Last year we arrived to a wilderness garden in the back yard and I spend the first month hacking away vines before I could access the keyhole beds. This season we arrived to a bare yard save for the hardy lemongrass. This was not so much thanks to our appointed "gardener", but to her inability to patch up the fence or organise anyone to do so. The goats had a fat time chewing anything fleshy and green, providing us with bare sand, perfect for site works for the new toilet and tank stand.
We dismantled the smaller keyhole bed and added the rocks to the larger one with concrete reinforcement. The extra depth on top of the orange plastic tarp guards against the invasion of coconut roots, and provides a deep bed of soil on top of the gutless beach sand. I dug in aged horse manure and planted basil, cherry tomatoes, silverbeet, beetroot and giant sunflowers. In shaded pots I have parsley, rocket, perpetual spinach and green oak leaf lettuce. Coconut fronds give dappled light to the keyhole garden - this isn't a mild summer in England - however there is no way of protecting the seedlings from hermit crabs. I went to bed last night excited by the emergence of seven sunflower sprouts, and awoke to only three.
I am inspired by this excellent guide to tropical permaculture from a lady growing a wide range of fruit and veggies in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. If she can do it, so can I...but does she have crabs?