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.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Resplendent September - amazing opportunity and potential

Things are HOPPING! 
And I'm not just talking about the rabbit that lives in my herb garden :) 

We are working on several projects from rain gardens, back yard retreats and patio rebuilds with functional plant design.  Multiple jobs at once is pretty rare for Abundant Design, but the weather has been good and material scheduling and available help has worked out well.  I'm energized by people excited for new functional landscapes, healthier lifestyles and the benefits of natural settings.

I also treated my own lawn with predatory nematodes as a chemical-free way to help control Japanese Beetles

September is Preparedness Month, which is a big deal with hurricanes and wildfires in the news, and although not really tornado season, we live in an area prone to them.  Besides, winter is approaching and several years ago, although not too far off the beaten path my mom and dad were out of electricity for over a week following a blizzard!

For lots more tips listen to "Why Practical Preparedness Wins the Race"

Here in Iowa, some troubles for Versaland, a permaculture styled regenerative farm near Iowa City, with the Johnson County supervisors. Grant Schultz messaged me Friday, Dan Grubbs asked me to share, and here's The Urban Farmer Curtis Stone's video call for support along with Grant's video.

If you are nearby, Grant would appreciate your support at the Johnson County Board of Supervisors rezoning meeting September 14th (This Thursday) at 5:30pm
Johnson County Administration Building
913 South Dubuque Street
Iowa City, IA 52240

Blank Park Zoo's Plant.Grow.Fly. Monarch Festival will be held at Blank Park Zoo on Sunday, September 17 from 12-4 p.m.

Enjoy the exciting transition from Summer to Fall!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Privacy Screen with an Abundant Spin

The home owner talked to me at the Home & Outdoor Living Show about her need for a privacy screen and wondered if I could do it within her budget and short time frame. 


They didn't want mulch as their dogs tended to dig, and river rock also matched their neighbors border which they liked.

Although the whole back property line was to be done, particular lines of sight were drawn in to prioritize. 

Two drawings were made, one with slight variations and shared.  The alternate drawing with evergreens for winter screening, was selected.

The Arborvitae will also provide a nice dark backdrop to contrast the spring blooms on the Serviceberries.

The low spot included more water loving native plants like Blue Flag Iris and Elderberry.

Work begins- Including 15+ tons of rock!

NF said it, on a few of those hot, late nights

After- Over 50 trees, shrubs and plants, many natives, some edible, medicinal and superfoods!
We finished up right in the peak heat at the beginning of this drought, conditions were not ideal for plant establishment.

However, the recent rain, although not near enough, has given things a healthy natural drink and renewed vigor!
Privacy Screen with Natives, Edibles, Medicinals and Superfoods!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Prairie Edge Stairway Project

Before: Slope along garage

This is an update on a project in Adel done earlier during the Spring rush.  I got a chance to visit the project today, snap a couple photos and visit with the client.

After their new garage was built, the homeowner was looking for  designs for a pleasant space to look upon from their deck as well as a way to get to the backyard.

Abundant Design's initial meandering natural pathway design was chosen to move forward with.  After a few tweaks to the plan, including a stone stairway they liked on Houzz, we began coordinating timing with the other contrators finishing the garage and concrete work.

Soon after, dirt work began with the stone retaining walls and stairway put in place. 

Incorporating native grasses and wildflowers provided a natural look and feel to the space, bringing in a piece of the prairie.  Local pollinators will appreciate the nectar of Blazingstar, Purple Coneflower, Coreopsis and more.

Native shrubs, like Aronia, stand out from the prairie plants providing Fall color.  They also have super nutritious, if not that tasty, berries.  The Serviceberry specimen plant will shade the deck in the future, bloom in the Spring and have better tasting berries than the aronia, similar to a blueberry with a hint of black cherry.

Planted and Mulched
After: Natural Stone Prairie Edge Stairway

The plants have had a chance to fill out a bit now, and although the blazingstar flowers were done, the coreopsis and coneflowers were still blooming.

I love customer feedback like this too!

Thanks to Beemer Landscaping for the assist on the stairway, and Blooming Prairie Nursery for many of the plants.

Monday, August 21, 2017

More Fruit Trees, Layering Rootsuckers

I love apples, really love apples, pears, peaches and...  That's part of why I do, what I do - bringing tasty and nutritious food possibilities in a sustainable way to people.  This week I did another How-To video showing you how.

We've talked about growing fruit trees, and root stocks, from seed.  While simple and free, these may or may not be high quality rootstocks, and have unknown characteristics.

Here's another way to grow your own new rootstocks for more 'free' fruit trees, and these will be a known type so you can plan your backyard or acreage orchard or food forest better.  Check it out in the new video below-

Once you've gotten several new rooted trees you can try your hand at grafting, to clone the trees you currently have, or swap with friends to bring unique varieties home.

Have a great week, and happy growing!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Saving Seeds and the Fall Garden

This week I've been saving some seeds from our older sugar snap peas, calendula, borage and wildflowers; including blue flax, black eyed susan and bee balm.  I've still got a week or so for my two reserved lettuce plants are ready.  I trialed a few varieties and found a new one we all seemed to like.

I probably should get some tomato seeds sometime, but there is plenty of time for that yet.

Are you saving seeds? The plants in the video below are perfect ones to begin your seed saving adventure.  Look for our Seed Exchange event in late winter too!
Some of the peas we replanted for our Fall Garden, with just enough time to get some pods by the end of September or early October.  Now is also a good time to plant another round of cool season crops, like spinach, lettuce, broccoli and radishes.  You might be able to sneak in another batch of sweet tasting carrots too.

Have a great week!