5 tips to design your own herb garden
Are you fan of Italian food? How about Vietnamese, Lebanese, or French food? Whatever tickles your tastebuds, all kinds of cuisines can be improved with the addition of freshly grown herbs.
Fresh herbs are not only packed with flavour, but also pack a punch in the nutrition stakes – throughout history, herbs have been used to heal, soothe and boost human health, from settling upset stomachs, reducing inflammation in the body to improving cognitive performance.
Even if you don’t possess a green thumb, the good news is that herbs can be grown fairly easily, and can even be quite a beautiful addition to your garden.
Not sure where to get started with your own herb garden? Follow our easy five-step plan:
Choose your location
The best thing about fresh herbs is that you can grow an impressive amount of them using only a very small space. While you may want to place it in a particular spot in the garden or even somewhere on the back verandah in pots,
do consider how easily accessible the location is, and how close to the kitchen it is (this is so you can easily grab some quickly as you cook).
Smaller herb gardens can even be hung on the backs of doors or placed across windowsills, while larger ones can be incorporated into your back garden as a feature.
The only real restriction that may impact your choice of location for your herb garden is that ideally the spot needs to be exposed to four to six hours of sunlight a day.
Choose your herbs
If you are considering starting a herb garden, you probably have an idea of which herbs you would like to grow. For first timers, stick to maybe three or four of your favourites, and then expand the garden as you feel more confident.
Here are some suggestions if you are not sure which herbs to include:
- Peppermint can help soothe an upset stomach and, when used to brew fresh tea, is a great caffeine free alternative to your afternoon or evening coffee
- Thyme is perfect for grilled vegetables and roasted meats – it also has the second highest amount of antioxidants out of all fresh herbs, which fight free radical damage in the body
- Coriander is ideal for use in Asian inspired cuisine. It is known to help reduce levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol, improve digestion and provide ample amounts of vitamin A and K
Draw up a plan
Depending on your chosen location and personal preference, you may want to have a planted garden, or grow your herbs in containers that can be arranged as you like.
Using small pots or little containers to grow your herbs makes the design process more flexible, as you are obviously able to move your herbs around however and whenever you like, even splitting them between several locations.
Having a planted garden is a little more tricky, as you have to commit to a layout. Generally, in practical terms, try to keep the garden design easily accessible from all sides so you can reach every kind of herb without squishing any of the others. Elongated designs are perfectly suited for this, as are round designs with a hollow middle. Incorporate other elements like a flowering plant or even a small water feature or garden statue to give your herb garden an aesthetic focal point.
Draw it up on a piece of paper if that helps you visualise it!
Group similar herbs together
Different herbs may need different amounts of sunlight or water – make your life that little bit easier by grouping herbs that have similar needs together. Everyday life is busy and hectic enough without trying to remember which part of your herb garden needs more water, or a bit of extra soil, or less sunlight.
Making little waterproof and weatherproof labels for each section of the garden could also help you keep track of which herb is where, and what kind of care it needs.
Some herbs can look extremely similar when they are in the early stages of growth, so it is easy to get them mixed up – the labels could save you from putting the wrong herb in your dinner!
Keep it simple
When it comes to creating a herb garden, the bottom line is to keep things simple! Don’t overcomplicate a relatively small and easy project.
Just relax (they are only little herbs after all!) and enjoy the benefits of your freshly grown herbs!