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Having a functional herb garden is one of the hallmarks of a working homestead!!! It makes cooking so much more enjoyable and flavorful! You can make your own tea and medicinals, anytime you want! Let’s talk about how to design an herb garden in your yard with what you have to work with!
Ok, so I’m going out on a limb today with you all.
I’m confessing as to how terrible my herb garden looks. No judgement, please. Just because I write a blog doesn’t mean I have it all together by any means!
This is the result of a “make-shift” herb garden attempt, shortly after we moved in this house. I had old landscaping to contend with and plant around. So, I did the best I could at the time, pretty much just sticking herbs here and there. This allowed close access, but definitely nothing attractive to look at! Plus, my dogs run through it constantly!
It’s one of those things that I never seem to get around to. But after I saw the picture below somewhere on line, I had a spark of an idea. I really love the way the pots stick out of the ground just a bit, don’t you? Maybe I could design something equally beautiful, but functional, from what I had to work with.
I really don’t have an exact layout or schematic in mind, and I frankly don’t want to be bound by one. I’m just taking this a day at a time, using what I have or can get my hands on and enjoying the process.
Keep in mind that most herbs are going to need a sunny spot, for at least half of the day. Some herbs require full sun all day, but for most herbs, sun until early afternoon should be fine. That’s why this spot that I’m working with is so perfect. Plus, it’s right outside the back door for easy access. You won’t want to traipse all the way across your yard to snip some parsley, so think about what’s close to your outside door.
Ok, so my first assignment is to get rid of these two ugly and aging bushes. Once that’s done, I can fill in the holes and amend the soil with some good compost!
Here you can see that the bushes are gone and compost brought in. I have some large balls of lemon balm, valerian and bee balm to work with, plus lots of other smaller culinary herbs.
After potting them in the 10″ pots that I picked up at the farm store, I lined the perimeter of the bed, similar to the picture. I’m potting my herbs to keep them from spreading all over the place!
You can see the ugly tubes that I need to hide with some taller herbs, I’m thinking that the bee balm could be split and used there.
Yeah, so I broke down and potted up my smaller herbs and put them in the soil, just for some motivation and hopefully more ideas! I’m not particularly creative and I have no background in landscaping. But I AM a gardener who loves herbs, so roll with me here.
At this point, I’m realizing that I have more room in this little area than I thought, which is a good thing and not a good thing. I do not enjoy walking through a bed, looking for herbs to trim, and getting muddy or having to fetch my boots. My daughter-in-law and I were out back one evening looking at the “herb garden to be” and she suggested that I needed a path in the middle of the garden. While the idea didn’t strike me at first, the more I thought about it, the more I liked it!
After heading up to the garden store, I came back with some stepping stones, gravel and mulch.
The path was really the piece that made it all fit together!
Dividing that area in two allowed for 2 separate planting spots, and also allows me to clip herbs from either side, whether I’m on the grass or on the path….awesome!
Can you see under the fountain where I’ve transplanted the bee balm? This will grow tall enough to cover all of those tubes! I also divided up the lemon balm and planted it in that same area. The valerian had recently been moved, so I didn’t want to risk further shock to that plant, so I let it stay where it was.
I also added some river rock that I had from another project, as well as a couple of annuals, just for color.
As you can see, I made a second row of herbs, however using black plastic pots that I got free from local nursery.
After edging with a small shovel along my path lines, we added pea gravel. Now it’s time to mulch! I’m using an organic mulch that I found a great price on.
There is a wide variety of herbs in my garden, from medicinal to culinary. I also added some hostas and a few annuals, just for additional color and texture.
Yes, I plan to finish covering those black pots, I ran out of mulch! Just pretend you don’t see it…..
Notice the space I left between herbs? This gives me the option of adding other plants or herbs in the future, and allows the existing plants to grow and expand.
Overall, I am very pleased with my herb garden! I hope that this will give you the motivation to take that little “pathetic” corner and shake it up a little bit! Use what you have (or can scrounge!) and don’t be afraid to make mistakes…after all, it’s YOURS! You only have to please yourself. Who knows, you just might fall in love with your new herb garden like I have!