Ask a permaculture practitioner to name a design pattern, and they’ll probably describe the herb spiral – a way of creating a lot of microclimates and producing a lot of food in a small space.
An herb spiral is built by piling up a mound of soil. Stones are then placed in a spiral pattern down the sides of the mound, and the soil between the rows of stones is flattened out. This forms a sort of spiral path, which serves as a planting bed.
As the name of the design suggests, it is customary to plant herbs along the spiral. The plants are placed according to their preferred microclimates. A species that likes cool, damp spots can go at the bottom of the shady side of the mound, while a species that thrives in hot, sunny, dry conditions can go on top.
By building up, the spiral creates a lot of planting space in a small footprint. It also makes plants easier to reach.
Building an herb spiral outside your kitchen door can provide you with fresh flavor all summer long.