Soil and Space: Designing The Perfect Herb Garden
Getting started with an herb garden doesn’t require much effort, especially if you’ve already had some practice with gardening. In the long run, you will need good quality soil to keep your herbs growing strong. The healthier your soil is, the more productive and hardy your herb garden will be.
How do you get good soil for your herb garden?
We’ll show you how.
First, know that good soil needs a mix of clay (to retain water), sand (to drain water) and organic material (to provide nutrients). Additionally, there needs to be the right balance of these ingredients to have healthy soil, as too much sand or clay can cause problems with drainage, growth and resiliency.
Identify the Quality of Your Soil
Your first step is to determine the type of soil you have in your own community. What is it made from mostly? If it has more clay, add some sand. If it has more sand, add clay. Almost all soils need organic matter added to bring necessary nutrients to the plants.
When you have the proper balance of soil in your garden, you will need to start adding organic materials such as rinds from fruits and vegetables. The best time to do this is in the fall after the plants have been harvested.
Why Compost is Essential
By adding organic green materials to the soil, you’re essentially making your own compost. Compost is an ideal component in soil because it delivers nutrients that are adequately balanced. Many people are quick to jump on fertilizer, but fertilizer can act quickly and cause damage to young plants.
Compost slowly releases vitamins so that the plants are always being nourished. Compost also protects plants from pests and diseases, and it helps keep the soil healthy by retaining moisture and loosening up clay.
Making Your Own Compost Rich Soil
Now, let’s get back to making your own great soil. Many people think they need a compost bin to make compost, but this isn’t necessary. Compost bins are convenient, especially if you’ll be using the compost in various areas, but you can do the same for your herb garden by throwing down the right stuff.
Compost requires a blend of brown and green materials. Brown materials include dried leaves, dead flowers, paper and straw. Green materials are nitrogen-rich and include grass clippings and kitchen waste, such as fruit rinds and cores.
You should be able to find most of these items in your own home or backyard, but if you need additional sources, ask your neighbors for their dried leaves or grass clippings. They surely won’t mind!
Ideally, your space should be about 3 feet wide by 3 feet long. When you have the compost materials laid down, cover it with newspaper. The newspaper will hold in the heat from the plants that are decomposing and turn this into rich soil.
Once you establish this healthy soil, you will need to maintain its integrity. Fortunately, this is easy to do and only involves turning the soil at the end of the growing season and adding organic materials regularly.
You will also need to check the composition of the soil each year to ensure it has the right balance of clay, sand and organic material. Remember, you don’t have to spend money to get high-quality soil. Simple and natural works best in this context.
Designing Your Herb Garden Space
With nourishing soil for your garden, it’s time to start planting herbs. Designing how your space will look is a crucial element for an herb garden. This is where you will be spending time digging, planting and watering, so you want the layout to be conducive to these movements.
You also want to meet the needs of the herbs, such as by providing them with sunlight or partial shade. It’s helpful to know what you’re planting so that you can determine where each plant will go. No matter how you choose to design your garden, remember this tip: keep it simple.
The wonderful thing about nature is that everything is down-to-earth and uncomplicated. If you think that your garden needs expensive lawn decorations, solar lighting and a stone trim, you’re allowing our need for modern-day luxuries to get in the way of what should be a minimal hobby.
If you take a look around your garage or shed, you may find that you already have what you need to create the perfect herb space.
For instance, a piece of wood garden gating can work well, providing it has large enough squares to plant the herbs in. Simply lie this down in the soil and begin planting your herbs.
You may also build your own spaces using pieces of treated wood that can be purchased from a home improvement store. A wagon wheel can also be useful and create a real visual treat in your outdoor space.
Container Gardening and Raised Beds: Great for Urban Dwellers
If you live in an urban area, have poor soil quality or don’t have a yard where you can plant a garden, plant your herbs in a separate planter.
You can still make your own compost and add the soil mixture to each container. Some gardeners choose long wooden planters while others opt for the small, individual herb planters.
You can also build your own stand that will hold all of the planters in one convenient spot.
Container gardening is smart and practical for everyone, and it may be a nice change of pace for the winter months when you want to keep a few of the most essential herbs on hand.
Raised beds can also work wonders if there is poor soil in your area. These beds give the same feeling as an herb garden, except for the fact that the garden beds are raised off the ground. They can be built using pieces of wood and basic hardware for a minimal cost.
Some gardeners make elaborate designs with these beds, and you can go that extra mile by adding a wire fence around the garden or installing pavers in between the beds.
The bottom line is that creating an herb garden is effortless when you put your mind to it. You don’t need much money to get started, and you may even be able to find everything you need in your home already.
Once the herbs begin to fill out, your garden will look absolutely stunning, and you can take a step back and be proud of your accomplishment.Share with friends!