Ripple Effect

How to make a keyhole garden

“Before working with Ripple Effect, my children were dangerously malnourished. We had no money and food. One technique I have learned is how to create a keyhole garden. It is very good at providing healthy soil for growing.” Caroline Ripple Effect Kenya

You will need:

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Get started

1. Clear and level your space

2. Mark out your keyhole garden footprint a circle works best

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Create the basket

3. Using wire mesh, create a cylinder and centre it in your bed. It needs to be about a foot higher than your retaining wall.

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Build the wall

4. Build your retaining wall. Use whatever material you have to hand to provide a structure for the soil. Popular choices include bricks, stones or wood.

5. Add the notch or ‘keyhole’. Once the perimeter is nearly complete, extend the retaining wall to the centre, creating a pathway to access the central basket.

6. Add drainage - spread a thin layer of drainage material in the bottom of the bed such as gravel or twigs.

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Fill with soil

7. Fill the bed with layers of organic matter - use brown and green material to maximise composting such as grass clippings, shredded leaves and straw.

8. Top with garden soil. This layer should be at least 8 inches deep.

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Plant your seeds

9. Add compost to the central well and soak with water – this could even be wastewater from the washing up!

10. Plant your seeds, flowers and starter plants and watch your keyhole garden flourish

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