Thursday, June 30, 2011

Create a Washtub Herb Garden with Jen Osborn

During my time working with Charity Wings I have met (virtually)some pretty awesome and talented women and today I will be featuring one of those ladies.
Jen Osborn is a third generation artist and freelance writer who lives in rural Michigan with her family. She has an enormous imagination and loves nothing more than opening other people’s eyes to what lies inside her mind by creating artwork that’s as fun to touch as it is to look at! She has a knack for blending quirky vintage photographs with modern techniques which lets you experience a burst of colorful eye candy. She stitches together fabric and paper to create tiny story quilts which tease your eyes and tickle your heart.
61xYhb2QzIL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_Jen currently has a book out called Mixed and Stitched: Fabric Inspiration & How-To's for the Mixed Media Artist.  She also has an Etsy shop where she sells some of her handmade items as well as hand drawn embroidery patterns. and check out her blog The Messy Nest for other fun ideas and inspiration.
Now, in Jen’s own words.
Washtub Herb Garden
On Mother's Day I decided to plant some grape tomatoes and an herb garden in an old two-sided washtub I found at a local antique store. This is what is looks like 2 weeks later after buckets of rain, and lots of pep talks. I've already started to nibble on the arugula, but I'm really excited about the tomatoes. I left my washtub battered and rusty, but you could easily buy some outdoor furniture paint and spruce it up even more. {how fabulous would it look like with polka dots or flowers or birds painted all over it!} I've gone and planted herbs in mine, but I think it would make a fabulous strawberry grower or a beautiful deck flower planter too! Your imagination, and the garden center are your only limitations. Here's how easy it is:
  • double-sided washtub or something similar
  • 2 large bags potting soil
  • 8 - 12 herbs / plants / flowers
  • lots of sun & water
step 1:
Planter1 If your washtub/container doesn't have a drain in the bottom you want to create one in each side so you don't drown your plants. You can either use a drill to make them or simply a hammer & nail to make about 5 holes in the middle of each side if it slopes or randomly around the bottom if your washtub has a flat bottom. Next, buy two big bags of potting soil, and pour one in each side of your washtub. If you only have one big basin you just need to put both bags in. If you want to cut down on cost you could fill the bottom half with fill dirt and rocks, but then you're looking at needing to fertilize. If you buy potting soil, that's usually mixed in and you can just plant and grow.
step 2:
Planter3 Dig a softball size hole for each herb you want to plant. You want to give each plant enough room to grow so don't crowd them all together. The plant spike should tell you how far it needs to be from another plant, but I find about 4 to 6 inches is good. I like to use garden gloves so my fingernails don't get all grimy, but they are certainly not necessary if you don't already have a pair. You could use a trowel if you like too, but I find it easier to just dig them with my own two hands. The idea here is to keep cost down as much as possible, but still keep it capable of producing a nice harvest.
step 3:
Planter4 I only did herbs in half because I wanted to try growing grape tomatoes to snack on in the other side. Last year I grew one to make sure they were tasty, and this year I have 4 going in the right half of my washtub garden. Just turn your plant upside down, and give it a little shake or wiggle to free it from the plastic container they come in. You want to break off about 1/4 of the rootball from the bottom to encourage growth, and then drop them into the holes you made in the soil. Push the soil in around your plant, and gently push down all the way around the stem making sure it's packed lightly so your plant won't fall over. You don't want to pack it in firm though or you risk injuring your plant.
step 4:
Continue on till both sides of your planter are filled and planted. In this side I planted:
top row - garlic & cilantro (not in the planter yet for this pic)
middle row - horseradish & basil
bottom row - arugula (yuhummy!)
The garlic and horseradish won't be ready until fall, but I love them both so they're worth the wait. Make sure you keep the plant info spikes that came with your herbs so you know what kind of care they need, and when you can harvest them. Most herbs need full sun to thrive so don't worry about needing a shady spot ... you can stick them right out in the sunniest spots, just remember to water regularly!
step 5:
Planter6B After you've planted everything, you need to give it a BIG drink of water. The potting soil comes a little moist, but it dries out really quick in the sun so don't forget this step! Now all you have to do is sit back and watch your herb garden grow. As you can see from my rainy picture up top, it doesn't take very long for it to flourish. After two weeks of on and off rain, mine is growing like gangbusters! Don't forget to go out and talk to them too ... everybody needs a little encouragement to grow :)
So, that's it ... lickety split! Took me about a 1/2 hour from start to finish and cost under $50 including the planter, soil, and plants.
{or plant somethin'}


arlsmom aka Lynda said...

Jen rocks!!! Awesome garden idea!

Elena Lai Etcheverry said...

like it tons and tons!!