02/14 — Mini Keyholes Offered!

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mini07 leonIt has been awhile since I posted an update, primarily because we have been extremely busy developing a new keyhole garden kit style. Be sure to check out our previous updates (listed at left) to follow our progress last year.

Keyhole Farm has been asked countless times, “Do you offer a smaller keyhole garden? We are limited on space.”

Taking that into consideration, plus more recent questions about our keyhole garden kits perhaps being handicapped accessible, persuaded us to answer both with a positive “yes.”

We still offer our very popular traditional keyhole garden kits, but have added a new model, the Mini-Keyhole Kitchen Garden. It is about half the size of the regular keyhole garden, is circular in shape, and has the keyhole (internal basket) in the center, with no wedge like the traditional garden. You don’t need the wedge cut-out for access because you can reach everything well within prescribed ADA limits in this smaller garden and use the usual wedge space for plants.

Actually, if you move the keyhole basket back a little off center in our regular gardens, they fall within regular ADA limits, too. The premise here has to do with 24” reach. With gardens built of rocks and cinder blocks, there is about a foot of reach that is lost, eliminating them from reaching ADA levels. With ours, you are right next to the planting area. ADA-wise, a foot makes a lot of difference.

Please note, that some local, state, and federal ADA restrictions differ, but according to information received from master gardeners at the Texas AgriLife Center at College Station, it appears our kits fall within those limits. Of course, we don’t have control over how people access their gardens, as in pathways to it, etc., but the kits themsexDSC_0002-start-top01lves provide the recommended reach from the sides.

I placed a chair that is the approximate width of a wheelchair beside one of the new kit prototypes and pulled it away from the garden’s edge farther than a wheel’s distance, and could still reach things very easily. I guess a lot depends upon your size and reach capabilities. I don’t have arms like a monkey, at least that’s my take on it (click on images to enlarge on screen).xDSC_0014-hammer-conduit-2

The width of these new garden kits is approximately 42 inches in diameter. Because of the reduced size and to make for more garden space, the internal basket has a diameter of eight inches, instead of the 12 inches regular keyholes use. It is still very easy to plop left-overs into it.

We put a wristwatch to the construction of the new kit utilizing the skills of a high school student who had not yet put together a kit. She completed the task in 51 minutes, start-to-finish, including piecing together the internal basket. So the regular time range would probably be about 45 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on how fast you work. Her efforts were not hurried-up. She just worked at a comfortable pace. There are all kinds of variables that coxDSC_0022-placing-tilesme into play, but I believe someone wheelchair bound could put a kit together. The total weight of the mini-kit, when all is said and done, is less than 28 pounds, which is less than a single 40-lb. bag of topsoil as a comparison, and the finished product can be rolled to its eventual destination.

The Mini-Keyhole “Kitchen” Garden got its “kitchen” name as my wife’s idea. She said it would be perfect for the raixDSC_0030-position-tiesing of herbs and would be something that she could imagine near the kitchen, for easy access.

On the menu bar above, click on “Keyhole Garden Kits – Order Here” to access more information about these kits.

Otherwise, since the last update, we have been harvesting seeds, turning dirt and pulling plants in our regular keyhole gardens, and sxDSC_0028-panel-roundtarting to grow a few plants indoors while waiting for Frosty the Snowman to leave his magic hat behind for a few months.

I have been experimenting some with using 2-liter plastic bottles with the bottoms cut out to place over and shield crops kind of like a mini-greenhouse, but haven’t produced enough results to enable a report as of yet. A friend in Minnesota is apparently having great results with this, so I am excited to try it here in Texas.

To me, this has not been a mild winter. Personally, I wish spring would start tomorrow. As I write this, it is 21-degrees out there. Brrrrr.