stomach pain.
  • Some studies show that smelling the aroma of peppermint oil improves brain function.
  • Mint can provide relief from cold and flu symptoms by improving the breathing through the nose during cold weather.
  • Mint has antibacterial properties and chewing on mint leaves can help alleviate bad breath.

Whether you plan to use fresh mint in a recipe, or dry and store the leaves for use later, growing your own mint ensures that you’ll have plenty of fresh, or dried flavorful mint ready at your fingertips.  Below are some ways to use the mint that you grow. When your child watches the mint that he/she helped grow being used around the home, and in various recipes in the kitchen, they will have a great sense of pride and accomplishment.

One use of mint is to put freshly cut sprigs in a vase and leave it around the house. Your child could help you do this and feel proud! It makes the rooms smell wonderful!

Incorporate mint into your diet

To incorporate mint into your diet, use it in the following recipes:

  • Green salads
  • Desserts
  • Smoothies 
  • Mint flavored water 
  • Lemonade With Mint – Remove the rind and pith of 1 or 2 lemons, cut into quarters, remove seeds, and put in a blender. Put some mint leaves in the blender, add some sugar or honey, put water and blend. You can strain the lemonade or drink it as is without straining. Mint in lemonade gives it a beautiful special flavor that your kids will love to have all summer long.
  • Mint Mojitos
  • Pineapple-Mint Spritzer – Use fresh pineapple and a lot of mint in a blender along with a bit of sugar. Add a little water to blend. Pour this concentrate into a serving pitcher, add more water or sparkling water if you like and lots of ice cubes.  Top it off by adding whole and some slightly crushed mint leaves to your pitcher of Pineapple-Mint Spritzer. 
  • Mint tea – Simply pluck a few leaves from the plant, crush them slightly and steep in boiling water for a few minutes until infused. Add a little honey and a squeeze of lemon juice for a deliciously tangy and refreshing drink. It can be drunk hot or cold. 
  • Mint and cilantro chutney – 1 bunch mint leaves, 1 bunch cilantro, few green chillies, lemon juice, clove of garlic, and salt. Blend it all up. Serve with chicken, fish, and all kinds of foods.
  • Spicy mint pesto – Lots of mint, parmesan cheese, chili peppers (according to how much spice you can eat), and olive oil. Mix in a blender or food processor. 
  • Add mint to steamed foods – you can add mint to steamed vegetables and steamed rice to get that special flavor.
  • Mint chocolate – Pick a few large mint leaves, wash and gently dry with a paper towel. Melt some quality chocolate in a small saucepan and using tongs, have your children dip the mint leaves one at a time into the chocolate until lightly coated. Place them on a tray lined with baking paper or parchment paper. Put in the fridge until the chocolate hardens. These are totally irresistible.