Last Updated:January 11, 2020

Cool weather has turned it into a nutrient rich kitchen garden like no other!

It’s hard to overstate how awesome a keyhole garden is. If you’ve ever thought about building one, do it. I built one on a whim for about $100 early last spring and was amazed at how it pumped out vegetables and herbs from spring all the way into mid-autumn with basically no effort from me — no weeding, very little watering, easy harvesting. Definitely $100 well invested.

Turns out, that was just the start.

I cleared the bed of spent summer plants and re-planted with winter veggies in mid-November, a couple of weeks before the rainy season starts (it only rains in winter here in San Diego). The first rain came the weekend before Thanksgiving, dumping about 3 inches of water and making the keyhole garden look like an above ground swimming pool for a while.

Cold air and frost followed the storm so when I finally got out to survey the conditions I wasn’t expecting much beyond beaten, flash-frozen seedlings lying in the mud. Instead, I found a loamy, well-drained garden bed full of lush, young herbs and vegetables. The compost bin in the center wash pretty gooshy, but the plants never looked better.

Keyhole garden soil is soil rich it’s full of red worms

A Giant Worm Bin

It’s a few weeks later now, and the combination of cool temps and occasional rain have turned the keyhole garden into a giant worm bin. Literally. Grab a handful of soil from anywhere in the bed and half of it will be a wriggle of red worms working their magic.

And the vegetables, oh the vegetables… We began harvesting spinach, cilantro and Romaine lettuce in Mid-December, just 35 days after transplanting into the garden. The cabbages and broccoli are just beginning to bud now so we’ll be enjoying them in the next couple of weeks.

Even the second wave of veggies–peas, garlic, and more spinach–that we’re planted only a week-and-a-half ago, are growing so fast I swear you can hear them.

The Keyhole Garden on December 28, 2019

I can’t wait to see what this amazing little garden is capable of in the middle of winter!

Seriously, if you ever considered building a super-efficient, attractive and easy-to-maintain garden, the keyhole garden is the way to go.