Herb Garden: The Battle of the Bulge

by - November 22, 2011

It's a rookie mistake. You are starting an herb garden. Maybe it's not your first time, but the last one you tried had poor light and the plants never did really take off. In fact, the lavender started dying the moment you put it in the ground. So you finally get a sunny spot, and optimistic attitude and you just pack those little 4" plants in. In your mind, the closer they are together, the sooner the bed will fill in, and you're little herb bed will be featured in a BHG photo spread.

Except that your rosemary grew like it was on crack, and the half-dead lavender you transplanted the year before suddenly got a second wind - and the two are waging war on each other for pace.

Spacing guidelines aren't just written by plant growers to boss you around and limit your creativity. If a plant tag suggests 2 - 3 foot spacing, it's probably because it really does need the space. My Providence Lavender now appears to be tucked under the rosemary, and when I pulled back the rosemary, I saw that several branches of each plant were dying. Most likely, these are not getting adequate air circulation.

The picture above really didn't do justice to all the dead leaf matter back in there. I actually waded in and found more. After a couple minutes of pruning, there is now some division between the plants. Though not very attractive, this should keep them healthy.

There is another small young English Lavender back behind these which will definitely need to be moved. It has already suffered the loss of multiple branches due to crowding. This week we will be tilling up a new bed for herbs, which several of my plants will be moved too. Stay tuned ;)

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  1. We're hoping to start an herb & small vegetable garden next spring, so I will definitely be looking for tips!



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