My Erection Rocks

I’ve been thinking about an erection like this for quite a while now, sometimes daydreaming about it just before I go to sleep and then searching the internet for images during the day. There are so many good ones out there! Some really big, some on the smaller side but they all fulfill their purpose. As long as they’re brimming with fertility they’ll do the job just fine! So I finally put my body to good use and even got a good friend of mine to lend me a helping hand (you get there so much faster when someone else is helping you). The whole thing from start to finish took a good couple of days (of course with some breaks in between, no one could do that for 48 hours straight). By the time I was finished I was sweaty, my legs were sore, my hands a bit rough and my back was aching, but I did it:

I built a rock garden.

Not only any rock garden, but a permaculture herb spiral garden. And I am so very happy with how it turned out. (I really hope you’re still reading this now that you realised that Outback Greenie has not converted into Mills & Boon’s online blog but is still about gardening).

Living in a remote Outback town is lovely. Blue sky, sunshine all year round, the soil is actually quite good once you water and mulch it, every house has some land around it and the people are friendly. What it is lacking though is the farmers’ markets and the organic farms that provide people in more hospitable climates with all their fresh produce. Our local supermarket does a great job in keeping us in stock with the staples like tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, potatoes, cucumbers, broccoli and the like, but when there are only two supply trucks a week it is hard to get herbs up as they don’t travel all that well and, considering that our local population demands culinary masterpieces like ‘hot chips and coke’ or ‘lamb chops seasoned with salt’ it is not feasible for a supermarket to order in fresh tarragon, coriander, marjoram or garlic chives as they most likely don’t get sold.

Solution? Grow your own! 🙂

But how to grow moisture loving herbs like mint together with shade loving herbs like coriander, next to sun loving herbs like marjoram neighbouring on drought resistant rosemary?

Build a herb spiral!

The beauty of a herb spiral is not just its beauty (and yes, it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye) but it’s ability to grow lots of different herbs in a small space.

How does it do that?

The structure of the spiral provides some parts that are more shady and some that are more exposed to sunshine. Combine that with slightly different soil mixes (e.g. more drainage for those dry-loving herbs and more moisture holding matter for those water-loving herbs) and you can create the preferred growing conditions for a lot of different herbs in a very small space of a square metre or two.

In my garden I have:

  • Rosemary
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Lavender
  • Curry Plant
  • Nasturtiums
  • Dill
  • Thyme
  • Chamomile
  • Chives
  • Tarragon
  • Basil
  • Lemongrass
  • Garlic Chives
  • Mint
  • Chocolate Mint
  • Parsley
  • Coriander
  • Lemon Balm

Since you only need small amounts of a herb plant to bring remarkable flavour to food this little herb garden has just opened up a whole new world of recipes that I can now try my hands and taste buds on.

Interested in building one yourself? There are heaps of instructions online. Just type “how to build a herb spiral” into your favourite internet search engine and you will get a range of blogs and websites. Pinterest also has quite a few photos that give you an idea of materials that can be used.

I built mine out of natural rock because Meekatharra is surrounded by miles and miles and miles and miles and miles of rocky country and this proved to be an inexpensive and practical option. I also like that my garden looks like it belongs here and somehow it felt good to be using the natural resources that surround me. Moreover collecting two car loads of rocks was a great workout (this is where my friend lent me a helping hand, just in case your mind was still wandering wondering… :)).

Here’s a quick photographic guide on how this rock hard erection was built (by my very own skilled hands):

  1. I lay my drip irrigation on the ground so that it pokes up in the middle of the spiral.
  2. I built the skeleton of the spiral out of the rocks I collected (and I take my hat off to all those English and Irish people that have built stone walls that criss-cross the country side there for miles because putting rocks on top of one another without them constantly falling down is harder than it looks!)
  3. I dumped a pile of smaller rocks in the middle to provide good drainage for those herbs that need it
  4. I filled it with shredded paper (because that is what I had on hand)
  5. I then filled it with homemade compost
  6. I filled it with some other organic matter (lawn clippings mixed with wood chips because that is locally available)
  7. I then filled it with more home made compost (good stuff!)
  8. I then laid the drip irrigation pipe. 
  9. I then planted my herbs (I previously researched each herb and its preferred growing conditions and came up with a plan of where to plant what. So far they’re all doing well so I must have done my research right.)
  10. I then mulched over it (mulch half way done in the photo above)
  11. Voila! A beautiful and functional herb spiral!

Now, three or so weeks later the difference is quite remarkable. Yes, the mulch is not so beautifully black any more, the gum tree has added a few random leaves, the dog has dug a couple of holes and the retic pipe has popped up a bit, but I am pleased to report that the rocks are still standing and the herbs are doing very well and have grown lots! Check out this comparison:

On completion

A few weeks later

The nasturtiums, the tarragon and the lavender are all blooming. I’ve made a few herbal teas with the lemon balm and mint and have used a lot of the herbs in cooking already.

I have also added some solar lights which turn my beautiful rocky erection into something to marvel at once night falls.


2 Responses to “My Erection Rocks

  • that’s awesome Svenja! how about a ‘6 months later’ photo? would love to see how it’s going.

    • Outback Greenie
      2 years ago

      Good idea Soph! It went gangbusters for a while and my dill was taller than me. Now that it’s summer and hot only the toughest ones are surviving (basil, rosemary, curry plant and the mint surprisingly). I’ll have a look for photos from throughout the year 🙂

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