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Allotment Stuff => The Basics => Topic started by: Digeroo on October 12, 2018, 06:09:24

Title: African keyhole garden
Post by: Digeroo on October 12, 2018, 06:09:24
Has anyone tried an African keyhole garden.  There are supposed to need less water.
stop me ranting about the drought.  4 inches down soil is still dry as a bone and set like concrete.

It's supposed to be raining right now.
Title: Re: African keyhole garden
Post by: ancellsfarmer on October 12, 2018, 07:10:05
No, how does it work? Is it this ?
Delightfully what no-dig is- in extremis!
Meanwhile, enjoy:
This week/end may sort out the rain deficit !! Three tropical storms see:,-3.159,4,i:pressure
It will come good eventually!
Title: Re: African keyhole garden
Post by: Digeroo on October 12, 2018, 07:40:01
There is a central system for composting.  Then a circle round that where biomatter is buried so that it absorbs moisture.  A piece of cut out of the circle so you can reach the composter in the middle.   There are lots of different designs.  The soil can be held in by bricks, rocks, sacking or Wattle.    It is supposed to use 70% less water.  They have been successful in drought areas of Africa. 
The central composter can be wire, basket or plastic.

Title: Re: African keyhole garden
Post by: Digeroo on October 12, 2018, 09:04:26
the weather forecast says it should be raining but I'm still not getting wet,  and this afternoon's rain has disappeared from the forecast.   

Chance of rain tomorrow is maximum of fifty percent chance.  Then hardly anything for 10 days.   

So on with the African keyhole garden.   I am putting a Dalek compost bin at the centre,  it will hold about 4 wheelbarrows full of manure.   And I'm putting the Keyhole on the north side so the Shadow of the bin has the least effect.  I've dug the soil out of the keyhole and will fill this with manure  and the bottom of the compost bin is about a foot down.   I will dig a ditch around the Edge and fill that with manure as well and so got plenty of extra soil to add to the height.

Title: Re: African keyhole garden
Post by: Vinlander on October 14, 2018, 11:51:05
I was looking at this and thinking - the 3rd world ones look very cool,  brilliant use of resources - so why not use 7 builders' bags in a square?

Then I saw photos #15 & #19 (from rich places - US mainly), which are nearly the same idea using good quality timber - but that's not rescuing high quality woven PP from landfill! What are they thinking? They're not even using pallets?? :BangHead: :BangHead:

No. 19 also mentions soil compaction under the path - surely the path should be dug out to raise the beds and replaced with chopped twigs? Here I would use woodchip, but either way the path would gradually turn into a valuable source of humus - to be dug out and replaced with fresh woody stuff.

In a dry climate a 100% twig path might need to be laid with layers of mulch to keep the dry air out & moisture in.

I was thinking of adding a second row of builders bags to my current system of "compost and woodchip morphs into raised beds" but now I'm thinking of turning it into a double square keyhole which would have more bags with less pallets holding them up.

Title: Re: African keyhole garden
Post by: Digeroo on October 21, 2018, 16:00:28
I finally got mine finished.  I haven't got a wall round the edge because I haven't got anything to build it out of.  I am using some clay which is in the middle of the manure pile
The central compost bin has 5 1/2 wheelbarrow loads of manure.
2 Barrow loads in the Keyhole
and another 6 round the edge where the soil has been dug out to add to the height of the growing area.   
the growing  area has three bags full of cardboard and 12  buckets full of leaves
and a large pile of vegetable waste. 
it will be mulched with several bucket loads of lawn clippings.
I am now sowing Wizard beans.
there are a lot of wood chips on the manure pile that I might use on top of the circle of manure to make a nice paths around it. 

Title: Re: African keyhole garden
Post by: galina on October 22, 2018, 05:49:56
looking forward to photos Digeroo :wave: