Notes from Windward: #68


The Spiral Garden

Monica describes the new herb garden

     The garden closest to the kitchen had become completely overgrown. At first, the mass of weeds was overwhelming. After scoping it out though, I suddenly realized it's potential.

     It is a beautiful enclosure, much of it getting full sun, but with two corners shaded off by big old oaks. Among the weeds (or opportunists as permaculturists like to call them), I found anise, mint, and horseradish already growing rampant.

     So, Annie and I set to work rototilling (carefully maneuvering around the useful plants). In afterthought, I would now have sheet composted months in advance, in order to build up the soil rather than deplete it.

     Anyway, Annie and I set to work planning out a design. We began pulling in rocks, and raking around earth, creating a lovely design of spirals, paisleys, and terraces.


     Desiring a tranquil place to read or chat over a morning cup of tea, Gina helped me drag in a bench, and we added two chairs and a table over in the corner. We also carried in an old bathtub, which we are hoping to convert to a little pond with greywater from the kitchen.

     So far, I have transplanted basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram, and parsley into the spiral. We also planted beans, sweet peas, and two grapevines along the fence lines, and flaxseed and tobacco on two of the terraces.

     After about a week, I realized that the soil was very dusty, therefore not holding water well. The plants were drying out and not growing much. In an attempt to help my little plants, I sheet composted each individual one, layering newspaper, compost, and straw in a little ditch around them.


     Since then, they are doing much better. The water gets directed down to the roots by the bowl of compost, and the mulch keeps it from evaporating. Eventually the newspaper will decompose as well, slowly building up the soil.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 68