Herbivore Garden – A Dinosaur Garden with Veggies & Herbs

Dinosaur Garden! A fun, less expensive, and interactive alternative to a fairy garden. This one's an herbivore-only, edible version planted with kale, lettuce, thyme, and more.

Sponsored PostThis post is sponsored by Silk. This year, I’m partnering with Silk to create and share monthly ideas and recipes celebrating an Earth-friendly, plant-based diet and life – something I’m personally moving more and more toward.

Though I don’t talk about it much here, gardening is another love of mine. From landscaping to flower containers to my very favorite, growing veggies and herbs, I am borderline obsessed with it all, especially in the springtime.

My daughter has followed suit, and we have a lot of fun puttering around. So when Silk asked me to share a project this month in honor of Earth Day, this fun, kid-friendly Herbivore Dinosaur Garden project wasn’t far behind.

A couple of years ago, my daughter and I built a little fairy garden, and my daughter has had so much fun with it. I admit it took me awhile to get used to the idea that in order for her to enjoy it, it actually had to be interactive. My inner Martha Stewart wanted it to stay just so!

This year, we decided to create something in the same vein, but totally different too: a Dinosaur Garden! And interactive is the name of the game.

Dinosaur Garden! A fun, less expensive, and interactive alternative to a fairy garden. This one's an herbivore-only, edible version planted with kale, lettuce, thyme, and more.

But not just a dinosaur garden, oh no. A dinosaur garden chock-full of edibles – for both herbivore and human. A herbivore garden!

Dinosaur Garden! A fun, less expensive, and interactive alternative to a fairy garden. This one's an herbivore-only, edible version planted with kale, lettuce, thyme, and more.

This thing was so fun to build.

We had an old whiskey barrel planter that I knew would be perfect – the ideal height for our little one to help plant and play in, yet big enough to hold a whole world of herbivores. Then, we started walking around the yard. We found a large rock for the “volcano” and dumped some red, orange, and yellow acrylic paint over the peak for the all-important lava. Then we collected several smaller rocks for dino perches and a big ol’ riverbed. Sticks and twigs made for great snags and bridges. (My daughter wants me to mention that we unearthed a GIANT spider in our explorations. Mommy may or may not have screamed a little.)

While the lava dried, we shopped for veggies, herbs, and dinos. We found some colorful fellas at the local variety store – perfect! I tried to choose all plant-eaters – T-Rex is not welcome in a world of herbivores! I can’t find the exact dinosaurs we found online, but I think many of these inexpensive dinosaurs would do nicely.

The next day, it was build time! First, we arranged the rocks. Then, we started finding spots for the plants.

Dinosaur Garden! A fun, less expensive, and interactive alternative to a fairy garden. This one's an herbivore-only, edible version planted with kale, lettuce, thyme, and more.

A BUNCH of veggie and herb starts went into this thing – my daughter was so excited that I sort of went with it, but I’m the first to admit it may have ended up a bit too crowded for the plants to thrive. We’ll see how it goes – or just work harder to eat the overgrowth.

And THEN (excitement!) it was time to introduce the dinosaurs to their new home.

Dinosaur Garden! A fun, less expensive, and interactive alternative to a fairy garden. This one's an herbivore-only, edible version planted with kale, lettuce, thyme, and more.

A dinosaur garden such a cost-conscious way to get the kiddos into gardening. If you’ve ever built a fairy garden, you probably know why I’m mentioning cost – all the cool little bridges and figurines add up! With a dinosaur garden, all you need to buy are the dinos and, if you don’t have any laying around, the paint. The rest, you can excavate from around the yard! Not only cost-conscious, but Earth-friendly too. Score!

Plus, I love that it’s veggies and herbs – always good for my picky eater of a daughter (she even munched on the red leaf lettuce while we planted it. Rar!)

Dinosaur Garden! A fun, less expensive, and interactive alternative to a fairy garden. This one's an herbivore-only, edible version planted with kale, lettuce, thyme, and more.

If you’d like to build your own dinosaur garden, here’s the how-to:

How to Build a Dinosaur Garden with Veggies & Herbs

You’ll need:

  • A large container (I used a half whiskey barrel which was perfect)
  • Potting soil
  • Large rock (for volcano)
  • Red, yellow, and orange acrylic paint
  • Medium rocks (one or two)
  • Small rocks (lots)
  • Sticks and twigs
  • Plastic dinosaur figurines

Plants

We planted small starts of these:

  • Fennel (which can get HUGE so it might need to be transplanted at some point)
  • Red leaf lettuce (does best in slightly cooler weather)
  • Dinosaur kale
  • Russian red kale
  • Thyme
  • Lavender

Other ideas:

  • Spinach (does best in slightly cooler weather)
  • Lettuces (does best in slightly cooler weather)
  • Chard
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Basil (start when low temps are no less then 50 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Mint (container only! It spreads like wildfire)
  • Parsley
  • Cilantro

Directions:

  1. One day before, find the perfect rock for the volcano. Place peak-side-up on some newspapers and drizzle paint over the peak. It’ll run down like lava! We started with red, then yellow, then orange, then finished with a little more red. Let dry for 12-24 hours.
  2. Fill your container with potting soil 2-3 inches below the top of the pot.
  3. Arrange volcano, then medium rocks, then small rocks in the container. We chose to make a bit of a “riverbed” down the middle of the container.
  4. Plant your veggies and herbs! Top with a little more soil if necessary.
  5. Put your dinosaurs in place along with any sticks or twigs you might be using.
  6. Make it rain! Water everything very well.
  7. Keep your container in a sunny spot. Water often and soon you’ll all live like herbivores!

If you build your own dinosaur garden and share the picture, be sure to tag #kitchentreaty – I’d love to see it!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions and text are all mine. Thank you for supporting the companies who support Kitchen Treaty!

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Karen Raye

Kare is a vegetarian home cook living among carnivores. She loves creating irresistible and flexible recipes that help multi-vore families like hers keep the peace - deliciously.