My dad gave me a hard time for not having any edibles on the vertical garden that I had just installed in my bedroom. Naturally, I asked him if he would be down for building one with me in the kitchen.
Much to my surprise, he was up for the task, so we embarked on designing a Mason jar herb and plant garden. Since installation, it's worked very well, and I'm happy to report that all plants are alive, thriving and well. The key with Mason jars (since they don’t have natural drainage) is to include stones and charcoal on the bottom to help create “drainage” on the inside of the jar.
You’ll need 10 key items in order to create your mason jar herb garden:
- Wooden board
- Wall adhesive
- Tapcon screws
- Hose clamps
- Cable staples
- Mason jars
Find a piece of reclaimed wood to serve as the base or plaque for the wall. My father had some old planks in the basement, which we didn’t even have to cut. They were the perfect size and length.
Place the hose clamps on the wooden board. You can eyeball where they might go at first before measuring so that you can get a sense of how many hose clamps and Mason jars you may need.
Place the wooden board on the wall so you can get a sense of where you would like to position it. Note: If you're growing herbs, you'll want to keep the herb garden in close proximity to a window, because plants like rosemary and sage like a lot of light. If you place the boards in indirect light, you probably should grow other species of plants — like ferns and ponytail palms, for example.
After the wooden boards are in place, use a wall adhesive to secure boards. This is just the preliminary step to make sure the board is secure, seeing that it is going to hold weight on a vertical surface.
Use Tapcon screws to secure boards. This is the secondary step to secure the boards. Depending on wall surface, you may be able to use different screws. I installed mine on an old brick wall, so we found the Tapcon screws worked the best.
Measure where the center of the hose clamps should be on board and secure them into place with 3’4” cable staple. The cable staple can be easily hammered into place.
Place 1” of stones in bottom of Mason jars. Since Mason jars don’t have any drainage, the stones will serve as interior “drainage holes” at the bottom.
After stones are in place, add ½” of charcoal to the bottom of the Mason jars. Charcoal balances the pH in soil, assists with drainage, and also prevents bacteria buildup in the soil due to overwatering. The bacteria can hurt the plant roots and cause disease or death in plants.
Add soil and plants to each Mason jar. This is the fun part! The best part of Mason jars is that they make great planters, and they're clear, so you can see when plant roots need watering.
Arrange plants how you want them on the wall and secure them in the hose clamps. Make sure the clamps are tight — not loose! — around the jars.
Voila! Your Mason jar garden is complete. In order to see my own wall come together, you can watch the video here or below, and stay tuned here for a few more weeks of plantspirations for your life and home.
Summer Rayne Oakes is a green entrepreneur, working across fashion, beauty, food, and wellness. After graduating cum laude from Cornell University with degrees in environmental science and nntomology, Oakes began to bridge her interest in ecological systems to industries that affect our everyday life—from what we wear to what we eat. She is a holistic nutritionist and launched SugarDetox.Me, a website offering guided Sugar Detox Programs, and wrote her first cookbook in March 2017. She most recently launched Homestead Brooklyn, Plant One On Me, and the Houseplant Masterclass—a website, YouTube series, and online audiovisual course respectively to help reconnect people to nature through the beauty of plants and gardening. She is passionate about helping people find healthier everyday choices—from what they wear to what they eat to how they live in their indoor environment. You may see her in Brooklyn hanging out at her local community garden with her pet chicken, Kippee, or tending to her own copious indoor jungle of 1,100 plants.