Yes, I have the windowsill herb planters in my home and while they do serve the purpose, I would love to create something different. What to do? Well, the answer came to me one day when I was at a restaurant. This particular restaurant had a western theme and a wagon wheel outside. As soon as I saw the wheel with its pie shaped spaces, the idea hit me. Oh my, this would make the perfect planter but……… as luck would have it I could not take it with me. Instead, I will have to create my own.
Looking at the shape of the wheel, I came up with an idea. Since I could not take the planter home why not create the shape on the ground.
To begin this process, one will need to select a sunny location that has well-drained soil. The size of this space depends on how many herbs you plan to plant. In my plan, I have decided to plant four different herbs. Since I plan to use a small amount of herbs, I am going to make my garden about 24 inches in diameter. An easy way to mark this space out is to take a length of string and attach it to a stick. Push the stick into the ground where you want your garden space to be. Stretch out the string and walk around the stick. To mark the area as you go, take a cup of powdered milk and disperse it on the ground as you walk.
Once I have made that decision, the next step is to remove the turf, if there is any. What I mean by that is the fact that you may choose to use a garden space that has already been prepared. This could be an old vegetable garden or flowerbed.
After your garden space has been prepared, the next step is to prepare the soil. Turn the soil while you mix in a good portion of well-seasoned compost. Once that is done, rake out the soil surface so that it is flat.
Now that the soil is prepared, the next step is to mark off the wheel shape. This can be done in a similar fashion with the same string described previously. In this situation, you will just lay it on the ground, mark with powdered milk and repeat. Once done, your garden will look like a pie, which has been cut into serving pieces. Once that is done, you are ready to plant but….. If you are using an invasive herb such as mint, you will need to add a barrier. This can be as simple as the black landscape edging that can be found in many home improvement centers and discount stores.
But what if you are a landless gardener and want to create your own landless wheel herb planter. What can you do? The answer is simple and starts with a container. What kind of container you may wonder? Well, believe it or not, it can be either round or square. The keep is that it is deep enough to hold the plants and the dividers.
To begin this process, one will need to take the container and sterilize it. How is this done? The first step in this process is to place the pot in a pan of water plus a splash of dish soap. Scrub the container so that the soil and hard water spots have been removed. I know, you are thinking that if you use a “new” pot you do not have to do this step. Well, this is incorrect. The sterilizing not only makes the container look better but it also takes care of pests and plant diseases. Regardless of where your pot came from, it is exposed to these elements and needs to be cleaned.
Once scrubbed, rinse the container in warm water with a capful of bleach. Place the cleaned container in the bright sun until it is dry. Out of all the steps, this latter one is the most important. The UV light will kill any “pests” that may remain.
Next, you will need to create a drainage layer. If your container does not have a drainage hole, you will need to place a nice layer of stone in the bottom. On the other hand, if your container has a drainage hole simply place a coffee filter in the bottom of the pot. This will be enough so that the excess water runs out while keeping the soil in.
As far as the soil goes, an all-purpose potting soil is enough but if you are a forgetful gardener you may want to add a hydrogel and/or a slow-release fertilizer. I know you are wondering what a hydrogel is and the answer is simple. It is a substance that absorbs water and when needed releases it. While this does mean you can forget about water, a hydrogel gives you a little lead way if you forget to water for a few days.
Once you have your soil lined up and your additives added, if you desire, fill the planter ½ full. The next step requires you to pull out the scissors and gather a little cardboard. What you are going to do is to cut dividers out of the cardboard. These dividers will be used to keep the herbs separated until they begin to grow and fill out. How many will you need? Well, that depends on the size of your container and the number of herbs you plan to plant.
After you have dividers cut, the next step is to divide your container. This can be done by the eye or you can use the string trick described previously. Regardless of which way you choose, you will need to place the dividers on the marked areas and then fill in with soil to hold them in place.
Now that the dividers are set, you are ready to plant. What kind of herbs can you use? Well, any type as long as the environmental conditions meet their growing requirements. At this point, you may be wondering whether you should use seed or plant. If you want an instant wheel shape, you will need to use plants. On the other hand, if you can wait five to seven days then seeds are the way to go.
Yes, I know you are thinking what about the cardboard but there is no concern. As the plants grow and fill in, the cardboard will gradually breakdown. If this does not appear to be happening fast enough, cut away the cardboard that is above the soil line.
To keep your wheel herb planter looking its best, harvest your herbs often. This will cause the herbs to branch out and get bushy instead of growing lanky.