Zilker Neighborhood Gardens

Commentary by a National Wildlife Steward who helps Zilker neighbors establish native plant gardens

Keyhole Gardening … Sustainable During Droughts

Wow, this article about Dr. Deb Tolman’s (Landscape Architect) keyhole gardening idea is amazing. She describes how to build a raised 6ft. diameter garden sustainably. The garden is built from found materials (rock, concrete, timber, even an old boat etc.) and filled with cardboard, newspaper, phone books, and some soil and compost. A 1 ft. diameter feeding tube in the middle allows you to add compost and water as needed. She adds about a gallon of water daily (you probably create that much excess rinsing vegetables or brushing your teeth) and some more during extreme heat (like last summer).

What’s more amazing is how much produce it produces! (veges and fruits!) A family of 10 can live off 3 keyhole gardens.

“It works well in places far drier than we are here on the edge of the Hill Country,” says Tolman, who discovered the technique five years ago. The sustainable gardening method was developed by a humanitarian aid organization in southern Africa, where resources are scarce and the climate unforgiving. There, three keyhole gardens can feed a family of 10 all year long, reports the BBC.

It’d be cool to see some of these gardens in Zilker. And added luxury is no more bending over for gardening! You can stand straight up as you harvest.

 

 

 

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