Lee Valley Tools    Gardening Newsletter
   Vol. 7, Issue 2
   April 2012
   Growing a Kitchen Herb Garden

Last summer, I experimented with creating a scaled-down kitchen garden in my backyard. By summer's end, the garden not only provided ample herbs for cooking but was also a joy to behold. Here's how it was constructed and planted.

Kitchen garden kit   Garden in peak season
The garden kit was easy to assemble.   The kitchen herb garden in peak season

The Site Plan
For obvious reasons, the garden should be near the kitchen. It should also be in a sunny spot with good air circulation. Most culinary herbs thrive in summer heat and prefer well-drained soil. My east-facing garden proved ideal, and the cedar hedge that backs the property helped to create a perfect microclimate.

I opted for a 4' x 4' garden kit that was easy to assemble with no need to dig up existing lawn. The kit consisted of four 4' long 2" x 6" boards, six 4' laths and weed cloth. I constructed an open square pine box which sat above ground and spread weed cloth over top of the lawn within the box. As instructed, I added soil (not quite 6") nearly to the top of the box. The mixture was equal parts blended compost, peat moss and coarse vermiculite. After the box was filled, I attached the laths together with screws over top of the soil in a grid consisting of 16 1' squares, which provided spacing for 16 medium-sized plants.

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