A Little Herb Garden with a Gate


Last fall I started planning/dreaming about a transformation for my herb garden and the creation of a pie garden–both in raised beds just outside the main vegetable garden. This is what those two raised beds looked like last fall:

I’ve been growing herbs in the herb bed for a couple of years. The other bed has a lot of crazy mint in it and I’ve also grown other herbs in there, too, but I want to rededicate it as a “pie” garden where I can plant ground cherries and garden huckleberries. Both of these will go from seed to berry in one season and are great for immediate gratification while I’m waiting for my blueberries and blackberries to get up to speed.

Chickens love to get in the raised beds.

They don’t eat my herbs (though I’m sure they would love to get hold of the ground cherries and garden huckleberries!), but they get in the beds and make a mess. They scooch around and make holes/nests and make nuisances of themselves. And then there are the dogs, too. Last year, in an attempt to keep the chickens and dogs out of the raised beds, this contraption of fencing was draped over the top of the herb bed.

It worked really well!

Or not. Plus, it was a major pain to get it out of the way to harvest herbs. I just got to where I didn’t even want to harvest herbs because it was too difficult. I’m a princess, you know. Don’t make harvesting herbs too hard or I can’t do it!

I came up with a plan to fence in the herb garden, but it wasn’t such a great plan. This weekend, a better plan was devised by 52 and I love it. Here is my new dog-proof herb garden.

I’m calling this dog-proof but not chicken-proof because, of course, the chickens could fly up into it. They can fly higher than the fence. (The fence around the chicken yard is higher than this and they fly out of it when they want to.) However, it’s definitely not chicken-friendly, and the chickens usually need some motivation to bother with the flying thing. Motivation = food. And they don’t want to eat the herbs, they just want to scooch around in the dirt, so I suspect they will go scooch somewhere more chicken-friendly. If not, we’ll do to the herb garden what we’re going to do to the pie garden because they are so totally going to be after those berries. The pie garden will be enclosed in a similar way, with a gate, but it will be fenced higher. If they are still not foiled, fencing will be placed across the top. A band of smaller chicken wire will be wrapped around the pie garden to keep them from poking their heads in there to steal berries, too. When the pie garden is prepared, I’ll post pictures, but for now, back to the herb garden!

The gate is made of, what else, a cut-down pallet.

Would you like to come in?

There are stones to make a path. (Need to find a few more.)

It needs some serious weeding work, but I already have some herbs growing in there as some of the plants carried over or reseeded from last year.





I have enough for a little harvesting and I haven’t even started gardening yet!

And best of all, the chickens are quite stumped.

I’ve always wanted a dedicated herb garden. Now that I also have a protected space for it, I’m going to start working out a little bit of design in the garden. I want it to be not only functional but beautiful. I love designed herb gardens. I’ll post along the way as I work on this project!

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on March 29, 2011  

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26 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 3-29

    I am so jealous! My garden is still covered in about 2 feet of snow (icy,nasty stuff). Boy, do I need Spring about now. BTW, how are your mushrooms doing?

  2. 3-29

    :snuggle: So many projects!How do you do it?I guess it’s your youth. How I miss those days when I had that much energy. Great plan!

  3. 3-29

    Great idea for the herbs … and if any want to run-up, maybe you can train them to the fence??

    Do you think your chicks would appreciate their own personal dust & fluff area ? It shouldn’t be too hard to setup … just pretend you are creating a new little raised bed and perhaps the :chicken: will ‘discover’ a new grooming salon.

  4. 3-29

    Ground cherries, huh? I need to check those out.

  5. 3-29

    Always a good thing when we outsmart the “critters!” Unfortunately my critters are deer and they are smarter than me. Every year I try though!

  6. 3-29

    ground cherries sound interesting, please write more about them. Do you use them the same way as tree cherries? We have some buleberry and raspberry bushes, but don’t get enough to make a pie yet- they are still to new.
    Last year we put big fences around our gardens also. I wish that chickens were the only things we had to deal with. We have a small herd of deer that feast in our garden every time our backs are turned,and a ground hog that likes to pick tomatoes and take one bite out of each one.

  7. 3-29

    Glad to see you used smaller welded wire! I decided to expand the chicken yard so they could enjoy the lush henbit and dead nettle. I used cattle panels and made a small pen next to their area. They came running and immediately went through the small openings into the big wide world of my garden. We had a chicken roundup….no more special areas for them.

  8. 3-29

    Mama goat got out four times yesterday and ate my brand new blackberry bushes to the ground almost and ate the bark off my new plum tree and several of the lower branches. I wish I had your fence THEN!

  9. 3-29

    You are coming here next, right? I want to try an herb garden this year. I have never done one, so I will have to do my research first. I like the simplicity of yours. My hens are not out and about, so I probably won’t need the fence.

  10. 3-29

    It looks good! I really like that gate.

  11. 3-29

    Your herbs are great, but your chickens steal the show! Gorgeous!

  12. 3-29

    How satisfying it must be for you to keep the chickens out and have the space for yourself. Good for you! :)

  13. 3-29

    I”m really looking forward to seeing what you’ve done with the herb garden! It looks great so far! The herbs you have growing are some of my favorites :)

  14. 3-29

    I’m so inspired…I just want those herbs. :)

  15. 3-29

    Very nice, I am going to do the same thing but on a smaller scale. I am going to put mine in a big pot in the backyard. Thanks for the ideas :ladybug: :ladybug: :ladybug: :ladybug: :ladybug:

  16. 3-29

    That’s going to work much better.

  17. 3-29

    this is super Suzanne. my thyme doesn’t over-winter here in Wisconsin so I dig it up and keep it indoors, then re-plant outside in spring. the squirrels think my raised beds are playgrounds or pantries for their own needs. but….the garlic I planted last fall is coming up, which is amazing because they’ve been digging around since the soil thawed. I grew ground cherries one year, and they re-seed heavily and come roaring back the next year. ground cherry pie is my mom’s favorite. :yes: :yes: :yes:

  18. 3-29

    You have a really good start with the herbs that came back.

  19. 3-29

    Oh my! Your post had me rolling! The visions of “scooching” chickens was the best! CITR never ceases to brighten my day and keep me informed. Keep it up! I really appreciate all your hard work!!!!

  20. 3-29

    I LOVE herbs! I have a very very small portion of my tiny yard dedicated to kitchen herbs, and I am so wanting them after this long winter. I’ll have returning sage, oregano, bay, and thyme, and will need to replant rosemary, parsley, basil (LOTS of basil) and marjoram. I can’t wait! Good luck with your herb garden, Suzanne!

  21. 3-30

    I loved my herb garden when I had one. One year I had 4 kinds of basil, one globe basil looked like a landscape plant, and the purple basil made the prettiest vinegar…and the thyme…..oh my good luck on your herb garden, will be waiting to see what catches your fancy.

  22. 3-30

    I love ground cherries, but I never manage to get a harvest big enough for a pie here. How do you keep the chipmunks out of them? I think I need to keep my cat in the garden just to keep after the chipmunks that love my ground cherries too! Love the pictures!! :snoopy:

  23. 3-30

    It’s beautiful! I love it! Especially that innovative gate. You know…I have some pallets aorund here too and I’ll need a gate for my garden fence this year!

    I’m totally devoted to my pie/wine garden! It’s quickly filling up with things. I wonder if rose hips would make a good pie…

  24. 4-1

    That little garden ROCKS, Suzanne! Love it! You inspire me. :happyflower:

  25. 4-3

    Love your garden. I guess if you want eggs you have to let the chicks eat what they want. Your garden looks fabulous. Nice that you recycle pallets for a door. Good for you. I’ve often admired herb gardens made by men of the cloth from centuries back. Always nice to drop by for a visit.
    Best always,

  26. 4-12

    This entire post is straight out of our back yard! My husband loves to collect pallets to up-cycle. Our chickens & dogs love the gardens and we have been through several different fence options to keep them out. Your raised beds & fencing look great!

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