Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Keyhole Gardens

By Sara:

Well, I finally used up all those empty plastic bottles I had sitting behind our garage for months and months.  The following story will explain how I got to that point.

When we went to Tanzania for our World Renew East Africa team meeting, we got to visit a farmer who has been doing all sorts of interesting things with farming.  On a small amount of land, he has been able to earn enough money to send his children to school and university!

He is growing vanilla, which is a very marketable product, but one which you have to work really hard to grow - each flower needs to be hand-pollinated if you want any vanilla beans!  He also has biogas from the manure of his few animals.  And his gardens were just incredibly beautiful and well maintained.  I hope that someday I can have as beautiful of gardens.

Here's one of the beds that he had just prepared and planted seedlings in:

But anyway, on to his innovations, he had sack gardens.  This is something that I tried in my garden, but it didn't work so well.  My sack disintegrated in Soroti's hot sun in not very many months.  But his were great:

He also had keyhole gardens, raised gardens that have a ring of sticks in the middle, filled with manure and grass.  There is also a "keyhole", a notch in the shape of the garden so you can step in and reach the middle.  You pour water from washing or bathing into the middle where the manure is and as the water goes in, it spreads out to the rest of the garden, bringing nutrients to the plants.

So anyway, I was inspired.  It seemed like a good way to use all my plastic bottles - in building the sides and filling in part of the middle of a keyhole garden.  Here's my keyhole garden as I built it (not as pretty as his, but we have to start somewhere, right?)

And here it is as things have started growing:

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