As a urban gardener, I love ideas that help create more growing space, are visually appealing, low maintenance, very do-able and are easily accessible.
The Herb Spiral is a nature-inspired vertical garden design that is highly productive and energy efficient. It allows you to stack plants in a pyramid to maximise space - a practical and attractive solution. It is typically 6.5ft wide in diameter at the base, ascending to 3.2- 4.2ft, with the center of the spiral at the highest point. The spiral ramp provides a planting area large enough to accommodate all your common culinary herbs but is certainly not limited to just growing herbs!
If you are interested in how the design works and all the benefits, you can read more about them at http://themicrogardener.com/15-benefits-of-a....
I thought I'd share a tutorial on this DIY project which can be as cheap and cheerful or elaborate as your budget allows - the materials vary widely so you can choose something that meets your taste, time and skill level. There are plenty of videos, specs and tips in the full online tutorial that will help you get the feel for the various options you have and stages of the project.
I've helped build them from scratch in just a few hours - it's about organizing your materials and having the site ready - bribing a couple of friends with some yummy food to help give you a hand doesn't hurt either!
Here are the basics you need to know:
Choose a site ideally located close to your kitchen door for quick access to fresh herbs. Orientate the bottom of your spiral on the northern side in the Northern hemisphere or southern side in the Southern hemisphere. This creates micro climates that allow you to plant a wide variety of herbs that enjoy different positions - sun, shade, dry or moist.
Materials: (these are just typical 'ingredients' you can use and the basic 'recipe').
· Cardboard (without ink or tape), weed mat or gravel – optional but useful to kill weeds if building your spiral straight on top of lawn. (I avoid carpet because it's likely been treated with chemicals that will leach into the soil as it breaks down). Alternatively, you may need a drill for drainage holes if building on concrete.
· Long stake. Secure a 1m length of string to the stake and tie at the other end with a lightweight stake, bamboo cane or chalk. Use this to draw a line on the ground to measure out the circle.
· Organic matter such as mushroom compost, worm castings, lucerne, mulch, straw and garden soil to build fertility to feed your garden long term (quantity depends on diameter of your spiral).
· Compost (for planting your herbs into – preferably home made so it will be full of living microorganisms or alternately, a certified organic compost).
· Rock minerals and organic fertiliser (to add nutrients to your soil).
· Mulch (whatever you have available) e.g. lucerne, sugarcane, baled grassy mulch hay, pea straw, grass clippings,leaves, etc.
· Herb seedlings; bay tree and vegetable seedlings if planting.
· (Optional) pond materials and irrigation fittings if including.
STEP 1: Measuring up – Have someone hold or bang the stake into the central point of the ground where you want to position your herb spiral. To determine the perimeter, stretch out the string attached to the center stake to mark out your circle, drawing a line in the soil with the other stake or bamboo cane tied on the end of it (or use chalk if you are marking out a hard surface). The diameter averages between 5 –6.5 ft or 2.5 – 3.25 ft from the center.
STEP 2: Your base – if starting on lawn you will need to stop weeds from growing. Cardboard can be used for this purpose to sheet mulch and build the spiral on top. No light = no weeds! Lay your weed mat or wet cardboard (soak with a hose or in a wheelbarrow) to cover the circle you have marked out.
STEP 3: Construct the wall structure – Using your edging material of choice, start laying your bricks/rocks on the outer edge and working inwards to create a spiral shape, allowing about 1.6 ft width to plant into or adjust if making a smaller spiral.
Once you have your basic shape laid out around the circumference, add a second tier of bricks, remembering the outside 'wall' of your spiral is lowest (e.g. 2 bricks high or perhaps 1-2 rocks depending on size – enough to retain your soil).
The middle will usually end up about 1m (2.5 ft) high with a central planting area, gradually tapering down in height on a light slope to the bottom. You can block it off or add your bog/pond at the base if using.
STEP 4: Add your organic materials & nutrition – for each of us this will be different, depending on what you have easy access to. Some people only add mulch or straw to their herb spiral and plant into pockets of compost. If you're on a tight budget or this is all you have access to, then this system of 'growing soil' will work fine but 'dead dirt' is unlikely to bring you a successful outcome! There are plenty of tips on ways to make your own soil in the online tutorial. For which herbs to plant where, you can find more info @ http://bit.ly/14vJxmJ
I'd love to see pics if you've built one and if you haven't, I hope this inspires your next project!
I started may 28th planting 4 tomatoes around a garbage can with holes drilled in the bottom rim and a second row up about 10 inches... buried the can to where the top holes just barely
were above the ground... put in two shovels full of compost... then I fill the can up with water ever 2 days and try not to water the leaves... these four plants are now 5 ft 4 inches in less that a month and a half and loaded with green tomatoes and about a hundred sets of tomato blossoms...
It sounds funny that you have clean a machine designed for cleaning, but the washer does need some love. Detergent and grime build up on the drum over time.
Luckily, it's pretty easy to clean. Dump a couple cups of vinegar with a little bit of lemon juice (for smell) into the washing machine and set to the hottest cycle. While the washer is running, wipe down the exterior with a mixture of vinegar and water.
After the cycle is completed, clean the detergent, bleach, and fabric softener dispensers with the same mixture.
The standard pantries in the house we bought last year were almost unusable. Long deep shelves and only 3-4 of them in a large closet sized area. Thank heavens they had doors. I designed
the shelves, my husband cut them out of MDF boards, I painted them with several coats of paint, and he installed them with aluminum channel. The channel allowed use of the shelf all the way to the back of the space. I counted and measured all the things in my food pantry to make the plan for how many shelves, how wide, tall and deep they needed to be. See the beginning and end result. It's so nice to be able to find things now. It turned out so nice, we did the 2nd pantry where I keep dishes, plastics, and mixed items for the kitchen!
We've seen LOTS of ideas on Hometalk that involved painting fabric. We LOVE the idea, but can't decide which way is best?
In your expert opinions: #1 - Which is the best value? #2 - Which is best for outdoor (patio furniture)? #3 - Which is best for indoor chair cushions with kids in the house?
Commented on Mar 04, 2013
AK, I only did a small sample but it will work for me once I can get ventilation in the house.
The living room set was white originally but has turned more ivory over the years. I noticed that I lost some of the definition of the brocade pattern but that's okay, too. I'm just trying retain a set that I love and can't get cleaned. If professionals won't touch it...I surely don't need to try doing it, either.