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, 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!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Shady Pollinator Garden

A couple project pictures from the last week or so include a shady pollinator garden to screen a septic system access as well as a few extra plantings.  Besides heavy shade, deer pressure was also a factor in plant selection.  Hellbore, Pulmonaria, Lobelia, Columbine and more were well represented.
The fence will come down once they are a little more established.
Pollinator planting for shade

Other plantings included replacements of dead or struggling plants, rethinking plant selection and splitting some others.

Before: Grasses struggling with waste heat from the AC unit

After: Lavender will be a better choice with a relaxing fragrance

Red twig dogwoods will fill the gap in the privacy hedge and the red stems will glow in contrast against the white snow in winter.
On the opposite side of the driveway, replacing the dead euonymus, these winterberry will compliment the dogwoods with their red berries.
On the homefront, our second peach tree is ripening nicely and the Japanese Beetle traps have done well protecting them.  Had my first Macoun apple today as well, the Aronia are ripe, and the Seaberries are leafing back out.


Another new kid in town!

There's another new kid in town!  In my house actually!!!  ...which might explain my delayed blog update :)

And if you happen to be born during Breastfeeding Week, you get a free t-shirt.

Short and late post this (?) week, but these times are always an adjustment :)