towe herb garden

Plant a Tower Herb Garden

Tower Herb Garden: Tips for Planting

A tower herb garden is an efficient and beautiful way to grow a selection of your favorite herbs in a relatively small space.

For me, herbs are one of the essentials in my garden and my cooking. Mint, sage, rosemary, thyme, basil, parsley and oregano are my favourites. I have pots of them right outside, handy to the kitchen. Because I have lots of room, they each have their own container. Others reside in the garden – chives, garlic, more thyme and parsley, and a few others.

But not everyone has the space, or uses a lot of herbs.

Strawberry pots make useful upright containers not only for a small crop of strawberries, but for flowering annuals or a small herb garden. These pots, supplied by most garden centers, have several pockets or openings for placing plants in a vertical array.

tower herb garden

Using a strawberry pot for a small tower herb garden has several benefits. You can grow most of your favorite herbs, one to each opening or pocket. It can be placed on a balcony or on a patio near the kitchen for easy harvesting. You could even bring it inside as weather turns cold, so you have fresh herbs for your culinary creations throughout winter months.

Like any container grown plant, the weight of the pot and the dirt can make moving the container difficult. Another problem often found in using strawberry pots for the novice user is in watering the plants. Bottom plants often do not receive enough water, while the top openings can leak water and be quite messy.

Creating your tower herb garden

First of all, set a piece of broken clay pot or something similar over the bottom drainage hole so soil does not leach out. Set a layer of styrofoam chips or plastic chunks in the bottom for drainage that does not add weight. This should make the container lighter to move.

The next thing to prepare for is the watering your tower herb garden. This can easily be solved by inserting a column reservoir in the center of the pot. Depending on the size of your strawberry pot, a 2 litre plastic milk jug can be just the ticket for this. I’ve found that a length of 2 inch pvc pipe with a sealed bottom is the very best solution as it can be cut to whatever length you need- more on this later.

If you’re using a bottle, discard the bottle cap. Punch or drill holes all over the jug or bottle – down the sides and along the bottom. Don’t make these too large — you want the water to drip out slowly into the soil at all levels, not rush out quickly.

Attach a short piece of hose to the bottle neck, inserted into the jug and secured with duct tape. You will want this long enough to rise above the level of the soil you add so water can be easily added.

Now, place the jug into the center of the strawberry pot and start adding potting soil. As you come level with the pockets, gently insert the plants, taking care to spread out the roots and cover them with soil. Continue adding herbs and earth until you reach the top.

If you’re using the pvc pipe, make sure it’s a little longer than the container’s height. Seal the bottom, and drill holes along the pipe so water can leak out. Set it in the center, and fill the soil around the bottom to hold it in place. As you add soil and plants, make sure to keep it centered. The top should rise above the final soil level by at least an inch.tower herb garden

As you place your herbs, take into consideration the best placement. Make sure trailing ones will not cover ones that are more compact, and plant taller ones like chives and rosemary in the top opening. Keep invasive ones like mint in their own containers!

You may want to include marjoram, basil, thyme, parsley and sage in the pockets, along with some edible flowers like nasturtiums and pansies.

Can’t find a strawberry pot? Here’s a really easy way to make a tower for herbs, using 3 unglazed clay pots in gradated sizes and 2 large plastic pots. tower herb garden

 

Then, sit back and enjoy your harvest of fresh herbs from your tower herb garden all year long!

Find out more about herbs, how to grow them, and how to preserve them in my book, Growing Culinary Herbs. Now updated, with a new section revealing 5 ways you can have a home herb business of your own!

Leave a Comment:

nicki says

Thanks for this addition to the tower idea, John. I visited your site, and your pyramid looks easy to build and very practical.

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nicki says

Yup, mint sure can do that in a hurry. Makes great tea, too.

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John says

I designed pyramid planters that are 3 ft. and 6 ft. tall that I use to grow herbs in. It was originally built as a strawberry tower, but works great for other plants too. I have photos and woodworking plans on how to build one on my webpage. If you’re looking for ideas, it’s an inexpensive weekend project:

http://www.chesapeakecrafts.com/STRAWBERRY_TOWER.php

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Eileen O'Connor says

I love the strawberry planter idea, but that one is enormous! I’m using mint to cover a bald, clay area and it fills it in very nicely and smells great!

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Chris Bertz says

I love the site Nicki ! I’m trying to grow my own spices this year and the strawberry pot idea is perfect for a pesky rabbit in the backyard. Thanks a bunch Nicki…

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pharmacy technician says

found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

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Eileen O'Connor says

OMG, how big is that Strawberry Planter? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that big in the Michigan area. Love the ideas though. Thanks for the tips!

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