Growing fresh herbs at home is one of the best ways to enhance your day-to-day life. Unfortunately, some of us don’t have the luxury of a lot of space for gardening. But, there’s no need to fret. With a little planning, a versatile indoor garden won’t hog your space.
Here are some tips to get you started.
Where do you plan to place your herb wall garden go? What is its weight-bearing capacity? You can mount a hanging garden on a wall or from the ceiling. If you can’t drill holes where you live, you can construct a free-standing frame with a ladder or a simple shelf system.
Most herbs grow best in direct indoor sunlight. Rooms with windows facing West or South are best for hanging herb gardens. If you need light supplement, there are tons of indoor grow lights to choose from.
Assess how much light you are already working with. Most herbs need six to eight hours of light each day. If you only need a little extra light, white LED Christmas lights can provide meaningful support to your plants. For year-round indoor herb gardening, you will need something more robust that is designed to comprehensively support plants.
Once you know where your hanging herb garden will go, the rest depends on your skills, tools, and how you want it to look. Ideas and tutorials for DIY vertical gardens are endless.
- Wall Mounted Pouches. A simple hanging herb garden can be made from a door-mounted shoe rack or landscaping fabric stapled into pockets. No drilling necessary. If you use a shoe rack, you will need to make small holes in each pouch for drainage. There are commercial vertical garden pouch systems out there, but these are super easy to DIY with landscaping fabric and a staple gun.
- Wall Mounted Pots. Mount decorative lattice, steel mesh, or other connecting support to the wall, and arrange hanging planters. You can also securely attach a clip to regular pots, or wrap heavy wire around the frame and the pot you will be using. You can buy a wall-mounted planter with pots, or individual mounted pots.
- Wood Pallets. Staple landscaping fabric to the back and bottom of a wood pallet, fill with soil, and mount on your wall. You can also mount pots to hang outside a colorful, mounted wood pallet.
- Vertical Garden Modules. A variety of brands make mountable frames in connecting shapes and sizes for vertical gardens. This option offers the most style with the least-intense DIY factor.
Your main limitation is the weight-bearing capacity of your garden space. If you cannot secure your garden to studs, choose a lighter weight material like cloth pockets, and consider over-door mounting.
Since you will be eating these herbs, take extra caution before up-cycling any objects to plant into. Ensure that it isn’t made of any potentially toxic material, coating, or lining.
Plastic is lightweight, but some plastics and PVC can leech into the soil. If your structure can bear some weight, terra cotta and glazed pottery make ideal planters.
Attach part of a tarp or shower curtain behind your garden structure to ensure your wall isn’t stained by soil or damaged by moisture. You can cut it to the shape of the planter, or leave it whole as a colorful panel behind the planters. Use a pan or pans underneath your garden to protect your floor from excess moisture at watering time.
The world of indoor gardening kits includes hydroponic systems and tube irrigation systems. Hydroponic systems will require you to add liquid nutrients more frequently. If you want to grow organic, you should not build PVC hydroponics. There are other options.
Your herbs are unlikely to have identical watering needs, so the most ideal scenario requires your attention and daily care. Check on the moisture level in each plant every day, and when they seem dry at the surface, add just enough water to saturate their soil.
The intensity of the sunlight due to changing seasons or weather can influence how much water your plants use on any given day.
Choose Your Herbs
Quite a few different culinary herbs can thrive in an indoor garden. Let your taste buds guide your selection. Then shop for dwarf or compact varieties of the herbs you want, and learn whether it is best to start them from seeds or plant starts. For example, basil and cilantro will produce good plants from seed, but it’s best to start mint from a baby plant.
Most herbs do best in very well-drained soil. There is a delicate balance to strike between good drainage and sufficient moisture. Plants grown in containers can only grow roots as deep as the pot or pouch in which they are planted, and they cannot draw on a large plot of soil for moisture or nutrients. Indoor herbs need all the support you can give them, so get a high-quality potting mix without peat or other water-retention medium. A sustainable ingredient in potting mixes for drainage is coconut coir.
The most important part of creating a successful indoor wall herb garden is patience. It will take some experimentation to get your herb collection all happily growing at the same time. With time, care, and flexibility, your daily practice of tending to your herb garden can become a treasured ritual in your home life.