Why should fall and not spring be the gardener’s favorite time of year? It is time to reap the rewards of all that hard work and get a jump on the improvements that you wish to see next season. Let the harvests of apples, squash, myriad greens and the last of the summer tomatoes fuel a resurgence of work that is well accompanied by the delightful chill in the air and billows of colorful leaves. What might I do if I had a piece of land and a little ambition? Let’s preview a few Land of Plenty projects.

But first, I am no photographer. That is why I am working with my long-time friend and very talented photographer, Stacey Vaeth to document results from 2012. Look for her work to appear later this fall with a full 2012 update on Land of Plenty projects. In the meantime, I hope that the 5mp that my smart phone offers and my shakey point-and-shoot style serve to adequately illustrate a few ideas to consider in the seasonal transition:

1. A New Vegetable Garden

If you want to take full advantage of next year’s growing season you have to start now. Get the structures built and the soil prepped before the snow starts to fall (with a little luck it will happen this year–anyone else have some terrible pest problems this year?).

A 9’x4’x18″ raised bed constructed from rough-cut 2×6″ black locust lumber. The lumber is custom cut from Western Massachusetts. It is a much less expensive and superior alternative to cedar for natural rot resistance. It also lasts longer than pressure treated wood without the toxic chemicals. It will dull your saw and thwart your drill, but these difficulties are worth overcoming. A custom soil provided a rich base for a bountiful harvest. Pictured here from left to right are summer mesclun, thai basil, flat and curley parsley, bush beans, cucumbers (trelissed on the patio side), italian basil, chili peppers, and cherry tomatoes interspersed with rainbow carrots and cilantro. No room for the weeds to grow! August, 2012.


2. Prepare for an edible landscape

The keys to growing a lush edible landscape: planning, soil preparation, sheet mulching, and the right plants. Fall is the best time to begin the process.

The plans for this garden were complete in time for soil prep and sheet mulching to begin in April. A 4’x8’x6″ and two 4’x4’x6″ recycled composite raised beds framed two annual vegetable gardens with numerous crops. The foreground beds were prepped with sheet mulch and organic fertilizer and defined with a curve that complemented the existing patio. To the left: A perennial herb garden with creeping winter savory, sage, lavendar, oregano, thyme and fennel surrounds two mini-dwarf apple trees (4-6′ at maturity). The trees were planted in the same hole and will be trained as one tree to cross-pollinate each other. The aromatic herbs confuse pests and harbor beneficial predatory insects that protect the apples. Fall blooming saffron crocuses were recently planted, but they are not up yet. Note that while the lawn is stressed from summer drought, the perennial plantings are lush due to careful preparation and proper selection. August, 2012.


3. Step Stone Pathway

Fall is a great time to plan and construct your hardscape, leaving the spring for planting. Patios, pathways, walls, and rock gardens are all projects to consider.

Sedementary stepstones were dug into the turf and set at a slightly higher grade. This prevents soil and debris from collecting on top of the stones. The variation in muted color complements the perennial garden. Rough stone is also a rustic, yet gorgeous way to build steps and elevation in a garden.






















Expect more details on these projects and more coming soon! In the meantime, please get in touch if you have a project that you would like me to consider.

-Benjamin Crouch




2 Responses to Project preview: Get ahead in the garden this fall

  1. Marty Yenawine says:

    Nice work, Ben. I like your marketing approach. Having an on line portfolio like this is great for building long term commitment with existing clients & new client prospects to see some finished projects. I am sure with some pro photography your presence will be that much more exciting. It’s down home, professional. I have moved forward with a landscape masonry subcontract this season to help with the material deliveries and pick ups. Staying away from a truck & trailer has never been easier! Keep growing! Respects, Marty Yenawine, MCLP 1260, Owner, Growing Vision Design Group.

  2. edy rees says:

    This is beautiful work. We have to talk.

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