My keyhole garden

A while ago, during my time online, I found an article about building keyhole gardens. These are basically gardens made of stone (or whatever durable material you have) with compostable material filling three fourths of it. In the center of the garden is a compost bin, which is meant to constantly feed the garden. Finally, on top of the garden is soil or manure and then the plants.

The garden is meant to be a self sustaining, self watering garden after it’s established. Now, I live in the US south, no SubSaharan Africa, which where the gardens are most beneficial, but in the middle of summer, the lack of rain and heat can be murder on my little gardens. So, I thought, what the hey, I’ll try it.

Whew! After I cleared the weeds from my little wedge garden, I started collecting stone from around my house and property (I’d bought and used river rock as borders over the years). Here is the start of the garden after one afternoon.

keyhole 1

I didn’t get back to the garden for a while but when I did, I hit it hard. I kind of enjoyed the rock building, to be honest. I had to figure out how to stack rock without them toppling. However, when I started adding and tamping down then watering the cardboard boxes I used as compost, one section of the wall collapsed. I rebuilt it stronger and finished up with the boxes and brush. Each time I thought I had the thing filled, I got in and pushed down the cardboard with my feet and then started over. A year of collecting boxes (I thought for Goodwill) paid off. I transferred my compost bin into the metal tube in the middle of the garden, after I found out that loppers can be used to cut metal!

keyhole 3

Here is the garden ready for dirt and planting.keyhole 5

finished keyhole garden      finished keyhole 2

And here is the final product. I’ve planted tomatoes and peppers so far but the garden is supposed to be overplanted to conserve water. Maybe I’ll add some other stuff.

I’ll try to let you all know what happens as the summer progresses. But even if it is a bust, I have a conversation piece in my back yard! And guess what? I finished it just in time for a rain.

2 thoughts on “My keyhole garden

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