“God made the earth yield healing herbs, which the prudent man should not neglect.”— Ecclesiastes 38:4
The herb aisles are probably my favorite in any garden center. Just rub a mint leaf between your fingers and I think you’ll agree; the scent is intoxicating. The smell of basil, dill, sage and dozens of varieties of mint literally wafts through the air.
Last weekend was nothing short of gorgeous in Kentucky and the long-range forecast says to expect more of the same – plus some rain – over the next 10 days. So I went ahead and installed a small herb garden in my backyard, something I first started doing one year ago.
I grow mostly culinary herbs and I use them all summer and well into the fall. I decided to add a few new varieties this year. The great thing about herbs is that they really don’t take much space, which is fortunate since my entire herb plot is a meager 2 ½’ x 4’ area. Still, it’s plenty large enough to keep my kitchen supplied. You don’t need much room to grow herbs!
Here’s what I planted: Italian flat-leaf parsley, oregano, two basil plants, chives, cilantro, dill and sage. Because of its invasive nature, I planted spearmint and regular mint in a large container. I forgot to get rosemary, so I’ll still need to find a place for that. Here’s my small space:
Now this is where the fun comes in. We have neighborhood kitties and more than our share of raccoons that love nothing more than to roll around in an herb garden. It can be a challenge to keep them out. I tried several things last year, but nothing worked. That is, until I came upon the idea of bamboo spikes. You can buy bamboo spikes — which are used as grilling skewers — in just about any grocery store. They’re wooden, so you can easily cut them into with a pair of garden shears.
I stick them into the ground around my plants, just to discourage cats and other creatures from walking through the plot. It looks like a medieval torture device, but it works very well. Once the plants grow, you won’t see the spikes. Of course, this only works in a small area. But it will keep the creatures out; it’s just too much trouble for them to walk through it.
Do you grow herbs? If so, what are your favorite varieties? Do you grow them on a windowsill or in your garden? I’d love to hear your story. How do you keep the critters out?