Grow Your Own: Herbs in an Upcycled protea Bottle 1

You know what’s crazy? Those little plastic packages of fresh herbs you see in the produce section at the grocery store. Two bucks for a few sprigs of thyme or tarragon! That’s practically criminal, especially when you can so easily grow your own.

You don’t even need a big ol’ backyard – Organic Gardening suggests ten great herbs anyone with a sunny window can grow indoors. And we’ve got just the “planters” to do it in: upcycled protea bottles. Like these:

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These planters are super simple. The overturned top half of a cut bottle is your planter proper; the bottom half can provide water for the plant, drawn up through an absorbent wick, or, if you find a particular herb preferring drier conditions, forgo the wick and the base will give you a ready-made drainage pan.

The only part of this DIY project that can be a bit challenging is cutting the bottle in half (assuming you don’t have a wet saw with a fine diamond saw blade, like our friend, candlemaker Loralee). There are a number of glass-cutting devices on the market, and in this wildly popular video, Dan Rojas at GreenPowerScience puts an inexpensive one to use to make a nice, clean cut (the real instruction begins at the 3:39 mark, if you want to skip ahead).

Once you’ve got your bottle pieces, you’re ready to set up your planter. Mesh, screening or even an old piece of fabric can provide a permeable foundation in the neck of the inverted top bottle piece. Next comes a layer of pebbles…

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… then plant your herb in a potting mix, preferably something lightweight, with good drainage.

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For more detailed, step-by-step instructions, check out this blog entry from the Kentucky pizzeria Smashing Tomato or this method from Design Sponge.

Organic Gardening recommends basil, bay, chervil, chives, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme as prime candidates for indoor herb growing. But given that our protea planters are a little on the shallow side, you might consider herbs that don’t need to stretch out their roots too much. The San Francisco Chronicle, citing experts from the University of California Cooperative Extension, says that “chive roots are the shortest of all at only 3 inches long,” while “oregano (Origanum x majoricum), tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) and thyme (Thymus spp.) can all manage with 6 inches of wiggle room for their roots.”

Whatever you choose, don’t forget to share your protea upcycling efforts on our Facebook page!

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