Self Watering Herb Gardens

Many people would like to venture into the world of herb growing, but worry about their busy lives or tendency toward a black thumb. With these self-watering herb gardens, you can grow delicious herbs without worrying about remembering to water them. A couple inches of water added to the water reserve of a self-watering planter will last most plants about 2-3 weeks, giving you peace of mind knowing you are not neglecting your plants. Simply place them in a sunny window and watch them flourish!

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Benefits of Self Watering

One of the most common mistakes made with plants is watering plants too frequently so that the soil remains moist continuously and causes root rot. For this reason, self-watering containers are the perfect method for growing herbs as a beginner. They rely on capillary action of water from a small water reserve, up a cotton wick, and into the soil to reach the roots of the plant. As the roots take up water, more water is sucked up from the water reserve and brought to the soil. This way, the plants get just the right amount of water without making the soil too moist

Materials Needed

To build these self-watering containers, you will need:

  • Herb seeds
  • Wide-mouth Mason jars OR 2-liter soda bottles as your growing container. (One per herb.)
  • Cotton string (4 six-inch long strands per container)
  • Cheese cloth
  • Rubber bands
  • Potting soil

Setting Up Planters for Herb Gardens

When using Mason jars:

  • Fill the jar with ~2 inches of water.
  • Tie the strands of string together with a knot about two inches up on the string.
  • Cut a small hole in the cheese cloth. Thread the short part of the string through the cheese cloth.
  • Lower the cheese cloth into the jar until the tips of the short end of string touch the bottom of the jar. Use rubber bands to secure the cheesecloth over the lip of the jar.
  • Fill the cheesecloth incrementally with potting soil to about 1” below the top of the jar, making sure to thread the string up through the soil. This will allow water from below to travel up the string and disperse throughout the soil.
  • Plant your herb seeds, one type of herb per jar.

When using 2-liter soda bottles:

  • Remove the labels and cut the bottles in half.
  • Tie the strings together as noted above.
  • Drill a small ¼” hole in the center of each cap.
  • Insert the short ends of the tied wicks up through the hole in the cap, so that the ends are sticking out the top and the knot is sitting on the bottom. Screw the cap back onto the mouth of the bottle with the long ends of the string tucked into the bottle.
  • Fill the lower half of the bottle with about 2” of water.
  • Put the upper half of the bottle upside-down into the lower half, so that the short ends of the strings are sitting in the water. Your bottle now forms a vase with a water reserve underneath.
  • Fill the upper portion as described above, stringing the wick up through the soil to distribute the water. Plant your seeds, and watch them grow!

As always, Big Earth Landscape Supply is your one stop shop when beautifying your lawn and gardens. Whether cultivating flower beds or laying sod, we have what you need. Stop by one of our area locations today for ideas, inspiration and advice.