Wondering what the Herb Spiral is? Well, let’s find out…
The herb spiral satisfies the most critical factor involved in successfully growing your own culinary herbs, i.e. it ensures good drainage due to the depth of soil under the plants. Provided the spiral is located in a nice sunny location, i.e. it gets at least 5 hours full sun a day, it meets the second most important requirement.
The spiral build with bricks should be reasonably stable in most locations, although one of my visitors took me to task saying that where he lived – a very wet location – my spiral would be washed away in no time and recommended a more robust construction. So the construction of the spiral might have to suit the local conditions.
If you have never built a herb spiral before (or seen one), check out this video and reading further might make more sense:
But the concept is sound. It provides a large growing area for the area of the garden it uses; it is a simple matter to transplant plants that have outgrown their allocated area to another part of the garden (by removing a brick or two, spacing out the plant, roots and all) and replacing the bricks and soil. The raised beds provide easy access to the herbs for daily harvesting. And, if you like herbs, it looks great!
For people who have had little or no experience with growing herbs, it is ideal. The culinary herbs I cover on this website include all of the most popular ones and provide a starting point for the beginner as well as a tried and tested alternative for the experienced herb gardener. I do not grow all my herbs in the spiral; mint and oregano are too invasive and better grown in pots; fennel and lemon grass grow too large (and the fennel tends to cross-pollinate with the dill) so I grow them elsewhere in the garden. Basil, my favorite herb, loves the spiral but does get somewhat oversized so I’m constantly faced with the difficult decision of what to do with it (apart from eating it), and I find herbs such as sage, comfrey and parsley will grow anywhere, including areas with poorer drainage and less sun, in my garden.
Just remember that herbs do not really need fertilizer and they are generally pest free. What that means to me is that I have no need to add chemicals to my garden and I can safely give my freshly picked herbs only a light rinse and shake in cold water before adding them to my cuisine. Of course, you can, if you are prepared to take the risk, these days get your fresh herbs at the supermarket.
The soil will benefit from the addition of organic material. Compost is best and it is worth the effort to maintain your own compost heap. Some authorities recommend animal manure but I do not enjoy the unwanted foreign plant growth stimulated by the passage of seeds through the animal’s body. Most authorities recommend peat. I cannot comment because I do not use it. People tell me it is good.
If you are new to it, do not let people complicate your process of growing herbs. The less you fuss, the happier they will be. Just don’t over water or let them totally dry out. Do not let them go to seed – except, of course, at the end of the season if you want to collect the seed for the next season.
Above all, enjoy your herbs!