Designing Your Herb Garden
Many questions come to mind when people ask me about designing herb gardens. The most compelling one I ask them is how much time do you have to devote to maintenance? The answer determines how big the garden is, whether or not to garden in containers, whether to make it very formal or opt for the wild-type of look, and what kind of plants to use-annuals, perennials, tender perennials, or a mix. Of course, budget plays a big part in this, too. The easiest to design, plant, and maintain is a small space, especially if you are new to this. A 6 to 8 foot square or round garden will suffice. You can always expand it or change the shape of it as it grows and your breadth of knowledge gets bigger as well.
Where to put the garden is the question I'm asked most often, and to that I say look out your kitchen window for inspiration. If you're like me, you'll find a zillion reasons to trek back and forth between the herbs and the kitchen every day of the growing season. Every meal, every iced tea, every cut and burn is yet another reason for siting the garden close to where you'll be making the concoctions. You'll need a sunny spot with good air circulation and easy access to a water spigot. If container gardening is your thing, a sunny deck or patio is the most logical spot.
Stake out the garden with string or, if it's curved, use a garden hose to make the shape and size. Dig out the sod, amend the soil with old compost or well-rotted manure, and you're on your way. Choose the herbs you think you want, and draw a little sketch to scale on a piece of paper. You can always move plants around when you get them, but read the labels on the plants to judge how far apart to put them and how tall they will get so you won't be blocking light from low-growing plants.