The El Paso Zoo is growing an eco-community crop garden that allows the Zoo, El Paso Zoological Society (EPZS) and the Junior League of El Paso to work together to share knowledge with the community about sustainability and conservation.
Crops raised in the Eco Garden will help feed the animals at the Zoo as part of their enrichment program.
Animal enrichment is provided to animals to provide mental and physical stimulation in their daily lives. The Zoo is growing marigolds, tomatoes, mint and more in the new African-inspired Eco Garden.
These special African-style gardens are perfect for dry conditions with poor soil because the compost enriches the soil, while the structure and style of these keyhole gardens use significantly less water than traditional gardening methods.
Sponsored by the Junior League, the Zoo’s new Eco Garden features six keyhole gardens. Keyhole planters are built in the shape of a circle and stand about waist-high. They are notched like a pie with a slice cut away. A hole in the center holds a composting basket that moistens and nourishes the soil.
The gardens use a drip irrigation system and require significantly less water than a conventional garden.
The Eco Garden is part of the Zoo’s 10-year Master Plan. As the project continues, the Junior League will add a presentation and demonstration area for the community to discover more about this simple, keyhole gardening concept and will develop programming on how to use sustainable gardening practices at home.