Introduction: Portable Herb Garden, Grow Fresh Herbs Year Round

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hello world,

this is another application idea based from my original posts The Plant Arm and The Plant Shelf.

i actually am trading this design for a couple of homemade candles with a friend from work. i will post the pictures once we exchange (posted above). i tried getting her to post an instructable about it, but most likely failed.

** white/yellow colored light versions will soon be uploaded - i am going to try to prove that each color combination works just as good.


OK. here we go,

you may be a member of the windowless/sunless kitchen club like me. i do have a window but no direct sunlight almost ever. don't worry, with this simple Portable Herb Garden you will be growing your favorite spices indoors in no time!

why? imagine you are making your favorite pasta sauce and all you have left to add is some basic spices. we all are used to reaching for a plastic bottle of some old spices. but what if we could rather cut our spices straight off the plant ? knowing exactly where your food came from..!

in this instructable I will be showing you how to put together a very simple stove top herb garden.

- easy to use, easy to adjust

- cheap and fast to make. under $15.00 and about 2hrs. to assemble

- portable, can be used hanging on the wall, or on the counter

- a very nice wife/mother gift !!!

- no sunlight necessary to grow. can also be used as night light as well

Step 1: Materials & Tools

free wooden pieces cut to size, from craigslist or neighborhood construction dump

perforated metal pipe hanger, online or local hardware store

screws, about x10

L brackets, x2, local hardware store

nuts & bolts, x4 - make sure they fit through the metal strip holes

22" gauge wire, online or local electronics/hobby store

1W 660nm LED, x2 from ebay $0.50

1W 430nm LED, x2 from ebay $0.50

led driver, from ebay or DIY instructables - $9.00

metal epoxy, online or local hardware store

AC cable, around the house or local thrift store


led driver + led lights were the only two items I have actually purchased. the rest were free or I already had some.


basic tools + soldering iron/solder, hot glue gun and some music!


let's get going..>

Step 2: Frame

you need to now figure out what size plant pots you will be using, choose 3 exact size cups so that your design is more stable

1. cut the bottom board sized to your plant pots

2. add 4 little wooden legs for the balcony guard

3. screw in the led driver

4. start stretching the balcony guard around the wooden blocks using the perforated metal sheet, cut to length before screwing, this will ease the process.

5. add the L brackets for the back wall support/hanging fixture


you don't have to follow my exact design when it comes to the shape/looks just be creative, the goal is;

- to make sure the arm doesn't fall around and stays upright

- the plant can easily be put on/off the shelf

- a flat surface for those who don't want to hang it on the wall


now we are ready for some lights..>

Step 3: Lights

for this design I chose to use 4 x 1W high power led.s, 2 in red 2 in blue spectrum. as in 2600K/5000K.

remember this is a simple herb garden, we are not aiming here to get 50 lbs. of tomatoes. just 4Watts of consumption is plenty for this job.

i like to mix thermal adhesive and metal epoxy. i believe this provides a better thermal conductivity and strength.

wait at least 15 minutes for the epoxy to freeze. connect your AC cable to the LED driver and done..! the led driver is very clearly labeled for polarity. very basic soldering work is needed here. all the LEDs are connected in series.


2 x 1W 660nm;

Intensity Type : 40~50Lm

Wavelength : 660nm

Viewing Angle: 120°

DC Forward Voltage:2.5V~2.7V

Forward Current: 350mA

2 x 1W 430nm;

Wavelength: 420nm ~ 430nm

DC Forward Voltage (VF): 3.2V~ 3.4 V

DC Forward Current (IF): Typ 350mA

Viewing Angle: 120 Degree


11.4~13.2V @ 350mA - the led driver is rated 9-36V @ 350mA

Step 4: Plants

now it's time to choose your 3 favorite herbs. as mentioned earlier, I will be trading this product with a friend for some homemade candles. I don't want to plant anything in there yet, they can decide that. I will upload some pictures from their kitchen hopefully soon enough.


in this picture you can see my design in great detail.

Step 5: Conclusion + Upgrades

we'll first start with the future upgrades.

- a simple on/off switch would be nice instead of having to unplug each night. or a timer outlet can be added.

- arduino controlled plant health monitor via wifi (moisture, temperature, light sensors + webcam feed - i am still working on this) - less or more plant pots



looks like i am going to have to make one for myself as well. i love to cook and incorporate fresh ingredients as much as I can. i can see lots of other chef's needing the same product all over the world! go ahead make one and start cooking healthy today... this product can easily also be used as a seed starter by your window if you are not getting enough sunlight like me.



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