DIY instructions to easily build a herb spiral for the garden
Build a herb spiral – easy and free
Let’s build a herb spiral! I love fresh herbs. On the balcony, too, I grow loads of herbs in my vertical pallet bed, it works wonderfully and saves space. In the garden, on the other hand, I have a lot more space and can finally implement projects that I have admired on Pinterest for so long. One of these projects was a herb spiral or herb snail. I got the idea for this because I have so many stones and I was urgently looking for a meaningful use.
But I had a little respect for building the herb spiral. After all, I’ve never built anything with stones. Some of the herb spirals I saw were properly bricked with concrete. But I wanted to do without that. The implementation should be done with natural materials if possible. I can also imagine that insects or other animals would also like to settle in the cracks and holes between the stones.
Building material for the herb spiral
The material for building the herb spiral was completely in the garden. The outer wall consists of large stones that appear to be 20 centimeters deep under the entire garden. In the last few centuries there were other buildings on the property, e.g. a stable, the remains of which are still underground. Not only the large stones that you can find everywhere under the garden come from this, but also the old bricks. At one point there is also a tiled ceiling under the ground. Traces of the past are everywhere, but at least the stones and bricks can be wonderfully recycled.
On earth I also used what could be found. So mostly leftover earth or rather sand from the dug beds, the rest of an old compost heap, as well as chicken manure, which the neighbor kindly provides. A water basin should be inserted at the end of the herb spiral. Shortly before, I happened to find this large, old bowl in Berlin Kreuzberg. I couldn’t really grasp the original meaning because it is so big but not deep. Actually unsuitable for plants and very heavy. My neighbor then said that it would probably be an old washbowl.
Since we were already in the middle of summer, I only used the plants that I still had in the other beds. My girlfriend was a little skeptical whether basil, sage and thyme would survive a move at almost 40 degrees, but apparently the herbs didn’t mind much. On the contrary, they have settled in perfectly.
Build a material list of the herb spiral
Advertising / contains links to the Amazon affiliate program What you need to build a herb spiral with stones (from the ground)
Compost soil and sand soil from the garden
Chicken litter (from the neighbor)
broken bricks and broken roof tiles (also dug out of the ground)
Cones, moss (raked from the turf)
Herbs and seeds e.g. available here or available here
Water bowl (street find in Berlin Kreuzberg)
This is how you can build a herb spiral
On a very hot afternoon, the plan for the herb spiral should finally be implemented. Together with a friend we laid the first row of large stones to determine the approximate shape of the herb spiral. The spiral should have a slight snail shape and should not be too low for easy harvesting and weeding. It was important to me that the flat side with the water basin should face the front, i.e. the visible side, so that you can see two rows of herbs from the terrace.
Instructions to build a herb spiral – this is how it works
Arrangement of the materials for building the herb spiral
We have placed old bricks in the inner ring of the stones as natural water reservoirs and to stabilize the wall. A row of stones was followed by the filling, consisting of old earth and sand dug out of the beds, as well as the contents of an old compost and chicken manure. Remnants of bricks in between. Herbs are probably not very demanding in terms of nutrients, at least according to the Internet. The stones are then really just stacked on top of each other, so that it fits halfway well.
In between we always poured everything on, so that the earth also gets into the cracks between the stones and holds everything a little. Later I stuck moss remains and dry cones from the outside into the cracks between the stones, hoping to create a little natural stability and maybe the crawly bugs will like that too.
The water basin for the herb spiral
We have positioned the water bowl in the end area. To this day I am not sure whether I want to dig it in or leave it there. Actually, you could still plant herbs at the end of the herb spiral, the roots of which reached down into the water basin that was then dug in, but I feared that, especially immediately after creating the herb spiral, the soil would slide down into the water basin from above during watering, which is why it is not yet buried for the time being.
But it is already very popular with bees, bumblebees and other flying guests. I put stones in it so that the animals don’t drown while drinking. Unfortunately, there are no bodies of water in the vicinity, so that the insects hardly have a chance to get to water points in the unbelievable dryness. That is why there are several bee troughs in the garden where not only bees can freshen up.
Tips for growing the herbs in the herb spiral
I looked at different herb spirals on Pinterest, especially how the herbs should be arranged in the spiral. One should pay attention to the structure of the different zones. The plants further up in the herb spiral require significantly less water than below. At the very top you can find the Mediterranean zone with herbs such as lavender, sage or thyme. This is followed by the normal zone and the water zone.
This is described in great detail, for example, in this article on the arrangement of herbs in a herb spiral. I then took this structure of a herb snail as a model and planted the herbs I had in the appropriate places. Taken as a model, I used it as a model, not planting strictly according to it, as I neither had nor need all of the herbs marked there.
The right location for the herb spiral
The garden is very sunny and even if the herb spiral is close to the large trees, a Douglas fir and lilac bushes grow here, it gets sun almost all day. I chose the location less based on the position of the sun, but more based on the fact that I don’t have to walk too far from the kitchen to the herbs. I also find the combination of herbs and stones very appealing, so I really wanted to see the herb spiral from the terrace.
The herb spiral after three weeks
Although the herbs were set at almost 40 degrees in one evening and then had to remain without water for a few days, they all grew surprisingly well. Above all, sage and basil are proliferating and seem to feel very comfortable in the herb snail, all in all that is in the Mediterranean zone, which is understandable due to the prevailing climatic conditions. Mint, of which there are two different types, has also developed excellently. At her previous location, in the middle of a flower bed, she didn’t feel so comfortable.
And although mint actually grows like weeds, I almost died there. Of the seeds, the basil in particular has done very well so far, as well as dill, which has grown a lot. I could also identify cress and a little parsley. When it comes to the other greens, I still waver a little between weeds and herbs, but that will slowly become clearer over the next few days.
How long does it take to build a herb spiral?
Overall, building the herb snail was quite strenuous due to the high temperatures and because we had to cart material from every corner of the garden all the time, but after just under 3 hours we were completely finished and pretty happy with what we had built there. So far, the small herb garden seems to hold up well.
Video instructions to build a herb spiral
Here you can find the Funkelfaden video instructions for building a herb spiral. The herb spiral has now been in the garden for a year and is still super stable, but at the same time overgrown with herbs.
More DIY projects for your garden
At Funkelfaden you will find a variety of other DIY ideas for your garden. If you are interested in ideas about the Funkelfaden house, stop by here. Otherwise, you will find creative ideas for your garden here, from homemade seed paper to urban gardening raised beds from a palette:
You can easily and cheaply build a herb spiral or snail yourself. For fresh herbs in the garden. Easy DIY with instructions.