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.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Under the weather

Well, my tomatoes went in the ground a little too early this year.  I did not expect these last couple nights of frost.  I have some back up plants in reserve though so we should be ok.

My tomatoes weren't only things to take a hit this week.  I caught a bug and it put me out for several days.  So instead of a typical blog update, I will link to my YouTube channel and you can catch up on anything you may have missed this last year or so.


Let me know in the comments what you would like to see for upcoming videos!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Earth Day

Earth Day is coming soon, where we celebrate acts of sustainability and conservation.

Local Events include:

Do you have an activity planned?  There will be lots of things shared on social media and elsewhere on what you can do to save the Earth.  What are the main parts of the Earth that life balances on? 
Water.  Air.  Land.  Life.

This week I will give you just a few hints for each, and I hope you will be inspired to do a few of them and increase your awareness of how we impact our environment.

Water - the most necessary nutrient we need. 
A human will die in ~3 days without water.  Drinking or using contaminated water for food preparation is a leading cause of death in much of the world.  Excessive nutrient pollution and other human activities have caused massive dead zones in our oceans.  The news of the ongoing drought in California will have major agricultural effects and impact the prices of much of our produce.  What can we do?
  • Rain Barrels and Rain Harvesting Landscapes to save on irrigation
  • Increased Organic Matter in our lawns and fields to hold moisture in the soil
  • Buffer STRIPS to filter nutrients and more from runoff
  • Greywater retention
  • Fix leaky faucets, shorter showers, turn off the water when brushing teeth, and more...

Air - Try breathing without air, hard isn't it?
Poor air quality can aggravate or even cause a number of respiratory and other health issues. 
What can we do?
  • Keep Tires properly inflated to avoid wasting gas and reduce your emissions 
  • Ride a Bike for all trips under two miles
  • Try riding to work (May is Bike Month)
  • Plant trees and windbreaks to slow airflow enough to drop dusts and dirt
  • Indoor plants can help clean pollutants from the air inside your home
  • Do not burn your trash, or sort out the most pollution causing items

Land - Where will our food grow without the land?
Topsoil is probably our nations biggest export, nearly a billion tons every year.  If we figure topsoil from material suppliers run about $40-50, that is a serious economic problem.  What can we do?

Life - we are all in this together!
Anything you do to improve the quality of our environment will pay dividends all around.  We are a part of this intricate web of life; from the rolly-polly under your "Welcome" mat, to the Turkey Vultures returning for Summer, and the ancient burr oak who watches with pleasure the white-tailed buck that is beginning to grow his yearly rack.  What can we do?

I hope you have a great week, celebrate Earth Day and take a few of these things and look to see how you can make a positive impact on our world!  The ripple effect of your actions can make an even bigger impact in your life, your neighbors and your surroundings.

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Plant.Grow.Fly. Pollinator Program

A couple weeks ago I shared the plight of the Monarch.  They are in trouble, but other pollinator species are too.  Honeybee population and health troubles have been making the news and our native pollinators are also facing many challenges.  30% of our 45 species of native bumble bees are at risk of extinction.  These losses can also have serious implications for our agriculture systems (=our food).

This week I had the chance to visit with Jessie Lowry, Conservation Manager at the Blank Park Zoo here in Des Moines.  She has been at our local zoo for ten years, has a passion for conservation and manages the Plant.Grow.Fly. program.  She says one of the challenges of promoting conservation of more visible species, like African Elephants or Rhinos, is that there is little we can do personally other than send money.  The Plant.Grow.Fly. program was formed with that in mind, something we can actually DO right here at our own homes.

These pollinator gardens can be tailored to any space and budget.  Requirements for registration with the Plant.Grow.Fly. program are one host plant and one nectar plant.  Lowry says these requirements really encourage everyone to take part.  You can register a couple container plants on an apartment balcony, a large decorative suburban landscape, or full scale prairie restoration project*. 

Other beneficial features and practices you may implement include-
  • adding more plants for diversity
  • providing basking areas
  • not using insecticides
  • fertilizing with natural compost
  • and more.
A weather proof sign is available as well as low cost seed packets through their website.
*Including wildflowers in buffer strips have even shown benefit to crop yields.

Abundant Design is excited to be a part of this great Midwestern pollinator program, and share in its goals of growing habitat to conserve these important parts of our ecosystems.  We can provide a host and nectar plant installation that qualifies for registration with Plant.Grow.Fly.  For this program, registration will be done by you.  It is simple, online (or by mail if you prefer) and will allow you to have a hands-on part your garden project and recognition.

Contact us for an estimate and watch for more details in the products and services page

Bumble bee on one of our Purple Cone Flowers

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

A very Happy Easter to you from Abundant Design! 
I hope you all have had a blessed weekend!!!