Use One of These Four Simple Garden Designs to Grow Kitchen Herbs

Each of these gardens designs will fit into a 12-square-foot area so you can grown kitchen herbs in the space nearest your kitchen door.


| October/November 2006



garden designs - panorama

Our garden designs feature these kitchen herbs: basil, chives, cilantro, dill, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme.


Illustration by Michael Otteman/Otteman Arts

The stunning flavors of culinary herbs make them star players in a healthy diet, and the best way to make the most of big-flavor herbs is to grow them yourself. This article includes plans for four herb garden designs, each of which can fit into a 12-square-foot area, to help you make the best use of space near your kitchen door. See Top 12 Kitchen Herbs for more on the featured herbs: basil, chives, cilantro, dill, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme.

You could grow kitchen herbs in a geometrical design dating from the days of medieval monasteries if you like, but there are easier ways to include culinary herbs in your landscape design. By following a few basic guidelines and choosing to grow the herbs you’re most likely to use, you can grow a generous supply of kitchen herbs in a surprisingly small space. Add some container herbs that are marginally hardy or prone to crowding out other plants, and you’re well on your way to a gourmet herb garden.

The first and most important step is to grow your herbs as close as possible to your kitchen door. “Accessing your kitchen herbs should be as easy as going to your pantry for the dried version,” says V.J. Billings, who grows herb plants by the thousands at Mountain Valley Growers in Squaw Valley, Calif. To find great places to grow herbs, simply walk out your back door and survey every space within 20 paces that gets at least a half day of full sun. As you plan, consider the times you will dash out to grab a handful of chives, dill or basil when it’s raining or something on the stove needs your attention. Having your herbs within easy reach of a walkway or well-placed steppingstones can also make a big difference.

Herbs need average or better soil and good drainage, but they are generally not as demanding as vegetables and flowers. With kitchen herbs, it’s better to make use of a convenient location than to move away from the house in search of better soil.

Choosing Herbs

By now you probably have visions of your favorite cooking herbs dancing in your head. Gayle Sathre-Zimmerman, owner of Blossom Farm in Columbia Station, Ohio, suggests including a variegated plant, or one with dark leaves, to enhance the visual appeal of your herb garden. Thyme, sage and mint come in variegated versions, and basil varieties with deep purple leaves are as flavorful as those with green leaves.

Also be on the lookout for varieties with unusual textures and forms. For example, ‘Berggarten’ sage has broad, velvety gray-green leaves that give it a luminous presence in an herb garden.

david
12/15/2013 4:50:14 PM

I bought a herb garden and grew some herbs and now trying peppers. These kits a really nice and the pepper look amazing http://nessgarden.com/blog/2013/11/4/picked-some-pretty-peppers-and-more


pollkat
5/1/2013 3:06:23 PM

I also cannot print. I get a 404 error code. I do not have anything saying "Related" at the top right of the article, or anything that says image gallery. I found this article in the Apr/May 2013 magazine. Please fix so it can be printed. Thank you


bonnie williams
3/22/2007 11:21:14 AM

There seems to be an error with the pdf as it cannot be found. MOTHER EARTH NEWS RESPONDS: The designs for the four garden plans are in the Image Gallery to the top right of the article under "Related."






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