Building Joel’s Raised Herb Garden

If you follow my articles, you will remember Joel, who is one of the most dedicated hobby gardeners I ever met. But he didn’t have an herb garden. Joel wanted an herb garden—and since he is a good man and treats people well we set out to fulfill his wishes before Christmas.  Here is the starting location after we removed several large rosemary bushes.

Joel has been saving this site for an herb garden but we had to figure out what an herb garden would look like

Joel has been saving this site for an herb garden but we had to figure out what an herb garden would look like

The picture below shows a 12 x 20 foot piece of nursery ground cover fabric. It is a little different from the landscape fabric found in box stores and it is a bit more hard to find. You could use one product or the other.  I like the nursery fabric because it gives me an instant square and straight lines to follow. I laid out the fabric and set out a few landscape timbers so that I could get a mental image of the overall design for the finished product.

We start the herb garden project with a large piece of nursery ground covering and a whole lot of pondering.

We start the herb garden project with a large piece of nursery ground covering and a whole lot of pondering.

I surmised that a well-designed, raised herb garden would be easily tended from all sides and that the gardener would not have to step inside the beds. I settled for a U shape design, two timbers high. I’ve been working with landscape timbers for years and I learned that cutting pieces with a 22 ½ degree setting on a good miter saw is a good way to add class and character to the project. A pick up truck tailgate makes a rather good saw horse.

A miter saw makes precision cuts an easy process.

A miter saw makes precision cuts an easy process.

I lay out the overall design for the timber work,  experimenting with different cuts. When I get the basic lay out right, I can use each piece for a pattern and quickly cut all of the pieces I need without having to measure over and over.

Moving things around to get "just the right shape" for the raised beds

Moving things around to get “just the right shape” for the raised beds

Down here in Georgia they don’t call the tool I am using a “drill” or a “screw-driver”, they call it a “De Walt.” In sort of the same way, people will refer to a Pepsi Cola as a “Coke”—as in, “If you ain’t got a real coke, a Pepsi coke will be ok.” But back to the project: there are several kinds of self-threading screws that may be used for a timber project. Special screws are made for treated lumber and you should be sure that you get the right kind.

Three and a half inch deck screws are used to fit and fasten the pieces

Three and a half inch deck screws are used to fit and fasten the pieces

After the timbers are in place and screwed together, I like to go around the project and tap a piece here or move a piece there to make sure that all is lined up properly. After small adjustments we use screws to fasten the top to the bottom. Note the white pipe at the left rear of the project. This is for drainage at the lowest level. We don’t want any puddles, do we?

Adjusting and getting everything just right before adding the compost

Adjusting and getting everything just right before adding the compost

And here is the finished garden. We used my magic compost mix to fill the beds and then raked in cypress mulch for the walkway and edges.  Joel can do a much better job of planting and maintaining it than I can so I’ll leave that to him.

The completed bed for the herb garden with compost and cypress mulch. Ready to plant

The completed bed for the herb garden with compost and cypress mulch. Ready to plant

Thanks for visiting John the Plant Man. Remember the next time you want a good read you need to try “REQUIEM FOR A REDNECK”, a kindle ebook from Amazon that features John the Plant Man with his Georgia mountain friends. It’s quite the adventure. Check it out, buy a copy, and tell ALL your friends about it.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. pbmgarden
    Dec 22, 2013 @ 17:22:52

    This turned out well. I like the u-shape design for the garden. Merry Christmas!

    Reply

  2. Bob Hicks
    Dec 23, 2013 @ 10:45:15

    I am going to miss gardening. Maybe I can find a small place down here in Marietta to put in something. I like the ease and simplicity of Joel’s.

    Reply

  3. Ellen
    Jan 02, 2014 @ 07:21:29

    I love the shape of the raised bed!

    Reply

  4. Trackback: Gardening in Bales of Straw | Johntheplantman's stories, musings, and gardening.

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