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What is Keyhole Gardening?

Keyhole gardening is an ingenious gardening technique that was discovered and practiced by Africans.  Many areas in Africa have poor soil conditions as well as very little rainfall.  Every natural resource is a precious and utilized.

They have found a way of gardening that requires a substantially less water and allows them to use not only daily kitchen scraps, but compostable garbage and even grey water.

A Keyhole Garden is an ingenious gardening technique that requires much less water and combines a nutrient rich bed that gobbles up daily kitchen scraps.

Here’s some rudimentary steps on how a traditional Keyhole Garden is put together.

A raised round garden at about 72″ in diameter is built at about 24″ high.

Then a notch is cutout towards the center of the garden bed.

Finally in the very center of the bed a round basket is built.  This is where the daily kitchen scraps go.

After the garden structure has been built, they set up the garden with alternating layers of brown and green household and organic waste as follows:

  • 1 layer of cardboard on the bottom, and up the sides
  • The second layer consists of green leaves, or grass clippings
  • The third layer consists of sticks twigs and brown organic materials.
  • A fourth layer includes another layer of green grass clippings or green leaves.
  • Finally a 6″ layer of compost or topsoil is used to finish off the layer of the garden.

Each layer is soaked with water when applied, and immediately the entire garden begins to compost.  And composting produces warmth and richness that the plants absolutely love and thrive.

The composting basket is filled up with daily kitchen scraps, which – as they biodegrade and compost – continually add nutrients to the garden bed.  Watering the garden is done through the the composting tunnel and encourages the vegetables to grow deep tap roots which provides drought resistance.

The system is very drought resistant and provides continual harvest in areas (like Africa) where there’s constant sunshine.

We have a full size version of the Keyhole Garden here (through our garden-brand called Vita Gardens) – but we have done a slightly scaled down model for Costco North America and Canada with a more attractive price point.