May 11, 2024

Gate: A Keyhole Garden Preliminary

I showed you this photo last time

Where the new African keyhole garden is going to be.

 Compare that to this photo from before we built the greenhouse.

Between the bushes and pile of bricks is a gate. The little orange surveyors flags mark the proposed corners of the greenhouse, so the gate had to come out. It was replaced with the back wall of the greenhouse.

The gate was handy for going from back to front yards with a wheelbarrow or lawnmower. Needless to say, we've missed having it. Now, with bricks for the keyhole garden to haul around, it seemed like the time to put the gate back in.

Dan made the gate from an extra fence panel

It was a pretty straightforward job.

Still to do: terrace the ground on the backside of the gate. It slopes down this side so terracing it will help prevent soil washing away.

Stepping back . . .

This is a great improvement in convenience. Once it stops raining and the ground dries out, Dan is ready to begin on the keyhole foundation. 


Rosalea said...

Looking forward to Dan's build. Will it be the same size as the previous Keyhole?

Leigh said...

Rosalea, yes, same size, which is about 6 feet across. That has worked really well with the first one.

Michael said...

Looking at your first done in 2020.

What kind of report do you have on its performance?

What did you grow? Production compared to raised bed or ordinary gardening?

In arid climates I've seen these done with rusty steel roofing and they did pretty well producing a crop where roaming critters and lack of decent soil-water was the problem. Worked until some disgruntled soul crushed them with a large truck "Accidentally".

The joys of Missionary Work. Human nature.

Leigh said...

Michael, that's a real shame! People are always the weakest link in any system. ;)

I reckon building a second one speaks well of the first. It's convenient having the compost pile and watering point in the center. Only when I have seedlings with shallow roots do I have to water the entire thing. In our hot climate I find that raised beds generally dry out quickly, but the keyhole design makes watering easier than a large rectangular bed.

I also like having the bed height raised as much as ours; kinder on my back!

Everything that grows in it thrives, I think because we built the soil layers in hugel fashion. The problems I have are mostly insect damage of the same sort as I have in the bordered beds of the kitchen garden.

We've grown a variety of things in it: greens, multiplier and walking onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, garlic (that's what I can recall off the top of my head). It's an experiment each season.

Boud said...

I've always fancied a keyhole garden, not feasible here. As you say better on the gardener's back. And they seem to flourish if they're built right. I'll watch with interest.

Anonymous said...

I love the keyhole garden! Can’t wait to see how the new one turns out. If I had the space, I’d want to try one. I wonder if the same concepts would work with a large (barrel sized) container?

Leigh said...

Liz, they are a fantastic way to garden! We've thought of making a bunch of them, but I'll be happy with even two. :)

Anon, I've seen "keyhole" applied to several types. Sometimes it seems to mean a bed (any shape) with a keyhole shaped path in it for easier access. I really think the African design is best, because it puts a compost bin in the center, which is where water is added as well. Being in the center, it leaves a nice arm's reach for the growing bed, which works well. The indent for the path makes it easy to tend the compost.

As far as trying it in a large barrel, I say experiment! It would be worth giving it a try!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Has it been four years already?

Looking forward to version 2.0!

Leigh said...

TB, I know. It's amazing how the years fly by!

Ed said...

I don't have any fences where I live now but not long ago, was hooked up to fiber optic internet and for about a month, had a fiber optic cable strung across my front lawn dividing it in two until it was finally buried. Since we weren't supposed to drive or put pressure on it, I did a lot of circumnavigating the house for that month and since I have a walk out basement, it meant going down 10 feet and then up 10 feet with the wheelbarrow. Needless to say, I limited my wheelbarrow activities until it finally got buried.

Leigh said...

Ed, yesterday Dan was working on the keyhole foundation and found himself going around the house from the other side out of habit. We both got a chuckle out of that. :)