Zilker Neighborhood Gardens

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

Tag Archives: vegetable

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.




Learn & Volunteer with Green Corn Project

Want to get your hands dirty but don’t have a garden? Want to help others start a vegetable garden? Like volunteering and helping our broader community? You can get do all that with the Green Corn Project here in Austin, TX. Who are they?

Green Corn Project (GCP) is a grassroots, volunteer-run organization dedicated to helping Central Texans in need grow their own organic vegetables. Our Mission: To educate and assist Central Texans in growing organic food gardens.

They use a bio-intensive method to help make growing a vegetable garden more successful and more natural. I volunteered for one of their dig-ins about a year or so ago. We helped dig a garden at a AISD school. I learned how to “double-dig” which is a special way to aerate the soil so the plants can grow deeply. I thought it was really cool and wasn’t that difficult with the many volunteers we had. I also learned it so that I could use the method in my own garden.

Guess what? Their March dig-ins are now ready for volunteering – they are occurring on 3 weekends in March on both Saturday and Sunday. Please consider volunteering! They have built a lot of gardens in Austin:

Map of Green corn Project Gardens

Green Corn Project Gardens

If you really get into this, you can also volunteer to be trained as a Dig-In Leader. There are two spring dates – this Saturday, Feb 26th or March 5th. There is no experience necessary – they will train you. Once you are a leader, you are the key to supporting at least a few more gardens to be built in the city.

Here’s hoping that some of our Zilker residents volunteer for GCP!

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