Living in the city, I hear “but I don’t have the space for that” all the time. As a designer with a love of beautiful accent pieces, I probably understand this dilemma more than most! Recently, a client turned this phrase while lamenting her interest in plants and herbs for her small midtown condo. She enjoys cooking with fresh ingredients and was interested in having a small herb garden to pull from for her culinary creations. Well, I knew just how to fix her right up. Here are a few tips for creating your very own herb garden for a small space.
First things first, you have to pick out the perfect container to house your herb garden. If real estate is all about location, location, location; then small scale herb gardens are all about containers, containers, containers! Look at the space where you plan to place the finished product, while thinking about the overall aesthetic of your space and how many herbs you would like to cultivate. Keep in mind that you will need to provide some sort of drainage. I chose a galvanized oblong container for my client, as she planned to place it on a rectangular outdoor table.
Next choose your herbs. Remember that you want to select herbs that are useful in your dishes and that don’t require a full harvest for each use (let’s not plan on making a pesto from a windowsill basil plant!). You can use any herbs that you love; we chose mint (for juleps), parsley (for garnish), and sage (for chicken). Obviously, the larger the container the more you can include (there it is again: container, container, container!).
I used a common household waste bag as a liner, to prevent the container from corroding. For proper drainage I added some small gravel in the bottom of the vessel to ensure the herbs are never sitting in water. This is a great option for metal containers, as it eliminates the need to drill holes through the metal. Just make sure that your container is deep enough to accommodate about an inch of gravel at the bottom.
Finally, for a finished look I added sheet moss. Not only does it look great around the base of any potted plant, it helps the soil retain moisture. Most people think about mulching outside, but it’s just as important inside where our air is usually drier.
All done! Now, just place this beauty in an area that gets ample sunlight, don’t forget to keep it watered, and harvest your herbs by pinching or snipping them off on a regular basis. Better yet, if you’re in Atlanta you can skip all the previous steps and stop by Simply Put Paper and Gift to pick up one of my finished products!