DIY Projects

April 13, 2012

DIY Tea Tin Herbs

I love cooking for family and friends, and as all the pros will tell you, food always tastes more flavourful when it’s made with fresh herbs. This quick, kid-friendly project lets you get a head start growing an herb garden before summer comes and will afford the luxury of fresh ingredients year-round. And after a long winter, I’m starved for spring greenery, and these pretty tea tins, brimming with plant life, add welcome colour to a windowsill or kitchen shelf.

Materials and Tools

  • Tea tins
  • Herbs or seeds
  • Plastic wrap
  • Paper towel
  • Small stones (for drainage)
  • Potting soil

Step 1: Source tea tins

I hold onto loose-leaf tea tins whenever I come across pretty ones. The best sources are flea markets and Chinatown, but if you’re like me, you might have some lying around the house because they’re just too lovely to toss! Vintage-inspired tea tins are popular right now, so they’re also easy to come by in stores and online — check out Vancouver’s Urban Tea Merchant for charming canisters — and even Twinings is now packaging their premium teas in old-fashioned tins.

Step 2: Choose herbs

Some herbs fare better than others in pots, so check with a local nursery before selecting herbs to grow indoors. As a rule, herbs need at least six hours of direct sunlight per day to thrive (a north-facing window won’t provide enough light). I settled on basil, rosemary, parsley, thyme and oregano, the herbs I use most often when cooking. I bought established plants, but you can start from seed instead — an especially fun project if little ones are involved.

Step 3: Repot carefully

Line the bottom of each tin with plastic (to prevent leaking), layer in a handful of small stones to provide ample drainage, and transplant the herbs, topping up the tins with extra potting soil as needed.

See more great DIY projects in our video library.

Herbs, Sheridan Nurseries; green ceramic carton (with tomatoes), Anthropologie; scissors, Lee Valley.

Author: Kai Ethier

Michael Graydon