Many people want a herb bed in their own garden, on the terrace or on the balcony. What could be nicer than preparing a tea or a delicious salad from herbs you have picked yourself and using the herbs for your own well-being or for health care?

Choose the right location

Most herbs come from the south and prefer a sunny and dry place. A shady or partially shaded place could only be chosen for herbs that come from our homeland. Important herbs of our homeland are the nettle, the cranesbill, the chamomile, the fennel and the peppermint. You should also make sure that the herbs are protected from the wind. Local herbs are used to our changeable and sometimes very cool weather conditions and can also be planted under a tree or in a place that is rather unfavorable for the herbs from the southern climes.

Once the site selection is complete, you can move on to buying the seeds or herb plants and the materials you need to build a herb garden, herb snail, or herb bed. To do this, you should contact a DIY store and garden center, compare different products and, if necessary, seek detailed advice from a local specialist. The latter variant is particularly recommended if you have little or no experience with creating herb beds and sowing or planting herbs.

The most important building and planting materials you will need for a herb bed are:

  • Natural and field stones
  • Bricks
  • Clinker
  • Woods
  • Seeds and plants
  • fertilizer
  • Earth

Construction work should begin in late April and planting work in mid-May. In the meantime, the bed can be optimally prepared and the soil fertilized. Adequate watering is also very important. To create a herb bed in the shape of a sandpit or any other shape of your choice, the following steps are required:

  • Saw 4 pieces of equal length from 4 square timbers
  • Bring the boards into the desired shape
  • Nail or screw the squared timbers to the upper end
  • put the box in the prepared soil
  • loosen the earth well
  • Mix in some sand
  • press the earth down
  • create a second inner box
  • Distance to the first box: approx. 20 – 25 cm
  • Put the box in the middle of the ground
  • insert further boxes if necessary

The installation of the boxes is very important if you intend to accommodate herbs with different rates of expansion and growth in the herb bed. A herb bed at ground level should not be wider than 120 centimeters and easily accessible. In this way, the herbs can be harvested quickly.

As an alternative to the herb bed – the herb snail

Here natural stones are piled up in a snail shape. The stones should rise inwards, with the highest point in the middle. A herb snail should not be wider than 2 meters and not higher than 80 centimeters. The gaps are filled with rubble, limestone, sand, compost and garden soil. Plants that prefer a dry location should be placed in the upper area, plants that require a moist location in the lower area of ​​the herb snail. A herb snail not only looks beautiful, it also has some advantages over a herb garden that should not be underestimated. In this way, the individual plant species can be more clearly differentiated from one another, which is particularly important if they have a strong smell or grow very quickly.

Regardless of whether you choose a herb bed or a herb snail, you should make sure that the soil is optimally prepared. If in doubt, it would always be better to carry out a soil sample before planting. This way you can determine exactly if certain nutrients are missing or how much fertilizer the soil needs.

  • Ideal soil: dry limestone soil
  • Mixture of lime, sand, humus
  • Spread porous stones in the ground
  • Stones conduct the heat in the ground
  • Compost soil before sowing
  • In good soils, 2 cm of compost is sufficient
  • In nutrient-poor soils, up to 5 cm of compost can be piled up

Herbs on the balcony or on the terrace

Many herbs can be grown not only in the garden, but also on the balcony. It would be ideal if you get yourself different clay pots, which you then fill with earth. The same requirements are placed on the quality of the soil that apply to the herbal soil in the garden. In concrete terms, this means that the soil must be free of chemicals and yet well fertilized. This is the only way to ensure optimal growth and a good harvest yield.

Clay pots have the following advantages:

  • they store moisture
  • the root area does not heat up too much in summer
  • larger plants can be housed alone
  • Plant smaller plants together in one pot

Basically there are no restrictions as to which herbs you can only plant in the garden and which herbs you can also plant on the balcony. It would be much more important to choose a location that guarantees optimal growth, maturation in terms of taste and a good harvest.

Sunny locations are preferred by the following types of herbs:

  • sage
  • Oregano
  • chives
  • rosemary
  • basil

You can easily plant the following types of herbs in a shady or partially shaded place:

  • Parsely
  • chamomile
  • peppermint
  • fennel
  • Wild garlic
  • Pineapple

When choosing the location, the origin of the herbs plays a decisive role. Herbs that feel at home in our latitudes are much more likely to come to terms with bad weather conditions, shady places or low temperatures than is the case with herbs that come from more southern climes. A sunny location, adequate heat supply and adequate protection in winter would be an absolute must.

In the vast majority of cases, it is not a problem to accommodate different types of herbs that you want to grow together in one bed or in a herb snail. However, you should make sure that you do not plant or sow herbs that smell too strongly next to each other, but only at a greater distance from each other.

The following herbs do not fit together, or only with great difficulty:

Peppermint and chamomile
Caraway seeds and fennel
Care and harvest of herbs

Herbs are perennial plants that can give you a lot of pleasure. Regardless of whether you want to prepare a tea or a salad, season the food or achieve relief from various physical ailments – what could be nicer than growing the herbs yourself?

The maintenance effort is minimal and can also be managed by people who have very little time or limited financial resources. Comprehensive botanical knowledge is also not required. However, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the most important principles for needs-based care and an optimal harvest, as well as with the conditions under which an herb plant can thrive.

The following points must be observed during maintenance:

  • water regularly
  • Keep an eye on the water drainage
  • Do not leave plants in the water
  • Composting the soil before sowing
  • Fertilizer 1 – 2 times a year
  • trim the plants regularly
  • the plants must not hinder each other’s growth

Harvest herbs

Very few people will grow herbs just to enjoy themselves. Much more often it will happen that the herbs have a specific benefit and are intended to be used as food or in health care. Most native or exotic types of herbs have the advantage that they can be used for not just one purpose, but extremely versatile. Regardless of whether you want to cook a herbal, peppermint, chamomile or fennel tea, prepare a delicious salad or season the food, it is very important in any case to choose the right time and the herbs neither too early nor too soon too late to harvest.

You should also ensure that the herb bed, the herb snail or the balcony plants are freely accessible and easily accessible at all times. Short access routes are also very important. You will be grateful for this, especially in bad weather.

The optimal harvest times are:

  • late in the morning
  • the morning dew should be dr
  • Many herbs taste best shortly before flowering
  • If possible, harvest lavender, oregano and thyme when they have bloomed

Herb bed and herb snail in winter

Only very few herbs are annuals. For this reason, you will not be able to avoid familiarizing yourself with the most important measures that are necessary for adequate wintering. This would be the prerequisite for the plants to survive the winter undamaged and to come back to life in the coming year.

While wintering is not a major problem for native herbs, it can be very difficult for herbs that come from the south. However, they too have developed amazing abilities to cope with the winter in our latitudes and to ensure not only survival but also growth in the coming year.

You should take the following measures in good time and before the first snowfall:

  • Loosen the soil well
  • Increase the resistance of the herbs
  • Fertilize the soil
  • Use compost
  • Cut the herbs briefly, preferably before the first frost, in any case before the first snow
  • Place spruce branches over the herb bed or on the herb snail
  • Do not leave herbs in pots outside
  • look for a warm place on the windowsill, in the basement or in the conservatory

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