When I first got started growing herbs, flowers and vegetables in my garden, I didn't have a lot of money for supplies. I got some great books that told me exactly what to do to grow fabulous plants at home. Do you want to know the secret? Prepare great soil!
Plants need a good foundation to thrive. Their roots provide moisture, nutrients and even air. They also create a stable base from which herbs and other plants can send their leaves, stalks and shoots soaring into the sky.
Unfortunately, not a lot of us have perfect beds in our back yards. My soil has too much clay. It's very wet during the winter and it gets as hard as concrete in the summer. Some people struggle with sandy soil that loses moisture very quickly.
Raised beds are a wonderful solution to the problem of having poor soil.
When you build a raised bed for your herbs, you provide them a wonderful oppotunity to grow unimpeded. Their roots will luxuriate in richer, fluffier soil that offers just the right balance of moisture?
Are you ready to build raised beds?
You can frame your rasied beds with any materials you have on hand. I built my raised beds with concrete blocks. Some people use hay bales. You can also use landscaping timbers, but be careful not to use chemically treated timbers or rail road ties as these are full of contaminants that may leach harmful chemicals into your soil. This is never a plus, but its especially harmful if you're going to be eating the plants you grow.
A good goal is to have your beds raised 6-12" above the regular soil line, depending on what soil conditions are like underneath. I've seen some raised bed gardens planted on top of a concrete driveway. If you have enough soil in your bed, your plants won't mind a bit!
The final step in building raised beds for your herb garden or vegetable garden is filling the bed with soil. I recommend digging the layer of soil beneath your bed to loosen it and provide a hospitable environment for adventurous longer roots. This is especially important for pernneial herbs and any other plants which may have an especially deep root system, like asparagus for example. Another important factor is enriching the soil with organic matter. If you have it, finished compost makes an excellent filler for your raised bed garden. Making your own compost is the cheapest option, but you can also buy compost, potting soil, and other excellent high quality soil mixes at the garden center.
Making raised beds is a great weekend garden project. Start with a small garden and soon you'll have a lovely, healthy patch of herbs with tasty leaves ripe for the picking.