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Why a spiral  RSS feed

 
suez Cawood
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Here's me showing my total ignorance again......

but why a herb spiral.  Dont' get me worng, I like the idea, but can't I just do concentric rings stacked on top of each other?  A spiral sounds like more work to me.

Pls enlighten us here!!
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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Actual technique is secondary in my mind.The important part is that you are having a relationship to your landscape and while technique can provide inspiration I dont believe in it as an exact template that needs to be followed.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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a spiral may drain better than concentric circles? which might be positive or negative depending on your weather and climate...as the water would follow the spiral down so the top would be drier and the bottom damper.

sometimes they are watered with a central sprinkler..but i don't use sprinklers here so that wouldn't be a plus for me.

I have read a lot about herb spirals and haven't been drawn to them even though they do offer some variences in conditions (shade, sun, damp, dry) I don't really feel the need to pile up something to where it might get too dry and need irrigation, same reason I don't use container gardens, i am too lazy to water something ..it has to take care of itself or maybe i'll give it a soaker hose..but i won't carry water to it.
 
                                
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I think the spiral is just deco. Kind of like planting strawberries in a strawberry pot. Some do, some don't.
 
                              
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water travels down the slope and some people put a small pond at the bottom of the spiral?
 
Jordan Lowery
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Location: zone 7
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more soil for roots in a spiral tower, more surface area to plant possibly.
 
Aly Sanchez
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Due to aridness where I live, I have not done a spiral, however an important benefit is the extension of space. An upward spiral yeils more space than a flat spiral; picture running a tape measure up stairs versus running a tape measure from the base of stairs to the horizontal end point of the top stair - but staying on the ground floor. The first is longer due to run plus rise so an extending spiral increases plantable space. Also mentioned previously, it creates microclimages that may not occur in that space otherwise ( like a moist and shady north side).
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i agree with alycat as well, so it would be good if you have a small plot..but because my land is large enough i don't need something that would just require more watering here..mine is all on the flat or in hugel beds..which i water only when necessary with soaker hoses..and i've only had to water a little even with our severe drought here this year
 
Robert Ray
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As with any raised bed heat gain could be a plus in some areas.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
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Location: Oakland, CA
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Another important thing about the spiral is that it separates types of plant so that each has only two neighbors, without requiring as much linear space as laying them out directly in a line. Also, except for the outside of the spiral, all of the edging material is used twice
 
suez Cawood
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Thanks,  so if I make a bed with concentric rings stacked on top of each other it will almost create the same effect?  Create the same microclimates etc.

I'm concerned the runoff off a spiral might create a bit of erosion initially where there might be bare soil?  Many things to test and check. 

Tks again.
 
                                
Posts: 55
Location: Savannah, GA
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In areas where the soil is damp, piling it up creates a drier root zone for plants like rosemary that like dry soil. It doesn't create more watering because the goal is to have less water in the soil.
 
Josh T-Hansen
Posts: 143
Location: Zone 5 Brimfield, MA
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I think concentric rings would give a very similar effect, but I think you will have less space to plant in because you will need to have more material devoted to making the circles.  Looking at it from above, the spiral minimizes surface area devoted to structure.  I'm pretty sure a spiral is also the most efficient use of material to form the 3d structure, and probably the most structurally sound.  This is a lot easier to visualize than explain in words.

Actually, I will try to illustrate with letters here.

This would a side view be the material stretched out used to form the spiral at 5 units of height

x
xxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Here is the material for concentric circles construction of roughly the same size structure, each block is one concentric ring.  I suppose it would be different if you just put the ring on top of soil, but then the upper rings might sink in.

xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx
xxx

xxxxxx
xxxxxx
xxxxxx
xxxxxx

xxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Hope this helps?
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Location: Oakland, CA
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I wonder if the herb spiral for arid climates should be an "innie" rather than an "outie": things like thyme at the upper rim of a depression, spiraling down to thirsty plants like mint at the bottom.
 
Emerson White
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Location: Alaska
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A herb spiral is often a mini ditch/swale system. If you have your swales at angles water is slowed down and drained into the soil, if your swales run horizontally across the slop water forms ponds, and drowns your herbs.
 
suez Cawood
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Emerson White wrote:
A herb spiral is often a mini ditch/swale system. If you have your swales at angles water is slowed down and drained into the soil, if your swales run horizontally across the slop water forms ponds, and drowns your herbs.


That makes sense --- many thanks!!

I started with a big raised bed at the entrance to our yard, and ended up stacking a second layer on top.  It's not a spiral or even a circle, but more like a teardrop with the road running around it.  We did the groundwork last weekend and will complete this weekend.  By the time spring is in the air I can test it...
 
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