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Doug Crouch
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Cincinnati, OHio, United States
Climate Zone:
Cool Temperate
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Garden Re-Design

Posted by Doug Crouch about 13 years ago

Least change for the greatest affect

In the late winter of 2011, we are hosting a weekend PDC which has 15 students in it right now.  It’s a really great group and with the format I am able to continue designing and implementing pC gardens around the city.  In Northside, which is one of the hotspots for community and PC in Cincinnati, OH, USA I recently helped do a garden redesign in a small urban plot.  The plot is long and narrow, just like the houses that rise two or three stories in that old fashioned European style that is so prominent in places like Amsterdam.  The backyard was the space that was being designed as the landlord was hoping to grow gardens for herself and her young daughter.  The garden was at one time four large raised garden beds.  It was deconstructed by the previous tenants and they actually took the soil with them that they had been building for years.  With the boards gone the owner had played with some different designs but asked me to come in and help finish that off.

Before redesign

Having already conducted the client interview and some site observations on the previous trip to the site, we jumped in on this unusually warm winters day.  I kept saying to the client “least change for the greatest affect”. This is because where the garden beds had been there was remnants of high organic matter soil.  Being in the city there is the worry of heavy metal contamination, which was one of the owners concerns as well.  With that and the fact that there was gravel on top of weed mat where the paths had been and a square gravel patch on the lower right of the pictures for a patio area, I decided to go back to the previous land users design.   We wanted to be able to use the fence as a trellis but I wanted to keep access open to a certain degree.  So I just started moving the rocks around with these different factors in mind.

in the middle

As the rocks were placed I looked for way to lessen the square look but maximize the bed space to path space.  This is easy to lay out with rocks as they are just so easily arranged for design purposes.  That is the key behind the Keyhole gardening.  Additionally, the owner had a huge pile of leaves leftover from the fall that we used for the mulch.  Some of the leaves also went to the black compost bin that will be a part of our fertility as well.  We will try to meet this important function with another element of the worm bin when we have our next design session.  The leaves should begin to break down over the coming months as we plan to build soil through cover cropping as well this spring and then plant in the summer.    Overall it was a great little project to contribute to and the best part might have been the fact that I rode my bike to get there.


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My Badges
Consultant Aid worker Pdc teacher I'm male, single, and looking for a permaculture partner
My Permaculture Qualifications
Permaculture and Ecovillage Certification Course
Type: Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course
Verifying teacher: Rick Valley
Other Teachers: Joshua Smith, Marisha Auerbach, Tammy, Jude Hobbs
Location: Lost Valley Educational Center
Date: Jun 2005
Other course unverified
Rainwater Harvesting
Type: Earthworks
Teacher: Brad Lancaster
Location: The Farm, Summertown, Tennnessee, USA
Date: Sep 2008
Other course unverified
Permaculture Teachers Training
Type: Teacher Training
Verifying teacher: Benjamin Fahrer
Other Teachers: Katherine Steele, John Venezuela
Location: Esalen Institute
Date: Nov 2008
11 PDC Graduates (list)
0 PRI PDC Graduates (list)
0 Other Course Graduates (list)
have acknowledged being taught by Doug Crouch
18 have not yet been verified (list)
Climate Zones
Doug Crouch has permaculture experience in:
Cold Temperate
Cool Temperate
Warm Temperate
Wet/Dry Tropical
Wet Tropical
Dry Tropical

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