Unlock a gardening secret
Anyone can try their hand at keyhole gardening.
As Oklahoma summers continue to get hotter and drier, gardeners are looking for ways to prolong the growing season while responsibly maintaining resources.
Keyhole gardens, which were originally developed in arid African countries, have proven to be an effective way to grow vegetables year-round in moderate climates, semi-arid environments and locations with poor soil.
This type of garden has helped many populations vulnerable to hunger and food insecurity improve resiliency to shocks such as drought.
The name comes from its original design as a relatively small round garden with a low outer wall and a space in the middle to allow a person (especially those who were physically weak or had a disability) to work the garden with minimal effort.
Construction of a keyhole garden is rather simple and fun — you can even get your kids involved — and promotes the use of inexpensive and locally available resources. The outer wall can be constructed of anything resilient (e.g., brick, stone, wood, hard plastic, old tires, etc.) Internal materials include rocks and a combination of organic materials such as small tree branches, loose twigs, wood chips, cardboard, newspaper, grass clippings, green or brown leaves, manure, compost and soil. Only have a small space in which to work? No problem. The typical garden is only 6-7 feet in diameter.
Several improvements have been made to keyhole gardens over the years. These include expanding the overall size, adding more organic layers, building it higher and replacing the center working space with an active composting pile in a basket-type structure that ensures moisture and nutrients can easily and effectively reach all layers.
Once built, the garden requires little maintenance and few additional inputs, such as fertilizer. A keyhole garden might just be your ticket to gardening success.
call the Tulsa Master Gardeners
at 918-746-3701, or stop by the
OSU Extension Office at
4116 E. 15th St. Either way,
Master Gardeners will be on
hand to personally answer all
of your questions.
Thank you to Tulsa County Master Gardeners for their expertise in this subject matter. Allen Robinson has been a Master Gardener since 2010.