I not only love to wear black but I seem to have a black thumb, rather than a green thumb. How apropos for this city girl?

I managed to kill just about every plant—even cactus! My aloe plant is just barely hanging on. I’m great at making things look pretty, but only if I can actually keep them alive.

One of the main things I wanted to add to my backyard in my new Brooklyn condo was an herb garden. Of course, I’m on quite a budget so I needed something that didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Here’s how I did it for under $100 (and I will have an endless supply of herbs if all goes well):


STEP 1: Pick out which herbs you would like to plant.

I chose ones that I cook with most like basil, rosemary, sage and cilantro. I also added lavender because it’s an insect repellent. Just be sure to not mix herbs that grow out of control like mint with these other herbs. As your garden store if you’re unsure and also ask if they’re organic.


STEP 2: Find the perfect planter.

I picked up a whiskey barrel planter that would hold a lot from Lowe’s for only $29.99. It wasn’t in the best shape but I loved that it looked weathered and old instead of a lot of the outdoor stuff you see in catalogs.

STEP 3: Make it mobile with wheels.

The one problem with using a massive barrel like this was that it’s not moveable if you decide you want it elsewhere, so we found a solution for that. The hardware store carried these wheels for just $2.50 each and we drilled them on so the barrel is now mobile so I can arrange it over and over again until I love it where it is.

STEP 4: Scrub the inside clean with 1 part vinegar and 1 part water. Let dry.


STEP 5: Make sure there are holes on the bottom of the barrel (drill if not) and  then fill the bottom of the barrel with drainage rocks. We used two bags of rocks, but you can use a layer of packing foam to make it lighter. 


 STEP 6: Pour in organic potting mix and Perlite (those white things) to break up the soil up until no more than 3 inches below the top of the barrel.


STEP 7: Carefully cut away at the herb containers and gently loosen up the roots of each plant. Don’t hold the plant by its stem—it’s like holding someone by their neck!

STEP 8: Dig a small hole to plant the herbs and space each kind at least 6 inches away from the other. Then fill in with the soil.


STEP 9: Add some mirrors to your garden. Someone from GRDN told me that squirrels hate the reflective nature of them, so they’ll keep away from your plants!


STEP 10: Label each of your herbs.

I used popsicle sticks and hand wrote them. There are a ton of other fun options on Etsy and Pinterest. I’d be interested to find a more exciting (and affordable) alternative to this if anyone knows of one.


STEP 11: Add some earth worms.

They add an instant and affordable fertilizer and will keep your garden healthy.


STEP 12: Water your garden and enjoy.

top:  Soft Joie (at Marshall’s, similar online) / sweater: Calypso (c/o friend who works for the brand) / jeans: J.Crew / bracelets worn as necklace: c/o E.Kammeyer / bracelets: etc…, Baublebar / ring: Sonya Renee / lip color: Josie Moran

Herbs from Carroll Gardens farmer’s market and Grdn, all other garden supplies from Lowes