How to Create a Countertop Container Herb Garden

How to Create a Countertop Container Herb Garden

A countertop container herb garden in the kitchen is a wonderful way to have fresh, organic herbs for your family all year round. Aside from providing flavor, potted herbs also add color to your kitchen and become part of your kitchen décor. Create your own compact, indoor herb garden with these simple steps.

1. Choose your herbs

Consider planting herbs that you plan to enjoy regularly and that grow well indoors.

For a culinary herb garden, basil is an excellent choice due to its sweet taste, versatility, and hardiness. Mint is a fragrant and flavorful herb that’s great in desserts, cocktails, and tea. Sage is an attractive herb commonly used in savory dishes or salads, and is valued for its medicinal properties.

Other tasty and easy-to-grow choices are chives, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, parsley, and thyme.

2. Collect Materials for your countertop garden

• Pots and Planters: Virtually anything can be used as an herb planter, including recycled tin cans, which are actually quite charming and eco-friendly to boot. Choose cans that are at least 6 inches deep so roots have room to grow. Get creative and use plastic ice cream tubs, water jugs, plastic milk containers, or anything else you can drill holes into for drainage.

• Seedlings: Planting seedlings, or transplants, requires less time, care and effort to maintain than starting with seeds.

• Potting soil: Unlike garden soil, potting soil is light and drains well, making it ideal for container gardens.

• Drainage supplies: You will need a large ceramic or clay plant saucer, gravel and pebbles, and a drill with a small bit.

Prepare the containers

Remove the label and any ink stamped on the cans. Wash your chosen container thoroughly, since lingering bacteria could hinder the plant’s survival, and then allow the containers to dry. On the bottom of the cans, drill evenly spaced holes to allow for drainage.

Place a shallow layer of gravel or pebbles at the bottom of each can. Fill each can about two-thirds of the way with potting soil.

The large plant saucer will serve as a catch basin during watering. Simply fill it with a level layer of pebbles then arrange the cans on top of it later on.

3. Assemble your countertop garden

Adding the plants

Remove the transplants from their pots and gently loosen the roots with your fingers so the roots will have an easier time spreading throughout the new container. When choosing transplants, the ones that have a thick ball of roots that extend all the way to the sides of the container are the strongest and will be easier to care for. Make a hole in the potting soil to accommodate the roots of the transplant. Drop the transplant in, and fill in the open space with more soil.

Watering and fertilizing

Water your plants regularly, but keep in mind that different herbs absorb water at varying rates. Before watering, check the soil moisture. Ideally, the soil should feel slightly damp. If the soil feels soggy, hold off on the water to avoid drowning the roots.
Herbs don’t require much fertilizer, so a sprinkle of commercial fertilizer once or twice a month should be sufficient.

Proper light and temperature

Most herbs need at least 5 – 7 hours of sunlight every day, so place your garden in a south-facing window if possible. Otherwise, you may need to move the plants around during the day to catch the sun. Consider using grow lights if your house is shaded and no sunny windows are available.

Indoor herbs prefer temperatures between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a warm climate, monitor your plants so they don’t get overheated.

Whether or not you have a green thumb, try your hand at creating a countertop container herb garden. It’s simple, inexpensive, and adds great joy to your cooking and gardening experience.

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