I spent a very enjoyable day, yesterday photographing Toby Buckland building a keyhole garden at his new nursery in the walled garden at Powderham Castle. The team at Send a Cow (@tweetacow) and Amateur Gardening magazine set the whole day up. It began as a very murky day and stayed that way, but it didn't matter as the everyone's enthusiasm made up for it. Anyway, if it had been any hotter they would have expired as it was hard work, shifting barrow loads of soil up a bumpy hill avoiding two very inquisitive pigs.
Keyhole gardens are a way of efficiently growing crops in a relatively small space. The charity promote them in Africa where water is scarce and run a schools project to educate kids and get them growing too.
In the centre, is a hollow which is filled with compost. Bricks or stones are used to make a low wall at the base which holds soil to create a volcano-like shape. Compostable waste can be continually added to the centre and 'grey' (waste) water can be added here too. The mound of soil is fed and watered by this central spout of compost. The central spout is reached by an indent in the soil mound-forming a keyhole shape when viewed from above. It can be planted all year round and is continually fed by the composting waste. Ingenious.
If you want to find out more, or make a very worthwhile donation to this or one of their other great projects, you can visit Send a Cow.
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