ASY Leadership Program graduates Zoë Evans and Haley Todd met up this spring at a homestead in Holland while each traveling separately! Without much time, they used their sharp observation skills and enthusiasm to build their first herb spiral project. We’re so proud of you both!
Our First Herb Spiral!
by Zoë Evans
Months after we had been declared Permaculture Designers, it was time to put our knowledge and skills to the test.
We looked at our small piece of garden destined to become an herb spiral. We had the tools, the soil, the herbs and the stones; we looked at each other and thought what the heck do we do now?
We decided to just go for it and figure it out as we went along. Gardening can’t be that hard, right?
Flat land was a must, so we started by digging out some of the dry dirt and mixing it with some more fertile soil we had bought. We eventually ended up with a relatively flat, circular surface.
Thanks to the Andy Goldsworthy documentary we had watched the previous evening, we felt quite qualified to create a beautiful structure using the stones.
As the afternoon rolled on we continued adding soil and rocks to our structure. The sun crossed over the sky, and we had a better idea of how the sunlight hit the garden in this particular area. We considered trees and other objects that may cause shade as a result of the earth’s natural rotation and how this may affect where different herbs are planted. We then started on the spiral, elevating the ground with the help of our rock walls.
Now we were ready to plant!
But not before deciding where all the herbs should go:
At the top we started with the driest herbs, generally Mediterranean herbs that like lots of light and dry earth. We decided on rosemary and thyme, followed by oregano. As the spiral finds its way down it is facing the sunny south. Here we put two variations of basil, an herb that likes lots of sun and damp environments. On the bottom tier it is best to put herbs that prefer damp environments, as the water will naturally seep down through the earth. As we made our way around we put hardier plants that like water but can handle the lack of sunlight; here we chose echinacea. Lastly, on the east facing side, the tail end (or beginning) of our spiral, we put more delicate herbs that do better with morning sunlight. We chose parsley, one of our favourites.
All in all, we seemingly had no idea how to start but dove in head-first and came out with something great! It would seem that agriculture is bred so deep into our nature it becomes very intuitive once we let go and let nature guide us.
So get your hands dirty, and let your garden speak to you!
(On a side note, try to plant flowers and herbs that will attract bees!)
Zoë Evans is an enthusiastic learner, drummer and spirit worker. She is developing her mental and physical strength through experience and practice. Her desire is to create a life of love and laughter and to help others shine brighter.
Haley Todd is 25 going on 7 and also 55. She seeks to know the world and herself through travel, yoga, and meeting people from all walks of life. She loves family and friends, food, adventures, and animals, especially her dog Lando.
Find this farm: it’s in Wervershoof, Netherlands and is listed on Worldpackers and Workaway. The proprietors are couple Mike and Karin, who have turned the old school they live in into a guesthouse. Deeply invested in permaculture, they someday hope to buy land and do larger scale projects. Their Air BnB guesthouse is called The Heavenly Village.