Keyhole garden reinforces Zambian partnership

Constructing the keyhole garden at The Mount
Constructing the keyhole garden at The Mount

Pupils of Mount St Mary’s College have constructed a ‘keyhole garden’ at the school in Spinkhill, similar to two they helped install in Zambia earlier this year. The Mount keyhole garden will grow beans, garlic, potatoes, herbs and some fruit.  It will form a unique part of their future partnership with and visits to Zambia. The construction of the keyhole garden in Britain was undertaken with the help of the pupils’ parents and grandparents.  

Over the summer, several pupils visited Canisius School, their partner school in Chikuni, Zambia, and were involved in the construction of two keyhole gardens.  They also took with them a stock of ‘Wonderbags’, a piece of low-tech kit looking like a seventies bean bag, but which is actually a non-electric slow cooker designed to cut emissions by up to half a tonne of Carbon Dioxide per person per year.

Combatting disease and drought

Keyhole gardens are particularly important at Canisius School, because they are drought-resistant and are on a raised bed for easier access for those who suffer from AIDS/HIV who will benefit from the improvement in diet from these gardens. Constructed in the grounds of the hospital and the school, they are also a vital component in combating the effects of disease in sub-Saharan Africa.

 “Keyhole gardens will be part of the future in much of the developed and developing world as they enable people to grow vegetables without too much reliance on water or artificial fertilizers,” says Mount St Mary’s Head Master Dr Nicholas Cuddihy. “They also have a unique design that allows for composting and a decent raised height which means that children, the elderly and disabled can maintain them.”