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, August 28, 2016

Updates & New Badge on Houzz

A quick update this weekend - I tried getting caught up on some yard work at home, and Friday I did another quick post for National Dog Day :)

Our dog in a young Food Forest

Houzz community users have saved my projects 10 times for their idea books.  That earned Abundant Design this badge!

Jeff Reiland in Waukee, IA on Houzz

I didn't even have that many projects uploaded there so I put a few more of my favorites up, including this retaining wall/tree ring I finished up this week. 

Before - worn edging and overgrown ground covers

Boulder tree ring & retaining wall; with hostas, comfrey, cranberry/viburnum and more to come

Look for several more, including the keyhole raised beds and fruiting wall, on Abundant Design's page on Houzz.com.

Plus, don't forget, there's still time to get one of the
If you can't use one of these great deals, I'm sure one of your friends can, and if you follow this blog you're just the person to share it with them!!!  Click here for more information
Have a great week!

Friday, August 26, 2016

My Favorite Dog

Happy National Dog Day!

Enjoy this video and a few pictures of my favorite dog!


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Why not Landscape Fabric? Sheet Mulch!

How about a new video this week?

Landscape Fabric gets tattered and exposed.  Its hard to weed with the roots tearing it or lifting it up.  Then if you want to redo it or update your landscaping style, its hard to remove and then you have to dispose of it. 

There is a better way!

Try Sheet Mulching for a sustainable and cleaner way to block weeds and grasses in new planting beds, whether its for flowers, vegetables or your own food forest.

This new video shows you how to Get It Done!

You can take these principles and apply them to gardens too.  In a version called Lasagna Gardening, you can add in more organic matter in multiple layers that will have new beds prepped this coming Fall for an OUTSTANDING start next Spring!
Don't forget the Cover Crops!

If you like this sort of thing, subscribe on the side, LIKE my page and SHARE this post on Facebook or Google+

Have a great week!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Indigenous People, Culture & Food

This week, August 9th, was World Indigenous People's Day.

Danielle Nierenberg, along with Niyati Shah, recently wrote an article for her website Food Tank, that was also picked up by several other outlets.  The article highlighted 20 indigenous foods historically and culturally important to North America.

Growing up in Pike's Timber I was surrounded by oak trees.  Magnificent trees with an acorn crop that fed an abundance of game and other wildlife.  I always new they were edible, after leaching out the tannins, but did not realize their importance to many native peoples.  They are nutrient-dense, high in calories, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, and vitamin C.

The American Persimmon, also know as "sugar plum", is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidants.  It is also high in fiber and low in calories and fats.  While smaller than the Asian Persimmons found in grocery stores, the trees are low-maintenance and cold hardy making them great for an Iowa food forest.  The fruit, which needs time to blet, was used to make cakes, bread and candy by Native Americans.

The Paw Paw, or Indiana (or Michigan, Missourri, Kentucky...) Banana, is a small unique looking tree.  The largest edible fruit indigenous to North America, it has a tropical flavor reminiscent of a banana pudding with a touch of mango.  It's short shelf life has hindered its marketability in spite of its impressive vitamin and mineral levels.
Abundant Design can plant American Persimmon and Paw Paw in your design right away. 
Don't forget to take advantage of the August Specials too!

I have installed Camas (Camassia quamash) for clients along waterways and in prairie plantings, as well as in our home flower beds.  It has blue flowers and a carbohydrate and protein-rich root.  Native Americans living in the Northwest and Great Basin regions of the US typically cooked the bulbs in pit ovens for a full day or more.  This long baking process gives them a sweeter flavor, by changing the inulin to fructose. This plant is gaining popularity with the growing awareness of indigenous food cultures.

If you use a Windows PC, you've most likely seen Camas in this desktop background

Not to be confused with the bog grown commercial cranberry, the Highbush Cranberry bush (a viburnum), requires little maintenance and can grow without the irrigation, fertilization, or other intensive farming practices. The berries, interchangeable with true cranberries, can be eaten raw or used to make jams, jellies, sauces, and wine.

Recently I put in some Ostrich ferns in a shady pocket at our house.  I can't wait for them to fill in.  The "fiddleheads" have a taste similar to asparagus, with an added nutty quality, and should be boiled or steamed before using in any dish. The ostrich fern is a source of protein, manganese and iron, and is high in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.

I was surprised to not see Hickory or Walnut on the list.  Both of these are now growing in our yard to replace our Ash trees which will eventually succumb to the Emerald Ash Borer.  Chestnut, Elderberry and Sumac would also be on a list of important native foods if it was just a bit longer.

Along with Paw Paw and Persimmon, Abundant Design has Highbush Cranberry, Chestnut (hybrid), Hickory, Elderberry, Aronia and many more available for your landscapes.

For even more information, the Center for Prairie Studies at Grinnell College has this downloadable guide to many native edibles found in Iowa.

America has so much productivity and diversity of wonderful food, it is no wonder Columbus thought he may have found the Garden of Eden when he arrived in the New World.

I hope you are having an a-maize-ing summer!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Omaha, Hot Air Ballons & a Little Vacation

This week is a short post as we have sort of been on
Summer Vacation!

Earlier we took in the National Balloon Classic in Indianola, along with a picnic at Pickard Park.
Nice thumb... :(

We traveled to Omaha for the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium.
Love those sharks!
Enjoying a nap

I was surprised by the Tree of Heaven planted near the train station, but was inspired by the Garden of the Senses.  I imagine using a few ideas in my own designs!

We also spent most of the next day at the Omaha Children's Museum.

From the backyard this week, eating the last peach from our trees brought mixed emotions, but I got to enjoy the first ear of sweet corn from the small patch in our garden!
I hope you all have a sweet week!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

August Specials

Call it what you like,
Back To School Sale,
Iowa State Fair Deal or
End of Summer Special

Abundant Design is offering some great deals this August!

Typically a drier month, wouldn't it be great to capture this rain for later?  We'll have Rain Barrels at 20% off!

Read more here


How about a fruiting arbor?
Solid Cedar construction with a pergola style roof will survive the elements and support vigorous growth for your new vining crops.
I have one for 25% off!  That's a $1,000 value for only $750 installed and includes a seedless Reliance grape vine or Issai cold-hardy kiwi!

Food waste is a big deal.  How about a big deal on one way to help?
This great set of compost bins can be had for 25% off too! That's under $500 installed

Abundant Design's New Zealand style compost system is built to last with rot resistant cedar construction.  Not some random pile of food scraps and yard waste, this sharp looking addition blends into any neighborhood.  Reduce your contribution to the landfill and capture valuable organic matter to boost the structure and fertility of your soil.

New videos are coming soon, too! 

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