Boxed herb-garden – a step by step guide with tips

One of the smartest things I did last year was build myself a herb-garden. I thought that if I had plenty of herb easily available at all times I would use more. And I was right. I have been dreaming lately of small vegetable or kitchen garden, but I can’t keep anything alive inside, so I’ve assumed that nothing will live any longer outside. The herb-garden has now, a year later, proved me wrong. The herbs are thriving! And, best of all, they require little to no maintenance. Survival of the fittest is what rules my garden and only the strongest survive.

I wanted to go organic with this, and googled about a bit. Apparently, building a box needs a little more thought than pick a few planks and nail them together, or at least if you want to get picky, like I did. So I found a producer of planks that are not full of all things yucky that will transfer to the soils, the roots, the plants, and to us. I ended up with decking boards(planks) from the Finnish producer Lunawood. Ask around where you are and I’m sure you’ll find something similar to lunawood (maybe with a less cool name).


I had the planks cut in lengths of 120 cm and 50 cm and simple made a box with them. In each corner I had a small 2×2 (I would think) to support the corners and stabilise the box. And after being told so by Husband dearest I used screws instead of nails. I have no idea why I did this, except that I was told. I did do everything myself though! Yes, I’m a little proud of that. It’s been years since I last used a saw.

I talked to someone from a local garden centre concerning the soil. I had no clue what to get, but I wanted something low maintenance, organic (or as close as I could get) and healthy. Apparently the soil you buy in bags vary dramatically in quality. I bought by the bucket (which meant I actually had to bring my own buckets) rather than the bags. And also some cow manure. It’s supposed to be the shit!


After placing the boxes where I wanted them I started with a layer of newspapers. This is to make sure what’s underneath the box doesn’t compete with what you want inside the box. Then I added a layer of stones, and here I just took what I had. It’s for better drainage, but it’s not very important unless your boxes are placed on solid rock as the soil underneath will help drain excess water. I have a thin layer, for Justin (Case). Then I added a layer of soil mixed with the manure, about 2 thirds soil and one third manure. Loads of good food for the herbs!

For the herbs I wanted something that I use, and perennial plants, so that they will surprise me with their return every year. I chose rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley, chives and mint. All good choices, except for the mint. When they all came back this year, the mind had spread through the entire box! It’s the only work I’ve done relating to the box this year, but I had to dig it out, find all little strings of root and try to get rid of the entire plant. The mint killed the chive, so that is new this year. The mint was replaced with lemon balm. I bough organic herbs from the shop, drenched their roots in water before I planted them in the box. No magic formula or ancient dance ritual. It worked.

I was a little disappointed with the herbs in April when they first came back. But logically they don’t come back full size. Now they’re perfect! Please, if you consider it, give it a go! I haven’t pulled weeds, I haven’t done anything this year except to eat and kill of the evil mint. It’s fun, and I did it, so you can too!




3 thoughts on “Boxed herb-garden – a step by step guide with tips

  1. Herb gardens are really useful; I love mine. When I am stressed I tidy my herbs and the lovely herby smells calm me down. I keep my mint in a separate place where it can do no harm – it is better in a shady place anyway. Many people plant it in a bucket and then plant the bucket. The roots can’t escape from the bucket and take over the garden. My favourite mint is variagated apple mint -pale green and white striped leaves which are almost furry. The bees and other insects love herbs too. I let my herbs flower just for the bees.

    • I have planted a mint in a separate pot. It’s the most common type of mint around here. I found chocolate-mint, a dark redish-green plant that had an exquisite taste. I’m considering finding a place for it in the garden, but haven’t decided yet… I let some of my herbs flower last year, but I have read that the taste deteriorates after the plant flowers…

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