I Never Promised You an Herb Garden.

Outdoor Patio Herb Garden

This is correct.  I did not promise you one.  But, surprise!  Here you go!  As you can see, I did some planting this weekend, along with some serious straightening up out back.  I’d love to say that I was “working out in the yard”, but I’m not sure a giant brick and concrete box qualifies as such.

I’ll post about my big outside clean up soon, since it’s a pretty good before and after.  Basically we had a legit concrete jungle on our hands that needed serious taming.  And I mean that quite literally.  Check out this sneak peak “before” picture; the Ivy was about one week shy of grazing the floor.  Gross.Yard Before

I’ve been wanting to plant a small herb garden behind our house for some time, and even bought a big tin planter at Ikea a few months ago with big dreams of little herbs.  But I didn’t really know where to start, nor was I confident in my planting skills.  (As B would gladly tell you, I have the blackest thumb this side of Broad street.)

But as luck would have it, an herb planting genie fell into my lap this Saturday!  Well, fell onto my couch more accurately describes how it happened.  MKY & CW paid us a visit while in town to see some of the Phillies/Sox series this weekend, and it was while relaxing on our couches during A’s afternoon nap that I learned of CW’s ninja warrior herb planting skills.  Side note, I’m not sure why I’m describing him like this.  I think it’s because B has that new show “American Ninja Warrior” on in the background and it has me slightly amped up.  But CW knows what he’s talking about and gave me the low down on how best to grow an herb-an garden.  And the motivation to finally get on it!  A few of his tips:

  • Need to use large pots with holes on the bottom so water will be able to drain out
  • Most herbs require full to part sun, so be sure you have a spot to put them that will get sun
  • Basil takes up a lot of space – plant it on it’s own and make sure it has lots of room to grow
  • Likewise with mint
  • Most other herbs can be grouped together in a big planter
  • Be sure to water the herbs regularly

So armed with this information I headed over to Home Depot on Sunday morning and picked up the remaining supplies that I would need for my garden:

  • Herbs (HD had a great selection!  I would have liked more locally grown items, but this is my first attempt at this and these were pretty budget friendly).  I went with: Tarragon, Cilantro, Parsley, Greek Oregano, 2 Peppermint plants, 2 Sweet Basil plants, and Thai Basil.  Total cost for 9 plants: $30
  • 2 10″ Terra Cota pots @ $5 each: $10
  • Large bag of garden and vegetable planting soil (we had some very old soil from planting window boxes last summer, but I wanted something that was made for vegetables/herbs – I need all the help I can get!): $7
One thing I had to do before I started planting was to make holes in the metal planter from Ikea, since it did not have any.  To do this I just hammered a nail into the bottom of the pail a few times and wriggled it around in each hole to widen the openings.
Then, as CW instructed me, I planted the Sweet Basil plants in one pot together:

Outdoor Patio Herb Garden - Sweet Basil

And the Peppermint plants in another:

Outdoor Patio Herb Garden - Peppermint

And lastly, here are (clockwise from top) my Cilantro, Parsley, Tarragon, and Greek Oregano plants:

Outdoor Patio Herb Garden - Multi Herbs

I’m really happy with how everything turned out and am enjoying the new greenery in our urban scenery.  And the herbs are subtly fragrant when you’re out there too, which is nice and refreshing.  KP has been sniffing away at them.  I don’t think she’s ever seem herbs before now that I think of it.

So that’s the story of my weekend herb garden.  In total it was less than two hours of planning, shopping, planting, and it cost about $47.  Not the cheapest “quick little upgrade”, but the bulk of that expense was for the actual herbs, which came out to about $3 a pop.  Considering I won’t have to buy $1.99 bunches of basil, parsley, mint, etc. all summer when I want to make a Caprese salad or spruce up grilled fish or chicken, I think I’ll be able to save some money in the long run.

The one last thing I’d like to do is DIY some chalkboard signs for the herbs.  I have the tacky plastic ones in there now so I don’t forget which plant is which, but I’m thinking something like the signs below that I’ve found online would complete the look.  The last two are actually for sale on Etsy, and I recall Pottery Barn carrying some a few years back, but I’m sure those were ridiculously overpriced.  These are definitely something I’d rather make than buy.  So I’m going to design and create my own sometime soon.  Not for at least a week though – because don’t forget – we’re on VACATION starting Wednesday!

Chalkboard Garden Stakes - Lisa Holtzman Calligraphy

Source: Lisa Holtzman Calligraphy

Chives Chalkboard Sign - Sierra Metal Design via Etsy

Source: Sierra Metal Design Via Etsy

Mint Chalkboard Sign - Sierra Metal Design via Etsy

Source: Sierra Metal Design Via Etsy


6 thoughts on “I Never Promised You an Herb Garden.

  1. Love these tips. I’ve been dreaming of a vegetable garden since I acquired the lot next to my house. Thought about feeding the children, eating healthy and making it a neighborhood tourist attraction – Pah!.
    I have some very good ideas on where to start and will give this a shot in a couple weeks.
    Good stuff SMF – love reading these. Haven’t done my closet organizing from the post a couple months back but I’m on it.

  2. Pingback: A Sign of Things to Bloom. | keep it neat

  3. Pingback: Concrete Jungle Upgrade: Hand & Sand Me Down. | keep it neat

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