April 3, 2013

How to Build a Mason Jar Herb Garden. ~ Summer Rayne Oakes

Create an herb garden with easy-to-find materials in 10 simple steps.

It’s been over two weeks since my dad and I constructed a Mason jar herb garden on my kitchen wall, (which by the way was one of the best projects that I have ever done with my dad). The whole idea stemmed from a Facebook conversation that I had with my dad, who was giving me a hard time that my recent green wall didn’t have any edibles: Point taken Dad.

I took his prodding to only mean one thing: He better be down at building a different type of vertical garden that contains some herbs. Naturally, I asked him if he would be down for constructing one with me in my kitchen, (which is a far more appropriate place to have edibles). Much to my surprise, he was up for the task. After searching for some inspiration on Pinterest, I came across some images of herbs in Mason jars—the same jars that my grandmother cans with every year. I sent my dad some initial photos and dimensions of my wall and soon after we embarked on designing a Mason jar herb & plant garden for the kitchen.

I’d suggest trying this DIY version if you don’t want to embark on the more ambitious (and more expensive) vertical garden. We spent no more than $40.00 on the entire wall and the time with my dad was priceless. Here are the tools and steps:

What you need:

Old boards

Mason jars

Hose clamps

Tapcon screws (or nails)

Pronged nails



Building glue

Small stones


Organic Potting Soil



1. Measure your wall. Determine how long and how many boards you want.

2. Obtain or upcycle some old boards. My dad found some old pine boards down in his basement. Later I found some old wood from a construction site that was tossed in the trash, which I’ll use for another project. The point is: There are plenty of sources of wood that you can find for free or very cheaply as long as you feel they will work for your living space. Cut them if necessary. In my case, we didn’t have to cut the boards, as they were the perfect length!

3. Get some Mason jars. How many you spread across the board is up to you. If you go for a lot, don’t worry because Mason jars are relatively inexpensive. My dad got his for free but they range anywhere from $0.10 to $1.00/jar typically.

4. Find hose clamps that fit the mason jars. The mason jars that I used were about 4” in diameter, so we got 5” hose clamps, which fit very snuggly on the Mason jars. Get as many hose clamps as you have mason jars.

5. Measure the ideal distance between the mason jars. The length between mason jars is totally up to you. We did a little over 7” between ours and since we had two rows—one right below the other—we made sure that we didn’t put the Mason jars right under each other because if you’re lucky, your plants will grow upwards, and you don’t want the base of a Mason jar above to get in the way of growth.

6. Place the boards on the wall and secure them. How you do this will depend on the surface. I had old brick, which was difficult, so we used Tapcon screws and heavy-duty architecture glue to secure to the wall.

7. Nail hose clamps into position on board. Since you’ve determined the center part of where the mason jars will go, you can go ahead and place the hose clamps on the board and nail them into place.

8. Plant your herbs in the Mason jars. Go ahead and plant your desired herbs in the mason jars, but first add about an inch to inch and a half of stones, a thin layer of charcoal, and then add soil on top. The stones and charcoal allow for “internal drainage” and the charcoal also serves as a pH balancer and prevents bacteria from growing and killing the roots. What’s also great about this system is that you can physically see how much water you are watering your plant.

9. Place planted Mason jars into position. Once everything is planted and the hose clamps are in place, attached to the board—you can then place the Mason jars into the hose clamps and tighten the clamp so it’s gripping the jar firmly.

10. Put on the finishing touches! Once all of this is complete, you can go ahead and wipe down the jars, wood and make sure all your plants are sufficiently watered. And Voila! You have your completed Mason jar herb garden






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