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.

Monday, June 26, 2017

People Care - Okoboji 200

A few years ago I went on a long bike ride with my friends Rocky Vest and Andy McCoy.  100 miles long, a Century Ride.

100 miles was a long way and I was biking a lot then.  For me it was a notch in my belt, a checkmark off my bucket list.  For them it was a training ride for a 200 mile ride they were planning that would become so much more.

OK200 is a one day epic 200 mile bike ride and run from West Des Moines, IA to Lake Okoboji, IA to help fight human trafficking in Iowa and SE Asia. OK200 helps to stop the traffic by increasing awarenes about human trafficking and donating funds to support safe houses for survivors of sex slavery.


This Friday, they make that journey again. That's People Care!

To find out more and how you can support them go to-

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Fathers Day!

Happy Fathers Day all you dads, step-dads and grandpas! 

Dad and me on Father's Day several years back

I hope you all enjoyed your day and weekend.  Hopefully you got to spend some time with family, even if it was just a little or on the phone.  The weather was great here and we spent a little time outside, shared some laughter and did "Dad things" like tearing apart and trying to fix appliances.

Just for fun, I thought I would share this video of some of my favorite sayings :)
...OK, maybe not quite!

And FINALLY we have had a some rain to get us closer to normal moisture!  Here's a video of that rain garden installed a couple weeks ago just after a heavy early morning shower - catching the runoff before it can surge into the storm sewers.  This will allow it to sink into the ground over the next several hours filtering out pollutants and hydrating the landscape.


Have a great week!

...and Dads go out there and Be Epic!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Hot and Dry

I don't know if the warm early Spring, then long stretch of cool weather messed with our bodies acclimating or what.  But man, it has felt really hot the last couple weeks!

The last time we got any decent rain was after we finished this rain garden at the end of May.

Here in Central Iowa it has been over two weeks since we've had rain, and the sun is rarely blocked by any clouds with daily high temperatures in the 90s everyday forecasted this week.  We moved a bunch of rock during the peak last week, thought we would get some relief Thursday for the new plantings installed but no such luck, and the homeowners have had to keep watering to help get them established.


Our home rain barrel is empty, and anyone with one has wished they had more storage capacity.

Are you considering a rain barrel?  We can install and even customize to match your landscape style.

Many fruit trees are ripening.  I netted our cherry tree next to our house, so that we can enjoy some, instead of feeding the birds this year. 

I also had a few handfuls of mulberries and service berries during one of our evening walks.  After the sun has gone down the evenings feel a lot better, giving us some relief.

We also found a couple monarch eggs on the milkweed in our yard.


The one thing that really surprised me this week, with all of the heat and lack of rain, was a note and pictures from a customer from last year.  Remember the large steel planters, with the wood cores? Normally raised beds, especially ones this high, need lots and lots of water due to the exposed sides and improved drainage.  These are pictures from last week, and had not been watered in eight days!

Don't they look amazing?



She definitely has a green thumb, but I like to think the wood is helping out some too :)

 
Let us know in the comments- 
What are you doing to beat the heat?
 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Public Stormwater Initiatives & Rain Gardens

As cities have grown, more and more forest and agricultural land has been converted to housing developments, shopping malls and office parks.  With more and more parking lots, streets and rooftops, their impervious surfaces have caused more and faster runoff, promoting erosion and flooding.  Another major side effect of this increased runoff is carrying pollutants directly to local streams and lakes.  Without the filtering effect of healthy porous soil, runoff laden with automotive pollutants, sediment, bacteria and even lawn chemicals and fertilizers negatively impact water quality. 


Many municipalities in Iowa are now promoting stormwater best management practices (BMPs) to reduce the amount of runoff associated with rain events. 

The local ecosystems of prairie, wetlands and forests were very good at infiltrating rainfall, with very little runoff.  Deep roots allowed for percolation; soils high in organic matter held on to moisture. 

Rain Gardens
Rain Gardens are generally one of the stormwater best management practices encouraged by local governments.  These landscape features can integrate many aspects of these native ecosystems which can help with:
  • Increasing rainwater that filters into the ground, which recharges local and regional aquifers;
  • Preventing flooding and drainage problems;
  • Protecting streams and lakes from pollutants carried by stormwater with lawn fertilizers and pesticides, oil and other automotive pollutants, and numerous other harmful substances that wash off roofs and paved areas;
  • Enhancing the beauty of yards and neighborhoods;
  • Providing habitat for birds, butterflies and many beneficial insects.

These are pictures from a recent Rain Garden installation by Abundant Design.
Checking the infiltration rate of the soil
Rain gardens are sized based on surface area and infiltration


Before
Marking the layout
Downspouts were piped to the garden






The machine sped up the rough digging process...
...and the final work done by hand.
the laser level was used for the basin floor
 


Almost done


After
 
Rain gardens are one way you can help the environment and enhance the beauty and functionality of your landscapes.

Have a great week!
 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Eden & Gethsemane

Gardens and nature are an important part of our lives and history.  A good part of my childhood was spent "helping" out in the gardens, scanning the road ditches for asparagus or paddling through the marsh.  The pioneers could not have survived without their gardens, fields and an abundance of wild food to forage.  Farming and gardening were also important to our nation's first and more recent Presidents

The last several weeks I've realized how big of a part they play throughout the Bible as well.  On Easter, I shared an article from Sustainable Traditions comparing the germination of dormant seeds to the resurrection of Jesus.  This week will revisit the human-natural-spiritual connection as we look at nature and the gardens of Eden and Gethsemane.

"There's something about examining a delicate flower, or
admiring a rushing waterfall that reminds us we are not accidents,
and our God is an awesome God!"   -Read more at newspring.cc
Creation and Nature
These were God's first missionary.  We can learn much about God by considering the works of His hands. Creation highlights a number of God’s attributes--His character traits.
Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:20
For a full commentary on Romans 1:20 go to jcblog.net

The Bible also draws attention to nature to illustrate lessons about life and conduct as guidance for us.  See also Psalm 19:1-2
Ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? Job 12:7-9
Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise Proverbs 6:6
 
Jesus referred to agriculture and farming practices of the time in His teachings, too; the parable of the sower, references to viniculture (highlighted in Secrets of the Vine) and more.  See also Matthew 20:8
Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed..."  Matthew 13:3
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:1-2

 

 


Garden of Delight
The Hebrew word "Eden" means delight.  What was it like?
Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.  The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:8-9



Trees.  "Pleasing to the eye and good for food".  Sound familiar? 
 
This wasn't just a backyard vegetable garden, but a massive food forest, teeming with plant and animal life, strikingly beautiful, with an abundance of food.


Original Mission - What were we made to do?

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)

One reason for being created was to be caretakers and stewards of this miraculous place that had all we needed.  Eden was a paradise that had all humans needed, but yet we wanted just a little more...  and for that we were expelled.  But we still live on this planet created for us, which is an amazing place. 

"God is not asking us to turn everything into a productive vegetable garden, but is asking us to serve the needs of our earth, and to recognize its goodness and worth."
Read more on the vocation of "Avad:To Serve the Earth"



Garden of Gethsemane
Gethsemane means Place of the Olive Press, this Garden included trees.  Natural settings can calm our spirits and bring a sense of well-being.  Jesus went there with the disciples to pray often. 
 
Prayers in a garden, not the temple?  
Jesus himself found comfort, peace and a favorite place to pray at Gethsemane.

The most famous visit to the garden was the night of Judas's betrayal, after their Passover feast.  The events of that night, in the Garden of Gethsemane, have echoed through the centuries in art, music, books and recently film. (Matthew 26:36-56, Mark 14:32-52, Luke 22:40-53 & John 18:1-11)

Ancient Olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gethsemane#/media/File:Jerusalem_Gethsemane_tango7174.jpg
 
All creation points to the Creator.  Natural systems are like illustrations in a children's book; they help tell the story for those who can't yet get the full meaning of the words. 

  Would you like to "feed your flock" as well as enhancing your faith community's space?   

A space designated for a garden such as these would provide an area where people could go and experience God's Creation.  One could spend time in communion with God through, much as Adam and Eve might have.  These natural spaces would provide a sense of calming and peace, like Jesus and his disciples felt at Gethsemane.  These gardens would also provide nutrient rich food to use or share in the community, while needing less maintenance than traditional community gardens or manicured lawn space.

Abundant Design can help with your mission of sharing God's glory.

These types of Forest Gardens are our specialty!

Maybe you would like a smaller version for your own backyard, we can do that too!