KwaZulu-Natal NBG donates keyhole garden to a charity

29 May 2017

South African National Biodiversity Institute’s (SANBI) KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden donated a keyhole garden to Siyabonga Helping Hands in Unit BB, Imbali Township. Siyabonga Helping Hands is an NGO that sponsors disadvantaged children in the Edendale/Imbali area.

A keyhole garden is the ultimate raised-bed planter. It is often built in the shape of a circle that stands waist-high and is notched like a pie with a slice cut away. A hole in the centre holds a composting basket that moistens and nourishes the soil, this garden type is one of many horticultural practices that contribute towards sustainable gardening.

KZN keyholeA keyhole garden holds moisture and nutrients due to an active compost pile placed in the centre of a round bed. Although most helpful in hot and dry locations, a keyhole garden will improve growing conditions in just about any climate. From a notch, the garden is shaped like a keyhole, which makes it easier to centre compost as well. This sustainable gardening method uses kitchen and garden waste and grey water (or wash water) as food for the garden.

The keyhole garden concept came from the fact that many people like having gardens but don’t have sufficient space. This keyhole garden is made from recyclable material, which promotes environmental sustainability and food security, if used in permaculture gardening (your common vegetables and herbs).

Beth Ballantyne of Siyabonga Helping Hands said that they have two education centres where they hold a variety of programmes for the 650 children that they sponsor. One such programme is the enviro club, where they teach and instil the appreciation of flora and fauna to the children. She also said the keyhole garden was a wonderful tool for environmental learning and expressed their gratitude to SANBI for the donation.

The first Keyhole garden was donated to Siyabonga Helping hands centre in the Esigodini Township in the Edendale area. The keyhole garden has been a success story, producing food for the centre and seeing kids take vegetables home with them. This donation has truly conveyed SANBI’s value of ubuntu (harnessing, sharing, caring and being in harmony with all of creation).

A big thank you to our SANBI Staff and the Siyabonga Helping Hands Enviro club for participating in this project, sunshine seedlings for the donation of the seedlings.

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