Menu Close

Category: Keyhole Garden

keyhole garden bed zone 7 NJ Jersey Shore

A keyhole garden is a round raised garden bed about 6-10′ in diameter and up to 3′ high. An opening shaped like a pie slice is cut out of one side so that the gardener can walk into the space without stepping into the garden and have access to tend the entire bed. A round, 1-2′ in diameter wire cylinder forms a compost basket in the center. The basket is filled with compost ingredients and watered throughout the growing season making the best use of water and fertilizer on-site. The garden bed is usually lined with cardboard and filled with compostable materials including cardboard, newspaper, soil, food scraps, phone books, compost, coffee grounds even old cotton clothes. Top with soil and mound it higher in the center and lower toward the outer edge. This allows for more planting space and easier access to the planting area. The keyhole garden is also a Hugulkultur bed as more than 6 large 5 year old tree stumps are buried inside.

Keyhole gardens are being used in Africa to teach self sufficiency to native people who have to deal with lack of rain and poor soil. This front yard was covered in landscape stone a short time ago, then covered again with poor clay subsoil and tightly compacted by heavy construction machinery. This space also enjoys the best, full sun, exposure on my lot. The keyhole is a great solution and allows me to densely plant the area without having to deal with, or struggle to improve, the native soil!

keyhole garden in 2012 growing season in NJ planting zone 7

Blog Posts That Reference The Keyhole Garden at

Planting Chard in the Keyhole Garden

It’s been weeks since it’s rained here! I can’t believe how often I’ve needed to use the sprinklers since I’ve planted my seeds in the veggie gardens in the back yard. The grass seed is coming up beautifully and I’ve already seeded over what I initially put down. I’m keeping…

Dare I Say, I’m Looking Forward to Fall

For the colors, the cleanup and the fallback, regroup that comes with moving stuff around, planting new things and planning for next year. I’m enjoying the tomatoes coming in from the yard and am frustrated by the puny growth on my brassicas which may be due to the heat or…

New To Me, Kohlrabi!

I’ve never eaten it before, let alone tried to grow it, but this year Kohlrabi is making an appearance in the keyhole garden. I planted it in early spring from seed. It survived the early attack of the cabbage moths that took out my whole crop of mustard greens and…