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Building a Herb Spiral

Herb spirals are space saving, energy efficient gardens designed to use nature’s forces to their advantage.

This type of garden utilizes the natural force of gravity, allowing the water to drain down through the layers, providing a moist area near the bottom and dryer zones at the top. Microclimates are created providing a range of conditions for different plants and their needs.

Herb spirals are an effective vertical garden design that are a highly productive and energy efficient way to grow food whilst maximising space. Herbs are the perfect plants for spiral gardens as they have varying requirements with regards to water, light and space and the spiral will offer varying conditions to suit.

Flourishing Herb Spiral
An explosion of thyme, oregano and rosemary at the herb spiral at Bringelly Public School
Laying Bricks
Constructing a herb spiral at Bundanoon PS for a teacher professional development day.
Adding Carbon
Early layers of a paving herb spiral. Adding shredded paper for carbon.
Placing herbs
Herb spiral can be effective in a variety of sizes.
Finished Herb Spiral
The newly completed herb spiral at Bringelly PS.
Herb Spiral
Herb spiral taking shape at a school.
Harvest Ideas
Potential uses of your herb spiral harvest.

Benefits of a Herb Spiral:

 
  • Maximize growing space to grow more food

  • Multiple microclimates available for optimal plant growth (plants are healthier where growing needs are met)

  • Mixed or companion planting reduces insect problems and fosters beneficial plant relationships for better growth

  • Manage water amounts and use natural forces to perpetuate the growing season

  • Harvesting access is easy and all plants are effortlessly accessible

  • Save money by growing your own food

  • An attractive garden feature and focal point

Activity - Create your own Herb Spiral

Materials:

  • Cardboard
  • Bricks
  • Rocks or some sort of building material
  • Soil or materials as for the no dig garden (pea straw, lucerne, straw, manure, compost)
  • Herbs
  • Additional flowers
  • Water

Construction:

  1. If making the herb spiral over grass, first lay a thick bed of newspaper or cardboard. Give the paper layer a good soaking of water.

  2. Plan your spiral with your chosen building material and set out the material with the spiral flowing in an anti-clockwise direction (water flows anti-clockwise in the southern hemisphere). The spiral should also finish facing south, so the end is the shadiest and therefore most moist section of the garden.

  3. Continue laying the building blocks (bricks or stone etc.) getting higher as you spiral inwards. There are no specific rules for size and dimensions of herb spiral gardens, but a common spiral would be 1m high in the centre and 1.5m in diameter.

  4. Next fill the spiral with your chosen soil medium or layer the gaps as in a no dig garden.

  5. Plant out your herbs considering carefully the position of your plants. Some prefer good drainage and direct sunlight, whilst others prefer shade.

  6. Water and watch it grow.


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