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Keyhole gardens, think it would work? - Page 2 Toplef10Keyhole gardens, think it would work? - Page 2 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Keyhole gardens, think it would work?

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camprn
Nonna.PapaVino
frogdog
Unmutual
landarch
Kelejan
Turan
gregrenee88
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FinallyFrugal
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Post  CapeCoddess 11/24/2012, 6:28 pm

Do either of you have a photo of a dryer drum planter you could share please? I have no idea what a drum looks like outside of the drier. Could you use the tub from the washing machine for the compost bin in the k-garden? Doesn't that already have holes in it?

CC
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Post  camprn 11/24/2012, 8:15 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:Do either of you have a photo of a dryer drum planter you could share please? I have no idea what a drum looks like outside of the drier. Could you use the tub from the washing machine for the compost bin in the k-garden? Doesn't that already have holes in it?

CC
I don't know about dryer drums but washer drums work pretty well as planters.
Washer drums


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Post  CapeCoddess 11/24/2012, 9:12 pm

Great link, Camp. So pretty. I like where they use it as a fire pit. Now I want one. Maybe a trip to the metal recycles at the dump is in order for tomorrow.
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nite all,
CC
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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 11/24/2012, 9:54 pm

When upgrading a washer/drier some years ago, I asked to keep the drums from them. Used one of the pierced ones, sunk into the ground and filled with potting soil for tulip bulbs to thwart the mole-made tunnels the voles used to access the tulip bulbs that they ate. Entered the idea in the 1999 Rodale-sponsored search for gardening ideasto be used in a book and received a free copy of 1,001 Ingenious Gardening Ideas, in which my idea appeared. Thanks for the link, Camprn, looks like lots of folks co-invented the idea, or used the one from the Rodale book and took it to another level. I like that. Nonna
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Post  frogdog 11/25/2012, 11:10 am

The stainless steel washer drums are pretty, but I didn't have luck with planting in it largely due to the watering requirements here in Florida heat of summer. There are holes that leach the water and the diameter was too small for me to work with. However, I am considering using it as a fire pit.

I don't have any pics of the dryer drums, but what I like about them is they mostly have no bottom, just an open hole, so they are great in terms of draining. I paint mine in bright colors. I have even used them for tunnels for my child's playground, but he never used them so they are becoming planters.

So, the larger diameter ones are approx 26 inches, and that gives approximately 4 square feet; the smaller ones are 3 square feet. How many do you think I would need to provide veggies for a family of 3, sometimes 4?

cyclops (my son wanted me to put a cyclops emoticon up...no other reason...o now comes another) affraid

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Post  Turan 11/25/2012, 2:10 pm

Pictures, we need pictures of brightly painted planters full of growing things in warm balmy places lots o

boogie woogie

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Post  Turan 11/25/2012, 2:17 pm

@frogdog wrote:
So, the larger diameter ones are approx 26 inches, and that gives approximately 4 square feet; the smaller ones are 3 square feet. How many do you think I would need to provide veggies for a family of 3, sometimes 4?

cyclops (my son wanted me to put a cyclops emoticon up...no other reason...o now comes another) affraid


Start with one cluster of say 5 or 6 in a sort of mandala or kehole pattern. See how it goes and then tweak as you learn and grow.

The bare minimum for me in this northern short season area is 200 sqf. When I lived in San Deigo it was more like 100 sqf.

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Post  CapeCoddess 11/25/2012, 3:22 pm

Huh...I never thought that garden size changes with latitude, but that makes perfect sense. Shorter season, more veggies need to be grown more quickly.

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Post  Turan 11/25/2012, 3:48 pm

Too much fun playing with this. Here I made a simple mandala plan of about 60 sqf using 16 drums. With the open middle it would be easy enough to reach every where.

Edit to point out that a 26" diameter drum area is~ Pi Rsquared ~ so 13 x 13 x 3.14 = 530.66 sq inches. Divide by 144 is 3.6 sqf. So I would not try to squeeze 4 broccoli or 4 tomatoes into a tub. Etc.

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Post  quiltbea 11/25/2012, 4:06 pm

I can see where the drums might be a good idea to use as intact beds, but what of the compost/keyhole in the center or all those drums?
How do the nutrients get into the soil in the drums? The nutrients could only move down deep into the ground and not be able to move sideways into the near-solid drums. I can't see how it would work for keyhole gardening.
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Post  cheyannarach 11/27/2012, 2:35 pm

I am still trying to figure out what exactly are these drums? I can see the compost problem that quiltbea is saying but I sure to like the design you made Turan! I think it could be a keyhole look with regular MM in the drums instead of the compost in the middle.
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Post  Turan 11/27/2012, 10:40 pm

Frogdog's idea was to put individual worm tubes in each tub. My idea was to arrange them as a mandala. I suppose if care was made to match up holes in the walls of the drums that touch then the worms might move from one to another. I wouldn't make a central compost because it would become too hard to reach everywhere. But if one did the 5-6 drums around a central compost one that would be reachable, but brings back the dilemma that nothing could really move from drum to drum. But it might be useful enough an arrangement just to have the compost so close a part of the garden.

Frogdog gave the constraint of the drums and their sizes. I don't particularly have easy access to dryer drums nor a stockpile of them to re-purpose. So if I were to make this design I would use some odd lumber. Then it is just a regular mandala, or if formed around a composter and only 6' across a keyhole.

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Post  gwennifer 11/30/2012, 5:50 pm

I went to a garden design class a couple years ago, and the keyhole shape was a topic that the instructor covered. The reason for the shape is that being able to walk into that slotted area in the circle provides access to a greater density of garden space than you'd otherwise be able to reach. It was a method presented for high intensity gardening.

Anyway, Turan's drum mandala is still a keyhole garden, just not the type of keyhole garden from the OP that includes it's own composting system in the middle.
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Post  bethimus 2/6/2013, 1:02 pm

I live in South Florida and I'm really interested in the Keyhole technique. My main concern is with the construction of the walls. I was thinking about using cinder blocks, but I'm afraid that a hurricane blowing through might turn the cinder blocks into missiles. Would I need to pour cement in them to keep them stable? If so, then how would I remove the basket when it's time to replace it?

Help?

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Post  Nonna.PapaVino 6/16/2013, 12:42 pm

While building a new 4 foot square bed this morning and shoveling out compost from under my two compost bins, I found a huge ball of worms in the bin where kitchen waste is deposited. Outcome: I dug out the middle of the 4-foot bed, filled it with not-quite-fully-composted weed waste, piled the worms and their compost on the waste, then covered it all with wet, decomposing hay from last year's bale bed. To test the experiment, I'll plant starts around the perimeter of the bed and see how they do with the unfinished compost. What do you think? Will the plants send out roots into the worm-filled mass in the center? Will the worms begin to colonize the rest of the bed? Hmmmm? Nonna
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Post  kauairosina 3/1/2014, 12:50 am

Wonderful link.  I donated to the Vahalla project.  What a fine endeavor.  Really food for thought and possibly doing.
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Post  hammock gal 4/24/2016, 10:41 am

While checking out all of the great cinder block garden ideas, I came across keyhole gardens, something I was not at all familiar with. Basically, it's a circular raised bed, about 6 feet in diameter with a compost cylinder at its center. From what I've been able to gather, they were developed for gardening in hot, dry areas of Africa and are beautifully suited to those conditions, but could be used anywhere. I think the idea of the compost pile being the center of the bed is just brilliant. I don't know why the top layer of fill couldn't be MM, and SFG methods used. I see that cheyannarach posted about keyhole gardens some years ago. I wonder if anyone actually tried them, and how they worked.


If you're interested, here's some info.
http://www.inspirationgreen.com/keyhole-gardens.html

Here's a video showing how they're made in Africa.
http://www.inspirationgreen.com/keyhole-gardens.html

And how they're made with bricks.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SqL0NsgjVzg

And even one made of cinder blocks!
http://www.gardeningchannel.com/how-to-make-a-keyhole-garden/
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Post  sanderson 4/25/2016, 4:29 am

Hammock, Keyhole gardens have been discussed on this Forum. I think when spacing plants, SFG is so easy, and only 6" of MM is needed. The "keyhole" design is nice looking when beds are arranged in a U-shape and skinny enough to reach all squares.

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