Keyhole Garden: enough food for three meals a day for a family (Send a Cow)

Read at :

http://www.sendacow.org.uk/keyhole-gardens

Keyhole gardens

Making a garden should be lots of fun as well as educational. So why not join the thousands of children who have built Keyhole Gardens and bring a little bit of Africa to your school?

http://vimeo.com/15630334

A Keyhole Garden is a type of kitchen garden that recycles as it grows. The design – which looks like a keyhole from above – incorporates a central ‘basket’ where compostable waste is placed and water is poured. They have many different forms in Africa, and are especially useful in areas where good soil is scarce, often adding nutritious vegetables to diets. Send a Cow uses them as part of our natural gardening training, and they get fantastic results; families start to grow enough to eat and often enough to sell.

Keyhole Gardens are also a really good way of introducing children to sustainable principles such as composting and using ‘grey water’, as well as finding out about why they are so important in Africa. As they are bigger and more permanent than Bag Gardens, they can be an excellent project for schools to get involved in – perhaps as part of a bigger African gardening area?

We’ll help you to get growing – order our kit

You can order one of our Keyhole Garden Starter Kits* for £10 by using our order form, or by calling us on 01225 874 222. The kit contains everything you need to get you going, including seven types of seeds grown in Uganda and the UK (see base of page), diagrams on how to build one, Ugandan info on how the crops are used, a sign and seed markers.

Learning resources

As well as what you receive in your kit, we have some online introductory advice to help you to make one of these gardens at your school and some stories and PowerPoints to introduce how these gardens help children in African countries. All of these resources can be found in the Keyhole Garden area on our resources website, Cowfiles.com. When you’ve made one, you can then enter it into our African Gardens Competition!

The seeds found in the Keyhole Garden Starter Kit are: sweetcorn, gourds, spinach, tithonia (Mexican sunflower), edible amaranth, courgette and marigolds.

*Please note that we can only send our African Gardens kits to addresses in the UK.

Build a Keyhole Garden

A Keyhole Garden allows a family to grow enough food for three meals a day – even in the face of an extreme climate and poor soil.

Keyhole Gardens recycle as they grow. The design – which looks like a keyhole from above – incorporates a central ‘basket’ where compostable waste is placed and used water from the kitchen is poured. They add nutritious vegetables to diets and are especially useful in areas where good soil is scarce. They get fantastic results: families start to grow enough to eat, to give to their neighbours and to sell at market.

Did you know?

Keyhole Gardens help to extend the growing season, even in dry periods, so that food can be grown by families nearly all year round.

We give this gift in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Lesotho.

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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