Dar Durand

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since May 20, 2013
Texas Hill Country
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Recent posts by Dar Durand

This might be an old subject but for those using the search button (like me) for 'keyhole gardens' here is my response.

If you are interested in using your kitchen scrapes to feed and water your garden beds, then the plants can not be any further than 3 foot away from that basket. This is the main component to make a keyhole garden work. So if you don't want to change the whole layout of your beds, then I would say dig out as many basket areas as needed and place the chicken wire in them. Fill these with your kitchen scrapes, your friends and neighbors and if have to a restaurant too in order to feed/water the garden.
8 years ago
Crape Myrtles bloom in the summer. Depending on the variety, June through September. They are good for summer color, shade and they come in many colors, sizes and shapes, but they do nothing for the wildlife. I would stay away from some varieties (the non-Native American names) because they are magnets for aphids and mildew. If you are ever in the market for one, I would suggest Fanicks Nursery since they carry the largest selection and you can print their online list to narrow down what kind you might want.

As far as building a keyhole under any tree, the rule of thumb is NEVER pile soil or anything else up against a tree truck as this is the fastest way to kill it. So as long as the keyhole is away from the trunk you'll get shade but not sure the plants will like that. Perhaps a shade cloth for the summer would be a better option. My experience with my old garden and raised beds under live oaks/next to climbing roses and trumpet vines is after some time those plants will have their roots grow into your beds. I'm going to start building my keyhole later this year and then will have more experience on this matter then just all I've learned from Dr. Deb.
8 years ago
Hi guys, checking in from New Braunfels-Canyon Lake area. Guess I've been reading this site for a year or so now and finally got around to joining.

I've done a few hugelbeds last year to use up some large dead oak trunks and plant some landscape plants in them. So far they are going fine, not spectacular, but everything is still alive. This year I have been cutting the dead oak branches into about 2' lengths and placing them at the bottom of my raised beds that fruit trees are going in. My working theory is: 1) easier to do raised beds in the Hill Country instead of digging down 2) gotta do something with the oak branches that are too large to go into a chipper 3) I use less soil to fill the raised beds by lining the bottom (except under the root ball) with the wood that I soak overnight 4) I'm hoping as the trees grow, the need to water will be low due to the decomposing wood inside the raised beds.

It has been very disappointing since we moved back to the Hill Country in late 2011 after being in the DFW area for 5 years as all my old garden friends just aren't interested learning different gardening practices.

8 years ago

Matu Collins wrote:I've seen these compost-in-a-keyhole beds before and I always wonder how it doesn't attract critters to come and tunnel. I guess people don't use household compost?



Critters are attracted to smell so as long as you cover kitchen scrapes with a 'brown' material they usually don't go digging.

Great thread and congrats on the potato production! I'm going to do hybrid hugel-keyholes when I get to that point in my garden building process.
8 years ago