Thursday, May 08, 2008

Herb Garden

Last weekend was Herb Fest at the WNC Farmer's Market. Ian and I had been wanting to rebuild the herb box that is located off the side of the deck for over a year. The original box was built by a previous owner from railroad ties and was falling apart. Since Herb Fest was closing in quickly, we knew we needed to make our move.

We headed off to Lowe's for a lumber run. We purchased five 2" x 10" x 8' boards, borrowed our neighbor's table saw and whipped up a new herb box in no time flat. OK, so it wasn't really that easy ... First we had to dig the soil out of the old box, then we had to remove the remnants of the broken down box, and finally we were able to begin construction on the new box. And of course the silly box we built was too tall for the location, so we had to plunge it 6" into the ground, mix some peat into the old soil and then fill it up. The project took a lot longer than I thought it should, but the outcome looks great.

the new herb box

In case you're interested in the technical side of the herb box, here is how we built it. We cut one of the 2" x 10" x 8' boards into four 2-foot lengths. We then created two rectangular shaped boxes using one 8' board on the front, one 8' board on the back, one 2' board on the left and one 2' board on the right. We connected the boards using 3" screws just like we did the garden boxes. We then positioned one rectangular box in its place on the ground (the bottom layer) and balanced the second box on top of the first (the top layer). We used left over boards from the garden bed project to fasten the two layers together by positioning a piece of the remnant lumber so that it spanned the top and bottom layer, then screwing into the top and bottom of the board so it would hold the two layers together, sort of like a brace. We used two brace boards on the front, two on the back, and one on each side. These braces are on the inside of the box, so they are not visible.

We had a blast at Herb Fest. There were a lot more herb vendors this year than last, and we were impressed with the selection of plants. Ian loves to cook with fresh herbs, and he had a good idea of the herbs he wanted, but we also bought some herbs we have never used before, like Thai Basil and Lemongrass. We spent a little more cash that day than I thought we would. The herbs cost between $2-$4 each, which doesn't seem like much until you tally up your total bill at the end of the day!

I know I planted the herbs a little closer than I should have, but I had to make them all fit somehow!

the new herb box

The Thai Basil is decorative and has a sweet spicy scent. I am excited to sample this in a curry of some sort.

Thai Basil

This is a weeping Rosemary that should cascade over the side of the box. I love the scent of Rosemary - it's like a little whiff of Christmas.

weeping rosemary

The current challenge is keeping the dog from launching off the herb box into the yard. He likes to use the box as a catapult. I might need to put up a temporary little fence until the herbs are tall enough to deter his bad dog behaviour.

I also plan to create a little flower bed in front of the herb box to further deter dogs (and people) from stepping off the herb box. I think the previous structure would have lasted longer if people hadn't used it as a step ladder. Hopefully some flowers down below will keep trespassers off the box!

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At 12:25 PM , Blogger Tami said...

You may want to consider a railing of some sort ... to keep people from stepping off at that spot.


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