Keyhole gardens (Google / Organic Food Gardening)

Read at : Google Alert – Gardening

Growing food has become a necessity to many with ever increasing food prices. Producing food sustainably has also changed from a ‘lifestyle choice’ to a basic requirement to cut costs. Food has never been so high on the political agenda and neither has the demand for the skills to grow it in back yards, allotments, roof tops, open spaces in cities and even on balconies of high rise buildings. These are the themes of this site; how to grow your own food wherever you live and the wider political debate about the food crisis, the impact of climate change and what governments are doing about it.

Keyhole gardens


on June 7, 2008

Yet another way to make a food garden. This idea comes from Africa but can be used anywhere. Here is an explanation of how to do it from Durham Organic Gardeners Association. They will have one at Gateshead Summer Flower Show.

“The rich soil of a keyhole garden needs to be constrained within a wall or fence. Hence, we will be constructing a circular wooden fence which has a small gap for access (the keyhole) to a simple ‘basket’ in the middle. We plan to make the ‘basket’ with wooden posts and string or wire. To make a keyhole garden the best soil, enriched with as much compost and manure as are available, is built up inside the retaining wall and rises as a mound to the central point – ie the ‘basket’. Waste plant material is placed in the central basket and is watered with rain and/or grey water. Thus the garden is both watered and fed from the central moist composting material outwards towards the retaining wall/fence.

The idea for this garden came from the charity Send-a-Cow and we are indebted to them for advice and information leaflets.” The Send-a-Cow web site has full instructions showing how make one.


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.