Every spring brings with it both promise and a little guesswork, at least when it comes to your garden. Hardier plants like kale do fine when the weather is iffy, but what about herbs? After all, they will be the plants you’ll use most regularly.

herb-garden-cu2If you have the outdoor space (and time), you can put up a small greenhouse, or wire in permanent lighting fixtures and devote a small portion of a room to an interior garden. Either way, you’ll need a fair bit of real estate, and the reality is that most of us Torontonians just don’t have that luxury.

IMG_7132I had been shopping at Lee Valley for my entire adult life but had been limiting myself to its famous hardware section; the woodworking tools are UNBELIEVABLE. But this spring – as the weather flip-flopped well into May and store-bought herbs weren’t quite doing it for me – I decided to finally go for it and build the sparkly little herb garden of my dreams.


lee-valley-toolsLiving in a small apartment with a large man and two tiny dogs, I knew that I needed it to be compact and mobile. While flipping through the Lee Valley gardening catalogue online, I found my solution: Super easy to assemble, the Grow-Light Indoor Mini Garden’s compact set-up allowed me to place it on an under-used window sill. Facing north, it hadn’t proven to be an overly successful gardening spot in the past, hence the abandonment.


Well, what a difference a week makes! The herbs are thriving in the mini garden and so is the lettuce. I’m already trimming the herbs as they work their way up and out of tray, and it’s so gratifying.

Watering problems are solved with the absorbent under pad. Pour some water anywhere into the bottom tray and that’s it; the plants do the rest!
There is some disagreement among botanists as to whether plants need a daily period of darkness to grow best. Some plants seem to absorb anything you give them, and in others it causes disruptions in natural growth and reproductive rhythms (see? I did my research). My plants have been getting about eighteen hours of light and the remaining six of darkness. This seems to be working just fine!


See? Looks just as pretty at night!

I find myself spending more time in the gardening section of the Lee Valley online catalogue than ever and have since added a few other useful tools to complete the ‘toolshed.’ The Haws Copper Watering Can is probably my favourite item in all of Lee Valley (it also makes for a great gift; it’s so pretty!), and the mini-rake is the perfect size for aerating the soil around the surface. Known for their quality craftsmanship and durability, I look forward to using these Lee Valley tools for a long, long time.

tigerAnd, if you’re anything like me, you’ll probably want to decorate your wee garden! I handmade signs for all the herbs, glittered some popsicle sticks and pinwheels from the dollar store and Voila! A cute and functional display that everyone loves!