Keyhole – Week 3 (And More!)

We are collecting leaves from the Romaine and Buttercrunch now daily for the base of a number of favorite bowl dishes (fresh greens on bottom, fresh fruit in the middle, warm spiced legumes/grains on top). I must say that fresh lettuce eaten from our yard tastes waaay better than the organic grocery store variety head. Never mind the $3.50 per head we saved in not buying one.

Grocery store sourced organics are pricey.

There’s still another week or more for the centers to tighten up and fill out completely for head harvest, but picking outer leaves without undo bending or reaching is the real bonus of this raised bed on steroids. I am plotting to build another keyhole — perhaps even two — as soon as I come across useful recycled materials.

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Watching Lettuce Grow!
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With the nearly non-existent winter we’ve had in the Houston area of late, jalapeno pepper and eggplant are now continuing into their second year. It is remarkable to see fruit and flowers at the end of February on nightshades planted in the previous spring!

Purple and Lavender
Japanese Eggplant

Some Like It Hot
Jalapeno Pepper

Speaking of nightshades, three cherry and grape tomato are already in the ground. It’s the earliest I’ve ever planted tomatoes, so they will be carefully protected when the March winds come around (and they will). Three more slicers and a dozen or more cooking variety are waiting patiently on the sideline as the serendipity garden dictates a more permanent home for them. (Like when the keyhole becomes vacant.)

In spring for me — as it is with many other garden-y types — it’s all about tomatoes and cucumbers. I may be popping garden tomatoes into my mouth as soon as early April. Now wouldn’t that be something?

I just flipped the compost pile to create a new lasagna bed for spring planting, as well as to expand out from the garden and locate closer to the keyhole compost basket — which fills quite quickly — for more efficient kitchen waste disposal.

The new plot started with lots of wet cardboard laid down to smother the emerging turf grass. It’s dual-purpose really, with the main one being a giant neon sign for earthworms saying, ‘Come and get it!!’ The 4×4 cage was placed on top of that, with a couple bags of leaves, more compost, and green weeds layered to get the batch cooking.

It’s easy, one of the most productive things I can do for my garden space, and it’s time efficient to boot. No machinery required; just good old fashioned muscles and calorie-burn.

Where the compost used to be.
Loaded with nutrients, ready for plants!

Relocated with a pitch fork – 20 minutes.
(And a cold beer chaser.)

If you’ve been following this blog long enough, you know that emptying 50-some-odd bags of stolen organic waste and flipping the compost pile is the only real ‘work’ I do in the vegetable garden each spring. Aside from patting seedlings or pushing seeds straight into the ground donning bare hands and bare feet, all I’ll do hence forth is to pick and eat delicious veggies at my leisure. That. Is. All.

No chemicals.

No pesticides.

No watering.

No feeding.

No weeds.

Does it get any lazier than that? The look on my husband’s face when he realizes how awesome my hoarding habit really is, may be the reason why I do it now. (He’s pretty cute.)

Be sure to click this post for my minimal-work compost flipping exercise or another one to learn about my nasty little hoarding habit.

Budding Fig and Redbud Flowers
Spring has Sprung!

Quit micro-managing and let the underworld
of soil microbes and
do your heavy-lifting.


12 thoughts on “Keyhole – Week 3 (And More!)

  1. That lettuce is beautiful! I love the fact that you already have tiny eggplants. I overwintered some pepper plants one year, and they produced so well. Good for you!


    1. Yes! Hi, Sarah. We just harvest much of the lettuce due to drenching rains + warm temps = FLOWER BOLT. If you’ve ever grown lettuce, you know that leaves get tough and bitter when the process of growing leaves switches to growing seed instead.

      The lettuce is delicious and was entirely pest-free, with the exception of the occasional snail. I can hardly wait to eat the first eggplant from the garden in 2016. Tee hee!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I just harvested it ALL today. Several inches of rain overnight with temps about the 70’s, plants are beginning to bolt. The keyhole is now free for planting again after amending with more ‘trash.’ So easy to do.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow that’s amazing! I will have to come back here someday for tips when I finally get my own house where I can start a nice veggie garden of my own. 🙂


    1. Yes, you will! If you live in an apartment, container gardens are possible, but you literally have to kill all the fungi and microbes which can hinder growing success in those pots (by cooking the soil on high heat first). It kind of defeats the purpose.

      Microbes and earthworms (and grubs and nematodes) work together to provide mineral nutrients to plants. Take care of the soil, and the soil in turn takes care of the cultivar. The keyhole is an amazing garden — every home should have one. I hope you do one day!


      1. Luckily, I live in a duplex (upstairs, downstairs) and my neighbors are absolutely lovely and have a veggie garden they often share their bounty with us. 🙂 We wouldn’t have nearly enough light for indoor veggies, my potted plants are barely surviving winter as it is. But someday I dream of a veggie garden and building my own greenhouse! 🙂 It just makes so much sense.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve seen that book, but not read it. There apparently is also a blog on WP with the same name. I used to keep my vegan blog separate from this one, but I merged them a year ago. I just made sense, since vegan spills over into everything else we do (birding, nature, garden).

      You may have missed the slightly more rant-y post (on the rodeo, election season) from yesterday. LOTS of vegan in that one. 😀

      Veggies — free ones at that — are the BEST!


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