By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Ask anyone who cooks about herbs and they'll tell you freshly picked basil or rosemary, or any herb, can make an ordinary dish extraordinary. And they'll predict that once you plant a few herbs, you'll get carried away because it's so enjoyable, not to mention productive. You'll use the bounty every day to add zest and flavor to all your meals because it's so easy to walk outside and clip a few sprigs of parsley or oregano. Once the herbs get going it's fun to share them with friends.
Plan some time to peruse a nearby nursery center where you can get advice about local growing conditions. Many offer classes in herb growing, too. Most herbs grow in well-drained soil in a sunny or partially shaded spot; if that's near the kitchen or back door, so much the better because it's convenient to step outside with your clippers and snip a few to add to a recipe.
A gardener will charge $265 to prepare a garden bed, fertilize the soil and plant a variety of eight herbs. This includes the labor and material. You can buy the plants for $65 and plant them, and save 75 percent. The project involves preparing the garden bed by removing weeds, rocks and old plants, and using a hand cultivator to work the soil. You may need to add new topsoil or amendments, depending on the condition of the soil. Add fertilizer or organic matter and spread the soil with a rake until the surface is level with the surrounding soil. Then plant the herbs by spacing them about a foot apart, positioning tall herbs along the back and using low-growing plants as an edging material in the front.
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The Tasteful Garden has this advice about How to Start an Herb Garden.
Thinking about a container to grow herbs and other plants? Here's more advice from Wonderful Wellies The Ultimate Guide to Container Gardening.
The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid to plant an herb garden with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision. You adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2019