My Keyhole Garden

Last time, I talked about keyhole gardens (KHGs) in general. Today, I’m going to talk about the KHG I am building. While a true KHG fits a fairly precise definition, the idea of a KHG is something you modify to fit your circumstances. Most are round because that’s an efficient use of resources and it makes for an even distribution of nutrients from the central basket. But they don’t have to be.

Section 1 of my KHG under construction.

I have an existing rectangular garden that is 6ft wide by five 8ft fence sections long, and I’m slowly converting it to KHG, one fence section at a time. I started in March and planted my first 8ft section in early May. In the section next to it I have planted a number of peas. The cold weather has kept them kindof stunted, but I expect they will take off now that it’s warming up. Once I harvest them (early/mid June), I’ll just leave the plants on the ground and start the second section of my KHG on top of the existing soil and plant matter. Instead of a central basket, I’ve decided the rest of my KHG sections will have a continuous central trough running down them, so that it looks more like a mountain range than a chain of volcanoes.

The complete, but unplanted, Keyhole Garden.

If you’ve been following my Green Thumb… entries, you know that I’ve planted Section 1 fairly densely, although not as dense as the Texans do — I have shade tree issues, and no, I can’t cut the thirty year old fir-tree down so I can grow bigger cherry tomatoes.

Newly planted, with seeds and seedlings.

Here’s a picture of the freshly planted garden, this time from the south, looking north. Radishes, daikons, and bok choy in the SW (with peas uplsope from them), lettuce seed on the S slope, tomatoes in the SE, and squashes of various kinds in the E. The long beans are up near the top of the volcano. Far side is (W to E and mostly out of sight) onions, asparagus, and blueberries. Chard will be to the left of the keyhole (really, a kneehole), with more lettuce to the right. When things start to grow (I mean, other than the weeds, which are doing well), I’ll post a new pic here. And here it is in June (2013):

The Garden at the End of June

The Garden at the End of June

I’ve added three more sections. Section 1 is closest to us.

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2 Responses to “My Keyhole Garden”

  1. Kurt Kremer Says:

    Nice template, thanks. I’m planning to try this next year. Portland isn’t all that wet to not implement low maintenance low water gardening, especiywith our heat spikes.

    • FoundOnWeb Says:

      Start saving your phone books and cardboard boxes for the ‘brown’ side of the fill. If you build it at the end of Summer, you can get your ‘green’ from your Fall cleanup. You only need to put dirt on the top few inches to get the plants started. Given Portlands mild winters, I’d suggest trying chard and peas. As long as they go in early enough to sprout, they should be OK over Winter.

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