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ajrsmom 04-02-2006 04:27 PM

Welcoming Herbs Into Your Vegetable Garden
Welcoming Herbs Into Your Vegetable Garden
by Fran Ott

Many garden books recommend that gardeners plant their herbs close to the kitchen for quick and easy harvest. While this is good advice, the reality may be that it isn't practical to your particular situation.

Perhaps your kitchen exits into the shadiest part of your yard or into your driveway. Even if you have a sunny patio adorned with all your favorite potted herbs, putting some herbs back with the rest of your garden will bring you several rewards. The first benefit is that when you are in the kitchen cooking and need some fresh herbs you have an excuse to get back into the garden among your plants and flowers. For us gardeners, is there a better place to be? Just don't get too distracted and forget that pan on the stove.

In addition to their culinaryapplications, most herbs are attractive plants that add beauty and fragrance to the garden. Gardeners that allow some of their herbs to go to flower are rewarded handsomely. Many herbs produce lovely flowers that add spectacular color to the various shades of green. In addition to the color, bees and other beneficial insects are extremely attracted to flowering herbs. You will find a vibrant "buzz" of activity centered around your herbs. When planted close to your vegetables, pollination of your crop is enhanced. Planting herbs is one of the most effective ways to attract bees to your garden.

Gardeners want to be careful when companion planting herbs and vegetables. Be aware that most herbs do not require as much water as vegetables. To alleviate over watering, plant herbs near vegetables but not directly among them. There are infinite possibilities when it comes to incorporating herbs into your garden. You are only limited by your imagination. Remember it is your garden and only has to please you. Your garden doesn't have to follow strict symmetrical angles or conform to some new fad design that is all the rave this season.

I like to give herbs prominence in the garden. I put them on a pedestal, and make them a focal point. I like the way herbs and rocks work together. Gather some rocks and start layering them, like you're building a stone wall. You decide the size and shape, just make sure the herbs will be easily accessible. You may want a ring, a semicircle or a star design. When you finished with the rocks, fill in with soil. Raised beds in a corner or two may be all you require. Mound some soil into small hills and ring the bottom with stones, shells or driftwood. These informal little herb gardens scattered among your vegetables will add interest and contrast to the straight rows of your vegetable garden.

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