My daughter was born loving the garden. This little girl could not keep her nose out of a flower - often she ran around with a yellow smudge on her nose from the pollen. Her curiousity about all things gardening grew as she got older and I wanted to encourage that. However, there is always that thing about little kids putting everything they are curious about into their mouth...
So we came up with a fun way for her to be able to indulge without having to worry about what might have been sprayed or whether plants were safe. The rule was that she could only put in her mouth plants that grow in this one giant deck pot. It is a large foam pot that is painted to look like terra cotta. I drilled drain holes in the bottom (over time it formed a large crack that I keep the soil in by placing a layer of newspaper over and letting thyme spill over the edge) and filled it about halfway with large chunks of styrofoam left over from packing boxes. Then I filled it the rest of the way with Miracle-Gro Potting Mix. I started with a small chunk of chives from my mom's garden and a hunk of thyme from a grown-over section of our property.
Not everything survives the winter each year - except the chives - that is the original clump from 8 years ago. So I usually have some combination of herbs and edible flowers such as oregano, thyme (you can get a lot of different flavors now and we love lemon thyme), nasturtium, basil, parsley, johnny jump-ups, bee balm, chamomile, dill, fennel, sage. I do stay away from spicy herbs like cilantro - the weather and point of harvest can affect the taste and make some herbs really strong.
My kids will sit out there and eat parsley and chives off the plants like we used to chew clovers riding horseback on the back roads when I was a kid (and then they will come do a dragon breath on me and make me guess which herb they were eating...lol). They also love to go to the greenhouse and rub the leaves of the herbs there and help me pick what will go in the pot for the new growing year.
Each spring I top this pot off with a fresh round of Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix. I find this particular mix adds the perfect amount of nutrients back to the soil for abundant herb production and helps keep the soil from drying out in the summer heat as this sits in full sun all day on our back deck. Last year we even added some little fairy garden accessories.
If you are looking for more inspiration, be sure to check out The Gro Project on FaceBook or Pin some of your favorite fun garden projects on the Miracle-Gro Pinterest page. There are projects of all kinds, tips and handy tools for everyone from the beginner gardener and kids to those who are looking at ways to become more sustainable by growing food for your family's year-round needs. For more on The Gro Project, check out this fun video!