Herb Gardens as Holiday Gifts Herb Gardens as Holiday Gifts
If you're looking for a great gift for a friend who loves gardening, a do-it-yourself herb garden that you grow from seeds could be perfect. These great little gardens are a gift that truly keeps on giving, enabling your friend to grow herbs in their home or in their outdoor garden. As an added bonus, herbs are practically calorie-free, making them a much better gift than a fattening box of chocolates for Valentine's Day. You could even adorn the containers with holiday-themed decorations, giving your gift a more festive look.
Choosing Your Herbs
You'll first need to decide which herbs you want to grow to create your gift. For example, a gift of culinary herbs such as basil, oregano, chives and sage would be much appreciated by an aspiring chef. You could also create a specialized herb collection, such as a variety of different mint plants or several basil varieties. However, if you don't have a lot of time for your herb plants to sprout and grow before the upcoming holiday, you might want to focus on herb varieties that sprout and grow quickly. For example, basil often takes only five days to sprout, while parsley or sage could take up to a month. If you want all your herbs to be ready at the same time, consult a growing chart to plan your planting timetable appropriately.
Planting the Herbs
To start herb seeds, you'll need some small pots or planting containers, some potting soil, and the herb seeds that you have chosen. You'll also need a fluorescent light and a table. Place the potting soil in a large bowl, adding a small amount of water gradually until it is uniformly damp, but not wet. Fill the pots with soil then plant the seeds according to the package instructions. It's important to remember that while some seeds should be covered by soil, others sprout better if they are just sprinkled on the soil's surface. Also, some seeds require total darkness to sprout, while others prefer light. After the seeds have been planted, cover the container with plastic or a lid to help keep the soil moist. Place the container in a warm area until the seeds sprout. Once you see small sprouted plants, it's time to immediately place them under the lights.
Growing Herbs under Lights
In most cases a plain fluorescent light fixture can be used, although some people prefer to use specially designed "grow lights." If you suspend the light fixture from the ceiling using lengths of chain or cord, you'll be able to raise them as the small plants grow. Place the potted plants on a table, suspending the light overhead so that it is only a few inches from their leaves. As the plants grow, continue to gradually raise the lights.
Arranging the Herb Garden
Once the plants are large enough, you can arrange them in a decorative fashion to create your gift. You could nest a collection of pots in a small basket, adding Spanish moss to create a nice finished look. You could also nest them in a new muffin pan or other baking container, along with a few recipes that can be made with the fresh herbs. Add a decorative bow, a nice card, and surprise your friend with the gift of their own personal herb garden.