DIY Herb Shelf

by Michelle Considine

Recently, I have been enjoying a cookbook that calls for the use of lots of fresh herbs.  Having copious amounts of mint, sage, tarragon, thyme, lemon balm, and oregano in our yard, I’ve enjoyed starting almost every meal by going into the yard for herbs. I’m learning that everything tastes better with fresh herbs!  As we’ve been rolling through summer, I’ve been thinking about how to best have all the fresh herbs through winter without buying the fresh herbs in the plastic boxes from the grocer.  I decided to try to grow them indoors this year.

Our best window for plants is along our table.  Having room for an 8 foot plant shelf that sticks out about 9-10 inches from the wall, I headed to Resource Central to see what shelf materials I could find.  As so often happens when you have a loosely formed plan bouncing around in your head, I found materials that were perfect!  For a total of $5.00, I left Resource Central with an 8’3” 1×6 as well as sections of wide, modestly ornate trim at 9’ and 3’ lengths.  I did not find the right sized brackets that day at Resource Central so I bought 4 brackets elsewhere.

The photos show the construction details.  Before we get into those, I’ll note that the 4 brackets I purchased are rated to support 150 lb all together.  I figured that was a realistic amount of weight for about 10 pots thinking their average weight would be about 10-12 pounds when watered, and the shelfing materials wouldn’t be more than 30 lb. Very rough estimate, but enough to feel certain that these brackets will hold even after a thorough watering!

The Plants:  While working indoors on the shelf, I’ve put in some time outdoors on transplanting herbs from the ground into pots as well as buying rosemary, basil, and parsley to put into pots. They will all live outdoors until the night temperatures edge closer to freezing.

LED Grow Lights:  I have never tried growing herbs indoors before.  From a bit of internet reading, we think that we will most likely need to supplement our window light with LED grow lights.  We bought lights  that clip on and have two light-tendrils. See photos. Loving science experiments, we will see if we need 3 hours of LED light enhancement, or more, but this is easy to adjust with the lights we bought.  They have a built-in timer.

Ta-da! An indoor herb shelf for delicious, fresh dishes all year long.

Michelle Considine, long time enthusiast of Boulder’s Resource Central and, more recently, Art Parts, volunteers for these organizations with the intention of promoting reuse and creativity.  Aside from being an environmentalist and upcycling artist of many mediums, Michelle privately tutors high school math and physics in the Boulder area as well as online, hikes year-round, and loves time with her family and friends.