A herb garden is the point where cooking meets gardening. There is nothing better than cooking in your kitchen and adding fresh herbs from your very own herb garden. There are a few points you must keep in mind when designing your own herb garden from scratch.
Usually herbs grow near the vegetable garden since both these types of gardens are aimed at cooking and the growing conditions tend to be similar. A herb garden and a vegetable garden require plenty of sun and soil that is fertile. Herbs which would thrive near vegetables include basil, dill, cilantro, thyme, chives and parsley. The second location where herbs can be planted is near the flowers of the garden. This would suit those herbs which have flowers themselves and which would then add to the flowers that are already present in your garden. Herbs such as sage, dill, basil and mint are all pretty herbs which can be planted among flowers.
If, however, you prefer your herbs to be in one place together, then a separate herb garden is required. When planting herbs, place the taller herbs at the back of the beds and the shorter ones at the front. This will allow you to see exactly what is in the garden and you can make sure you make use of all the herbs in the kitchen.
Choose Your Design
Before you begin planting the herbs with no design ideas in mind, it’s best to draw out a formal garden plan on paper. A geometric design looks especially wonderful when planting a herb garden. A formal garden is made up of beds of herbs along with walkways that are incorporated in an aesthetically pleasing manner. After drawing up a plan on paper, begin by installing the pathways and other parts that make up the skeleton of the garden first. You could use grass, bricks or gravel to create the pathway. For the edges of the herb garden use small plants such as a low hedge or small boxwood plants that don’t require too much care and maintenance.
If an informal garden is something that appeals more to you then make a plan on paper for this type also. Plan it in the same way that you would plan a vegetable garden. Try to find a balance between various colors and types of herbs to create an appealing area. You can also plant your herb garden as close to your kitchen as possible if you want to be able to run out and pick herbs while cooking your favorite meal. This would be especially useful during the monsoons; as you won’t have to go out into the rain for too long to pick the herbs.
Whether you choose a formal or informal planting design; the most important point to keep in mind is that the herbs get plenty of sunshine. A few herbs can still thrive in shady conditions, such as rosemary and thyme, both of which are perennial varieties. For a distinctly French culinary garden feel, plant your herbs in large clay pots. Make sure your herb garden incorporates the main herbs such as lavender, rosemary, fennel, thyme, basil, marjoram and sage.
When planting herbs the soil should be free-draining as herbs won’t grow very well in wet soil. While sandy soil will be enough for most herbs to thrive in; clay soil will only work if plenty of compost is added to it to make it more breathable. A great way to make sure you are not over-watering your herb garden is to install an Irrigation-Flow-Meter. This will help you keep track of how much water you are using on your herb garden.
When you plant your herb garden, keep in mind that certain herbs; when planted in vegetable and flower gardens tend to be mutually beneficial. This is known as planting herb companions and an example of this is seen when basil is planted in a vegetable garden. Basil attracts honey bees which are required for the pollination of tomatoes. Similarly, Garlic is used in gardens as it tends to keep pests away. Chives planted in rose gardens help prevent black spots while several herbs such as dill and rosemary provide a great habitat for insects to keep the pest population in check.
You can also plant your herb garden according to theme, perhaps by choosing only medicinal herbs or for the more adventurers gardeners; follow in the footsteps of England’s famous poison garden at Alnwick gardens, also known to be the world’s most dangerous garden.
With careful planning and the proper care, planting a herb garden from scratch is a wonderful activity that every gardener; regardless of experience, must attempt to create. Once planted, it will prove to be a wonderful addition to not only your garden but also your kitchen.