African Keyhole Style raised bed garden

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by chelloveck, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. chelloveck

    chelloveck Shining the light on a truthier truth!

    This method would be very suitable to dryland gardening. The central core is watered and protected from evaporation, while allowing the garden bed to wick the water to where the plants need it. Great idea, and groovy music....and the bonus is communal effort reaping communal rewards.

    Sapper John and tulianr like this.
  3. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    That is such a great idea. I'm dying to try it.
  4. VHestin

    VHestin Farm Chick

    Good thing I knew this was gardening related, because the phrase 'African Keyhole Style' could easily be taken out of context...
    Dont, Tracy and kellory like this.
  5. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    I watched the video. The little cut in the outer wall, which I assume to be the keyhole bat, was never explained. In fact, the notion of the central biomass is never really explained. As a training film, I would rate it as a solid D or maybe a D+. I do appreciate you bringing it to our attention.

    Much more here
    Texas Co-op Power Magazine - Texas Stories: Keyhole Gardening - An Online Community for Members of Texas Electric Cooperatives
    Keyhole Gardens: A Drought Tolerant Composting Garden
    The Ins and Outs of a Keyhole Garden | Horticulture

    Neat idea, if I still lived in the desert Southwest, it might be fun to build one.
    chelloveck likes this.
  6. chelloveck

    chelloveck Shining the light on a truthier truth!

    Thankyou for the additional links DK, The video clip wasn't so much a training video for folks in Africa, but a fund raising video to encourage first world donors to part with their shekels to buy cows for African villages. I put the clip up as a concept motivator...and because I quite like the music soundtrack that accompanies it.

    The keyhole gardening concept is also used in the tropics where poor soil (due to high rainfall leaching soil nutrients, et al) can be improved by adding compost (to the keyhole core) and lasagnia gardening.

    The links that you posted go into much more detail the whys and hows of putting together of a keyhole garden. Interestingly, one of the diagrams show the garden bedded on a trash wood base, combining Hugelcultur as a water retention element.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  7. tulianr

    tulianr Don Quixote de la Monkey

    I assumed that the keyhole slot was so that you could approach the central tower to supply the water, without stomping through the garden. I assumed that the central biomass was meant to act as a sun-shade and insulation to prevent rapid evaporation of the water supplied. They buried some bio-mass around the central tower, I presume to help wick the water quickly into the garden area, rather than allow gravity to draw the water straight down into the ground. It seemed to make sense to me. If I still lived out in Texas, I think I'd give it a try. I may try it anyway, just for grins and giggles.
    chelloveck likes this.
  8. chelloveck

    chelloveck Shining the light on a truthier truth!

    Here's a site that sells keyhole garden kits...but the concept is simplicity itself, and could be adapted to DIY construction using improvised or salvaged materials

    Keyhole Farm
    tulianr likes this.
  9. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    The keyhole in the original video seemed awful shallow. The ones in the listed site go nearly to or to the central tower. (Shrug) Whatever works...
    tulianr likes this.
  10. chelloveck

    chelloveck Shining the light on a truthier truth!

    I can see how a clutch of carefully sited, mutually supporting, keyhole gardens or similar structures could be adapted for employment as concealed, defilade fire positions, covert OPs, caches, means of exit/egress to tunnel systems, barriers to wheeled vehicles, etc
    tulianr and oldawg like this.
  11. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    It might even allow for camoed assault wheelbarrows. :rolleyes:They might appear to be normal gardening equipment.:rolleyes:
  12. oldawg

    oldawg Monkey+++

    "Hey, look at this cool tiller I picked up. Hold my beer and cover your ears"
    kellory likes this.
  13. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

  14. chelloveck

    chelloveck Shining the light on a truthier truth!

    Thankyou for the link...the 2nd video-clip augments the info in the first video.

    Some keyhole gardening design ideas....variations on a theme. Different materials and minor variations in design and style. Some will probably be a little more permanent than others.



    Via: Keyhole Gardens


    Via: Keyhole Garden / Bed | growingarden


    Ganado and vonslob like this.
  15. vonslob

    vonslob Monkey++

    Having a raised bed that high would help people with bad backs, it would allow them to harvest and maybe even plant without having to stoop over or get on hands and knees. We built some raised beds for my mom, she could go out pick flowers, salad fixings, and herbs; all without having to bend over. She could walk around them so that she did not have to reach far and strain her shoulders. Back to the keyhole gardens. The ability to reach inside to plant and harvest, yet do not compact the soil is one plus. The second would be the ease and efficiency of watering. The third plus would be the ease of maintenance.
    chelloveck and Ganado like this.
  16. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    These are amazing gardens water conservating and composting all at one time. I have one but I didn't cement it in place because I thought they were designed to be moved every few years. I do like the height
    chelloveck likes this.
  17. Troy brownrigg

    Troy brownrigg How my next home will be constructed!

    I'll stick with this set up! It's got a concrete floor and everything is grown in buckets. Less weeds. It use to be a hay barn , see fifty year old hay barn on Utube. I used rail road ties for the base and 3" pipe for the upright section. Materials I got for free. Except for hauling cost. The 60% shade cloth and locking spring system were about 1400.00 total cost 1800.00

    Attached Files:

  18. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    @chell have you done anything with hugelkultre
  19. chelloveck

    chelloveck Shining the light on a truthier truth!

    No, Ganado. Haven't tackled any hugelkulture project just yet. Am looking to move eventually to a place where I can try my hand at it.
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