An herb garden renovation

When I moved into this house I was lucky to inherit an established herb garden from the previous two owners. As you may well know if you follow me, I live across the street from trained herbalist and local food celebrity Rita Heikenfeld. Through the years here she has helped me take ownership of my inheritance, learning what was already there and adding to it some new flavors.

This year I am planning a major cut back in my main garden. My intention is to build two 4×8 raised beds for vegetables – just enough for fresh produce and a little canning for us. I want to be able to go out and explore and spend some time away during the summer instead of feeling like a slave to the garden.

That said, I’m also planning to put a little more time into my herbs. I haven’t ever put much into that particular garden because I just haven’t had the energy for it with so much demand from the veggies.

This morning I sat down to consider what is already established in the space and what I want to add. I grouped them into tender herbs (like richer soil and more regular watering) and perennial herbs (like grittier soil and less water). I color coded them on my plan, as you can see in the photo. With a couple small changes, it looks like I’ll be able to have one side of the garden for each.

My first big project will be digging up a quarter of the garden that’s been taken over my apple mint. My hope it to remove the soil completely, save a few plants to put into containers and discard the rest (not in my usual compost pile – I’m trying to avoid having mint taking over my world again!). Then I’ll replace that soil with a mix of compost, topsoil and some kind of grit or sand. That’ll be the home for my perennial herbs.

I ordered seeds for some new herb additions from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. One I’m especially excited for is Feverfew. It’s supposed to produce beautiful flowers and the plant has medicinal properties that can help treat headaches naturally!

The elderberry bushes that I moved from the herb garden early last spring have popped back up too. I must not have gotten all the root out. Anyway, I’m happy to welcome another patch of elderberry! The ones in the berry garden are thriving as well after their move last year. I have been drinking the elderberry syrup I made from them to keep my immune system in top shape. So far, so good. I’ve managed (knock on wood) to avoid the flu that has struck down everyone else in my family.

What herbs are you planting this year? I have a few open spots left to fill…

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