The Garden of Herb

March in northern Alabama calls to those of us bent toward early gardening. Although the average last frost date is April 15, those first warm days of March draw me to soil like a magnet attracts a nail.

Being too early to set out most plants, I decided to do the grunt work of preparing my herb garden. I had pretty much left it untended last year, so my dreaded chore loomed ahead, too close for comfort.

I began by weeding, of course. Then I added topsoil and peat moss, and replaced the black fabric barriers. I even moved some rocks around to make small areas for herbs that were already in place and for those I had dreamt about adding.

The area for my herb garden— about 15’ by 3’— sits between a walkway and the detached garage, where it barely gets enough sun. But most plants do fine there. I worked a small section at a time over a period of several days. This one was of those rare times when a project progressed easier and faster than expected. Yaaay!

The plants that had survived our mild winter included rosemary, chives, and thyme, plus an unidentified specimen. I’m thinking it’s lemon grass, but haven’t confirmed that yet.

In mid-April, I added chamomile, cilantro, oregano, sage, curry, dill, basil, stevia, lemon balm, wormwood, Italian parsley, and French tarragon. I have mint coming up in flowerbeds in the front yard that I’m debating about moving (some of it) to the herb garden, since it tends to take over anything in its path. I’ve read about planting mint in containers without drainage holes in order to prevent it from spreading, so I may try doing that this year.

My early spring bed preparation is paying off with a rather neat-looking herb garden, filled with many plants to enjoy this summer as I cook and tincture the products of my labor.

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