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The Weekend Chef

Weekend Chef: Herb garden project gone wild!

Posted 6:33pm on Tuesday, Jun. 19, 2012

I went a little overboard building an herb garden the last couple of weekends. It all started when I came across a great deal on some $2 clearance plants at Calloways. The plants included two types of peppers, cherry tomatoes and basil in large 10" pots.

This was a much larger haul than I was planning, but for $2 a plant I couldn't resist loading up the truck.

With all these new plants, I decided to build a small raised bed instead of using pots. I picked up some cedar boards at Home Depot and was all set.

But then I started thinking about all that bending down to work on a raised bed garden (I am 6’4”,) so I decided to elevate the bed, picking up a small, bench-style shelving unit. After a little sawing and hammering, the elevated raised bed was looking pretty good. I probably should have stopped there, but the birds were starting to get into my plants. Apparently they really like cherry tomatoes, and were also checking out the pepper plants.

My wife, Susan, bought me a six-foot inflatable snake to help scare the birds away, but after thinking about it, I did not like the idea of a six-foot snake hanging around my garden, even if it was inflated.

So I built a triangle frame over the top of the bed to screen it in. This would keep birds and bugs off my plants. It turned out nicer than I expected, almost as if I planned it this way from the beginning, with two hinged screened doors, supports to hold them open and Velcro to make sure they stayed close.

Now, I really, really should have stopped right there.

But .... then I started thinking about summer heat and how bad it was last summer. Even if I watered in the mornings and evenings, I wondered if my new herb garden would survive the hot summer sun without an afternoon watering.

I started checking online for a watering solution. I was thinking about using something like watering spikes when I came across a solar-powered drip pump system.

Hmmm, this could be overkill.

Then again, I passed overkill last weekend. Plus it’s solar… I’m in!

I installed the solar watering system and hooked it up to a covered 5-gallon bucket. Every three hours it pumps water from the bucket to 12 drip nozzles in the bed of the garden. The little pump worked very well, and those $2 plants never looked better.

So after three weekends, I think I am done. But you never know, a greenhouse might be fun!

Anybody need a six-foot inflatable snake?

Be sure to check out the slideshow above for pictures of my herb garden project.

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