When life gets a little too shady, why not move to a sunnier, happier location instead?

The 2012-2017 keyhole garden did very well where it was, right up until it began sinking into the soft, rich soil that is the open garden space. As the the ligustrum hedge flanking the driveway grew even taller, the keyhole could no longer compete for sunlight. Basil and onion still grow there, but they too will get relocated (or consumed) shortly as the open garden space gets its autumn makeover. It’s next on the list, right after the keyhole.

The cockroaches, lizards, and geckos living there got a shocking eviction. No worries; we were careful not to squish as we helped them to find the new space nearby. I even threw some kitchen scraps in to keep the workers fed and happy. I do hope they’ll stay .. and forgive me for wrecking their apartment building.

Today’s building exercise was interrupted by rain. I’m good with that — we needed the moisture. Of an expected 36″ annual rainfall, we’ve gotten roughly 6″ so far and the creek out back has all but dried up like in the Drought of 2011. Thankfully, no more hurricanes dumping feet of rain.

It’s been a scorching summer, and it would be nice having some weather predictability again. Is that too much to ask, Mother Nature?

Just a few more hours of work and it will be over-full with the remaining cardboard, shrub clippings, horse manure, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, twigs, leaves, and whatever other organics happen to be laying around, topped off with plants. Every few layers is watered well and inoculated with compost, locking in moisture and getting microbial decomposition up and running. Finally, adornment with a few autumn-seasoned edibles in a top layer of soil, with some straw/leaf mulch .. and a cherry on top.

Soon, the keyhole will be back in business. with no watering or weeding required, just daily infusions from the kitchen sink — scraps and dishwasher pre-rinse water — and that is all.

Happy gardening!

28 thoughts on “Relocation

  1. Thanks for the explanation and information, Shannon. The problem with watering our trees is the watering restrictions. But I’m trying to get that solved. I’ve started to remove all the grass around our oaks, put compost and mulch there, and buried a self-made soaker hose [I simply drilled minute holes in old garden hoses] there. You’ll find a few pictures here []. Now I am allowed to water every day, 4 hours in the morning, and 4 in the evening. The question, though, is now: how much will that stress our well. That has been dug 40 years ago, and I don’t know how much the groundwater level had dropped since then. Hopefully it’ll still last long.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry, Pit, but I’m not quite sure how I missed this comment. Perhaps it was in the spam folder and got released .. then ignored? So rude of me.

      Yes, my father lives in San Antonio where they also have water restrictions through the summer. He has even let the previous St. Augustine lawn die back in favor of local native grasses instead. His yard is FULL of live oaks, and I know he’s lost a couple in the years-long drought y’all have been having. I hope your trees stay healthy. They are the best $$ investment in your property! (We have an annual tree budget, but no lawn budget. Go figure.)


    1. It’s dry over much of Texas now, but always feels weird down here in the jungle when rain clouds come and go without dumping at least a couple inches of rain. Houston is DRY.


      1. After the good rain we had yesterday, I’m happy to share coffee on the swing with the mosquitos. Nice to see you again, little bite-y water ladies.


    1. Yes! Hear, hear. The new spot is doing well; in fact, about to post a re-cap. And now that we aren’t having daily rainfalls, the veggies are thriving in their new digs. Sorry I missed this comment so many weeks ago. How rude of me! 😀


  2. It is definitely dry this year… here too. We are well below our usual rainfall for East TX and the lakes are down, but nothing like 2011 when there were boats dry docked. I think it is way cool you take advantage of mother nature in other ways and have taught your children what it means to live from the earth and use natural resources. I should be better. My daughter recycles and I am proud of her for that. I try to be cognizant of water usage and reuse things as often as I can. Praying for rain for the both of us….take care! ❤


    1. Living a life of relative conservation is not at all difficult, but it does take time and thought. ‘Convenience’ is generally sacrificed at first, but once new habits are engrained, it just becomes routine.

      We’ve learned to live with a lot less in the past decade, but our lives are the fuller for it.

      Sending cooling showers your way, Courtney!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We had good rain yesterday, from about 11 a.m. until nearly 4. I hope you got some of it, too. If you didn’t, chances are good and better for the next few days, it seems.

    The keyhole garden is such a neat idea — and very attractive. Although it seems a little strange to be talking about fall veggies now, I noticed just last night and this morning how much shorter the days have become. We’re headed to the equinox, and summer will be well and truly over then. With luck, Gulf water temperatures will begin to cool a bit — always a good thing this time of year.


    1. We did! In fact, we are getting another good drencher as I thumb-type this, maybe another inch. Autumn can’t get here soon enough, Linda. The hummingbirds on the porch feeders keep me hopeful! You getting any migrants?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This morning I would have said no, no migrants. Then, at work today, I found good-sized redfish heads on the swim platform of the boat I was working on. Hmmmmm….. I thought.

        Late this afternoon, I looked up, and there was an osprey sitting atop a mast, looking at me. I’d thought I heard one cry a couple of days ago, but it was so faint I wasn’t sure. I guess I was right. The osprey always are first, and it’s a thrill to see them.
        I saw several great Vs of brown pelicans yesterday, so I think things are starting to happen!

        And look at this. So exciting!


      2. Such great news! Thanks for sharing the link here. Though fall migrants aren’t in the numbers that spring migrants (who are motivated by a sex drive) are, they are better for me in a lot of ways. It’s been a long, boring HOT summer. Looking forward to winter .. and all the bird-y bounty that it brings.


  4. When I read the title, I thought YOU were relocating! Moving your keyhole garden is less disruptive than moving the family! I hope everybody will like the new digs and return to their routine soon. And I hope you will receive more moisture. Last year floods, this year drought. Mother Nature is no longer predictable because of our misdeeds.


    1. You’re not the only one to think that! No .. we’re still here, regardless of the blogging absence.

      On misdeeds, I like to think of us as instinctive animals who are taking advantage of plentiful resources, and unlike the other animals, we are just particularly adept at gobbling them all up. (Which, as it turns out, has some pretty negative consequences.)

      We just can’t help ourselves, Tanja. Cooler, logical heads do not prevail against millions of years of instincts. So I build a keyhole .. ‘cause it’s a start.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, Pit. I’m afraid Texas weather is in the process of settling out to something new, whatever that ends up being. In the meantime, we just have to adapt as best we can while the chaos ensues. The keyhole goes a long way toward that end, growing food both when there’s too much water or — lately — not enough.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes, good point, Pit. Treat your trees WELL; they’re more long-lived than we are.

        During prolonged periods of drought, the mulch ring underneath (within the entire drip line if you can) should be watered with a soaker hose once per month or so.

        Thanks to the mycorrhizal network, water is then delivered to the tree slowly; fungi will hold all that water in miles of mycelial networking like a sponge.


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