Mason Jar Herb Garden: Growing Herbs In Canning Jars
The Mason Jar Herb Garden Kit is designed to make your own homemade herbal medicine or medicinal products using fresh herbs grown in Mason jars. You will learn how to grow and care for the plants in the jar. The kit includes everything you need to start growing herbs indoors in a small space with minimal effort.
In addition to growing herbs in Mason jars, you’ll learn how to use the kit’s equipment to make various types of herbal medicines. You’ll also get a complete guide on making your own herbal remedies from scratch. All of these things are done completely naturally without any chemicals or toxic solvents. You will learn all this and much more!
What Are Mason Jars?
A Mason jar is a type of glass container used for storing liquids such as honey, fruit juices, wine, beer or other alcoholic beverages. They were first manufactured in the 19th century and have been popular ever since. Mason jars come in many shapes and sizes. Some are round while others are square. Many contain just one side so they can easily fit into a cupboard or kitchen drawer.
The name Mason jar is the brand name given to this class of jars. They have been popularized by canning and home preserving traditions passed down from one generation to another. Many old family recipes call for the use of Mason jars to store jams, preserves, pickles and other types of food.
Jars used for home canning have a very thick and slightly curved lid with a flat surface. They were designed this way so that during the food preserving process, air could escape from around the lid. This would prevent the jar from exploding due to too much pressure building up inside it. The flat lid also makes it easier to seal jars using a traditional water-bath canning method.
The curved surface of the lid also acts as a handle and makes it easier to open the jar. Nowadays, Mason jars are still popular for storing all types of things. They are often used for storing crafts, dried flowers, jewelry, office supplies and many other things.
What Is The Best Way To Grow Herbs In Mason Jars?
It is really simple to start growing herbs in Mason jars. You don’t need much space or any fancy equipment. You just need to follow the instructions and you’ll have fresh herbs on demand any time of the year.
The first step is to wash the jars and lids in warm soapy water. This gets rid of any dust or debris that may have collected on them. You can use a small soft bristled brush to get into all the nooks and crannies.
Next sterilize the jars and lids using a solution of 1 tbsp. unscented household bleach to 1 gallon of water. Make sure you rinse the jars and lids very well to remove all traces of bleach. You don’t want to ingest this chemical when making your herbal remedies.
The next step is to fill each jar with the growing medium until they are about half full. You can also use small pebbles or perlite in place of the growing medium. This will provide support for the seedlings as they grow.
Add a pinch of seeds to each jar and cover with the growing medium. Add a small amount of water to moisten the growing medium, not the seeds.
Place the lids on the jars and seal them using the ring. You can also get self-sealing lids that automatically push down as soon as you place them on the jar. This is a good choice if you have tiny fingers that may have a hard time getting the lids to seal.
Place a tag by each jar that includes the name of the herb, variety and the date you planted it. Also include notes if you are growing more than one variety in the same jar. This will help you keep them straight once they start to grow.
Place the jars in a warm dry place that receives plenty of light. The seeds need at least 12 hours of sunlight each day to grow properly. If possible, place the jars on a windowsill where they will get the most sunlight possible.
Once the seeds germinate and the seedlings start to grow, keep the growing medium moist but not soaked through. You can do this using a spray bottle filled with water or you can just dip your fingers in a small bowl of water and gently tap the sides to let the water run down and moisten it. You don’t want to leave the jars standing in a bowl of water as this can cause the seeds to rot and promote fungal growth.
Herb seeds need a lot of light to germinate so don’t be discouraged if it seems like nothing is happening for the first few days. As long as the growing medium stays damp, the seeds will eventually sprout.
What Is The Best Growing Medium For Herb Jars?
There are a lot of different options when it comes to growing medium for herb jars. You can use small pebbles, perlite, vermiculite or even small pieces of broken clay pottery. Keep in mind that if you are reusing jars you will need to choose a growing medium that will fit easily inside the jar without crushing the seeds.
Small Pebbles: Small rounded gravel like pebbles are a good option as they help add drainage while still providing some support for the seedlings. They can be a bit messy if you aren’t careful so keep this in mind if you plan on using this growing medium in a location where it will be seen such as a windowsill.
Perlite: Perlite is made from a naturally occurring mineral which is heated to high temperatures. This creates a light weight growing medium that has many air pockets inside to help promote drainage. It also helps increase aeration in the soil which helps prevent disease and controls moisture. This growing medium is sterile so you don’t have to worry about introducing any foreign material that may be harmful to your plants.
Vermiculite: Vermiculite is another form of a light weight growing medium with lots of air pockets for good aeration. It works in much the same way as perlite but is less expensive.
Small Pieces Of Clay Pots: If you are reusing old jars and don’t want to buy any additional growing medium, you can use pieces of broken up clay pots instead. While this is a free option, be aware that some pieces may have small bits of dried on clay on them that could potentially affect the flavor of the herbs.
Should I Buy Organic Herb Seeds?
Organic herbs are becoming more popular every year and for good reason. They aren’t grown with any pesticides so you don’t have to worry about chemicals ending up in your food. This is a great option for people who suffer from chemical allergies or those who just prefer to grow organic foods.
Herbs aren’t typically grown with synthetic fertilizers either so you don’t have to worry about the herbs absorbing anything unnatural while they are growing. There are quite a few organic options to choose from no matter what type of herbs you decide to grow.
What Is The Best Way To Water Herbs?
Most herbs require more water than the average plant but they don’t like their roots sitting in water either. This can cause fungal infections or other root diseases so you will need to make sure that the growing medium you choose drains well but keeps the root system nice and moist.
If you use a plastic bottle to grow your herbs, be sure to puncture lots of small holes in the bottom so the water can drain out completely. If you are using a jar with a wide mouth, you will want to place it on a saucer or plate while watering to ensure that the water can drain out easily.
If you are growing your herbs in the ground, you will need to make sure that the soil you are using drains well. You can also add lots of gravel or small stones in the bottom of your planter to help with drainage. You will still need to water your herbs but over watering isn’t going to be a problem.
How Much Sun Or Shade Do Herbs Need?
Most herbs grow just fine in either full sun or full shade. There are a few exceptions to this rule though so it is important to pay attention to the sun and shade needs of each type of herb that you are growing.
If you have no idea what type of sun or shade a specific herb prefers, try to find out if it is a “sun loving” or “shade loving” plant before you decide where to plant it.
Warm season herbs like basil, dill, rosemary and thyme require at least 4 hours of full sun each day. If you can’t provide them with this, they will still grow in partial sun but they will be smaller and not as productive.
Cool season herbs like chives, mint, tarragon and lavender grow better in shadier conditions. They will grow in full sun too but again, they will be smaller and not produce as much. Plant these herbs in areas that only receive morning sun or afternoon shade.
What Type Of Soil Do Herbs Like Best?
Warm season herbs like basil, dill, rosemary and thyme all have the same soil requirements. They all prefer soil that is sandy or gravelly with lots of organic material in it. You can add some compost to regular garden soil if you need to but make sure it is well rotted first.
Cool season herbs like chives, mint, tarragon and lavender all grow well in soil that is on the on the alkaline side with a ph level of 7-9.5. You can add crushed oyster shells or wood ashes to raise the ph.
If your soil is too acidic, you can add something to lower it or grow these herbs in containers filled with a purchased soil that is already the right pH.
What Is The Best Way To Start Seeds?
You have three choices when it comes to starting herb seeds: indoors, outdoors or a greenhouse. Which way you choose will depend on the herb, the time of year and your personal preference.
If you start the seeds indoors, they will already be fairly established and ready to transplant when you put them in your garden. If you start them outdoors, you will have to wait for the weather to warm up a bit before they can be transplanted.
Starting your herb seeds in a greenhouse allows you to get a jump on the season. You can start your seeds in late fall or even winter, ensure they are growing healthy and then transplant them outdoors when it warms up.
Fill your containers with purchased soil or potting soil that has been mixed with sand, perlite or vermiculite to ensure good drainage. Fill containers about 1/3 full and then water.
Place three seeds in each container and then cover with more soil. Label each container with the name of the seed and the date. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Place the containers in a warm area, at about 70 degrees. You can use gentle bottom heat, a heating pad set on low or a rock wall if you have one.
The soil should be warm but not hot.
When the seedlings are an inch tall, thin them out to the strongest looking one. Don’t toss the others, you can eat them!
Transplant your seedling outside when danger of frost is past and the soil temperature is consistently 65 degrees or warmer.
How Can I Get My Herbs To Grow
Once They Are Transplanted?
Most herbs are perennial, which means they will grow and produce new leaves every year. They generally survive winters outside in most areas. When you plant them, be sure to leave room for them to grow. If you are growing them in containers, plan to repot them every couple of years as they will outgrow their containers.
Water your herbs well and then mulch around the plant to keep the soil moisture even. Cut off the flowers as they begin to bloom to encourage the plant to put more energy into leaf production. Once the days begin getting shorter, add some balanced fertilizer for perennials to the soil to help prepare it for winter.
If you live in a colder area, you can also dig up your herbs and transplant them into a sheltered location such as a cold frame, unheated garage or even a shed. Be sure to keep the roots moist while they are not in the ground.
Harvest leaves as you need them and any flowers you might want. Once all danger of frost has passed, you can plant them back in their original locations. If you need to start them indoors, repeat the process.
What Pests Or Problems Can I Expect?
You might notice some of your plants getting chewed off at the edges. This could be the work of slugs, snails or even certain types of deer. If it is just a few leaves here and there, you can just pick them off and throw them away. To keep it from happening, place a little aluminum foil around the base of the plant.
If you see chewed leaves but they are still on the plant, it could be insects such as aphids or mealy bugs. These little creatures suck the juice out of your plants and can spread diseases. Take a close look at the leaves and stems to determine if you have an infestation and if so, take immediate action.
Sources & references used in this article:
Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies: How to Create a Customized Herb Garden to Support Your Health & Well-Being by MN Groves – 2019 – books.google.com
Llewellyn’s 2017 Herbal Almanac: Herbs for Growing & Gathering, Cooking & Crafts, Health & Beauty, History, Myth & Lore by N Zaman, J Henderson, CR Wolf, M Marquis, J Kambos… – 2016 – books.google.com
Canning and Preserving For Dummies by A Jeanroy, K Ward – 2009 – books.google.com