Posted by: A Part of the Solution | February 21, 2011

Herb Garden Layout, Part 2

We’re planting herbs and flowers two ways this year. There’s a large herb garden planned for the front yard. The herb garden will be decorative and fragrant through most of every year It will house many perennials and provide space for the fussier annuals in the herb family. That herb garden should also supply cuttings, slips and seeds in a year or so as I develop the infrastructure to support the various forms of propagation.

We will also seed and transplant herbs and flowers among and around the various beds and plant varietals. Companion planting reduces the amount weeding and keep to a minimum the amount of watering each fruiting plant requires. Companion planting targets identified weaknesses we noted in last year’s gardening endeavors and allows us to use nature herself as a shield against flea beetles, powdery mildew and blossom end rot.

Nasturtiums, radishes and marigolds are all companions to the Curcurbita family plants (squash, pumpkins, melons, cucumbers). Radishes serve as a ‘beard’ for the Cucurbitas–since flea beetles can’t resist them; their roots still develop even if their leaves are decimated by the hungry flea beetles. Marigolds repel cucumber beetles, as do nasturtiums. In addition, nasturtiums are a delicious edible flower and with the radishes, make a third crop where one might have grown.

We will plant most of our peppers so they may take advantage of the shade from their cousins interplanted with them, the tomatoes. But the rest of our peppers, the hot peppers, will grow in a ring around the perimeter of the herb garden to discourage various ambitious mammals from finding forage further in. Coriander, fennel and basil are recommended to  confuse and repel various insect predators here–as are the chamomile and cosmos.

We will be able to provide lettuce through the whole of our growing season, if we can put those salad greens under arched trellises of vine-type plants, like cucumbers to shade them from the heat that is their enemy. Or we could make shade for the lettuces in between rows of tall peas and beans. Or we could sow the lettuces beneath standing rows of sunflowers. Any and all of these work to add variety, flavor and health to our garden undertakings.

Fabulously, these ‘tricks’ of companion planting and succession planting and interplanting don’t take up more space in the garden. These techniques don’t take up more money or investment of time (you really have to trellis peas to get them to produce). Since much of their force is aimed at preventing infestations and soil drying or weed proliferation, most of these ideas save time across the course of the season.

Watering in the morning when the soil is cool and receptive prevents various molds from forming in susceptible genera. Using drip irrigation also targets specific plants at optimal rates of absorption as well as minimizing evaporation when used in conjunction with mulches.

Can you tell I’m skewing constantly towards bio-diversity, conservation of resources and permaculture? It’s getting to be second nature around here, this getting back to Nature!




  1. Your garden is going to be such a lovely place! Post pictures of the pea trellis!

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