keyhole garden

Ze garden so far

Time for an update!  Thanks to the Force of Nature for all the pictures taken just a few minutes ago.

6_10_13e

looking West to East, roses in the foreground – I wished I’d gotten some pics of them 3 weeks ago when they looked AWESOME.

6_10_13elabeled

. 6_10_13blabeled

The bed closest to the gate (bed 1)

. 6_10_13labeled

Other end of bed 1.

I’ve had serious slug challenges – replanted beans, peas & cukes 3 times……

6_10_13clabeled

Another view of bed 1 – this was our original garden bed.

6_10_13Alabeled

Keyhole garden view 1  Yes, the tomato is *taller* than the corn!  I planted dwarf corn so I wouldn’t have to climb a ladder to harvest it.  Next year though, I’ll plant full size corn in the keyhole!  I may make a corn & cucumber only KG……

6_10_13blabeled

Keyhole garden view 2 (to the left of view 1)

6_10_13labeled

Keyhole garden view 3 (to the right of view 1)

6_10_13dlabeled

I think Studmuffin thought this wasn’t gonna work at all.  Perhaps next year, I’ll combine 2 cages to make a bigger tower…or maybe some kind of KG….

Bed 2 (no picture) has just a few volunteer garlic plants – sweet potato slips should get planted this week along with companion tomato plants.  Bed 3 (no picture) is planted with cukes, canteloupes & a couple of watermelons.  I still need to plant some pumpkins…..

I love organic gardening.  And I love GARRETT JUICE.  I think it has made a big difference.  I need to spray some tonight as I was gone this past weekend. There will be more pictures (hopefully this week) of the front gardens soon.  How’s your garden growing?

Keyhole gardening resources

I am loving my keyhole garden (KG)!
Back in April.  Note the bird deterrent hanging there.  Don't laugh too hard - it works!

Back in April. Note the bird deterrent hanging there. Don’t laugh too hard – it works!

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing; I had a big slug problem but now I have food-grade diatomaceous earth & that has helped. The extremely unusual weather patterns have meant that I’ve not had good luck in direct seeding my KG but I will overcome that.
I know now that in building my KG my layers were too thick since the top of the garden had dropped about eighteen inches already, but I have plans to build two more which I’m collecting cardboard for.  One of the new ones will be my permanent asparagus bed!  I promise to take some more photos very soon. I also hope we can build one at the Baha’i Center here.
My parents were here for a few days and are now interested in building their own KG. Yay! I pray that the “KG infection” spreads! I sent them an email with a bunch of links & I hope others will find it useful too. My dream is to see these popping up in backyards (or any yards!) all over the place.
My parents will need to do something like this to keep the critters out!

My parents will need to do something like this to keep the critters out!

Here are some good links for websites:

This was the first website I ever saw about keyhole gardens: http://www.valhalla-project.com/2012/01/from-africa-to-valhalla-keyhole-garden.html
(Watch the videos too)
An article about them & Dr. Tolman: http://www.texascooppower.com/texas-stories/nature-outdoors/keyhole-gardening
Dr. Deb Tolman’s DVD on how to: http://www.debtolman.com/dvd.htm
An overview of keyholes at Dave’s Garden: http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/3726/
These guys sell kits which look really good!: http://keyholefarm.com/
About halfway down this page, there’s a very good photo of an intensively planted keyhole garden: http://keyholefarm.com/update-021112-skirting-the-update/
(However, this guy has NOT sloped the planting area, nor filled the garden to the top, but I’m being picky….)
http://www.zombieapocalypsesurvivalists.com/2013/02/keyhole-garden.html

Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/keyholegardens?fref=ts – this is really good to look at to see the materials lots of other people have used, and many times Dr. Tolman will answer questions directly.
keyhole-garden

And some good links for videos:
Dr. Deb talking about her gardens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hobrYWufEN0
Very sweet animated video about KG’s: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUUJDG4zv5c
Keyhole Farm (the kit people) made this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVTQxstJ1Ck
This page has several lovely videos of keyholes in arid, rocky southern Africa: http://www.sendacow.org.uk/keyhole-gardens
Lots of resources here too: http://www.sendacow.org.uk/lessonsfromafrica/resources/keyhole-gardens
http://www.treehugger.com/green-food/feeding-the-world-with-rocks-raised-bed-keyhole-gardens-in-africa-video.html
This could be my favorite of all the videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grritAZ7CHI
(It’s unusual in that men are shown helping….and you can ignore the recommendations against tomatoes & corn!)
More Dr. Deb: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oejd1aiarOs&list=PL775DE7ACF3C961EF

I encourage y’all to watch all of these ‘cos it will give you a good idea of how to make your garden. Go to Google images & search for “keyhole gardens” & it will show how people have used all different kinds of things for the walls.  I find it inspiring!

Even though hers aren't raised up the way mine will be, I like her layout!

Even though hers aren’t raised up the way mine will be, I like her layout and her enthusiasm!!

Keyhole garden pictures

It’s a lovely day so this will be mostly pictures.  🙂

my homemade pea tower standing proudly

my homemade pea tower standing proudly

finished keyhole garden

finished keyhole garden – The reed fencing surrounding the garden was suggested by Studmuffin so that the neighbors would not think I was building a garbage dump.  The fencing cost about $25 and was by FAR the most expensive part of the process.

the Force of Nature's Strawberry plant

the Force of Nature’s Strawberry plant.  The sides are supported by old electrical conduit (here on the property when we bought the house) wire fencing tomato cages (extra stuff from when we made them 10+ years ago) and scavenged cardboard.  There are a few concrete blocks that I don’t know where they came from….maybe Studmuffin bought ’em? Maybe they were here when we moved in? I don’t know….. Oh yeah and zip ties.  I did buy those – like $4 for 150.

The "basket" - approx. 1' diameter composting/watering tube

The “basket” – approx. 1′ diameter composting/watering tube – all of our compostable kitchen scraps now go in here

A view from above thanks to the Duke of Curl

A view from above thanks to the Duke of Curl – oh yeah, the straw mulch – we bought that.  but we buy between 2 – 5 bales every year, so I didn’t figure that into the costs.

"Juliet" grape tomato - planted on April 6th.  It has DOUBLED in size in this week.  I'll try to take a picture today.....

“Juliet” grape tomato – planted on April 6th. It has DOUBLED in size in this week. I’ll try to take a picture today…..  I did take a few more pictures along the way which seemed to have gotten deleted by accident (grrrrrrrrrrr).  After  saying over & over & over that I need to take more pictures – I finally gave that up when I decided to use my limited energy to build it, rather than document it.

one of 2 'border' nasturtiums.  I have difficulty in growing these from seed. But I love them: they trail, they keep away bad bugs AND you can eat them in a salad.

one of 2 ‘border’ nasturtiums. I have difficulty in growing these from seed. But I love them: they trail, they keep away bad bugs AND you can eat them in a salad.

The caged tomato

The caged tomato – the strawberry plant is on the other side of the basket to the far right (not in picture)

The Force of Nature's foot.....ummm...yeah...tthe kids & I take foot pictures. We think it's funny.

The Force of Nature’s foot…..ummm…yeah…the kids & I take foot pictures. We think it’s funny.

Extreme marigold close up : marigold are a wonderful thing to plant I think.  I got these on sale, they help keep away bad bugs, and they reassure my husband that I'm actually gardening and not just hoarding cardboard.

Extreme marigold close up : marigold are a wonderful thing to plant I think. I got these on sale, they help keep away bad bugs, and they reassure my husband that I’m actually gardening and not just hoarding cardboard.

Marigold <3

Marigold ❤

This garden is chest high on me.  I planted a bunch of seeds: cucumbers, sunflowers, zucchini, summer squash and corn.  Some of the clever birds around her have already discovered the corn....so I have added a string tied from the side to the tomato cage with a dangly CD to scare them off.  Hope it works.

This garden is chest high on me. I planted a bunch of seeds too: cucumbers, sunflowers, zucchini, summer squash and corn. Some of the clever birds around here have already discovered the corn….so I have added a string tied from the side to the tomato cage with a dangly CD to scare them off. Hope it works –  it looks VERY trashy….  🙂

The Force of Nature - almost 15 years old: one of my 3 favoritest things I've grown EVER!!!

The Force of Nature – almost 15 years old: one of my 3 favoritest things I’ve grown EVER!!!