We have been living in Arkansas for the past five years, almost six. As a military spouse though I haven’t felt like settling down yet. There is always that feeling in the back of my head that we will be moving again soon.
This year, though, we decided to make the few acres we live on more of a home. That includes adding a garden and other “farmy things”. The kind of things that make the place one that is fun to raise kids in rather than just a place to stay.
To begin our garden adventure I wanted to add in an herb garden. Growing herbs of my own to use in recipes has been something I have wanted for a while now. We came up with quick and easy plans for a DIY garden box that fits my needs well.
I would love to share our project with you guys because it was a simple and fun home improvement that anyone can do. It is also a great way to add an herb garden to your yard and grow your own herbs to add to your recipes without a lot of work!
Save Money with an Herb Garden
Having your own herb garden can be a great way to save money on food. How many times have you thrown away fresh herbs because they went bad before you could use them all? It always seems like they put way too much in a bunch at the grocery. By having your own backyard herb garden you can walk out and pick fresh herbs to use in recipes any time you want.
You can explore a variety of tastes and flavors without having to shell out the money on tons of herbs to only use a pinch here and there. By having a wide variety at your disposal you are free to test new recipes. You can also play around with all kinds of flavor combinations to come up with your own favorite blends.
Once the season is over you can dry your own herbs and store for months. In some climates, you can keep fresh herbs all year round. Even when dried DIY herbs are often better tasting. They also tend to be more robust than those in the little shaker jars in the grocery.
What Herbs to Include
To start thinking about building an herb garden in your own yard you need to take a look at the recipes you make. Do you never miss a taco Tuesday? Cilantro would be a good start for your herb garden. Perhaps you have a famous Italian dish. In that case, a flat leaf parsley or oregano would be a good place to start.
To help you get started we’ve included a free print out of commonly used herb combinations. This will help you plan your herb garden box and pick good herbs to grow in your yard to meet your needs.
Another place to look when deciding what herbs to put in your garden is your local climate. Some herbs do better in cooler climates. Others need full sun all day long. When picking herbs to grow be sure to find ones that match your climate. You should also consider your gardening abilities to ensure success. Most seed packages will give you a good amount of this information on the back. If you buy plants that are already started you can find a lot of information on the label marker inside the pot. You can also consult a good gardening website for information on what to use in your area.
I also decided to include a few herbs that I won’t be using in my cooking but will use elsewhere. Examples of these are catnip and lavender. Although, I will caution to watch out if you plant catnip. It will attract cats. I already have a catnip guard who has claimed the space as his own.
Building a Garden Box
We decided to go with a raised herb garden in our yard. It was a simple matter of measuring out the area needed for the box and nailing our wood together. You can also add a barrier on the inside of the box such as a mesh if you want extra help keeping weeds and bugs out. My husband decided to use rebar to help hold everything together while filling the box with soil. But, you can skip this part if you prefer. It just gives it a little extra stability while filling.
When making an herb garden at home you can decide exactly what to put into your box. If you would like to add flowers or other plants simply add in the room for them. We put a Sunflower plant in the center of ours because my nerdlets enjoy sunflowers. Be sure to pay attention to the needs of each of your plants. This will help make sure you aren’t planting things together that aren’t compatible.
Supplies for a DIY raised herb garden
Construction twine and stakes
4 2×12 pieces of weather treated wood
8 3 inch screws
4 bags gardening soil
Plants ( as desired)
How to Build a Garden Box
These plans are for our box that contains 12 small herb plants and a sunflower plant. You can adjust them to fit your needs.
read the size of your plants and the space needed for each plant.
Once you have chosen your plants decide how many square feet you will need for your box. Our box measured 2 foot by 4 foot.
Construction twine can be used to measure out the area that you need in the area that you want it to be. Place stakes down at each corner and measure from there. ( Making sure to keep your box even and parallel)
Place all four of your boards down. Line up for accuracy before screwing anything together. (You’ll need a buddy here) If you want to get fancy you can cut the edges at an angle to go together better. Ours worked fine without doing so though.
Begin at one corner and screw two screws into the boards to hold the corner together. Repeat all the way around the corners until your boards are together.
If you are using rebar you can place it on the sides and hammer into place. If not, you are ready to fill your box with soil.
once your soil is in you can begin placing your plants.
Once your plants are in give everything a good amount of water to encourage the roots to expand.
Deciding where to place your DIY Herb Garden
The most important thing when deciding where to put your outdoor herb garden is the needs of your plants. Each plant has unique needs that can’t be ignored. But, many plants can have needs that are similar to one another. If you have plants that need full sun you will need to make sure you place them accordingly. If you have some plants that need partial sun you need to pay attention to the shade patterns in your yard. Place your box so that only those plants get shade for part of the day.
Another thing that is important when building a backyard herb garden is accessibility. You will want your box to be in a place where you can walk out to it and get herbs to use in your recipes. Watch out for any areas that get too muddy or that are prone to bugs. You will also want to watch out for areas that will be a pain to mow around.
When you are placing your herb box planter you can think ahead of any other items you would like to add later. We will be adding a small bench to the nearby tree and a few other garden boxes in the future. Due to this, we planned ahead so that our DIY herb garden is a kind of welcoming area for our soon to be much larger garden.
Make it Your Own
The great thing about doing a DIY outdoor herb garden is that you can make it your own. If you want to paint the wood you can do so. ( Be mindful of potential chemicals in the paint that you use.) If you want to add a fairy garden or other decorations you can do that as well. We had a toad decide to call a little spot under our sunflowers home. My son built him a ramp so that he can get in and out of the box easier.
This is a great project to do together as a family. You can work together to make a garden your family is proud of. Kids can help with planting herbs or picking out herbs for the garden. For those less “handyman” inclined moms like myself, dad is great to have around for the woodwork. (Thank goodness we got it all done before his upcoming deployment!)
You can make this project something that is completely your own. If you do decide to make a version of this project be sure to send us pictures! We would love to see the ideas that you put into work for your own.
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