How to Plant a Raised Bed Herb Garden!
This will sound like a complaint but it’s not. We have a small yard…even by Southern California standards. That said, it’s perfect for this time in our lives. When we were younger with many little children we had a house with a big yard and we planted a large vegetable garden. Unfortunately with all the children and their activities we didn’t tend it like we should have and it became an eyesore. So we dug it up, planted sod and were done with gardening, or so we thought.
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Thirteen years ago when we still had five kids living at home we moved to our current home with a mini yard. It wasn’t the most practical situation for a large family, but one by one the kids left for school, marriage and life. Now the yard fits the two of us perfectly. It’s small but pretty, lush and colorful with plenty of room and seating for entertaining and backyard BBQ’s. It also has a spectacular lake view. The irony is now that we have this tiny yard, we actually have the time and desire to garden. But as you can see it has very little room, if any, for a garden. And for 13 years I have let my self believe that. But not anymore. We now have a little raised bed herb garden, and I use those herbs for cooking almost every day!
Why We Chose to Plant Herbs: Easy, Saves Money,Practical!
First, herbs are easy to grow, nutrient rich and add flavor to food. Second, I cook a lot…obviously…and a pet peeve of mine is spending 2-4 dollars on cut organic herbs at the store when the recipe I am making requires only a teaspoon or tablespoon and the rest wilts before I can use it all. Now I can walk into my backyard and cut fresh herbs, and only use what I need when I need it all spring and summer long. No waste!
Why We Chose a Raised Bed:
We have wild bunnies that come into our yard and eat whatever they like. So we decided to plant in an Earth Box Garden Kit that comes with wheels or a stand, but there are more decorative choices here and hundreds of other choices here. I used bamboo skewers and mini clothes line clips to label my herbs (affiliate links), but it’s totally unnecessary. I can easily move this planter about the garden, even placing it in the flower beds above existing plants and the bunnies can’t reach the herbs.
Choosing a Container:
Choose your container, it can be a pot or multiple pots, a basket, or even a flower box. There is no wrong choice, just consider your needs and how many herbs you think you will use and plan accordingly.
The next step is to choose your soil. My nursery recommended I start with organic planting soil or cactus mix and seedlings. Each seedling cost about the same (or less) than one bunch of cut herbs. Such a money saver! I planted the herbs we use most often leaving several inches of space between each plant, you can see they filled in nicely. Now if you are thinking “This is all very lovely but what would I do with all these herbs?” I have you covered! Links are provided below for recipes using each herb.
What Herbs We Planted and Recipes To Use Them In!
Rosemary grows like crazy in California and was already planted throughout my yard but I wanted to mention it because it’s a great source of Vitamin B6, calcium and iron and makes food taste great! For recipes using rosemary click here, here, and here.
Mint smells heavenly, is a natural pest repellant, mouth and breath freshener and helps soothe nausea and indigestion. Click here and here for recipes using mint. Helpful hint: Mint has a tendency to take over. You may wish to plant it in a container of it’s own.
Of course oregano is a staple of Italian cooking but also contains: fiber, iron, manganese, vitamin E, iron, calcium, omega fatty acids, manganese, and tryptophan. Recipe using oregano here.
Thyme is a natural diuretic and as antibacterial properties! For recipes using thyme click here and here.
Cilantro is staple of Mexican food and is a wonderful detoxifying herb used to remove heavy metals and other toxins from the body. Recipes: here and here.
Also amazing for it’s detoxification ability and is used as a garnish and breath freshener. Recipes: here, here, here, and here.
Amazing in brown butter and tea this herb is a natural anti-inflammatory known to improve memory. Recipes using sage here.
Chives are used to garnish many dishes and sometimes may replace onions in recipes. Chives contain allicin, an organosulfur that is being studied for its ability to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Recipes using chives: here, here, here, and here.
Yet another aromatic herb used in Italian food that has anti-inflammatory benefits! Basil recipes: here, here, here and here.
Taking care of a raised bed herb garden is a cinch! I water it everyday, trim back as needed and that’s it! And it can pretty much fit anywhere, a small porch, an apartment balcony or a tiny courtyard.
MAY I PLEASE ASK A FAVOR?
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Can I come vacation at your home? Everything is so gorgeous! Seriously! I love how you used the clothespins as markers too. So cute. I may just have to steal that idea for my herbs.
tara you are welcome anytime! We have a few spare bedrooms now:)
I love this post! I think that rather than cooking with salt and purchased sauces from a shop, you should add a natural flavor from herbs, veggies and so on. My favorite herbs are Basil and Oregano!
Thank you Anna, I whole heartedly agree!
Seriously! I’m moving in today. Your backyard is just gorgeous!!! Beyond gorgeous. I want to bask in your herbs…not in a weird way, lol. 🙂
Is there a weird way to bask in herbs?? Thanks Kirstin as always you are lovely and supportive.
These images need to be on the front of Better Homes & Gardens!! Breathtaking! What a sanctuary you’ve created. =)
Thank you Jessica! I have to say in the last couple of years our yard has really transformed. It was a dirt lot when we bought it and it took a while for everything to grow in nicely! I love it.
Your yard is stunning!
I think my yard will be gorgeous once all my kids are gone too 😉
I only have time for an herb garden now and have pretty much all of the same herbs you mentioned with the addition of lemon balm for my 8 year old who adores it! I hope to expand a little this year and a few more herbs to the mix!
Thanks Lydia. It is amazing how much cleaner and nicer the house and garden stay once kids are gone! But enjoy it while you can, you will miss all the chaos someday. (Ok not really, you will miss the kids but not the chaos!)
BEAUTIFUL!!! A page out of a Sunset magazine!
Thank you so much!
Breathtaking! I would definitely move into your backyard. Hope you don’t mind if I bring my husband and several cats 😀
We’ll install a litter box…for your cats, not your husband:)
Your yard is so pretty. This is really great information. Even with a really small space, it is possible to at least grow herbs. It does save you a lot of money and if you have a food dehydrator, you can save everything at the end of the season.
I agree Susanne! It’s a big money saver!
Your house and yard are to die for! Lovely!! Trish
Thank you Trish! We are so lucky to be able to enjoy such a pretty yard nine months out of the year…summer is just too hot:)
Thanks again Linda for more amazing information and pics. Absolutely love everything you do. xo
Thank you Khardine! I really appreciate you telling me that. Sometimes I post and….crickets:)
since I’m not sure if this question will also post on google+, I’m going to add it there to I hope you don’t mind, I’m getting a very late start considering planting a garden, since I am new to this again I guess you could say, I planted gardens when my children were at home, but now my living situation is so different and I wasn’t familiar with optional ideas and ways to grow a garden without a big enough space of basically flat land, I’m a late bloomer in this area, since I’ve been very sick in the last 15 years and am learning that western medicine has and is in many ways failing me, so long story short the question of the hour for me is it to late in the to start at least herbs this late in the planting season and if not is there any other vegetables I might also be able to plant, thanks ahead of time for your input.
You still have time for herbs:) but I would definitely start with seedlings instead of seeds. As far as vegetables I would google to find out if it’s too late to plant in your area. Thanks!
Oregano sage and mint can get really large. I have been gardening for nine years and made the mistake of putting oregano in one of my beds. I still can’t get it out! Also rosemary isn’t easy to grow from seed. It is better to snip off the top 4 inches and root it. Propagating from another plant can be easier than growing from seed. Basil is really easy to propogate.
I removed the mint shortly after planting and made note of that in the post. I didn’t have any trouble with the oregano but perhaps this year I will plant it separately. Thanks for the suggestions!
I’m looking at your amazon link, and it doesn’t mention the stand as being included in the kit. Does the kit actually come with the stand or is that separate? Would you recommend using their fertilizer and dolomite that comes with the kit? xoxo
There is a separate link for the stand. The kit comes with wheels. I did use the fertilizer:)
Nothing better then fresh herb’s/spice’s
LOVE this post.
I know — that you knew I would!
I am writing one to post soon with almost the same herbs, with the medicinal uses. I promise to share.
Great minds think alike! Your garden is magical!
Excited you are sharing about herbs !!! Green blessings.. C
haha! Thanks Carol. I am no where near having your knowledge but I do try!
Great tips! When we first started a garden and planting herbs, I made the very big mistake of planting mint IN THE GROUND! You can imagine the result. No matter how much I yanked that stuff out – it came back – with friends! Lesson learned.
Mint can get crazy! But at least it smells good!
Oh I just love your backyard!!! It’s beautiful! And I totally understand the big family + big weedy garden thing. We still are struggling with that. Each year we hold out hope we’ll do better than the last, maybe this’ll be the year!
Thank you. I love it too.
Love your back yard! I have a little vegetable raised bed garden in our back yard and this year we are planning to get a patio done and have a little space to hang out! Cant wait for summer!
Love my garden and working outside – we call it dirt theraphy, LOL! Yours is super beautiful and love the herbs, such a lovely addition to the garden.
Beautiful garden Linda! Great idea for small gardens!
Your gardens are beautiful & I love the skewers & mini clothes pins idea to make your own herb markers. Such a great tip – We pinned it to our growing herbs board.
Thank you Virginia! I always appreciate a pin!
I mixed organic potting mix and potting soil in my raised bed with my lemon thyme, garden sage and peppermint herbs… Did I do right? Or should I replant them?
Sounds great! Depending on what kind of peppermint you planted it may take over in time. I ended up taking my mint out and putting it in it’s own planter, all by itself.
Gorgeous and yummy!! I have a raft by 6 ft raised box garden waiting for my herbs. How many can i plant in this dpace???
Gosh I don’t know, but quite a lot! My raised bed is much smaller and I grow more than I can use!