Thursday, May 29, 2014

Permaculture: Herb Spirals

I've been seeing herb spirals in lots of demonstration gardens lately, so of course I had to try building one for myself this summer.

The basic idea is to put more drought-tolerant herbs at the center to keep them high and dry, then spiral downward to the plants that need more moisture. The varying sunlight, moisture, and soil conditions along the spiral can effectively create separate microclimates designed to suit a variety of herb plants that ordinarily wouldn't grow well together.

Here's how I built mine...

When building any new raised-bed type garden, you'll want to put down newspaper or cardboard to keep the weeds down. I used bricks secured with sticks as vertical reinforcement, but I've seen others use stones or concrete masonry blocks. Be creative!  A quick search for "herb spiral" on Pinterest could keep you entertained for hours. 

Next I put down a bed of rosemary bush trimmings, followed by some pecan leaf compost, then topped it with garden soil.

Most of the herbs I planted as seedlings for instant gratification, but I planted a few as seeds also. From the top down:
  1. Cilantro
  2. Borage
  3. Thyme
  4. Sage
  5. Basil
  6. Parsley
  7. Chives
  8. Lettuce

The finished product!

Fun fact: the Maori people of New Zealand use the spiral shape as a symbol of creation or new beginnings. The koru is reminiscent of the way fiddlehead ferns unfurl.




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