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, February 28, 2016

Leap Year Happenings 2016

Lots and lots going on currently,
so I am glad to have the extra day this year!

Preparation mode is in full swing with the Home and Outdoor Living Show fast approaching. 

Have you gotten your tickets yet? 
Follow the link in the picture to discounted tickets.
Plus, there are still a couple FREE ones left if you check the original post or Facebook...


Here are a couple teaser pics of what you'll see.

Don't forget the Seed Exchange is coming up, too!  RSVP on the Facebook event to get the latest updates.

If you listen to WHO 1040AM's Gardening Today Show next Sunday morning, you'll get to hear me talk about bringing more edibles into your landscapes!

I did get take a break from it all and got out in my own backyard today.  Although cooler than yesterday I took advantage of the decent weather and grafted some pear trees onto rootstock that I started from seed two years ago.

With all of this going on...
I am quite blessed to get suppers made for me!  My wife, of 13 years this week, found a great new way to prepare radishes.  Cooking mellows their strong flavor creating an almost potato-like addition to dishes.  With about 1/4 the calories and carbohydrates of potatoes they will keep your blood sugar from spiking the way it does with white potatoes.

Radishes are a great root crop that will mature quickly in your Spring gardens, with an early harvest allowing another warmer season crop in its place!  This Succession Planting increases your productivity in the same growing space.

Radish Sausage Skillet
4 chicken sausage, cut into bite sized pieces
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow, red or orange bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 lb of radishes, quartered
olive oil
salt and pepper

In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the radishes to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Fry until cooked through, stirring often, for around 15 minutes.
In a separate skillet, brown the chicken sausage for around 5 minutes in 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat.  Remove the sausage from the pan and set aside.  Add the peppers and onions to the skillet and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.  
Add the cooked radishes and sausage to the skillet with the onions and peppers and mix everything together.  Serve nice and hot!

Radish vs Potato

Saturday, February 20, 2016

2016 Ready for Spring Seed Exchange

Can you believe the weather!?!? 
What a great way to end a week.  It sure got rid of all the snow we got last week, and has got me ready for Spring!  The official beginning is just over a month away, so what a perfect time to get together with friends and other gardeners in the area for a seed exchange!

I am so excited for our 2nd annual community seed exchange!
We will be starting seeds soon, maybe even on our new growing racks with seeds you saved yourself.

Ready for Spring                        
                       Community Seed Exchange

with Abundant Design, LLC

WHEN: March 19th, 2016
9:30am - 12:30pm
WHERE: Waukee Public Library
950 Warrior Lane
Waukee, IA 50263 (map)
(515) 987-1280

with Special Musical Guest Des Moines Downtown Farmer's Market Favorite
"Sweet Tater" TeRonde
What is a Seed Exchange?
A seed (& plant) exchange is exactly what it sounds like—a forum for swapping out seeds and plants with fellow gardeners, or those aspiring to be.  They allow gardeners to come together and share seeds, cuttings, and transplants from their own gardens to swap with others.  They are a great way to get rid of some of your extra seeds and get something new to grow — all for free!  It's also fun to chat with other gardeners, get some growing tips and build community.
EVERYONE is welcome!
This event is for anyone who has seeds or wants seeds.  Expert gardeners.  Beginner gardeners. Aspiring gardeners.  Seed-savers. You. If you don’t have any seeds to swap, still come!  There should be plenty of seed to share with everyone as well as extra seeds available!

How it works
There will be two kinds of tables at the exchange but mostly Share Tables.  Share Tables are where you can place seeds for others to browse and take as needed, and for you to take items to try.  Everyone brings seeds to the swap and puts the seeds out on the large tables.  These areas will be free-sharing for all.  There might end up being a Barter Table.  These tables will be for your rarer items that you would trade if you got another more desired item.  If someone has rare or expensive seeds, they may be more specific in what they will accept in trades, and you can see if the person who brought them is interested in anything you brought.

Please do NOT let a lack of seeds to trade keep you from attending!

Most likely, people will just want to share their extra seeds, and they’ll let you take some even if they don't happen to need anything you brought.
What to bring
You can bring any kind* of seeds/plants to trade: flowers, vegetables, herbs, annuals, perennials, bulbs — it doesn't matter. You can bring seeds you've collected yourself or leftover seeds from packets you have purchased.
It’s really pretty easy…
  • Bring any extra seeds that are no more than two or three years old.
  • Store-bought, mail-ordered or home-saved; all seeds* are welcome.
  • If you are bringing seeds you saved yourself, please be sure they are from non-hybrid or knowledgeably hybridized plants, and were saved properly.
  • You can bring the seeds in whatever packaging is easiest for you. If you can, make individual little seed packets for people to take. Please repackage large quantities of seeds into smaller envelopes or plastic baggies. 10-30 seeds are plenty. If you just want to bring your opened seed packet with leftover seeds in it, that's fine, too.
  • If you bring seedlings make sure the plants are healthy and well cared for.
  • Please clearly label all seed packets and plants with the variety name, year and source plus any special instructions or notes (for example, "These seeds need to be soaked before planting" or "My great-grandmother brought these seeds from the Old Country").
  • Little envelopes and a writing utensil so that you can collect and label your “loot”
*please no seed saved or propagated from patented plants 

You do not need to be a seed starting expert — people will gladly share growing tips!

Watch my video for some easy plants to start with:
Here's a very thorough FREE download for more information on seed saving:

Friday, February 12, 2016

" Have Your Lawn and Eat It Too ! " Feature Garden at the All New Des Moines Home + Outdoor Living Show

Last week I told you to stay tuned for a big announcement...
well here it is!

I am super excited, to announce that several months ago I got a call inviting me to do a feature garden at this year's ALL NEW
Come visit our 1700 square foot feature garden,
(near the top left on this map.)

Various edible plants and design elements will be displayed that enhance the appearance, functionality and productivity of your space. 

The garden space will also feature ways to grow food in compact spaces, leverage synergies between different features and enhance the sustainability of your property.

While you're there take in some presentations on the Imagination Stage!

I will be presenting on how to "Have your yard and eat it too!" just before the Fabulous Beekman Boys on Friday, between them and the Property Brothers on Saturday, and then twice on Sunday.

Des Moines Home and Outdoor Living Show
Dates & Hours
Friday ​March 11, 2016 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday ​​March 12, 2016 ​​10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Sunday ​​​March 13, 2016 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Adults (at the door) $10.00
Adults (Online only) $7.00
Children Ages 7-12 $4.00
Children Ages 6 & Under FREE

The first THREE people to email me right now with "Free Tickets" in the subject line will receive TWO tickets FREE!  Watch for more contests on this site and on our Facebook page as the date gets closer!

You can also get your tickets, with a bonus discount, through Abundant Design using the link below!

Be sure to use the Discount Code: SAVINGS

I can't wait to see you there!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Rain Barrels and More!

This week Abundant Design is happy to announce that we are working with Rain Barrels Iowa!

This relationship will allow us to provide their high quality rain harvesting systems and more to our customers. Their rain barrels, made from up-cycled (repurposed) food shipping barrels, will allow us to move faster on your projects and provide a nice looking option for your rain harvesting needs.

We've talked about the limitations of smaller rain barrels with the amount of rainfall we get in Iowa, but also how to use them for the most benefit (as well as proper maintenance).  This photo below from Rain Barrels Iowa shows an overflow system that directs the overflow to raised beds behind, where it can be used effectively.  They also have very large catchment options including 1000 and 2500gallon tanks.

Beyond rain barrels, they have 55gal rotating composters, garden tools and more.  I encourage you to check out their on-line store or their retail location at 4240 Clinton Ave, Des Moines, IA 50310.
Normal retail hours return in March (through September), but are available by appointment until then.

You can visit their booth at the Des Moines Home and Garden Show this week, too.

Stay tuned for another BIG announcement next week!