With many people confined to their homes in self-isolation during this difficult period of uncertainty, many of us are looking for something to do that will occupy our minds but at the same time lead to something productive.  We’ve already shown you how to grow you own herbs from seed, so how about making your own self-watering indoor herb garden?  It’s a great way to grow fresh herbs, even if you don’t consider yourself to be green-fingered.

The best thing of all about this simple design is that you don’t have to worry abut when, where or much to water, taking away all the responsibility of looking after your plants.  And it is made from things you are sure to have in your own home.  It doesn’t matter if you are the forgetful type like me, travel a lot or just want to more time efficient, self-watering herb gardens not only save you time, but cost next to nothing to make.  Sure, you can find self-watering planters in your local garden centre, but nothing can match the sense of achievement of making one at home – and it will save you money!

The self-watering part of this clever little device happens through a force called capillary action, which apparently happens through both cohesive and adhesive forces that make the rope act like a wick.  The plant draws up the water as it begins to dry out from evaporation, and the soil and the plant’s roots will remain most, as long as there is water in the jar.

Self-watering planters are not only an efficient way to water your plants, but they are easy and cost-effective to make, using supplies that can be found in your home.  Here’s how to make it:


All you will need is:

  • 1 large jar with a wide opening, such as a Mason jar
  • 1 deep tea strainer
  • 15cm piece of thin rope or string
  • 1 cup or potting soil
  • a small herb of your choice


Fold the rope in half and place it into the tea strainer, letting the ends dangle over the edge.  Plant the herb of your choice into the tea strainer, making sure the rope stays in the soil.  Pour some water into the jar, so that it is roughly half-full.  Place the tea strainer into the mouth of the far, making sure the end of the string hang into the water.  The water will then travel up into the soil through capillary action.  Be sure to give your herb plenty of sunlight, preferably in a south-facing window.

As for what herbs to grow, most will thrive in this home made device and so the choice is up to you.  For an excellent guide to what herbs to grow, the Gardeners World Magazine website offers good advice.

Happy growing!


23rd March 2020

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