Rustic Multi-level Herb and Pepper Planter

I felt like I was going crazy now that spring is here and I have no fresh produce outside my door. Since I was in desperate need of some gardening therapy, I made a trip to go strawberry picking at Carol Sue Blueberry Farm, where I loaded myself up with about six pounds of bright red berries. At only $1.50/lb it was hard to control myself.  The only thing that stopped me from getting more was also having to carry around a 20+ pound baby who didn’t want to stay still.strawberries

Right up the road from there, I picked up some herb, pepper, and tomato plants at Pender Pines Garden Center. It was a blast because in addition to all the amazing plants, they had several animals including emus, llamas, goats, and chickens. There is also a huge pond where you can feed the ducks and koi fish. All said and done, it was a freakin’ awesome day.

Since I am stuck with a season of container gardening, I wanted to come up with something creative and to minimize the amount of pots I have scattered over my horribly landscaped yard. I had a large metal basin that my ducks used to swim in when they were babies, so I decided to combine that with a Terra cotta pot to make a multi-level, space-saving planter.

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I lined the bottom and sides with a contractor’s trash bag. I thought this might help the soil from eating away and rusting the metal. It is galvanized, so it’s not supposed to rust, but we all know that is a complete lie. The soil microbes will turn this into a smorgasbord.

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I filled the bottom with potting soil to the level where my Terra cotta pot would sit. The metal basin is deep, so there will be plenty of root space for everyone. Clifford kept me company in the background.

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I positioned the herbs where I wanted them to go and broke apart the roots a little. I chose (clockwise from back): curly parsley, purple basil, Greek oregano,  Siber thyme, and Grosso lavender, which means big or thick. You will definitely want to check that all your herbs have the same sun/shade requirements to make sure they can co-habitate.

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Now all that was left was to choose which of my three peppers would be the centerpiece. I went the Bell Boy, a basic green bell pepper. I filled the pot with soil, broke apart the roots on the pepper plant, and nested it in its new home.

DSC00457 Here is a quick little biology lesson because I just can’t help myself. Green plants get their color from pigments called cholophyll, which allow plants to absorb energy from the sun. The purple basil gets its purple color from pigments called anthocyanins, which act as a natural sunscreen for the plant! Now I wish I had something orange so I can tell you about carotenoids…

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Now if you are wondering what I did with all those strawberries, you will just have to check back to find out. Until then, tell me what you are planting in your garden!

P.S. Most nurseries will take back the little plastic pots your plants came in. Otherwise, they can be recycled.

Kerry

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