Hanging Herb Garden: A DIY Project

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It’s spring! And just like every year in spring, I uttered the same words this year: “It’d be nice to have my own herb garden.”

When I was browsing around on Pinterest, I came across this picture of the perfect hanging herb garden. It was my “Ahah! moment.” I thought to myself “I could have come up with that!” However the fact is, that I didn’t. I did end up putting it together because these things do not magically appear. And the rocking’ husband helped out.

We had a barren space of cinder block wall, right outside my kitchen in desperate need of some “decoration.” So a raingutter herb garden was the plan.

The How-To on Building Your Own Hanging Herb Garden:

We started with a shopping list:

  • 1 10ft white aluminum gutter
  • 4 end caps
  • Attachment thingies
  • Spray paint
  • Seeds: basil, mint, Italian parsley, chives, green onions, thyme
  • Potting soil

Note: if you want to cut the 10 ft. gutter in half, to make 2 planters of each 5 ft. long, make sure to get 2 right and 2 left end caps!!

In addition to my list, I brought my 4-year old helper to the hardware store – to help me out. Even if it was just for moral support. I think the promise of a Krispy Kreme doughnut afterwards was what convinced him.  Some would call that “bribing”, I prefer to call it “a special treat for a Mommy-Kai shopping adventure”.

We returned home with all our materials. Or, so I thought. Though I did have the foresight to bring home 2 right and 2 left end caps, the screws on the right were not the correct ones.  Hence, the big cross through them. The correct attachment-thingies will become obvious later.

The images on the packages with seeds made my mouth water. Now, let’s hope I can actually grow these.  (I have a hard time keeping plants and flowers alive – I admit.)

We took the 10 ft. rain gutter and cut it in half.  “Measure twice, cut once.”  That’s some valuable advice worth remembering. David used metal cutters for it and made it look so simple.

Cutting the gutters in half, leaves you with incredibly sharp edges. The ones that you do not want to have an argument with. So, I recommend to use some pliers and bend the sharp corners inwards, just to avoid any painful confrontations.

Next, you want to cap the ends of the 2 planters. You might have to wiggle the end a bit, but the caps go on pretty easily. Wear protective gloves. Did I mention those edges are sharp?

Now, if you like the creative white that the gutters come in, you can skip this next step. Our patio’s tones are chocolate brown and blue, so I figured that the herbs would look pretty stylish in a similar colored planter box. Spread out a plastic sheet on the street, get shakin’ with your spray paint and spray away. You will turn your plain gutter into a fancy little planter box in no-time.

For drainage, drill little holes in the bottom of the planters. You don’t want your herbs to swim in standing water. Drill from the outside -> in. That way, any sharp edges are on the inside. With a metal file you can file them off a bit. That way, when planting, or cleaning the boxes, you avoid the risk of scratching yourself on them.

Now, on to the “hanging” part of this project: these are the attachment-thingies that I was talking about earlier. Pretty snazzy.  They’re called “Hanger Brackets” (yes, some real creativity went into that name). For a 5 ft. planter you will need 3 of these to hold your garden in place. With a level and measuring tape (and preferably a second pair of hands) you measure out where you want to drill the holes for these hanger brackets. Mark the spots with a marker. Drill the holes and insert a “Roll Plug” in each hole. These plugs will wrap around the screw and keep them in place.

Next, you snap the Hanger Brackets on to the planters. And while one pair of hands holds the planters in place, the second pair uses the drill to drill the screws into the wall.

Et voilà!  They hang. Now, you mix up potting soil (the kind for herbs and veggies) with compost (oh yeah, we compost around here. Need some? Let me know!) and plant the seeds according to the instructions on their packages. Make sure to water them thoroughly to start the growing process.

Next, you pray to the Weather Gods for some spring weather and then the waiting is on. You wait and you wait some more. And one day (approximately 2-3 weeks after planting them), you will walk by and see this:

Yay, you birthed a(nother) baby! Watch them grow and enjoy the spice that they will bring to your life.

For delicious recipes that include some of these herbs, visit Marieke at M for Mommy.

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