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Our Keyhole Garden – Part 2 – Layering

The beauty of the Keyhole Garden is that common waste is compostable and can be used to start your garden.  This means some of your household waste like cardboard – and even 100% cotton t-shirts and cloths – can be used and will naturally decompose.

Layer 1 – Cardboard

In this case we used some of our cardboard (which was normally destined to the recycling plants) to line the bottom of our Keyhole Garden.  This acts to keep all of the dirt into the system but will eventually decompose into rich nutrients for the plants we will be growing.

We used about 5-8 inches of layered cardboard on the bottom.

Once the cardboard was placed, we soaked all of it with water, and placed the Compost Tunnel.  In this case we used some welded wire to create our tunnel.  We also put some rocks on the bottom of the tunnel to help with encouraging the compost to enter into the bed area.

2 cardboard lining

Layer 2 – Twigs, leaves and sticks.

Layer 2 consisted of about 8″ of leaves, twigs and random brush from around the yard.  This was also watered down to help encourage the composting process.  The twigs also provide air gaps for this composting process.


11 placement twigs branches air pockets


Layer 3 – Grass Clippings

Layer 3 consisted of bags and bags of grass clippings – up to about 6 inches.

18 grass clippings

Layer 4 – Compost

Layer 4 consisted of getting about 3/4 yards of compost (we bought from our local city compost site).  It cost us about $15.00.  You can also use sawdust for this layer too – but compost is ideal because it helps kickstart the whole process.

Below is the final image of our Keyhole Garden before plants have been placed.

Keyhole garden before planting