Wednesday, May 10, 2017


The same basic principles of design, siting, preparation, planting, and maintenance that apply to any garden, apply to herb gardens:

  • HAVE A PLAN – Be realistic with your time, energy, space and finances and select the right number and variety of herbs to meet your needs
  • CHOOSE A STYLE - The style of your herb garden should complement the rest of the garden and the look of the house.  It can be either a formal garden with straight lines and geometric paths arranged around a central focal point or an informal garden with flowing, curved beds and walkways
  • DESIGN ELEMENTS – Consider the following:

COMBINATIONS – start with 5-10 herbs focused on a theme (i.e. culinary)
CHARACTERISTICS – look at the flowers, foliage, aroma, texture and form plus winter interest
COLOR – choose not more than three harmonious or contrasting colors and use throughout the ornamental herb garden
CLUSTER - use 3 to 5 plants merged together for visual effect and contrasting growth habits or form so nothing is hidden
CONTINUITY - year-round appeal with annuals and perennials that peak at different times plus add seasonal interest

  • LOCATION – position the garden where the herbs will have at least half a day’s sun, in a south or west location, sheltered from wind plus accessible to the house for frequent harvest
  • SOIL – herbs need well-drained, moderately rich, weed free soil in ground, raised beds or containers      

  • SEEDS – some herbs are best started from seeds sown either inside in pots or outside directly in soil
  • DIVISIONS – some herbs can be dug in spring or fall and divided to add herbs to the garden
  • PURCHASED PLANTS – some plants are best purchased, but examine the foliage, check for pests, make sure they aren’t overgrown or spindly plus it’s always better to buy with buds rather than blooms

  • TIME - plant at dusk or on a cloudy day to avoid the heat of the day
  • PROCEDURE – water plants, dig hole, loosen roots gently to encourage new growth and set in hole so herb is level with surface, then add soil and firm slightly plus water to settle the soil.  Water 2-3 times weekly until well established      

  • WATERING – always water thoroughly
  • FERTILIZER – use organic fertilizer (5-10-5) only in spring since most herbs will have less flavor with too much fertilization
  • PROTECTION – mulch with shredded bark or pine needles about 2” deep plus winter protect with straw, leaves or evergreen boughs after first freeze
  • HARVEST – gather herbs in the morning before 11am and before flowering for best flavor.  Regular harvest encourages plants to become bushy
  • PESTS – control pests naturally with a spray of water or insecticidal soap safe for edibles.  Perennials can be cut down completely and they will grow again without the pests.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, 
as working for the Lord, not for men.”
Colossians 3:23

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