Many herbs prefer dry conditions, but that doesn’t mean gardeners in wet areas can’t have a herb garden.
Although many herbs, particularly those of Mediterranean origin, do best in dry, well drained soil, there are many that will grow well in wet conditions. Yellow flag iris will actually do best grown in water. Marshmallow and watercress, as their names suggests, thrives in a moist situation. Comfrey, mint, meadowsweet, sorrel, bergamot and angelica all prefer a damp position and will grow strongly in heavy soil.
Many herbs which do best in dry conditions, can tolerate a damp place for a short time. Many annual herbs such as basil and calendula will grow well in wet soil over summer, provided they are raised from seed in more favourable conditions and not planted out until growing strongly. Perennials too can be grown in an apparently unsuitable position if constantly renewed. Do this by propagating divisions and allowing them to become established in pots, then transplanting them during spring or summer.
A wet situation can often be made drier by adding lots of organic matter and coarse grit to increase the height of the bed and improve drainage, enabling water to drain from at least the top portion. Purpose built raised beds are ideal for herbs as the soil can be made exactly right for the plant that will occupy the space.
If the soil really is too wet for certain herbs to be grown in the open ground then pots and other containers can be used. Provided the pot has drainage holes, coarse material such as crocks in the bottom, is not too large and the pot is raised up from the ground then the soil won’t get too wet, however often it rains.
Published in: Gardening