How to Make a Small Herb Garden


For a cook or an herbalist, having fresh herbs available in a small garden is a delight. Just walking by and running your fingers over mint or lavender can give you a lift just with a sniff. Imagine picking fresh basil to go with those beautiful tomatoes just purchased at the farmer's market, or cilantro to add to a crisp salad. Planting and maintaining an herb garden is a small task compared to the joys you'll receive from your efforts.

Step 1

Saw the board into four pieces, each measuring 3 feet in length.

Step 2

Position two of the pieces perpendicular to each other to form an L shape. Join the end of the L shape with a row of three nails or screws where the boards intersect. Repeat the process to make a second L shape.

Step 3

Position the two L shapes to form a 3 x 3-foot square. Screw the ends together by using the same technique as used in step 2.

Step 4

Lay the landscape fabric over the ground where you want your herb garden located. Place the wooden square on top of the landscape fabric, keeping in mind that the position will be the same as that of your finished garden. If necessary, place rocks underneath the boards to make all sides level.

Step 5

Mix the potting materials into the completed 3 x 3-foot bed, using your hands and arms to break up the peat mix bail because it is very compressed. Ensure that the peat mix combines with the soil and the compost; the mixture doesn't have to be perfectly blended but it should be distributed evenly through the bed the surface is fairly level and the depth is somewhat even. Spray the potting mixture heavily for about 2 minutes using a light spray setting on your garden hose. Quite a bit of water is needed to soak down into the medium.

Step 6

Dig a hole in the medium with your hand for an herb plant. To remove the plant from its pot, lay it on its side and tap gently against the floor. Hold the stalks of the plant close to the dirt and pull gently; it should come right out. Place the rootball into the hole in the planting medium and press it into place, spreading the medium around so that it makes good contact with the plant stalk. Plant all of your herb plants in this manner.

Step 7

Push away the top inch of the surface where you want to plant seeds. Pour the seeds into your non-dominant hand and use the fingers of your dominant hand to gently place the seeds onto the planting area. Use the dirt you pushed away to cover the seeds. Note the plant name on a plant marker and place it.

Step 8

Re-water the herb bed after all the seeds are sown and plants are planted. For the first few days, water the bed twice daily to keep the surface damp for seed germination.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some herbs, especially oregano and mint, are very invasive and will take over your garden in a matter of a couple years, so consider growing them inside in pots instead.

Things You'll Need

  • 12-foot length of 1 x 8-inch hemlock board
  • Hand saw
  • 12 nails or screws
  • Hammer or screwdriver
  • Landscape fabric (3-1/2 ft square)
  • Rocks (optional)
  • 3 cubic foot bail of compressed professional peat/vermiculite grower's medium
  • 2 bags potting mix, 16 quarts each
  • 2 bags sterilized compost, 16 quarts each
  • Garden hose
  • Herb seeds or plants
  • Plastic plant markers
  • Permanent marking pen


  • Fine Gardening: Raised-Bed Gardening
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Herb Culture

Who Can Help

  • Mother Earth News: Herb Gardening
Keywords: growing herbs, herb planter, herbs in containers

About this Author

Linda Batey has been working as a freelance writer for two years and specializes in travel writing. She also writes on Helium,,,, trazzler and She has been published in "Gardening Inspirations" magazine. Batey holds an Associates Degree in paralegal from Beal College. She also is knowledgable is gardening, herbal and home remedies.