Friday, August 31, 2007

So You Want To Grow An Herb Garden.

This is what a collection of 4x8 beds will look like. I find this the best size for working the soil and harvesting the herbs. It's possible to work without walking in the beds, which will eventually pack your soil down and cause a drainage problem.

I like garden timbers for the building of beds, but rock, fencing, and brick, are all good options.

Once you have built or formed your beds then it's time to fill it up with good, rich and natural soil (compost)

September is a perfect time to build beds, this means you have fall and winter to make your soil and have it ready for planting in the new spring.

Composting can be done two ways, one, you can simply go to your favorite garden center and buy the compost or you can make your own.
And you can mix the two and simplify the task somewhat.

If you opt for making your own, you will need a compost tumbler or a space large enough to make and work a pile of composting material on the ground.
I highly suggest the tumbler.

Into the tumbler/pile you will need a balanced blend of paper, green material, brown material and water.

Just think of the prosess as making a layer cake.
Lay a layer of paper (about 5-10 sheets thick, or you can use cardboard.)
On top of the paper add a layer of grass clipping, any kitchen peelings from fruits and vegetables, egg shells (crushed) and tea and coffee grinds.
A layer of dried leaves, small cuttings from branches, flowers you have deadheaded, etc.
To this layered mix add a layer of horse, cow, or chicken manure. (that has already been composted)
Water thoroughly and cover with a light tarp.
The mixture will cook and breakdown from the heat buildup and will simply decompose.

If using a tumbler, just add all the same ingredients and turn the composter about 5 turns every day or at least 3 times a week.

After about 4 to 6 weeks you will have the richest soil you could ever hope for.
Remove it and add it to your beds. You can use just compost or you can mix it with other soil for growing.
I always add peatmoss to my beds, it's a wonderful medium for keeping the soil loose and for drainage.

Your beds are now ready for planting .

By using a rich composting method of growing you will need no fertilizers.
You will also have no problem with weeds or pest from the soil.

Raised beds and composted soil is the only way to grow for me.

Make it a gardening day!

Bea Kunz
Sage Hill Farms

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