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Setting bricks for herb sprial  RSS feed

 
Jared Gulliford
Posts: 29
Location: Southwest, VA
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Hey Micheal,

Do you have any advice for setting bricks for an herb spiral? I have been having trouble with the structure shifting and sinking after about 6 months or so.

Thanks,

Jared
 
Michael Judd
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Location: Frederick, Maryland
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Jared. If you place a base of gravel in the bottom it acts like a drain so that water doesn't stand in the soil and shift when it freezes. Wouldn't hurt to lay landscape fabric over the gravel so that the soil doesn't fill it in but I've done it without fabric and still going strong. Wood chips work too but not for long. Using bricks may be part of the challenge in that they will shift about very easily, I find thick walls stand the test of time and abuse. Urbanite would work well too -just be sure the soil doesn't become to alkaline.

The pic here is with granite blocks - look close and you'll see the gravel in the bottom.
4_DryStackGoingUp.jpg
[Thumbnail for 4_DryStackGoingUp.jpg]
stacking up with gravel in base
 
E.M. Spain
Posts: 1
Location: Madison, WI
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Hi Michael,

Looks like you have some cool stuff going on in your backyard. I have a few questions on the herb spiral. First, how deep does the gravel base need to be? From the photo, it doesn't appear to be that deep. Secondly, did you plant any perennial herbs and did/will they make it through the winter being above the ground.

Thanks!
 
Sarah Yao
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What do you plant on the "dark" side?
 
brandon gross
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About how tall it the spiral and do you use irrigation?
 
Michael Judd
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Location: Frederick, Maryland
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The gravel builds up gradually from a 1/2" at the low end up to 6" toward the center. Really it just needs to be enough to allow excess water to drain and not sit in the soil.

Yes, I have had many herbs such as rosemary and thymes overwinter in spirals where they have not out in open beds.

Shady characters.. try land cress and fiddle head ferns

I'd recommend about 3' high. I haven't hooked up irrigation but a cool design idea is to run a sprinkler head up the center as your building it, though it'd be a pain to fix. I defer to drought tolerant species - mainly Mediterranean herbs. My book describes a free form method of building a spiral that uses a lot more soil mix than stone which holds moisture well.
 
Jared Gulliford
Posts: 29
Location: Southwest, VA
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Ahh thanks for the reply!! the gravel makes sense. Your herb spiral looks great.
 
Michael Judd
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Location: Frederick, Maryland
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Here it is poppin'!
1_PoppingHerbSpiral.jpg
[Thumbnail for 1_PoppingHerbSpiral.jpg]
 
Jay Angler
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Has anybody ever tried using wood instead of rocks/bricks? I'm thinking it would be a sort of Hugel/spiral combo. It wouldn't last as long, but I'm wondering if it would hold water a bit better.
 
Michael Cox
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Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Now that is a lovely looking construction

Thanks Michael.
 
DeLaney Becker-Baratta
Posts: 40
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
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Has anyone ever tried this with glass beer or wine bottles?
 
Jay Angler
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Hey, DeLaney - that's a cool idea. The bottles might not have enough mass on their own to stay in position. It might work better if you filled the bottles with sand. You'd also want them angled is such a way that they didn't fill with water and then expand and break when it freezes. Were you thinking of dry stacking, or cementing them in place?

J.
 
Ludger Merkens
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Location: Deutschland (germany)
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Hi,
I like your spiral, still something makes me curious. Usually, if you build a drywall, you slope it against the earth with an angel of about 10°. Your spiral looks pretty much vertical. Don't you have any problems with deformation (e.g. after your first or second winter?)

thanks for sharing the pictures
 
DeLaney Becker-Baratta
Posts: 40
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
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I agree I think the bottles would be best filled with some sand or dirt to give them more durability. And I was thinking of probably cementing...although I hesitate to use cement. It would be great if a cob like material would work instead but it would have to be amazingly weather-proof stuff.

I found this article online: Herb Spiral. It doesn't look like it's as vertical as a traditional herb spiral, it looks closer to the ground.
 
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