keyhole beds


I’ve been redesigning the vegetable plot in my front garden over the past few weeks to give myself a bit more room and easier access. Here’s my process.
1. Here’s a bit that was a pathway that I want to be garden, between two existing keyhole beds.
2. I dug out the top layer of pathway and stacked it up in blocks.
3. I loosened the next layer of soil with a fork and shoveled it onto a piece of old carpet to the side.
4. After loosening the subsoil a second time with the fork, I placed the sods back in, upside down, breaking them up gently with my spade.
5. I covered the sod layer with a thick layer of newspaper, wetting it as I went because it was a very windy day. Protip: don’t do sheet mulching on windy days, it will drive you nuts.
6. I covered the newspaper in assorted organic junk: old woodchips, bean stalks etc.
7. I shoveled the heap of soil I dug out back on and raked it smooth.
8. Then I added a bunch of soil amendments. Gypsum, dolomite lime, regular lime, rock dust, and some random fertiliser. Not necessarily all organic, but I inherited a bunch of stuff from my bfs’ nana when she passed away, and one of the principles of permaculture is “use what you’ve got”.
9. Finally on top went a final layer of year-old compost appropriated from the beds that I was moving, full of rotting woodchips and alive with worms and mycelium
10. And finally all planted and watered in and coping fine after a first night in the cold. I transplanted everything from the disassembled beds, keeping the rows of brassicas separated and interplanting most rows with assorted aliums; in this case, red onions, borettana onions, leeks, garlic and whatever the hell grows from some weird bulbils I found. We do eat a lot of aliums, but they are equally important for the pest control. As it heads into spring I’ll start planting more stuff in between these rows: marigolds for the nematode control, phacelia for the beneficial insects and as many leguminous species as I can!