Fresh Herbs by the Kitchen

Posted By on December 1, 2012

A couple of weeks ago we decided to construct a couple of raised herb beds that we are planning to dedicate to only growing herbs. I have been looking forward to doing this for a long time and am excited for spring to get here so that I can plant the herb seeds I bought this fall.

We also planted numerous flower bulbs including iris, crocus and tulip around the beds so that they will have more color and look very nice. With the addition of a nice block border, our herb beds will be complete come spring and will serve us with fresh herbs for years to come.

Building a Raised Herb Bed

Raised Herb Bed - Before Cardboard and Compost

Before Cardboard and Compost

If you would like to build some raised herb beds, I would recommend doing what we did and purchasing a cheap kit. A raised herb bed doesn’t need to be fancy and certainly not that big. You probably will only need to plant one herb plant per herb that you grow, since this will supply you with nearly all you need (depending on how you use them). I also recommend placing your raised herb bed close to your kitchen so that you can just pop out the door to get what you need. If you have to walk across the yard, you will be less likely to use your herbs. As you can see, we built ours right next to our kitchen patio, only 6 feet from out kitchen door.

The best time of year to construct a new raised herb bed is in the autumn. The reason for this is that you can use the grass that you dig up as a compost after you dig it up and it will decompose over the winter. To construct your raised herb bed, first pick out the site and dig up the grass. Try to use your blade in a cutting motion right under the grass so as to slice off the grass’s roots.

After removing all the grass, you should build a trench in the dirt in the shape of the bed you are building. This will allow you to place the bed slightly under the dirt so that it is stabilized. Place the bed into the trench and adjust it to make it level. Once it’s level, push dirt back up against the raised bed to lock it into place. You have now just constructed a raised bed.

The next step is to flip the grass over and place it back on the dirt where you dug it up from so that the roots are point to the sky. This will make the grass die and will also build up the amount of soil you have in your bed. When the grass decomposes, your bed will be filled with semi-decent soil.

Raised Herb Bed - Flipped Grass

Flipped Grass

Once you have all your grass flipped, you should put down some cardboard. Make sure to remove all the tape from your cardboard, since this will not decompose. Also, I like to put down just a single layer of cardboard, so this will require some cutting and fitting. This will completely kill any grass that may still grow. Don’t worry about the cardboard, it should decompose by spring, especially if you cover the cardboard with a layer of manure/top soil. This is what we did.

Raised Herb Bed - Laying Cardboard

Laying Cardboard

Raised Herb Bed - Completed Herb Bed

Completed Herb Bed

Once spring arives, you will have a raised herb bed that is perfect for planting all sorts of herbs. Here’s a list of herbs that I’m planting in our raised herb bed:

Bergamo Bee Balm
Salad Burnet
Santo Cilantro
Lemon Balm
Lemon Grass
Greek Oregano
Forest Green Parsley

Raised Herb Bed - Herb Seed Packets

Herb Seed Packets

All these herbs were purchased from Swallowtail Gardens, which is a great company to buy from.

We also bought a Rosemary plant this past summer and now finally have a place to keep it permanently. Rosemary has an amazing smell (almost like pine tree) and will add zest to quite a few dishes.

Raised Herb Bed - Rosemary

Rosemary – Deliciously Scented Herb

I really hope you will consider dedicating a raised bed to herbs this next year. Herbs are amazing plants with many health benefits which I want to learn about and teach people about. If you have any advice for me or any readers, please share in the comments below.

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