It's summer which means it is the perfect time for growing! I have the perfect project for beginner (or expert!) gardeners today - how to start a herb garden for less than $11!
I have always loved to garden but it's only been in the last few years that I've started to go a little crazy with our huge vege garden. Before that though, I always grew herbs in a small planter on our front porch. Some people like to grow flowers and that's fine, but in my opinion herbs are easier to grow, just as pretty, smell delicious and bonus....you can eat them! A herb garden is the perfect thing to have if you like to cook - how many times have you bought a bunch of cut fresh herbs only to leave them in the vege drawer of your fridge and find them wilted a week later, unusable! And even if you don't like cooking so much, a bit of fresh basil chopped with tomatoes makes the perfect bruschetta.
There are only 3 things you need to start your herb garden - herbs, a planter box and potting mix, so let's get into it! Also, feel free to shop around if you like, I picked products all from Bunnings to make it easy - 1 trip and you're done. But any home improvement store will have the same or similar options for pretty comparable prices.
- 1x 26L flexi tub - $2.94
- 1x 40L bag of potting mix - $5.75
- Herbs of choice - (the herb mix I found was $2 for 4 plants)
Total cost: NZD$10.69
See...cheap and easy! Let's go into a bit more detail about what you need.
I was super excited to find a mixed pack of 4 herbs including 2x basil plants, 1x parsley and 1x coriander/cilantro at Bunnings for only $2. These are definitely the 3 herbs I use the most often in the kitchen so it's the perfect starter pack. If you would prefer to you can choose other herbs - there are so many options!
Tip: Choose herbs based on what you like to cook and eat - if you don't like coriander/cilantro, don't plant it! Also plant based on the time of year. Parsley, sage, rosemary, oregano and thyme do well all year round whereas basil is more of a summer herb, so plant accordingly. Also, many herbs can be planted from cuttings so if you know someone who has an amazing herb garden, go and take cuttings from there!
Obviously an essential. I chose this 26L plastic flexi tub which you can pick up for less than $3 from Bunnings. It's perfect for herbs, inexpensive, light (it's plastic) but is still nice to look at! You can choose your colour...I went for boring grey because it matches the trim on my house but go nuts with bright green if you want! My aunty has always grown herbs and lettuces and even peppers in these and she said they are awesome! You just need to drill a few drainage holes in the bottom before you fill it up.
Another option is to buy an actual planter box for around $8 - slightly more expensive but still a great option, especially as they come with drainage holes in them already. But if you have old pots or anything lying around your house, use them - you don't need to spend a lot of money on a container for your herbs.
You only need enough potting mix to fill your planter but it is often way cheaper to buy a large bag. Mine was $5.75 for a 40L bag and I couldn't find a smaller bag that was less than $4, so if you have somewhere to store it, I would buy a big bag and hold onto it for when you need to refill your planter box. Or make 2! I just bought the standard, cheapest available potting mix - it does the job perfectly.
Once you've bought your materials it's time to get planting!
Drill about 10 holes about 1cm (⅓") in diameter in the bottom of your planter tub (if using one that doesn't have drainage already)
Fill the planter box almost to the top with the potting mix.
Dig 4 evenly spaced holes that are slightly deeper and wider than the cells that the herb plants are in.
Gently remove the plants from the cells by pressing up from the bottom of the pot and place the plant in the hole you dug. Fill in around the plant with the potting mix and gently press down so that the plant is nice and snug in there!
Once all of your herbs are planted give the planter box a really good water. A good rule of thumb is to water until you start seeing water trickling out of the drainage holes at the bottom - this way you know it's had a really good soaking.
Optional but super cute - make little markers with popsicle sticks! Just in case you forget what you planted. I wrote on them with a regular ballpoint pen. Easy as.
Now all that's left to do is to keep the garden watered (just enough to keep the potting mix damp, so every few days is fine) and enjoy using the fresh herbs that you have grown in the kitchen!