Monday, September 24, 2012

Tea Tin Herb Garden

How to make a Tea Tin Herb Garden

The Tins 

I have been meaning to make this herb garden for a while, but when the temperature dropped, I realized this was my chance (more on that later).

I used to live near the Harney and Sons tea factory.  They have the cutest little shop in Millerton, NY.  Over the two years I lived there I collected a bunch of the tins as various gifts.  I held onto these four because the tins are so pretty.

Unfortunately, I have not drunk much of the teas (I drink loose tea and mostly decafinated).

The tea is great, and these tea bags are so cute.  But I had no need for them.  I just wanted the tins, so the tea went in some plastic bags with the tops to identify them.  Down to the basement they go.

Importance of Drainage 

To make planters out of anything, you have to provide drainage (you don't want to drown your herbs).  The easiest way to make holes in a tea tin is to use a nail and a hammer.  Just puncture the  bottom of the tins.

I put holes in all four tins.

Again to help with the drainage, add rocks.

Add Herbs

Now, all I have to do is add herbs.  Here is where I get back to the season changing subject I alluded to in the beginning.

You see, I made this back porch potted herb garden in the spring (and the spring before).  In the fall, now, with the frost, the herbs usually die.  Instead of just letting the herbs go this fall I decided to transfer them to my kitchen window.  That way I will have herbs all winter long.

Here comes the tough part.  To get my herbs from that large pot on my deck to the small tea tins I have to be brutal.  As my father taught me, you have to break up the roots so they grow into the new container.  When the container is larger, this is very important.  In this case, I just have to make the root system a bit smaller.  For the thyme above I actually had to cut down the plant.  It had grown a lot this summer.

Insert plant, with a smaller root system and some air around it, into the tea tin.  Be sure to have some dirt in the base for the roots to hold on to.  Fill in around the roots with more potting soil.  Pat down, and don't forget to water.

Repeat for all four tea tins (or however many tins you have).

Cork Labels

I added cork labels in case I forgot which herb was which (but really, for other people because I can identify most common herbs).

All Done

Keepin' it Real 

Now, just to keep it real, you can't really just leave the tins on your windowsill because the holes you made will drip water all over the place when you water your herbs.

By the way, I suggest you water the herbs only as needed.  I learned early on that you can kill your plants with too much water, just as easily as too little.  The best way to take care of your plants is to only water them when the soil feels dry.  Just stick your finger under the soil an inch or so and check once in a while to know.

The plan is to get a nice white dish to hold all four tins, but the dish I had in the house was too small (boo hoo). So I put three tins in one dish, and used a smaller dish for the last tin.  My windowsill actually looks like this (above).    Still not bad.  I will have to keep an eye out for a longer white tray (trip to HomeGoods here I come).

In case you have not noticed, I am trying to make my images more Pinterest friendly.  Please, if you like what you see, PIN IT.  I'm trying to get more traffic to my blog.   

The mint, thyme, and rosemary are fine, but the basil might need to be transplanted soon.  I'll just have to wait and see.  At least I have rescued my herbs from the frost for the foreseeable future.

How are you with herbs?  They are not easy to grow indoors.  Hubby and I have killed our fair share.

Keeping It Simple


  1. this would be such a cute gift! so chic yet also relaxed...whatever, it makes sense to me.

  2. Umm I have yet to try herbs, but I nearly killed my aloe vera....eeks! these are fantastic!

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