Do It Yourself: Herb Gardening

ProjectsElizabeth Ramos

The DIY ethic is the heart of America's craft movement. This ever growing spirit of "I can do that" inspires people to better living where they waste less and frequently spend less. Indie Craft Parade whole heartedly embraces ventures that help people become more independent, so we're going to include a series of posts where we help you make your own accessories and home decor, or enhance your life using tools you already have, or as in today's post, help you grow your own food. Now I'm not talking about becoming independent of the food industry or even digging up your backyard to plant a full vegetable garden. We're starting at the simplest level of food provision--planting an herb garden.

Photos courtesy of this post from the very inspiring photography blog From Me to You.

I love herbs! I have a small container garden just off our back porch, and few things make me happier in the summer than clipping off those fragrant greens to stir into dinner at the last minute. The best thing is, many herbs are ridiculously easy to take care of (even for us with the blackest of thumbs), and making a little container garden is so stinking cheap! For the price of buying fresh herbs at the grocery store, you can make an herb planter that will last you the entire season. Herbs also provide some basic health benefits. They're a great way to add flavor while cutting back on fats and salt.

You probably already have most (if not all) of the materials you need for starting your own herb garden. But here is a basic list:

1) Small containers--at least 6" in diameter so your plants have room to grow (recycled cans with holes poked in the bottom work great if you don't already have cast off flower pots)

2) Fine potting soil

3) Seeds or starter plants--this late in the season, I would definitely recommend starter plants

4) A sunny spot such as a porch, patio, or even a window sill that receives a few hours of good sunlight every day

5) Watering device--herbs don't need a ton of water, but they do like to have it consistently (if you want to get all fancy, you can buy an inexpensive watering systems at your local hardware store)

Now, I'm by no means a knowledgable gardener, but I have had great luck with my herbs. Here is a list of herbs that I have found to grow well in the hot summers of South Carolina: Basil, Rosemary, Oregano (mine comes back year after year now), Thyme, Parsley, Tarragon, and Mint. I have NOT had any luck with Cilantro or Chamomile. I think the heat just does them in too early in the season.

Hopefully you're inspired to go out and try a little gardening of your own. Here are a few parting tips that will make your experience even better.

If you don't mind doing a little research, the Clemson Extension website has this awesome guide on growing and harvesting a variety of herbs.