Hey, guys. It's Mandi! After living in an apartment with a tiny kitchen with no windows, I was so excited to move into a home with a roomier kitchen that included both a dishwasher and a window at the sink! I had grand plans of putting pots of herbs on the sill, envisioning my apron-clad self happily snipping away at herbs before making authentic Italian dishes from scratch. Yeah. Well, we've been here for over two years, and I'm just now getting around to getting any kind of herbs on that windowsill. What took me so long? Well, my windowsill was too narrow for pots, so I just kind of gave up … until I got the idea to make a hanging herb planter with a piece of PVC pipe. And it worked out perfectly!My kitchen window doesn't get a ton of light because it opens to an area of our home that is north-facing and covered by a porch. So I keep my needy herbs, like basil and rosemary, in front of our dining room windows, which get lots of bright southern light all day long. For this window planter, I chose mint because it's pretty hearty as far as herbs go, and it also enjoys a moister soil than other herbs, so having great drainage isn't as crucial when growing an aggressive herb like mint.
Be careful about planting mint with other herbs because it tends to take over the entire pot. If you really want to make mint share the soil, then you might want to keep it contained in some kind of plastic pot to keep it from spreading and taking over neighboring plants.Supplies:
-4" PVC pipe – $2 per foot*
-2 4" knock-out plugs – $2
-2 small eye hooks - $1 for a pack of two
-2 larger eye hooks – $1.20 for a pack of two
-4 small S-hooks – $1 per pack of 5
-2 12" lengths of #16 chain – about $.50 per foot
Total cost of supplies for a 2' planter: $9.70
*You typically have to buy pipe in large pieces, even if you only want a small section. So a 5' length of 4" PVC pipe will cost you about $10, even if you are only using 2'. To use up leftover pipe, you may want to make two planters or split supplies with a friend.
-drill bits (just a tiny bit smaller than the eye hooks)
-3" hole saw (the kind you use to cut holes for door knobs—like this)Step One: Drill pilot holes for your small eye-hooks 3/4" from each end of the pipe. Make sure they are placed directly across from each other. Then screw in the eye-hooks.Step Two: Mark the center for each hole you will be drilling for the plants. Do this in line with the hooks you just put in. Where you want your holes to be spaced may vary from mine, but I marked my centers to be 4.75" apart from each other.
Step Three: Use a hole saw bit on a power drill to cut holes on center with the marks you just made. The image above shows me using a Forstner drill bit (because that's what I had), but it didn't end up working out on the cylindrical shape of the pipe, so I had to borrow a hole saw to finish the job. You may want to use sandpaper to smooth the holes if they look rough after cutting.Step Four: Clean up the PVC "dust" from inside the pipe, and pop in the kock-out plugs on the ends of the pipe. These will fit really tightly, which is great for keeping the soil and water inside the planter.Step Five: Prepare the planter for the soil by pouring small rocks into the bottom of the pipe. This will help the water drain and help prevent root rot from too much water sitting at the bottom of the plants' roots.Next, add soil over the rocks, packing it into the ends and spaces between the holes. Put the plants into the holes, and add soil to the area around it, packing it in lightly.Step Six: Drill pilot holes into the millwork framing your windows, then screw in the larger eye-hooks. I wanted my planter to rest just a couple of inches above my windowsill, so I measured the height of the PVC pipe, plus the length of chain and hooks, added the couple of inches of spacer room, and used that measurement for where I should drill for the eye-hooks. I measured up from my windowsill to make sure the hooks were even on each side.I love having cheery plants in my kitchen window now—so much that I might go take care of that sink full of dishes I keep meaning to take care of. And hey, maybe tonight I'll make mojitos? I think I'm going to love having fresh mint 'round these parts!
Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson, Photos edited with Spring and Valentine of the Signature Collection.
I love those curtains! I’ve been looking for ones like them for my own kitchen window…where are they from?
Mandi! You are the cutest and the ideas are as well! Inspired me to grab my Mom and Grandmother herbs for their windowsills… delivery expected this weekend 😉
Thank you for the inspiration, albeit an alternative avenue 🙂
I just want to say that this ends up being a much more expensive project if you have to buy the full 10′ length of pipe, and the drill piece for the 3″ holes, and glue for the end caps. Not a huge deal but definitely not a $10 project.
As an aside, the 4″ PVC would not fit in the Home Depot cutter so the Home Depot employee ended up using a hand saw and did a really terrible job. Spend the night re-sawing/sanding down…
Using discarded PVC is quite sustainable. Leftover pieces in small lengths would sit in landfills if they weren’t repurposed. You can easily find PVC pieces at place like the Habitat ReStore. If you are concerned about the finished product, I found in my research that it is plasticised PVC that is a concern, not rigid PVC, as long as you aren’t putting hot water in it. Here’s the forum I was reading, but then again, I’m not a scientist! http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=7600
According to my research, the only PVC that is concerning is plasticized PVC. PVC in rigid form is considered safe for planting food.
Interesting! I’ll have to check that out. Thanks!
This is really cute, BUT planting food plants in PVC is probably not a good idea. Here’s a link with more information.
Growing Food in Plastic
Love love love this <3
this is so cool!! perfect for a kitchen window
What a nice idea, also for different kitchen herbs.
Sorry I didn’t see that you’d addressed this already! Good recommendations. You don’t need to post mine if you don’t want!:))
I love this idea, it is a clever use of materials & looks really cute in the window. However, I wonder if anyone else had any concerns about the PVC piping leaching petrochemicals into the soil & then the herbs? I know that they are taking bpa’s out of food containers, but is PVC food-safe?
Love the concept & creativity, might use this a springboard. Thanks!
I have a kitchen window that faces my neighbors house- need an idea for privacy and light!
Such a good and beautiful idea !
Thank you 🙂
That would also make an interesting vase for cut flowers/plants. You would definitely need to glue the end caps for that use.
Yikes! PVC is THE most toxic plastic available. It is the last thing I would want to put in my home. http://healthychild.org/easy-steps/reduce-your-use-of-pvc-in-plastics-and-other-household-products/
I know what I am making this weekend. So cool!
A lot of people think adding small rocks to the bottom of planters helps drainage but it’s actually not true! Water doesn’t flow well from the small pores of the soil to the large pores of the rocks. This episode of Growing a Greener World does an experiment about it: http://www.growingagreenerworld.com/organic-gardening-tips/
(at time 13:40). You actually end up raising the water level and potentially increasing the likelihood of root rot!
Great project though, Mandi! I can’t wait till I have a kitchen window with enough room for growing herbs.
Love this! Its perfect!