How to make a drawbridge herb garden
The drawbridge herb garden cost about $1 to make, given that we used all found materials, or materials that we had already had.

The drawbridge herb garden cost about $1 to make, given that we used all found materials, or materials that we had already had.

This castoff Ikea shelf can easily find a second (and probably more purposeful) life than it was originally intended for. I present to you: The drawbridge herb garden. 

I think that you can probably already tell that I abhor waste. Even if I find myself throwing something out, a little piece of me dies. According to the Department of Sustainability at Duke University, the average person generates 4.3 pounds of waste per day! Approximately 55 percet of 220 million tons of waste generated each year in the United States ends up in one of the over 3,500 landfills.

There really is little need for waste, especially in the home. In NYC where I live, around 35 percent of the waste can be recycled through the city's curbside recycling and organics program, according to GrowNYC.  Just check out the graph below. The city also found that it could recycle and compost more than 90 percent of the commercial waste, but they're only doing a measly 40 percent.  

New-York-City-Wastestream.jpg

When I was working closely with a farm-to-fridge grocery start-up that inevitably faltered in NYC, they had to get rid of a number of items—desks, shelving, dishes, and equipment. I have to hand it to Brian; he took the lead on selling off the majority of the items with some success. However, there were some items, like this Ikea shelving, which quite frankly, had little value as an intact piece of furniture. I really liked the raw look of the shelves, however, probably made out of soft pine, so I took four of them home with me, and when I got to my kitchen and eyed the space above my sink, I knew exactly what I wanted to create with the wood—a drawbridge herb garden!

The "drawbridge" can be tightened, lifting up the shelf, so that the herbs can lay at an angle on their side, without any water spilling out. 

The "drawbridge" can be tightened, lifting up the shelf, so that the herbs can lay at an angle on their side, without any water spilling out. 

I tend to cook...a lot...and it's best when I can just grab some herbs and go. I grow a good majority of my herbs in my south-facing window in my bedroom, but even walking 30 yards into another room is inconvenient, particularly when you're multi-tasking between toasting spices and chopping veggies, for example. My kitchen has three big, beautiful north-facing windows, however, which I find are totally adequate for growing herbs. The garden would be positioned just about 1 1/2 feet above my sink, right within arms reach. 

The idea behind the "drawbridge" would be that I can have the pots laying on their side, partially at an angle, so I can easily snip the herbs without having to stand on my tippy-toes. Plus the look of the chains, which can easily be purchased at a hardware store for a buck or two, provided a cool look. I called my dad and told him my idea. He loved it (naturally). And this became the next fun little father-daughter DIY project in my home. 🌿


Tools

  • pencil
  • level
  • wood shelf (8" d x 24" l x 1/2" h)
  • 3/4" h x 21" l wood
  • two (2) 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" wood blocks
  • two (2) 22" long chains
  • 5 1 1/2" screws
  • four (4) 0.785 hook screws
  • electric drill
  • drill bit
  • screwdriver bit

Directions

  1. Position the wood shelf where you'd like it on your wall. Make pencil markings on the wall as guides. 
  2. Next take your level and draw a straight line. Position the wood bar below the shelf so that it gives the shelf some stability. Drill three screws with your electric bit into the wall. 
  3. Drill two holes in the shelf on the ends to place each individual hook screw. This will be needed to link the chain to the shelf.
  4. Hook the chain onto each hook screw. Pull the chain up and position where it will need to go into the wall above. Mark that with a pencil.
  5. Add the wood blocks as reinforcement into the wall. Screw them into the wall and screw the hook screws into the blocks.
  6. Lay the shelving in place and link up the chains to the hook screws above. You now have a drawbridge shelf.
  7. Add a couple pots of herbs to the top and you now have your drawbridge herb garden!
My dad and I enjoy a lot of father-daughter DIY projects together. He's pretty handy to have around! Here's us enjoying some time after making the drawbridge herb garden. :)

My dad and I enjoy a lot of father-daughter DIY projects together. He's pretty handy to have around! Here's us enjoying some time after making the drawbridge herb garden. :)