Raised mattress herb backyard: spice issues up

Imagine this: you are busy in the kitchen preparing some food for dinner if you get inspiration. The bland boxed mac and cheese would be perfect with a little oregano! Instead of fetching a dusty old shaker from the pantry, grab your kitchen scissors and walk through the back door. Outside, you cut off a few leaves, rinse them off, and toss them in the pot. Voila! You have turned a boring meal into something tasty and partly your own, all thanks to your herb garden in the raised bed!

Whether you are a box meal type or a culinary expert, you will love the freshness and convenience of growing and cooking with your own herbs. There are tons of herbs out there so you can customize this garden to suit your taste buds. You will also find that most herbs are surprisingly easy to grow, especially with a little strategic planning.

In this article, we'll discuss the best way to plant an herb garden: in a raised bed! After a simple initial setup, your herbs will thrive in your small garden box. So let's check out one of the most fun ways to grow your own spices.

Why a loft bed?

A raised bed herb garden can enhance your kitchen.

We talk a lot about raised beds here at Epic Gardening, and for good reason! The best thing about a raised bed is that the bottom is above the ground. This enables more barrier-free gardening since you don't have to crouch just to reach your plants. Better accessibility is a huge plus if you have back pain, arthritis, or other mobility issues. It's also important for herb gardens as you will harvest frequently, often between recipe steps!

Another benefit of gardening is increased less weeds. You hardly find any weeds in your outdoor potted plants, right? This is mainly because they use potting soil that does not contain unwanted seeds. Also, raising the level of the soil makes it harder for weed seeds to reach and take root in it. Any weeds that grow in the planter are easy to remove because they are at your level.

In addition to the absence of weeds, you will see less pests in a raised garden bed. Fresh soil mix is ​​unlikely to produce eggs, larvae, and bacteria. Many insects will also have a hard time reaching the plants, especially if they normally move through the ground.

Raised beds vs. container gardening

Raised beds and containers have many of the same advantages. So why go to the extra hassle of building a raised bed when you could use one of the many plastic containers stacked in the garden shed? Well, it all boils down to two words we love to hear: low maintenance.

A good chunk of garden time is devoted to watering when using containers. Because a planter has so little soil, it won't absorb much moisture. That means blowing the garden hose every day (at best!). Raised planters, on the other hand, often last enough to quench even the thirstiest plant without constant watering. While using a planter may be easier at first, a raised bed will save you a lot of time and water in the long run.

Choose a raised bed for your herb garden

There's no shortage of raised bed designs (we have over 50 ideas in this post!). You can buy a set that is easy to put together, like our favorite, the Birdies Raised Bed. You can reuse old materials like wooden boxes or concrete blocks. Or you can deviate from the script and design something completely unique for your garden!

Whichever design you choose, there are only a few things to consider. For growing herbs, your raised planter box must be:

  • On level ground
  • High enough to allow good drainage
  • In partial shade
  • Made of sturdy materials such as wood or metal (plastic is probably too thin)

I don't know about you, but all of the outside space closest to my kitchen is a concrete terrace, no dirt. Fortunately, that's not a problem, because raised beds are just as easy to build on concrete. However, you need to take some precautionary measures, such as: B. Fill gaps between paving stones with sand to prevent weeds. It's also a good idea to put landscaping fabric underneath so that the concrete doesn't stain underneath.

Finally, before starting a raised bed garden, you need to consider which herbs you want to grow. Then you can make sure the planters are perfectly positioned for your living spice rack!

Choose your herbs

Coriander in the bird bedBeds like this Birdies garden bed are great for herbs.

Choosing which herbs to plant must be the most fun. There are so many to choose from! Unless you plan to fill the entire planter with basil, grouping the herbs as your needs grow will make maintenance even easier and help the plants thrive. Herbs are usually divided into two categories: drought-resistant and water-loving. We strongly recommend that you have two separate planters for each one.

To help you get started, here are the most popular herbs – along with some of our favorites – by category.

Drought tolerant herbs

Water-loving herbs

Some herbs can go either way, so they will fit in any bed. Some examples are savory, marigold, garlic, chives, and sage.

Themed herb gardens

Do you usually cook Mexican food? Indian? Italian? Regardless of your tastes, you can bet there are certain herbs that you use by default. So why not pick a culinary theme (or two) and run with it? Here are some herb garden themes that are both fun and practical:

  • Indian spices: Cardamom, Saffron, and Cumin (I can think of curry but this herb is actually a 30 foot tree that is very difficult to grow in the United States. If you are a seasoned gardener looking for a challenge, give it a try it off!)
  • Mediterranean herbs: Rosemary, marjoram, cumin, oregano, dill, lavender, sage, savory, tarragon, garlic
  • Tea garden: Tea plant (Camellia sinensis), chamomile, lemongrass, lavender, mint, borage, marigold, dandelion, stevia (yes, it's a plant!)
  • Medicinal herbs: Chamomile, lavender, feverfew, licorice, marigold
  • Quirky herb garden: Dandelion, mullein, borage, wild pansy, rosemary, lavender, parsley, chamomile

Some other theme ideas are Asian Cuisine, Edible Flowers, Aromatic, Salad Bar, Kitty Snacks, or even a Pizza Herb Garden. Feel free to get creative with it!

Put everything together

Chamomile in the raised bedChamomile works well in a raised bed.

You have your planter design, and you have your herbal theme. Now we just have to put everything in a beautiful garden. After you've built or installed your raised planter in the garden, proceed to fill it with layers of soil. Herbs need good drainage, so fill the soil with something that lets excess moisture through, such as wood. The top layer should be fertile, well-drained potting soil that is consistent with organic matter. In the case of drought-tolerant or native Mediterranean species, the soil should be a little gravelly and sandy.

Plant herbs

Growing herbs from seeds is easy. However, to speed up the process, most common herbs are available as pre-planted starts at your local garden center. Plant depth and spacing vary by plant, so check the directions on the seed packets beforehand. You don't want to have too many herbs planted in a small space. If you are planting seeds directly in the planter, you may want to sow extras and weed out the weaker seedlings as they grow.

Depending on the region and temperature, your herb garden will need to be watered at least once a week. As with all garden plants, keep the area free of weeds and pests.

Harvest herbs

As it turns out, the harvest is just as good for the herbs as it is for your plate! Frequent cutting back of the leaves and stems makes the plants bushier and more leafy (which leads to more harvest!). Since frequent pruning can delay flowering, it also extends harvest time, so you can have herbs all summer.

When harvesting fresh herbs, you should generally rely on the newer leaves and flowers. This entrusts the older, larger leaves with photosynthesis and keeps the plant productive. In addition, for most herbs, the newer leaves have the most delicate taste. A good example is the tea plant, which is actually harvested at different stages of growth to make different types of tea (the newest growth is used for white tea).

Use clean and sharp kitchen scissors to cut your fresh herbs. Cut the stems or petioles just above the node so they can easily grow back. As a rule of thumb, you should never cut more than a third of the plant at a time.

Store herbs

Like most fruits and vegetables, herbs taste best when they come straight from the plant. However, if you need to keep some, keep them in a sealed container in the refrigerator. The best way to store them is to keep them as dry as possible, so don't wash the herbs before using them.

Most herbs can be dried for long-term storage. An easy way to dry them is to spread the herbs on a baking sheet and put them in the oven at 180 ° F for 2-4 hours. You can also dry them in bundles by hanging them upside down in a dry place. However, this method takes at least a week or two. If you have one, a dehydrator is also an excellent choice.

Dried herbs will last at least a year – 2 or 3 if they are ground after drying. However, as with all products, the earlier they are consumed, the best taste they have.

frequently asked Questions

Kevin with chamomileMaintaining a raised bed herb garden is easy.

Q: What herbs grow well in raised beds?

A: Small and medium-sized herbs should thrive in an elevated planter. Some herbs like oregano can get quite large, but can be contained with regular harvest.

Q: How deep should a raised bed be for herbs?

A: Most herbs need at least a foot of soil to grow. Some have larger roots, like basil and rosemary, and need at least 2 feet. Be sure to check the average size of the herbs you plan to plant before building your raised bed.

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