Growing herbs is one of the most satisfying garden projects you can undertake – they look and smell gorgeous in the garden, and it’s always a treat to eat something you’ve grown with your very own hands.
It’s nice to have a dedicated area of the garden to display your rosemary and thyme et al, so why not try building your very own raised garden bed in the garden.
To find out exactly how it’s done, we asked celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin to create a five step guide to building a raised herb garden, which he’s created along with home improvement specialist Wickes.
Following the step-by step below, you could build your own raised herb garden in less than an hour. For growing edible crops indoors, we also have an expert herb garden guide to growing in containers and on window-shelves. Or, for more inspiration, see our guide to small garden ideas.
How to build a raised herb garden
Use this simple guide to get your raised herb garden ready to go.
Raised herb garden: step 1
First, you need to work out where in your garden you want your raised bed to be. Make sure to consider whether you need to access all four sides, and where your bed will catch the sun – ideally for six hours or more a day.
Raised herb garden: step 2
Create the walls of your raised bed by pre-cutting sleepers. The dimensions are more-or-less up to you, but you do want to make sure the bed is perfectly rectangular in shape. To do this, you need three sleepers of the same length; cut one in half to use as the short sides of your bed. Place the sleepers in position.
Once you’re happy with the arrangement of the sleepers, use a spade to mark the position of the outside edge of the rectangle on the ground.
Raised herb garden: step 3
Move the sleepers aside and dig the turf out. Loosen the soil beneath using the spade to a depth of about six inches.
Raised herb garden: step 4
To build your raised bed, carefully place the sleepers back on to the newly dug earth, into the position you have marked.
To attach the sleepers to each other, drill two sets of two holes through the sides of the long sleepers, positioned at the top and bottom of each. Use coach screws to fasten them to the ends of the short sleepers.
Be careful to keep the sleepers at right angles to each other to maintain the shape. Complete all four corners.
Raised herb garden: step 5
Fill the raised bed to just below the top of the sleepers with a mixture of soil and peat-free compost. Now you are ready to choose a selection of your favourite herb seedlings or grown herbs from the garden centre.
Ceramic windowsill herb gift set
Work out how you want to position the herbs – remember that as they grow they will expand and check the pots for instructions on how far apart each row of seedlings should be from the next (the ones pictured are about 30cm apart). It’s also a good idea to label the rows.
To plant, first soak the seedlings in water to loosen up the roots, and then dig a hole in your bed of about the same size and depth as the seedling pot. Gently tease out the seedling from the pot, and place carefully in the hole. Pack down the soil around the plant, and water again. Repeat with each of the seedlings.
Then let nature take its course – but don’t forget to make sure the soil doesn’t dry out altogether in hot weather.
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