There is something about herbs gardening that is so uplifting; this could be down to the wonderful smells the little plants give off. If you’ve done it once, you could easily become an advocate for legislation requiring everybody to have a herb garden no matter the size and whether indoors or outdoors.
As a gardener, there is simply no excuse not to grow herbs. As well as being very easy to maintain, herb gardens are also very versatile. And this versatility makes a potable herb garden one of the easiest garden projects to undertake. There are just a few activities more satisfying than cooking with fresh herbs straight out of your own garden
Knowing how to make a portable herb garden, like most farming projects, requires a bit of patience. If you are an enthusiastic DIYer and love gardening too, creating the portable herb garden would just be another worthwhile project that matches your lifestyle.
So if you are ready to have a bit of fun making a portable herb garden, let’s get right down to it. Your reward of course is fresh herbs anytime you need them instead of the dried, shop-bought variety.
Things To Know About Herb Gardening
- Like all plants, herbs require lots of sunshine to grow properly. Whether you want to locate the garden on the porch, verandah, deck, or patio, ensure the plants are placed where they can get the most sunshine daily. At least 6 hours of sunshine is the recommended daily exposure.
- Some herbs, like basil, do better outdoors where they can get an average of 8 hours of sunshine daily. On the other hand, herbs like parsley, some species of thyme, mint, and lemon balm among others would do well indoors with limited sunshine.
Generally, the rule is herbs that do well in partially shady areas outdoors would also thrive indoors.
- A soil with good drainage is necessary for growing herbs. No matter the painter you use, ensure the potting mix includes materials that promote proper drainage such as fine sand. Also, adding some grit, small pebbles, or sand at the bottom of the container or planter is strongly recommended.
If you are using planters or containers that hold moisture easily (glass and plastic containers are perfect examples), you could place activated coal at the bottom before adding your soil.
- Over-watering is bad for herbs. It’s the number one killer of the plants. Before watering, ensure the top one inch of soil is dry. This precaution is especially important for indoor herbs.
- For excellent growth, use weak fertilizer weekly. This won’t be necessary if your potting mix is well-made with all the right ingredients.
- Always remember to cut and use the herbs. If you don’t want to use them, you could give the cut herbs to neighbors. Cutting is essential for encouraging new growth.
How To Make A Portable Herb Garden
The process of making a portable herb garden can be grouped under these broad headings:
- Selecting planters or containers
- Creating a potting mix (soil)
- Adding the potting mix to the planters
- Planting the herbs
Choosing your planters
The definitive word when it comes to portable herb gardens is ‘portable’. Whatever planter you choose, it mustn’t be so bulky or heavy that it would be difficult to move from one location to the next. You should be thinking small planters or containers.
The size and portability of the garden are what makes it versatile. Anything can be a planter as long as it can hold the soil for planting. As would be seen below, you could even use huge planters. But the addition of wheels underneath makes them very portable. This underlines the point that sometimes, portability is not always a function of size.
Some planter ideas for portable herb garden
Mason jars and milk carrier – This is simple to make. All you have to do is have as many Mason jars that can fit into the milk carrier.
Before pouring your potting mix in the jars, cover the bottom of each jar with pebbles. Then transplant your preferred herbs to each jar. You might want to label the jars with the name of the plant.
Finally, place the jars in the milk carrier. This makes it convenient to move the pants to any location either indoors or outdoors.
Wooden crates – If you can get hold of standard wooden crates, they would be perfect for the project. All you need to make it portable is to affix 4 locking caster wheels to the bottom of each crate.
With the wheels under, the crates containing the soil with the planted herbs can be moved easily to any location.
If the crates are not too big, you could make handles on the sides for carrying instead of using wheels. Handles can be created by cutting out holes for holding or attaching a strong lanyard to the sides of the crates.
Wooden planters – If there are no wooden crates, you could make wooden planters with pieces of wood. The size and shape don’t matter as long as the planter is small and can be moved easily.
Wheelbarrow – Portability doesn’t get any better than the old wheelbarrow in the garage. Simply clean it to remove dirt and other unwanted stuff. Add your potting mix over gravels and plant the herbs. Your portable harden is fully ready
Clay pots – Clay pots are a classic when it comes to micro-gardening. You can get as many as you want from any store and plant your herbs in them.
Shelves – You could buy or make a multilayered shelf for your portable garden. This is so convenient since you can keep multiple pots, jars, and other containers on each layer.
And if the shelf comes with a handle at the top, carrying the herbs won’t be a problem. You could even hang the shelf from a nail on a suitable wall whether indoors or outdoors.
These are just some planter ideas you could use for the herb garden. As mentioned earlier, if you are good with tools, with a little creativity there is no limit to the planter designs you can come up with. Some folks go for designs that also serve as decorative pieces.
Generally, as far as planters are concerned, anything that can hold the potting mix, no matter how small, would do just fine. Even a large coffee mug can be used to grow herbs!
To avoid confusion, always remember to label each container or planter clearly.
How To Make Potting Mix for Portable Herb Garden
One of the best-kept secrets of a successful herb garden is making your own soil. Known as potting mix, making it allows you to customize the soil to match the types of herbs you intend to grow.
Another reason for DIY potting soil is that it saves you a bit of money especially if you have several planters and are in this for the long haul. But if your plants or containers are few and you don’t intend to keep planting herbs, buying pre-made soil from a store is a better option.
You would need the following items:
- Peat moss (about 10 quarts)
- 5 quarts of Vermiculite
- 5 quarts of Perlite
- 5 quarts of compost (screened or cow manure)
- Fine sand – about 2 cups would be okay
- Half a cup of lime ( an effective neutralizer of the acidic peat; it raises the pH to almost neutral;
- 2 cups of fertilizer pellets
If you want more potting mix, simply increase all the ingredients above while sticking to the ratios. Or, you could do another mix if the first one isn’t enough.
Instructions – Pour all the ingredients above in a container that is big enough to handle everything. Mix thoroughly using a garden trowel.
Things to keep in mind
- Garden soil or dirt is not recommended when making a potting mix.
- Lighter, loose, and porous potting mix are better for portable herb gardens. Aside from their good drainage, they transport water, fertilizer, and air to roots systems faster and more efficiently.
- Sulfur can be applied to lower the pH if the soil is too alkaline
- Add extra sand and perlite for more drainage
- For greater moisture retention, simply add more peat or Vermiculite to the mix.
Transferring the potting mix to the planters/containers
At this point, the heavy lifting is already done. Before adding the potting mix to the containers, cover the bottom with pebbles to help with drainage and aeration.
Then use a trowel and fill the containers with your potting mix. Stop at about half an inch from the top of each container or planter.
Transplant your herbs
You can now transplant the seedlings to the various planters. Of course, you could use start simply plant the seeds instead if you have some.
With the right know-how, a portable herb garden is quite easy to make. All it takes are the right potting mix (soil), and containers/planters for a blooming garden to be created by even a novice.
Two things should be borne in mind though: the containers must be the right size or design so they can be moved easily. Also, normal garden soil should not be used to grow herbs. The best soil for the herbs is a potting mix that can be made at home or bought in stores.
And with the almost unlimited design options for planters, a herb garden is an awesome way to add natural beauty to the environment while providing fresh edible herbs.