3P swale, terraces and garden

Name of Project: Parkwalk Permaculture Project

Location of Project: Corner of West Fork and Parkwalk Dr., adjacent to Mt. Airy Forest, meters away from the Mill Creek, just outside of city limits,  officially: 2979 Parkwalk Dr.  Cincinnati, Oh 45239

Project Start Date: August of 2005

Expected Completion Date: continual process towards growing as much food as possible on this small site

recovering paw paw from a deer stepping on its fragile branches while bounding away from traffic

Project Concept: The project is aiming toward being a place for education and awareness building through an edible landscaping project and teaching facility.  It aims to display small scale intensive, low maintenance, and aesthetically pleasing to other suburban passerby’s.

Detailed Project Description: This project is a typical McMansion property that has steep terrain and clay soils like much of Cincinnati.

eggplant from the garden

It is a small property of about .25 acres surrounded by the development of the Parkwoods neighborhood but also next to woods and the Mill Creek.  It is an edible Landscaping, Food Forest/ water harvesting project.  It has a 100 foot long swale on it that will be planted out in Spring of 2010.  We are planning to add to the selection of perennial vegetables and seasonal fruits.  Currently we have grapes trellising up the deck, paw paws growing slowly as they are young, raspberries and gooseberries pumping out fruit, blueberries coming along, and the veggie garden soil continuing to improve.  It has other ornamental landscaping that we will slowly phase out unless it is a good insectary which is apart of permaculture.  Its a small garden up against a south facing wall which greatly extend the growing season.  THe property features several large terraces using large limestone rock.  Further we are trying to catch all the runoff from the roof and neighbors yards.  Its a lot of water that is why there is a big swale and rain barrels eventually.  There is a variety of microclimates on the site we intend to take advantage of and plant accordingly.  The unfinished, open plan basement makes for a good space for teaching.  Land surrounding the property that will be engaged in management as there are various stages os succession in view of the property.  Working with the Parkwoods Neighborhood Association is one of our missions as well because of the direct influence on the Mill Creek watershed and local food movement.

Classroom space for the Swale and Food Forest workshop

Project Duration & Schedule: The Project will be picking up speed again in Spring 2010.  We intend to hold another Suburban Food Forest and Swale workshop in the spring as well.  Further water catchment devices will be implemented such as contour plantings and rain barrels. The swale mound will be planted out in spring with perennial vegetables and mainly different types of berries.   2010 and veggie gardening will continue.  Plantings of the shade tolerant and hardier plants will happen on the north-side as well.  Container citrus will go in as well during the spring.  Continual mulching and cover cropping of existing beds will be our main soil improvement strategies along with making our own forest microbe tea.  In 2010 a solar system of some kind will be installed depending on the tax credit situation.  Within the next two years, shiitake logs will go in once rain barrels are in and the grape arbor fills out.  Further edible landscaping and wildlife plantings are in the future.

Project needs: This project needs help once or twice a year with a big push to plant or mulch.

raspberry patch

Hopefully it will be a host site for Permaculture guild meetings and working bees.  It also needs a market for crops such as gooseberries and other excess that people are willing to barter for.  It also needs more than anything free plants to fill up the swale mound so that the herbaceous layer is thick.  If you have seeds or plant material for herbs, perennial vegetables, or flowers please contact us.  Comfrey root divisions are always welcome!

Any Other Applicable Information: This property is owned by Theresa and Everett Crouch and designed by their son Doug Crouch.  It is a small piece but highly visible at a busy intersection which has the ability to let people see a yard transform into a food forest.  If you would like to see a model for how to turn the ecological desert lawn into abundace of food and water harvesting be proliferated in the ‘burbs please contribute to this project.  You can see some more highlights about the place and look for more courses at the following:  www.treeyopermaculture.wordpress.com/

Please write three examples of how you are using Permaculture Design Principles on your site: On the site we are using multiple elements for each function through our planting of various fruits and even different varieties within say grapes for our fresh fruit function.  We capture water in a few different ways and areas which is an example of energy cycling.  Lastly it is an example of small scale intensive and developing nucleus and working on the edges from there.  We have chosen to expand slowly based on time and financial constraints thus ensuring the slow progress is successful.

Contact Details

Submitted by:  Doug Crouch

Postal address: 2979 Parkwalk Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45239

Email address:cdoug_e@hotmail.com- Doug Crouch and theresamc@zoomtown.com for Theresa Crouch

Tel: 513 662 7461


swale mulched and seeded. 100 feet long by 9 feet wide


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