For years I have been hearing about “permaculture”. I would ask my gardener friends, “What is permaculture?” Most like me… had no clue. Others would attempt to describe the concept. A few were very knowledgeable, but their explanations left me confused and perplexed. Let me tell you how I got a little closer to learning about permaculture…..
Just recently I was in the process of expanding the garden’s growing space. In one corner of the space was a tree stump that I had tried, unsuccessfully, to get ride of by burning.
Then I remembered … while volunteering with a Horticulture Therapy group at a nearby farm, one of our activities last fall was to build an herb spiral. The idea was so unique! We formed a mound of dirt 3 ft high with 5-6ft diameter. Then we arrange rocks in a spiral around and up the mound, creating a growing area for herbs. I was so impressed, I had to make one.
Ever since then the idea of an herb spiral has been “spirling” around in my mind. Could this be the answer to my tree stump problem? I did a little more research. The idea of using this “odd shape garden space” to grow herbs was unique.
The benefits of a three dimensional bed were starting to pile up. It would cover the stump. So… I wouldn’t have to dig it up. It would saved space. It would provided a variety of microclimates – some hot- some cool, some sunny- some shady, some dry – some moist. It would be beautiful! And as I later discovered the spiral arrangement of garden space uses many of the principles of permaculture.
I was convinced! and determined! So, on a cool morning in December my wonderful volunteers and I started to build our own Herb Spiral.
Step 1: collect a pile of rocks (You will need more than this, large ones for the bottom, small ones for wedging in open spaces )
Step 2: tie a string to a bucket, mark a path of a spiral (The bucket is on the stump that I want to hide. As you rotate around the bucket, the string shortens, marking a spiral on the ground.)
Step 3: start positioning some rocks (There was a lot of placing, moving, exchanging rocks; even toying with ideas of sticks and rocks.This is more time-consuming than it looks. Everyday I would rearrange the rocks until finally satisfied.)
Later in the spring the transplanted herbs begin to fill out.
Today it looks like this (views from several sides):
Click on herb spiral to learning more and build your own.