Vegetable and herb garden with a difference

My sister is a Landscape Architect. This is basically a similar job to an architect. While an Architect is responsible for building design, the Landscape Architect’s role is usually the design for anything external to the building. They can also design parklands, zoos and playgrounds (which are actually more scientific than you’d imagine).

vege patch - afterIMG_5315









Recently Sarah embarked on a much smaller project. Probably her smallest ever…a backyard herb and vege patch at home. Challenges included small spaces, bad soil, pests (especially snails) and the fact that Sarah hates anything ordinary or pedestrian. So style was incredibly important.

So, the concept was born. Easy to create, relatively cheap, very stylish and extremely successful.

You can easily replicate it yourself. Instructions below.

Materials and equipment

  • A variety of chimney flues, Sarah purchased them from a salvage yard (they had be collected from house demolitions). They ranged in length and diameter (20cm diameter and upwards).
  • Geotextile (such as weed mat) – from hardware or garden store.
  • Charcoal – collected from your BBQ or a hardware or garden store or an aquarium shop.
  • Good quality potting mix.
  • Manure.
  • Potash – from hardware or garden store.
  • Lupin mulch – from hardware or garden store.
  • Dynamic Lifter – from hardware or garden store.
  • TerraCottem soil conditioner – basically a product that improves water and nutrient retention.
  • Large river stones (decorative purposes only).
  • Sawdust.
  • Spade.
  • Something to mix soil in (such as wheelbarrow or large tub).
  • Scissors.
  • Vege and herb seedlings (or if your patient you can go for seeds instead).


  1. Select where you are going to situate your garden. By deciding what you want to grow, you can choose whether it is best to have full sun or part sun.
  2. If required, cut flues to desired lengths (using an angle grinder or something similar). Cutting lengths at different heights will make your garden more visually pleasing.
  3. Place flues where you’d like them to sit in your garden, feel free to arrange and move around, keeping in mind you want to keep them accessible so you can harvest your herbs.
  4. Using scissors, cut weed mat into circles that fit into your pipes.
  5. Place enough charcoal in base of each pipe so that it is around 10cm thick. This will allow the soil to drain well and avoid pooling.
  6. Mix potting mix with several handfuls of manure and the amount of Dynamic Lifter specified on the bag.
  7. Fill each flue with your soil mix.
  8. Water down and add more soil if required.
  9. Dust top of soil with potash.
  10. Dig small holes for seedlings and place around 1 tsp of TerraCottem per plant into hole.
  11. Now add your seedlings.
  12. Mulch with lupin mulch.
  13. Surround base of the nested flues with sawdust, this will stop snails from attacking your new garden (the don’t like sawdust).
  14. Place river stones at base of some flues (see picture of Sarah’s garden above).
  15. Water seedlings in.
  16. Admire your handy work.

Scientific stuff

Companion gardening is combining certain plants that result in repelling pests. For example sage is meant to repel white cabbage butterfly and pyrethrum will repel a range of garden insect pests. Mix these plants with your vulnerable veges or herbs to help protect them naturally. More information here.

Lettuces can go bitter if you don’t water them enough. They grow best if well fertilised and watered. Quick grown lettuces tend to taste better. You can also harvest leaves every day and they will keep growing.

Strawberries like to be in raised beds as they are susceptible to fungus. So by growing them above a damp ground and protected by straw mulch helps to avoid this.