If you love cooking with fresh herbs, this article is a must read.I will be talking all about growing them in your raised beds. Some herbs have a certain versatility to them, they can be grown in a windown box as easily as in containers or pots.
What kinds of herbs should you plant in your raised bed garden?
Ive always loved the aroma of fresh rosemary. I use it in cooking quite often. (Dried rosemary is great for roasting potatoes!) This sun-loving herb thrives in sandy soil. Too much shade and you’ve got the making of a spindly-looking plant that won’t be as lush looking. It’s drought resistant, another plus.
Another great culinary herb, it too originated from the Mediterranean just like it’s other cousins. It likes a lot of sun, but not a lot of water. So it tends to thrive in more arid conditions and can be very drought resistant. If you add pumice or pearlite to the soil you can help to minimize excess moisture in the soil. It can handle the chilly temps, too, as long as it’s planted early enough in the warm months to offset change.
If you like cooking in the Italian and Mediterranean styles, you’ll love having basil around to supplement the taste of sauces. We planted basil in our fourth (and best) bed. It does not do well in cold climates (we planted ours around May) so be sure and wait until the last frost has passed before planting. It needs a good day of full sun to thrive but if it gets too hot some shade covering will be in order. Our last bed is close to the overhanging pear tree in my neighbor’s yard so it knocks off some of that heat.
It gets pretty tall. We got them from a yard sale of all places. It got up to about 3 feet in height. You can see how much of it has gone to seed. We will attempt to collect the pods when the flowers dry up and save them to replant again. You may want to pinch off the first flower because that will lead to more – and the amount of foliage (the leaves are prized, of course) what are put forth will be lessened.
Basil is a good pant to have int he vicinity of tomato plants as pests dislike the scent of it. It can potentiate its growth as well, as both plants like the same conditions (full sun, moderately moist soil). You can plant cuttings as well as seedlings – if you propagate them by keeping cuttings in water until they root you should be good to go.
Parsley and Cilantro
Another great herb that you may recognize as garnish (and I’ve heard, it’s good for a breath freshener, or preventing indigestion). I used to grow it in containers, but with limited success. It seems to do much better outside. It likes a moderate amount of sun and moisture – partial shade and full sun works best as long as its at least 4 hours. It’s a biennial, in the first year it may produce the most lush foliage, but sometime after that it may start to bolt (go to seed)
We cook a great deal with fresh dill, it is an annual plant so its production period will be less than the others, Better yet, you have the benefit of a plant that produces seed and herb which are both edible. Also don’t confuse it with dill weed which is something entirely different. There are many reason to plant dill and one of them happens to be pest control, due to its pungency.
Due to its resistance to chilly temps it can be a great fall crop to plant, provided you have planted it in a warmer time so it can harden off naturally.
Black swallowtail butterflies are attracted to it, and they have the offspring (parsleyworm) They do feed on plants, but people accept them as a given as they’re a pretty green and black and they enjoy having butterflies around, but if you plant some extra for the caterpillars (and put row covers on your preferred plant) you can keep your natural ecosystem going.
Planting Herbs in Beds Successfully
A lot of the rules of planting veggies apply here to herbs. Always perform research first and make sure you plant the chosen herb with a vegetable crop it is compatible with for best outcome. If you are starting from seed, be sure that like with veggies, you wait until the last frost has passed. Some herbs can be started from seed indoors, easily, with the exception of dill which does not transplant well.
When seedlings start, prune out the less healthy ones and be sure they are 6-8″ apart. Some herbs get more bushy and others get tall, so best to plan for a fair amount of space around each plant.
Be sure, as the plants develop, that you pinch off the flowers, as the flower (however pretty) can prevent new foliage from developing. If too many flowers develop the plant could end up bolting (another word for turning to seed.)
Good luck with your herb garden!