Is it a coincidence that I hear about an entirely new gardening concept, from two different people, within two different contexts, in the span of a day, and the same person gets mentioned as the expert on the subject?
I think not.
Keyhole gardening. I’ll be adding it to my sustainable gardening repertoire. Keyhole gardens are built where water is scarce, where people don’t have abundant food sources at a local grocery store that they can
easily waste choose from, or where land is locked in perpetual drought conditions and food cannot be easily grown. They are named for the shape — which looks like a keyhole from above.
My most awesome cousin, Elaine, shared with me an article she wrote on that very subject for Texas Co-op Power Magazine a few weeks back, where Deb Tolman and her keyhole garden were both featured. It was the first I’d seen anything like it, and I immediately thought Duh! why the heck didn’t I think of that? Fact is, people do think of it…every day. It’s called staying alive. Here in Texas, we are recovering from some of the worst drought conditions that anyone can recently remember. Entire lakes dried up, even the creek in our yard dried up, and my typical micro-managing gardening ways were rocked to the core. Once again, I was forced to re-think how I do things.
When Chad the Tree Guy was here the next day, we casually chatted about the uses for chipped tree debris — all of which I re-use — and all things sustainable-and-organic in nature. He drops the name “Dr. Deb” and some kind of cool raised garden called a “keyhole.” I really should look into it, he tell me.
There are several experts in this story, and no, I’m not one of the them. Dr. Deb Tolman is building them out of recycled materials and teaching others how to do the same right here in Texas. The folks at Send a Cow in the UK are teaching the keyhole concept in some of the hottest and driest places in the world.
A slight variation on my favored lasagna method, which I already do in my yard because it’s so easy (and free!), it is a garden with an in-place compost pile. All of the water and nutrients for the entire garden are “fed” through that compost. Brilliant, I tell you.
I look forward to building my own keyhole garden in the backyard using bricks, sticks, cans, newspaper, cardboard, chicken wire, leaves, compost, and, of course, bored kids — all of which I have just laying around.
Now, if could just scare me up some spare time.