Five Happy Herb Ideas

Fresh picked herbs add a new dimension to any feast, pesto, garnish… but I won’t lie, one of my favourite parts of growing my own herbs is creating cute little posies to give away to friends. Yes, I do understand that you may not have the same flakey reasons for growing your own, but these little bunches do so make me (and the recipients) happy. So that’s what I’m growing – smiles.

Easy and green ideas for growing and storing herbs - the herb posie

Garden beds and pots are the obvious ways of growing anything, but not all of us have the luxury of space. So I’ve gathered some ideas on how to make the most of small spaces, walls, window sills etc to grow some manageable and happy herbs.

five happy herb ideas - growing a flourishing herb garden
Here is a photo of my rooftop herb garden. It is flourishing away despite being planted on a whim and being left out in the elements to fend for themselves. The pots from Bunnings said “Self Watering”. Pretty self explanatory really. But don’t take that to mean “no attention of any kind needed” which has been my approach. I think I got lucky on the positioning, otherwise the crop would have withered away within minutes.

five happy herb ideas - growing a flourishing herb garden
If you are after a more thorough guide on what to plant, how and when then you may want to check out these two books. I read them in detail about 6 months prior to getting around to the actual planting, so maybe some of the readings subconsciously made their way into what eventuated as a very hap-hazard flurry of potting mix and seedlings on the day of planting.

The Edible Balcony and Small Space Organics:

five happy herb ideas - growing a flourishing herb garden
So here they are. A selection of achievable, repurposed ideas for growing your own herbs using everyday items and without the need for green of thumbs. These ideas were found from a variety of great sites, so take a look at each link for more information and detailed instructions.

Growing herbs in glass jars, tins and teacups
One of the keys to growing anything is to make sure there is enough drainage and you may be thinking that glass jars don’t drain well. Well, you be right… but you can fill the bottom of the jar so that it creates a separation from the soil above and allows a space for the water to drain into.

This idea will give you an assortment of cute potted herbs to display around your home. And with them being so mobile, you can move them in and out of the sun and away from any weather extremes that would destroy them.
growing herbs in mason jars Photo Credits: http://www.lifecouldbeadreamblog.com/2013_07_01_archive.html

You could go a step further and paint on a chalkboard label similar this. Here are the steps to creating some of this additional cuteness.
Easy DIY Projects with Chalkboard Paint

The same concept can be used for tins, teacups and any other vessels (as long as they are cute to display – that part is essential ;)  ).

Photo Credits: http://www.rarasuperstar.com/blogs/ra-ra-superstar/tagged/diy-mini-herb-garden-tea-cup-planting-vintage-planting-gardening

Growing herbs in wooden crates
I often come across so many wooden crates when I wander through my local weekend markets. You should be able to find beautifully weathered vintage ones often for under $20 each. Half the fun is going on a gathering mission through markets and second hand shops.
Weekend Markets: a treasure trove of unique finds

They are perfect for growing herbs in and look great too. If there are large gaps in the crate then all you need to do is staple-gun some weed matting on the inside so there is no soil leakage. Beyond herbs, you can grow lettuce and other crops too.

 

Photo credit: http://www.digginfood.com/2011/06/update-on-wooden-crate-planter-boxes

Growing herbs in bamboo steamers
As it turns out, the simple design of the bamboo steamer is great for growing herbs in. I like to think of this method as representative of the whole life cycle of a herb from growing, harvesting and steaming them up in a dumpling.  Take a look at the link below for a great guide on how to convert these inexpensive containers (only a few dollars from your Asian grocer) into thriving herb gardens. I think these looks so good as functional displays in the kitchen.
Easy and green ideas for growing your own herb garden - bamboo steamerPhoto Credits: http://www.homelife.com.au/gardening/features/bamboo+steamer+herb+garden,4940

plastic bottle vertical display
Way too many plastic bottles out there. You know it, I know it… we all know it but there aren’t that many things you can do with them except pile them into the recycle bin. Here’s a way you can put them to some good use.
Easy and green ideas for growing your own herb garden - plastic bottle vertical displayPhoto credits: http://www.1001gardens.org/2013/01/suspended-bottles-herb-garden

Here’s another way to start the process:
Easy and green ideas for growing your own herb garden - plastic bottle herb gardenPhoto credits: http://www.lipstickandchopsticks.com/post/26335235565/be-green-reuse-plastic-bottles

Growing herbs in wooden pallets
Anyone who is familiar with the blog knows I love my pallets. They are sturdy, easy to source and their versatile design means you can use them to create anything from a coffee table to a herb garden.

They can be sourced from industrial sites for a few dollars or some places give them away for free. You’ll be doing the planet a favour and saving them from landfill. When I had a backyard, there would always be a pallet or two at any given time, just waiting to be transformed and incorporated into a styling project.

This site gives you a step-by-step guide on how to create a pallet garden:

Photo credits: http://lifeonthebalcony.com/how-to-turn-a-pallet-into-a-garden

Once you have tried out this method once, you’ll want to fill more outdoor vertical spaces in this style – flowers, succulents, cacti… you’re only limited by your imagination.
pallet gardenPhoto credits: http://homes.ninemsn.com.au/diy/craftprojects/8383807/vertical-pallet-garden 

five happy herb ideas - growing a flourishing herb garden
With planning and a dash of luck, your herbs will really take off. Once you’ve inundated friends with cute posies of herbs, you may want to store the rest for when your fresh bounty has dwindled. There are a few ways of doing this like drying them, freezing some, or this method which is to simply store them in ice cube trays submerged in oil. Then when you are ready to cook with them, you can just pop the cube out and start cooking away. I’ve tried this myself and it really does work a treat. I used Cobram Estate Organic Australian Grown olive oil and would highly recommend it for this… and just about anything in the kitchen.

Photo credits: http://www.thekitchn.com/freeze-herbs-in-olive-oil-173648

Easy and green ideas for growing and storing herbs - The Gorman Harvest Range
And on a slightly random note, I happened to walk past the Gorman store in Newtown when they had this adorable display up titled “Harvest Collection“. The universe was clearly trying to tell me something here. So I don’t know if I can pull off this veggie print dress, but I’m sure going to try! It’s just to cute to pass by.

 

Sold on growing your own herbs yet? Did I have you at “cute posie”? I hope I’ve managed to show you how simple it is to create your own little haven of scented, delicious greens. And you don’t need a large garden space, just a little sunlight and some imagination. If you get your own herb garden growing, then email us in a picture and we’ll feature them here on this post.

Happy herbing everyone.

Hillary and Dijon - Surangi

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