Monteverde Institute - blog

Education and research in a sustainable and peaceful community / Educación e investigación en una comunidad sostenible y pacífica - Monteverde, Costa Rica.

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Keyhole Garden- Jardín Ojo de Herradura-Costa Rica.

Keyhole Garden a la Tica: Organic and Sustainable

Sara Arias, Emily Bissett, Constanza Carney, Lillie Dao, Alejandro Garcia, Zuhra Malik

Globalization and Community Health Field School National Science Foundation REU Program University of South Florida

Monteverde Institute

Monteverde, Costa Rica May 29 – August 3, 2013


Adaptación de Keyhole para Latinoamérica en lugar lluvioso. --- Keyhole adaptation to rainy area in Latin America, this is a printable brochure. 

Side one of the brochure on hoy to make a keyhole. 

Side two of the brochure on how to make the keyhole. 


Keyhole Construction Recommendations and Alternatives

Although the exterior of both Monteverde Institute demonstration keyhole gardens were constructed using large stones, there are many other feasible alternatives. These materials were used due to greatest availability to the Institute. Other potential exterior materials suggested by community advisors include recycled materials (glass bottles, tires), lamina roofing material, cinderblocks, or bamboo/sticks.

The layers may also be varied depending upon what is most readily available to the household or organization constructing the garden. Many other kinds of manure, such as goat, rabbit, or cow, may be used instead of chicken manure and/or coffee shells. Limestone can be easily substituted for ash because both materials maintain the neutral balance of the soil and compost pH. Finally, as recommended by several focus group participants, dry leaves can be substituted for rice shells (gransa de arroz) depending upon what is accessible.

Additionally, many other materials, specifically recycled resources, may be implemented to facilitate drainage. Focus group members and community advisors proposed several drainage items options that included halved tires, inverted plastic crates, inverted plastic bottles, and bamboo shoots. These materials, especially used tires and plastic bottles, may require further research to ensure that they are safe for food production use.

Finally, much debate was raised with regard to the roof construction. Several focus group and interview participants stated that saran was the ideal material, while other members supported the use of clear greenhouse plastic. Either of these materials could be used to form the roof. Furthermore, the roof could incorporate covered sides, though this is not required. Each of these alternative materials could be incorporated in a future experimental research garden. Local community members who decide to create their own keyhole garden could also integrate these alternative materials.

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Ventajas jardín Ojo de Herradura: 

Producción intensiva en espacio pequeño, tiene periodo de 5 años antes de volver a cambiar los sustratos, es relajante-terapeutico y tiene diseño universal, por ello es adecuado para personas adultas mayores, personas con discapacidad o mujeres embarazadas.