During the spring of 2010, a new spiral herb garden was created at the farm between the Pink Pig and Green Barn. Volunteer Eric Hamilton helped farm staff to plant the herb spiral, a project that allows many different herbs in a confined area and an increase in square footage.
In our example, we took an area that would have offered approximately 50 square feet of growing space and increased it to approximately 70 square feet of space. With the spiral design and the subsequent height differences, a number of different environmental conditions can be created which normally would not be possible in a small space. The small area also means that harvesting and watering are relatively easy tasks.
The design and use of the herb spiral is consistent with the principles of permaculture which seek to fully use nature and its characteristics to create a "system" that mimics that of nature. Our herb spiral bed is held together with a "spine" of granite block, although any stone or brick material would work. It can absorb the heat of the sun through the day, which in turn heats the soil. The top of the spiral gets more sun and has significantly more drainage than the lower parts, which determine the choice of planting.
Herbs in the garden include sage, mint, oregano, chives and thyme.