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!

Monday, June 12, 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?

Monday, June 5, 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

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

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

Have a great week!