Anyone build the herb spiral?

mountainman_bc(5)November 9, 2006

How'd it work out for you? I only have the 'Intro to Permaculture' so don'thave a complete design for it.

Any suggestions before I go for it?

Thanks for any help!

I don't have access to rocks around here for structure, without trucking them in so I'm thinking of alternatives. Maybe wood, not sure yet.

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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

I built one in late spring of 2005, and am pleased with how it has come out. The biggest problem was that the rocks got really hot (it's in full sun), drying out the soil quickly. Now that the plants are big enough to shade the rocks, and are established, that's not a problem. If you start with bigger plants, or earlier in the spring, you could avoid that issue somewhat. Another "problem" is that the voles in the yard find it to be a great place to burrow. So far the plants don't seem to suffer, but my dog knows something is in there, and I worry that he will go digging.

Currently it is planted with butterfly weed (asclepias tuberosa) thyme, oregano, lemon catnip, sage, garlic chives, yarrow, stonecrop, anise hyssop, lavender. Last years cilantro plants prolifically self seeded at the base

It's not as tall as the one described in "Gaia's Garden",probably 2 feet tall, and I don't find that it saves much room. For me, the main advantage is that it provides a drier, super well drained microclimate compared to my clay soil. That helps with the butterfly weed, thyme, and oregano especially.

Personally, I think it's really neat looking, but it never gets any comments.

I'd hesitate to use wood, since that might necessitate rebuilding it every few years as the wood rots. Maybe one of the composite decking materials, like Trex, would work well.


    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 3:16PM
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songbirdmommy(UT 5)

Alexander 3,
Do you have a pic of your herbal spire?
I would love to see it, sounds gorgeous!

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 5:34PM
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Thanks for the info! Good tips, exactly what I was hoping for. I'd like to see a pic too, if it's handy.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2007 at 12:50AM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

Sorry it took so long to respond, I don't check this group very often.

I have one picture from the summer that's not so good, but it gives you an idea of how the growth can shade the rocks. There are also some pictures taken this winter. With the plants out of the way, you can really see the rocks and the spiral form.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 1:32PM
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OOOOOHHHHH, neat! I must make one of those! Is there any reason for the sprial desing other than the fact that it is lovely?


    Bookmark   May 14, 2007 at 11:37PM
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lisamarie(z5b MA)

I haven't built one yet, but I plan to soon. According to the instructions in Gaia's Garden, it doesn't really take a lot of big rocks. I wrote out a bunch of instructions and linked to another person's pictures on the linked page below.

Hope that helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Herb Spiral

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 10:23PM
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zengeos(5 Maine)

Restarting this thread.

I built my herb spiral a couple weeks ago.

There are several reasons to build an herb spiral.

Microclimate is key. Both for moisture control, sunlight and heat. Some plants like more heat than others. The stones act as heat wells and radiate warmth into the evening for a few hours, keeping the soil warmer..on the South side of the spiral. The top of the spiral is quite dry, while the bottom of the spiral is quite wet/moist, depending on your primary climate, and the watering you do.

I am just now completing a strawberry spiral. Had originally planned to make a strawberry pyramid, but it is turning into a spiral. I'll put borage, several allium varieties (egyptian onions, red onions, yellow onions,) as well as marigold, to create a guild of sorts, and add more visual interest with more color and texture.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Herb Spiral

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 12:43PM
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Here are some great pictures of a herb spiral at Sweet Local Farm in Ludlow, MA.

Here is a link that might be useful: Herb Spiral pictures

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 11:08AM
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