keyhole garden
If you’ve grown vegetables in raised beds you know they are amazing, often getting four times the yield of a traditional garden. But chances are, your design still isn’t as efficient as it could be. The solution? A keyhole garden. Keyhole gardens are round beds about 6 feet across, with waist-high walls. They get their name from their distinctive shape: a round column in the middle and a “slot” removed from one side, making them look from above like an old-fashioned keyhole. Said to have originated in Africa, where communities with very poor soil and a long dry season were looking for a way to grow fresh veggies as economically as possible, the shape is incredibly efficient, offers high yields, and can be built cheaply.
The round walls are stronger than traditional forms. And by eliminating corners, which often dry out faster, you maximize growing space. The central core (reach via the “slot”) holds kitchen scraps and filters gray water, removing the need for a separate compost bin. The combination of shape and central core also means that the wet compost keeps the soil moist, and the water radiates out to the plants, so your garden can stay lush during dry spells. Yet, since it is a raised bed, it also won’t get waterlogged in heavy rains.