Countertop Garden Ideas: Learn How To Make A Countertop Garden
Maybe you have no garden space or very little or maybe it’sthe dead of winter, but either way, you’d love to grow your own greens andherbs. The solution could be right at your fingertips – a countertop kitchengarden. Interested in learning how to make a countertop garden? The following articlecontains some terrific countertop garden ideas or inspiration for an idea ofyour own.
What is a Countertop Kitchen Garden?
A countertop kitchen garden is exactly what it sounds like,a garden on a miniature scale in the kitchen. It can be simply made or you canspend some money, sometimes quite a bit of money, on a prefab setup. Acountertop garden can be as simple as rinsed out aluminum cans that serve asfree pots or a bit more costly with a unit such as a grow light garden or an aquaponicsetup.
How to Make a Countertop Garden
First thing is first – where are you going to put acountertop garden? If a surfeit of space is immediately apparent, then it’stime to do some clean up or think about hanging gardens. Next, thing toconsider is your budget. If money is no object, then options are abundant; butif you barely have two cents to rub together, the above mentioned repurposedtin cans should do the trick.
A kitchen countertop garden does not have to be expensive orfancy. The basics for plant growth are light and water, easily obtained in akitchen. Really, a Chia Pet is an indoor garden so you can see that acountertop garden can be that easy to set up and care for.
For an inexpensive DIY kitchen countertop garden, you willneed a pot with drainage holes (or a tin can with holes poked in the bottom)and indoor potting soil or good quality regular potting soil that has beenamended with organic perlite.
If you are planting multiple plants together, be sure thatthey have the same watering requirements. Once the plants have been potted andwatered, put them in a sunny window that gets at least 6 hours per day ofsunlight.
If you are lacking light, you should invest in some growlights. You can also spur growth by simulating outdoor conditionswith a cool mist humidifier.
Additional Countertop Garden Ideas
There are quite a few garden kits available for purchase foruse as a garden in the kitchen. There are sprouting kits and towers, set upsspecific to growingherbs, soilless hydroponic units, and even an aquaponic garden thatgrows organic herbs and lettuce atop a fish tank. Greens aren’t your thing? Trya mushroom kit, an easy grow kit that sets up in a box that you water twice aday. Within 10 days, you can have your own organic mushrooms.
Give some thought to your indoor garden. Consider how muchspace you have, how much money you want to spend, time you wish to put into thegarden, and the type of crop you wish to grow. Do you have enough light and, ifnot, what are your options? If you decide on a garden or lighting system, doyou have an electrical source nearby?
The benefits of growing an indoor kitchen garden outweighany problems, like the easy access to fresh produce for starters and theability to control pests and diseases more easily. Many systems recycle waterso less is used and are specifically designed to maximize space and outputleaving little room for waste.
If at all possible, grow them outside
Yes, a spritely row of plants would be delightful on your kitchen windowsill. But most herbs would rather be outside. As Joey points out, most culinary herbs prefer full sun, which means at least six hours of direct sunlight a day. Unless you have an unobstructed south-facing window, chances are your plants won’t get enough light indoors.
Most homes are also too dry for herbs, which can put stress on plants and make them more susceptible to pests (basil is particularly vulnerable). Currently, I grow my herbs in the window cage next to our air conditioner. I may have to climb over my couch and hold the window open with my head in order to water them each morning, but the payoff of thriving dill, parsley, and mint plants is worth it. If outdoors truly is a no-go, put the herbs in the brightest spot in your apartment, even if it’s inconvenient to the kitchen.
Small Space DIY: Countertop Herb Garden
One of life’s chief pleasures is the simple act of plucking one’s own herbs from a kitchen garden. For city folk without outdoor space, it can be easy to feel left out. But here’s good news for urbanites not graced with an abundance of space: herbs–like New Yorkers–are happy to cram themselves into small spaces.
Read on for step-by-step instructions for making a DIY countertop herb garden:
Photography by Erin Boyle for Gardenista.
Above: All you need is one pot, five herbs, a bit of soil, plenty of sunshine and–presto–you have an herb garden. Above: As a rule of thumb, it’s nice to keep similar herbs with similar herbs. For this garden, I chose five with relatively woody stems: rosemary, sage, marjoram, oregano, and parsley. All of these herbs prefer relatively dry soil and lots of sunshine. Another good combination might be herbs that all prefer slightly wetter soil tarragon, chives, basil, and cilantro are examples. Above: Start with small plant starts (or start your own) and remember that because you’re hoping to grow multiple herbs in just one pot, you’ll need to trim plants frequently to keep the garden healthy. (If you have a cooking habit, this bit shouldn’t be a problem). N.B. If you’re hoping to grow lots of a particular herb–enough basil for pesto, for instance–consider potting it separately to give it room to grow in abundance. Above: Tiny Marjoram leaves belie the robust, sweet flavor $4.75 for a packet of seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Above: Common Sage is one of the most versatile culinary herbs, but it’s a great choice for your herbalist endeavors, too $4.75 for a packet of seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Above: Paravert Curly Parsley retains a compact shape, making it ideal for containers $3.65 for a packet of seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
A pot of herbs like this one can live happily on a sunny kitchen counter or tabletop. When it’s time to water it, place the entire pot in the kitchen sink allow it to drain completely after soaking. It’s not recommended to use a saucer or tray underneath the pot as herbs can rot relatively easily and won’t want to sit in standing water.
Above: Being able to snip herbs for an evening meal or cocktail is well worth the investment of pot and plants.
See our archive of Herb posts for more culinary inpiration. Dreaming of a full-size garden? See our Kitchen Garden posts.
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At Countertop Garden we are avid indoor and outdoor gardening enthusiasts. Over the years we have tested and tried many gardening kits and have grown our own indoor and outdoor garden. During the summer, we had outdoor gardens and during winter we would use gardening kits and sprouters to have year-round greens for the kitchen.
We will feature gardening techniques and best practices and gardening tips.
Countertop gardening will test indoor garden kits to grow indoor vegetables and sprouts and share the results with our readers. We will discover kitchen crafts and foods as well beautiful, inspirational kitchen gardens, decorations and design.