An herb spiral is part of the garden design, and we finally started on this project. River rocks were pulled from around the fruit trees and reused. I had researched herb spirals after farmhand Will Burke mentioned it as a permaculture technique. Because it is not in the right zone (i.e. near the house/kitchen), I plan to use it for strawberries and herbs to attract beneficial insects.
In my research, I learned that the spiral is typically 6 feet wide and 4 feet tall. Because we are in the middle of redesigning the whole garden space, I opted for a larger, 8 foot wide spiral to accommodate the spatial factors.
These are two photos that I used for inspiration. The photo on the right with the bamboo tubes was a perfect illustration for how we could use the clay pipes, mixed with river rocks. The photo on the left includes a long rock border leading up to the tight spiral. We created a combination of the two examples.
The Magic and Mystery of Constructing a Herb Spiral and Why Every Suburban Lawn Should Have One by the Permaculture Research Institute includes written information as well as an informational video.
To get started, we pulled out old gopher wire and layed out sturdy hardware cloth. We took measurements and traced out the spiral and walkway with a shovel. We also moved all the materials to the area, such as river rocks of various sizes, locust logs, and clay pipes. These three elements tie the garden together since black locust limbs are used for the Hugelkultures, and river rocks and clay pipes are used for walls and borders.
We created the design by placing the center log and outlining with small rocks – to get the shape. We placed locust logs in each quadrant. I dug out some old cement blocks for the bottom that would be covered with dirt. The cement blocks acted as risers for the clay pipes to sit on top.
Dirt was added and the small rocks were replaced with larger river rocks:
As the dirt was piled up higher, so were the rocks to create a higher wall. The clay pipes were strategically placed throughout. Because the walkway border will be outlined with the clay pipes, we didn’t want to overdo the pipes.
To finish the design, a walkway will be added and outlined with the pipes. The ending point to the walkway will be a large terra cotta pot and terra cotta pots will be added in various locations on top of the logs for decorations. The center point will be designed with a metal lightening rod. In reality, the strawberries will need to be covered with bird netting so I need something tall in the middle.