keyhole beds?

georg parlow georg at
Sat Jun 17 12:06:50 EDT 2000

i had used keyholebed with good results. (right now i have only a small 10'
by 20' patch that has only one path (no, not in the middle but just
somwhere) and a few favorite steeping spots. however, this is propably not
feasible with a bigger garden.

i would used keyholes again, i dont like the idea of growing things in
striaght and rectangualr shapes - but for a big market garden paths need at
least to be traversable with a wheelbarrow. i Certainly would use them again
in dry areas - my first experiences where in australia with loooong dry
summers, ansd it worked fine to just have one drip in the middle or (for the
ones fnot on the line) it is easy to just pour a bucket of water into the

i had my keyholes a bit too big the last time (in austria), and for all the
mentioned maintenance work i had a few old boards on top of the mulch - if i
step on this with only one leg and have the other on solid ground i think
there isnt any mentionable pressure and compaction.

kind regards

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mikal Jakubal" <mjakubal at>
To: "permaculture" <permaculture at>
Sent: Saturday, June 17, 2000 3:58 PM
Subject: keyhole beds?

> Anybody have opinions on keyhole beds? I've now got these piles of loose
> top soil in the garden (which is now about a half-acre or so) where I want
> beds and I'm trying to figure out just how to shape them. Keyhole beds
> *look* cool, but are they really that useful compared to say straight 4'
> beds with 2' paths between them? In the latter scheme, I'd never have to
> walk on the beds--which seems like a good thing. I'm concerned with the
> idea of "one visit" crops being so far back that harvest requires walking
> in the bed. What about weeding, mulching, checking drip lines and so on?
> seems like these activities will mean lots of trampling unless the whole
> thing can be reached from paths.
> How many people on this list actually use keyhole beds? And how do you
> them? Would you design them in again next time? Any advice appreciated.
> Thanks!
> Mikal
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