Vertical Gardening: Plant a Kitchen Spice Rack


One Saturday morning several years ago, my husband and I were cruising about town looking for a score on what other people didn't find useful anymore. At one of the yard sales I spotted one of those spice racks that attach to the inside of a cabinet door. To most people it was just a forgotten spice rack, but I saw a vertical garden planted with herbs and spices.

I claimed it for a mere $3 bucks and a vertical garden was born.

Spice Rack Planter Materials:

  • 1 Spice rack 
  • 1 Roll of burlap
  • Scissors
  • Potting soil

Recycle the Tossed out Spice Rack as a Vertical Garden Planter:

1. Cut 2 pieces of burlap in 9 1/2" x 24" strips for each shelf/basket.  Line the shelves by placing two pieces of burlap sown inside each shelf.


2. Fill the shelf baskets (now lined with burlap) with potting soil.

3. Plant herbs, strawberries, lettuce, annuals, succulents, or whatever strikes your fancy.

4. Once all of the shelves are planted, fold the burlap on the short sides of the shelves down and tuck it into the corners of the baskets. This creates a nice, little pockets which keeps the soil in place. If you happen to be handy with a sewing machine and also no lazy (it's that last part that always nails me), you can sew those sides to make planter pockets.

5. Water your spice rack planter gently until the soil is thoroughly moistened. It can take a few minutes for new potting soil to become soaked through.

Our vertical spice rack planter became the cover of my book, Vertical Vegetable Gardening (Alpha Books), and we had it for three years until I passed it onto a friend when we moved. It lived on our back deck where it received only morning sun. It was probably the best spot for it because the baskets are quite shallow and the entire unit dried out pretty quickly. 

Situated in that spot, I lightly watered it every other day. But if it was getting more sun I would have done it everyday. California life, folks.

My spice rack planters was seasonal as far as plants went and rather limited in its usefulness. The burlap, plants, and soil will need to be replaced the following year. That said, some plants grew very well in the baby baskets and it's a pretty cool recycling example.

You just can't expect to feed the family this way. Unless you're all about "less is more." Than this would for sure be more (heh).

Plants that liked in this shallow vertical planter are usually a bit drought-tolerant and short-rooted. Herbs, alyssum, baby tears, strawberries, and succulents all did well in here.

I have been asked many times if this was actually enough room even for a true herb garden? My answer is not in the traditional sense, depending. We use a lot of herbs in the kitchen. Thus, this little upright unit was constantly being harvested, which left plenty of room for new growth, but sometimes we annihilated the darlings to the point where they couldn't recover. So I consider this vertical garden to be an accent garden, if-you-will.