It’s January! It’s cold, dark and we can’t be out in the garden digging in the dirt! This time of year gets to me, so I’m always trying to find ways to satisfy my green thumb. This year, I wanted to finally get some new herbs growing in the kitchen. And a hanging window planter is the perfect fix! Ultra easy and cheap, they work in any kitchen, even if you have a small apartment kitchen. It’s a really fun and quick activity for these dark January weekends!
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When I lived in apartments I always had small planters growing in my kitchen windows. But since moving to the house I hadn’t planted anything new. My main struggle with growing plants in the kitchen is not wanting to use up my precious counter space. And one day while looking out the window, past the hideous old half curtains, it dawned on me. Take down the awful curtain, and hang herbs in the sunny window! Duh!
Seriously, the curtain was gross. It was so bad that right when I thought of this activity I took them down and gave them to a friend who collects old fabrics. So I don’t even have a picture of them for you guys!
A Fun Weekend Craft
For this activity, you want to make sure your curtain rod brackets are secured well to the wall. If you have drywall, make sure they’re anchored. And you’ll want to replace your curtain rod with something a bit sturdier if you’re planning to make a bunch of these, I used a wooden dowel. Dowels are super cheap and you can get them at a lot of hardware stores. When gathering your materials the following list assumes you already have curtain rod brackets in place. If you don’t, add those to your list along with hardware to install them. You’ll want a bracket every 2.5’ roughly.
For Your Planter, You Will Need:
- A ⅝ Dowel, the same length or longer than your window
- Measuring tape
- Hand saw if you need to cut your dowel to the right size (the hardware store can usually make the cut for you if you don’t have a saw)
- ‘S’ Hooks large enough to hook easily onto the dowel
- Small metal buckets or plastic pots (I got mine at the dollar store), as many as you want!
- Scotch tape
- Cheese cloth
- Potting soil
- Potted Herbs, I bought a couple from my local grocery store, and also started a couple from seed.
Start by cutting your dowel to the right length. Make sure it is slightly longer than your curtain brackets, so that it overhangs on either side a bit.
For each hanging planter you’ll be making a simple macrame. Begin by cutting 8 pieces of twine.
You want them to be long enough to allow for knot tying at either end, and for your plant to hang down far enough. It should be at a height that easy to water and that gets enough sun through the window. My pieces were about 2.5’. You’re better to err on the long side. You can always cut excess off, but adding length is hard.
Tie the 8 pieces together leaving a short tail. This tail will hang down underneath your pot. You can leave it to hang if you like the look or snip it short, up to you.
Flip your first pot over on a counter or table. You’ll be using it as a guide for your knot tying. Separate the 8 strands into pairs of two and place the knot in the center of the upturned pot.
Each pair of two should hang off a different quarter of the pot. Tie each pair in a knot just past the rim of the pot. Tape the strings in place on the bottom of the bucket.
Starting with 2 pairs, separate the strings in each pair. Using one string from each pair, tie them together down the side of the pot, creating a shallow V shape between the two pairs. Tape the two sides of your V in place.
Rotate the pot and tie one string from one of the pairs you just used with one string from the next pair in the same V pattern. Tape them in place. Continue around the pot, tying two more knots.
You should now have 4 new pairs of strings, with all your V’s tape into place.
Now you want to repeat that pattern again, using one string from each of your new pairs. Taping each string as you go to prevent things from moving too much.
I ended up doing three “rows” of knots to go almost all the way up the side of my pot. Do as many as you think you need, and that you like the look of.
Once you’re satisfied with your knots, it’s time to flip over your planter and start potting up your herbs. You can either gently remove the tape and macrame while you’re potting, or you can just leave it on. It’s up to you, I tried both and had no preference.
Pour a layer of pebbles into the bottom of your planter, about 1” deep, to provide drainage for your soil.
Cut a double layer piece of cheese cloth roughly the same circumference as your pot. You can also use weed blocker fabric for this is you have that on hand.
Lay the cheese cloth on top of the pebbles. This will prevent soil from mixing into the pebbles and becoming soggy and saturated. Add a small amount of potting soil to the pot.
Take your herbs out of their store pots. Cut or tear off the bottom inch or so of soil and roots. This promotes new growth. And place them into your pot. Fill in around the plant with your potting soil, and water well.
If you removed your macrame, gently place your potted herb back into the center of your macrame and make sure your strings are all positioned correctly. If you left it attached, remove all your pieces of tape gently. Collect your final 4 pairs of string up above the pot and tie the tops together at the length you want your pot to hang. It helps to hold your pot and macrame up to your window to gauge the length before tying it off.
Trim any excess from the above and below your knots. Hook your S hook under the top knot and hang up onto your dowel!
And you’re done!
Now you can enjoy a tiny bit of gardening all through the winter! Be sure to let your herbs settle in before trimming them too much. And you don’t want to harvest more than ⅓ of the plant at any one time (and even that is pushing it a bit!). So make as many as you want and fill your kitchen with all your favourite culinary tastes.
If you make one of your own planter, take a picture, share it to Instagram, and don’t forget to tag me @dorkylittlehomestead, so I can see your beautiful window gardens!
Looking for more winter gardening, check out my Seed Starting Basics post to get ready for you spring planting!