February 22, 2012

starting a keyhole garden in accra

just beyond this home, to the right, will be the keyhole garden

i am at the very beginning stages of making my first keyhole garden with some children, junior youth and their families -- my friends and neighbors.  we are at the early stage of planning and gathering the necessary materials needed to undertake this sustainable agricultural technique.

a keyhole garden in Lesotho

after consulting with the jr. youth and visiting one of the mothers with a video of how the women in Uganda build keyhole gardens, we have chosen a plot of land in our neighbor's lot on the other side of the wall from our compound.   2 of the jr. youth we know live there; their younger brother, who is 10, is one of three children who have started carrying soil in buckets, on their heads, from a big pile a block away.  this pile of soil belongs to my gardener.  since it is extra and he has no use for it, he said we could have it for a small amount of money.  i bought it for gh5 which is about $3.  it will be just enough to fill the garden bed.  the kids will gather large stones and rocks, as well as dried grasses and long sticks.  once they are prepared i will purchase chicken fertilizer and cow manure.  they are going to begin saving the charcoal ash in one location (instead of spreading it out in various locations) and i have some twine to tie around the sticks once we make the inner circle.

the one resource we need, which has always limited people's ability to grow food easily, is water.  these families do not have running water in their homes.  they must collect it from a location down the street.  sometimes water is in short supply and must be saved for washing and cooking.  since i live in a compound with a water storage tank, and since this method requires less water than traditional farming, i will be able to supply the keyhole garden with any additional water that they need.  it can be held in the large plastic containers with a spout that people use for transporting water.

the idea came from Celia Beaumont, a Baha'i who lives in South Africa.  she had seen a post by me on Facebook when i mentioned i was going to start a gardening project with our neighbors.  i started researching about keyhold gardens online and immediately found myself absorbed in the abundant and rewarding benefits of this method for growing food on a small scale (this video link features a keyhole garden in Lesotho).  now i am passionate about making it happen in our neighborhood.  it will be a big learning experience for all of us and one that embodies the full spirit of arising to serve one's community -- demonstrating to the kids and youth how divine confirmation works through consistent and continual effort to achieve one's goals.

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