Our Mission:

Our Mission: To enable individuals and communities to take an active part in the cultivation of systems that provide the highest quality fruits, vegetables, herbs and other yields, in a way that benefits themselves, cares for the land and environment, and provides a surplus to use, share and reinvest into the system.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Where does the rain go?

With the showers we've been getting, you may be wondering...

"Where does all this rain go?"

This quick video shows you!

Here is a fun online tool that lets you track a raindrop from your neighborhood, or any neighborhood, all the way to the Gulf of Mexico-

River Runner

At Abundant Design, we can help you design and install Stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) and even walk you through potential rebate opportunities!

Native Planting in Adel

Soil Quality Restoration in Highland Park

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Grafting Workshop - Apple & Pear

Nine Square Feet is once again partnering with Abundant Design to bring you a fruit tree grafting workshop.  During the workshop you will learn how to graft trees with hands-on experience and valuable in-person coaching.

Nine Square Feet Learning Garden
1020 8th St
West Des Moines, IA 50265

Saturday April 6th, 2024
9:30am-10:30am &
11:00am-12:00 noon

Jeff Reiland will demonstrate grafting techniques and show you how to care for your newly grafted trees. Participants will select from popular and historic varieties or may bring scion from a favorite apple or pear tree to preserve a tree that has personal significance. 

        Each participant will graft 3 trees (either)
                Three Apples  OR
                Two Apples + One Pear

                $35 (with waiver to use a provided knife) 
                $50 (includes a grafting knife to keep) 
                *additional trees may be purchased if there are extra supplies

Make plans to attend this workshop if you've always wanted to learn a new skill or expand your gardening adventures. 

Class size is limited, so you'll want to reserve your spot ASAP! 

Sign Up HERE! (link)

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Soil Temperature & Garden Plants

Iowa Backyard Farmer
This up and down weather has been crazy!?!?  Shorts on Monday, snow on Sunday!  I think last year might have been even a little worse...  This 2023 weather app screenshot from Iowa Backyard Farmer really shows how crazy... and this year seems to behaving similarly.

It just goes to show that we need to resist the desire to rush into planting our gardens and pay attention to those last frost date charts and old-time gardening practices.

"Potatoes and onions after Easter"
"Tomatoes after Mother's Day"
"Sweet Potatoes after Memorial Day or Father's Day" 
                                            -depending on where you grew up

Corn farmers pay close attention to soil temperatures when they are making planting decisions.  Their rule of thumb is to wait until the top several inches of soil are at least 50° F and even then, with a warming trend in the forecast.

For gardeners who love to grow tomatoes, we need to wait even longer - ideally 60°F or more for those big, juicy red fruit.  Soil temps around 50° or below can stunt tomato plants, and even after it warms up those stunted plants will struggle to keep up with those planted later in warmer soils.

So how do we know what the soil temperature is?  The Iowa Environmental Mesonet (IEM) collects temperatures throughout its observation network. This data is made available especially for farmers on their website, but we can use it too!

IEM - 4 Inch Soil Temperature Maps

Their webpage has soil temperature maps for the past few days. The maps combine observations from the Iowa State University Soil Moisture Network and corrected National Weather Service forecast models to produce a high-resolution map of soil temperatures.

Recently they have added forecasted temps as well, like this one for One Week out-

The forecasted soil temp maps will really help you plan your gardening activities.

"Should I get the starts ready to go, or can I sleep in Saturday and 
let them grow on the seed starting rack a few more days?"

Watch how I built my Seed Starting Rack HERE
Get your plants at the Iowa Backyard Farmer

This web tool is great for planning, but actually taking the soil’s temperature with a thermometer is a more accurate way to know when to plant.  Also, seeds planted in soil that's too cold won't germinate and just sit there, they may even rot or be eaten.  At the optimum temperature seedlings emerge quickly and grow into bigger, stronger and healthier plants.

You can buy a soil thermometer like this one on Amazon for about $10-15

or look for one at your favorite Garden Center.

Besides tomatoes, many other warm season crops are dependent on soil temperature for growth and health.  This chart from the University of Wisconsin Extension Service shows optimal growing temperatures for many common garden vegetables.  This handy chart along with the above soil temperature maps can help you plan the best targets for planting your favorite crops.  Then just confirm with your soil thermometer and plant away!


Wishing you a great and productive gardening season!

Monday, March 18, 2024

Grow with Us! #hiring

It will officially be Spring soon!   Site consultations, designs and tree pruning & grafting is ongoing and soon bigger installations will begin.

Are you motivated, hard-working, and seeking to join an award-winning landscaping company?

Pergola build at the east side Healing Gardens & Food Forest

Abundant Design is a small, but growing, permaculture based landscape design & install business located in central Iowa.  We help people build resiliency through edible landscapes and gardens, establish wildlife habitat and conservation practices.  We help provide experiences with nature and enjoyment of Creation in customer backyards, properties and communities. 

Abundant Design is looking for motivated individuals to help bring these projects to life.

Positions involve lots of digging, planting of native and edible plants, shrubs and trees; moving compost, rock and mulch; some hardscapes, walls and other builds.

Fresh rain garden installs

Seasonal Installers & Laborers

Perform landscaping and light construction for properties as directed.  Tasks may include, but not limited to - shoveling rock, sand, mulch and other materials on the job site; moving boulders; trenching by hand or with a machine; operating a laser level for grading; plantings ranging in size from large balled and burlapped (B&B) trees to delicate transplants

  • Must be physically able to work hard outside in various conditions
  • Must be able to communicate clearly and follow instructions
  • Must be respectful of customers and their property 
  • Must be able to get to and from job sites
  • Must be at least 16 years of age
  • Knowledge of, or experience in gardening, landscaping, horticulture, a plus
  • Experience operating power tools, equipment and small machinery, a plus

Great summer experience for students in conservation, natural resources, regenerative agriculture, and sustainability fields, or anyone interested in the same.  

Pay ~$15-20/hr, depending on experience.

Mulching a new multi-species orchard on a southern Iowa homestead

Full-Time Assistant & Crew Leader

Perform and lead team members in landscaping and light construction for properties as directed. Tasks may include, but not limited to - shoveling rock, sand, mulch and other materials on the job site; moving boulders; trenching by hand or with a machine; operating a laser level for grading; light grading with mini-skid steer, hauling materials; plantings ranging in size from large balled and burlapped (B&B) trees to delicate transplants

  • Must be physically able to work hard outside in various conditions
  • Must be able to communicate clearly and follow instructions
  • Must be respectful of customers and their property 
  • Must be able to get to and from job sites around the Des Moines metro 
  • Knowledge of/experience in permaculture, gardening, horticulture, biology/ecology, and regional ecosystems 
  • Experience operating tools, power tools and small machinery safely and efficiently
  • Interest in permaculture, conservation, regenerative agriculture and sustainability
  • Experience in permaculture, conservation, native plants and/or regenerative agriculture - Preferred
  • BS/BA/AA Degree in natural sciences, Permaculture Designer's Certificate, or Stormwater Best Management Practices training - Preferred

Primarily working and training side by side with me through the early Spring, then independently or as a crew leader through the busy summer season.  Additional training opportunities possible.

Compensation commensurate with experience. 

To apply for these positions, email your Resume/CV/Work Experience and references to Abundant Design.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Secluded Woodland Oasis & Gardens

After their new addition was built, these Urbandale homeowners saw it as their chance to include some new outdoor elements they wanted instead of just repairing the construction damage.

Patio, bench wall, garden beds and stream behind

It included a patio with bench walls and a firepit, vegetable and herb gardens.  A dry stream directs stormwater runoff to a pair of rain gardens.

Upper rain garden basin ready for planting

Bridge set over the rain garden outlet
to access the existing woodland paths

In the production area, herb beds run along the access path at ground level and are just at the edge of the available sunshine.  The raised vegetable beds benefit from being a bit farther away from the house's shadow, and being elevated helps to get more sun on them too.  Trellises were also added for some vertical growing space.  

The block used on these beds is durable, looks great
and compliments the patio and bench walls!

The garden beds were going in near an existing Hackberry tree and I was concerned about tree roots invading and stealing water and nutrients from them.  

A Rain Barrel catches rain for use in the gardens

The rain barrel overflows into the downspout drain that connects to the lower rain garden basin behind the raised beds.  Shade loving plants were predominantly used throughout the rain garden plantings - columbine, woodland phlox, sedges and wild geranium.  A few pockets got more sun, so we could try for some more color using part sun and native savannah plants - cardinal flower and bee balm.

Thanks to Beemer Landscaping on the hardscaping assist!

We also cut and removed lots of invasive honeysuckle filling several dump trailers worth.

Reusing saved materials was high on the list of customer desires.  The patio stone was selected to match pavers leftover from a previous landscaping project.  These existing pavers were incorporated into the access path to the side yard, gardens and rain barrel.

Leftover pavers and stone from a previous
project we used for edging and steppers

Several pallets of assorted limestone served as edging along the access path above, and a walking path expansion loop through the side yard along a new planting bed and retaining wall.

Dark trap rock contrasts well against pale limestone,
but it's dusty!

The construction access was cleared of wood chips last fall.  After the temporary driveway was used for a needed tree removal, it was dormant seeded this Winter with a customized woodland sedge and wildflower mix.  Timing was perfect with 4" of snow falling that night.

We love how it has turned out so far, and excited for fresh growth and blooms this season!