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  • Writer's pictureToni Kenyon

DIY Containers for your Herbs

Containers for herbs
A sunny window is great for growing herbs

Growing herbs is a great way to begin your gardening journey. Herbs are easy to grow and you don't even need a garden! As long as they have plenty of good soil, water and light, you can grow most herbs pretty much anywhere.

You don't even have to make an expensive investment in containers for your herbs. You can check around the house, shed or garage and use what you have on hand.

I've been known to grow herbs in bottles, cracked cups, adapted milk bottles, old washing baskets, cardboard boxes and old porcelain toilets to name a few!

Here's a some ideas for you to try:

Plastic Bottles

I'm not a total fan of plastic bottles, but I'll do anything to keep them out of the landfill.

Recycling/upcycling is the way to go here, but do make sure that you thoroughly wash out your bottles before you start. Carefully cut the top off your milk bottle, soft drink bottle or cleaning bottle. Take extra care because sometimes the plastic can be hard and uncooperative. I've had some nasty cuts from hard plastic--another good reason to be growing herbs--they're fantastic for first aid around the home.

Drill or punch some holes in the bottom of the bottle for drainage and you've got yourself a handy container that will hold enough growing medium to keep your chosen herb plant happy for at least a season.

I find plastic bottles are also good if you can attach them to a fence or trellis so they're easily available for picking culinary herbs for the kitchen.

Shoe Organizer

Got a hanging shoe organizer around the house somewhere that's not doing much? Suspend it from a fence, fill the pockets with soil and you've got yourself a wonderful little spot for those quick kitchen herbs.

The cloth drains well (so you might have to put a wetting agent in the soil if you live in a hot climate) but other than that, you're good to go.

Old Gumboots & Hiking Shoes

I love these. They look fantastic. There's lots of room for deep rooted herbs to grow and if the boot is big enough, you can even plant a perennial herb and it will grow happily for years.

This adds some real rustic charm to your garden or patio.

You can even paint old boots if you want to colour co-ordinate your garden. Remember to drill those drainage holes in the sole, so your herbs don't drown.

Mason Jars

Obviously, you can't drill holes in the bottom of glass, so if you're going to use something like mason jars (or old tea cups and tea pots--another couple of my favourites) then you're going to have to add a layer of pebbles at the bottom of the jar for the water to have somewhere to drain.

Pop a layer of sacking, or thick cotton over the pebbles. This will stop the soil from filling in the gaps in the stones as soon as you water.

You can pop the planted jars along a windowsill, or along a fence line (make sure that they're secured tightly with a wire) and you've got yourself a decorative line up of herbs.

Tin Cans/Cake Tins

Tin cans can be stripped of their labels, holes drilled in the bottom and then arranged any way you want in the garden or patio.

If you don't want to drill holes in the bottom of your cans, simply add stones and a layer to keep your soil out of the stones, like you would do for the glass containers.

You can paint your cans, or leave them to weather naturally.

Decorative cake tins make pretty containers for herbs as well.

Teacup & Saucer or Coffee Mug

This is one of my favourite ways to use those chipped cups and mugs that you just don't have the heart to throw away.

They can sit in a small collection together on an outside table and they look stunning.

Remember your pebbles for drainage and you'll have a pretty addition to any table or spot in the kitchen.

Don't over-water herbs that are living in containers with no drainage holes. The soil can become water-logged and your plants will get no air to their roots and the soil will become stale and smelly.

Cardboard boxes

Cardboard boxes are excellent if you're not sure yet where you want to put your permanent herb beds. They will hold together long enough for the herbs to establish themselves and for you to work out whether you really want your herbs where you've put them.

You can easily move the soil to another box (with the addition of some extra compost) or you can build your final bed around the box and you won't disturb your growing herbs.

DIY containers for herbs

Endless ideas

There's an abundance of ideas for growing herbs in containers. Just about anything that can hold some soil and pebbles will do the job.

Herbs are forgiving little plants. They don't need too much love and they will reward you with lots of tasty, fragrant and useful foliage and flowers.

I hope this short list has got you thinking about the things you have around the house that you can repurpose into herb containers.

What's the most unusual container you've used for herbs? I grew a chamomile lawn in an old porcelain toilet...that was fun!


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