Friday, June 14, 2013

Building a Raised Herb Garden

I’ve always wanted an herb garden. We plant a huge garden every year, but Farmer Doc is mostly in charge of that. By the time I think about putting an herb section, the whole thing is planned, claimed, and planted. (If I thought ahead and asked, I’d get an herb section. But I don’t.)

I’ve tried a container herb garden inside. That didn’t go well. So I had a plan for this spring! I thought ahead of gardening season… So far ahead, that I decided I wanted my own raised herb garden, close to the kitchen.

planted herb garden
We picked this spot, in front of the garage. There used to be a big ugly forsythia bush there. Farmer Doc pulled that out for me a few years ago, but we never got around to doing anything with the space. Now I have a plan!

future herb garden location
This is part of the reason I like this spot – it’s super-close to the kitchen. This (should) make for easy herb picking when I’m getting dinner ready!

close to the kitchen
We started by laying cinder blocks for a base for the frame. (Ahem, when I say “we” throughout this post, I mostly mean Farmer Doc. He did all the heavy lifting here.)

preparing the herb garden base
With the back layer of block in place, Farmer Doc cut a piece of treated 4x6 to fit, and notched out the ends to make the corners easy to fit together.

starting the herb garden frame
He laid the side frame parts…

herb garden frame sides
And finally the front of the frame.

herb garden frame first layer
Putting on the second layer was much easier than the first layer – all the leveling was already done!

herb garden frame
Farmer Doc screwed the corners of the frame together, and then drilled a piece of steel through each corner into the ground. This will keep the frame together, and hold it in place on top of the cinder block base.

We let the frame sit for a few days. We said this was to give it time to settle, but really it’s because I was out of town and Farmer Doc was busy with the first hay cutting of the season.

Whatever the reason for the delay… we did get back to the herb garden. Farmer Doc got a bucket-full of dirt from cow mountain to fill most of the frame. (This is what that dirt is for – landscaping! The fact that the cows get to play on it is just a side benefit. For now.)

fill herb garden with dirt
That was followed with a bucket-full of composted cow manure. The first layer of dirt isn’t very fertile – it came from the excavation of our new basement. The composted cow manure is some of the best fertilizer you will ever find. The only problem is that it grows weeds like nobody’s business… But I think I can manage to keep the weeds under control in this little 8-foot by 2-foot garden. (I hope.)

add composted manure to herb garden
Farmer Doc mixed the not-so-great dirt together with the super-duper-awesome composted manure. Then he jumped up and down walked around on the pile a little to settle it, and leveled the whole thing out.

mix and level the dirt in the herb garden
Finally, we topped it off with a layer of potting soil.

add potting soil to herb garden
The next day, I got to planting! I had already gone shopping for my little plants, so I laid them out how I planned to plant them. I’m leaving a space on the left side of the bed for a tomato plant. We’ll have plenty of these in the main garden, but I want to have one here, too.

ready to plant herb garden
About an hour of digging, unpotting, planting, and watering later, and my herb bed looks pretty good!

planted herb garden
We’re not quite finished with the whole project yet. We plan to use some of the Bedford stone that came off our house during the remodel to put a stone face on the bed. And we’ll mulch around the outside to cover the cinder block base.

herb garden with stone face
Here’s the view of my kitchen from my new herb garden! I’m so excited!

herb garden close to the kitchen
Wondering which herbs I chose to plant? Check out the Real Farmwives of America & Friends to see the different types of herbs I used.

How is your garden growing this year? Do you even have it planted yet?

1 comment:

  1. Looks great! I want an herb garden, but don't have a good spot to put one - we are hoping to move soon, so maybe at the new house. I like the raised planter with just the wood, but it will look great with the stone around it too!


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