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, February 27, 2017

How-to Start Fruit Trees and Rootstocks from Seed

Last week I brought you a video of how to do a Whip & Tongue graft to make your own selected varieties of apple, pear and more.

This week has a video showing you how to make your own rootstocks for grafting, or let them grow into your own variety of fruit trees.

One thing you often hear is that apples from seed grown trees will be terrible.  While it is true they have a tremendous amount of genetic diversity and only about One in Ten-Thousand will be tasty enough, resistant to disease or another marketable attribute to make it a commercially viable product, and they won't be exactly like the parent fruit, the chances of having something decent aren't too bad.

I've heard the more likely results will be about 20% "spitters" that is bad enough you won't want to eat them.  On the opposite side, also about 20% will be pretty good.  The other 60% will just be a fairly decent apple.  They will for sure be good enough for pastured pigs and wildlife, especially deer.

Pears have less genetic variation, therefore you are more likely to get a decent tasting pear from seed when the parent fruit was good.

Next time you enjoy a piece of fruit consider saving those seeds and giving this a try!

Here's a link to the "Cone-tainer" if you would like to order some.

If you would like to make a Seed Growing Rack try this video I made!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

How-To Graft Your Own Fruit Trees

Nearly 70°F all weekend in February, Wow! 

The warm weather has brought out everyone for a remedy to cabin fever.  It is also poking up crocus, daffodils and more.

We are getting to the last minute for pruning and grafting fruit trees.  Today I have a new video showing how to do a 'whip and tongue' graft on pear trees.  You can use this method on all kinds of trees; apples, cherries and more. 

Three varieties on one tree, after wrapping with parafilm
electrical tape and petroleum jelly
graft union
If you don't know the status of a certain variety of fruit tree you can check this handy Patent Information search.  Most patents are good for about 20 years.

Rootstock and scion wood can be ordered from various nursery supplies. These include Raintree Nursery, Dave Wilson, Fedco and many others.  Seeds collected yourself can be used to grow your own rootstock.

My friend Greg Burns has 10packs of 12"+ seedling Bartlett pears and more at Nature's Image Farm.

You can also get scion wood from your favorite friends or family trees, maybe even an unnamed variety that maybe grew at grandma's house :) 

This is a great way to keep an heirloom apple and all those memories in the family!

If you liked this article give it a LIKE, SHARE or leave a COMMENT on Facebook or in the Comments section below.

Grafting materials used and discussed are available on Amazon (affiliate)-

Affordable Grafting Knife


Tree Kote brand Wound Dressing

Monday, February 13, 2017

Wild Edibles

Order your Wild Edibles Package from the Iowa DNR this February. 

This is a great deal on 250 plants less than $1 each!

For a planting design specific to your property, and installation contact Abundant Design!
“The packet consists of tree and shrub species selected for their potential to provide delicious berries and nuts to enhance your diet,” says Paul Tauke, state forester. “This packet is a great and affordable way to develop a wild garden on your acreage or in a large backyard.”
This Wild Edibles Packet is only available in February.  Cost for the 250 bare-root seedlings is $190 plus tax, shipping and handling, the same price as a regular 200-seedling packet. The Wild Edibles Packet includes 50 each of the following:
Wild Plum - Wild plum is great for making jams, jellies and puddings.  It is also very good nesting cover for birds and a good food source for butterflies and other pollinators. 
Aronia Berry - Aronia berries are a popular health food because of their antioxidant and vitamin content.  They can be used in a number of ways, including jams, jellies, pies and wine. They are also eaten fresh or dehydrated. Markets for these berries are also developing throughout the country. 
Serviceberry - Serviceberry, also known as Juneberry, produces white flowers in early spring and bears edible purple berries in June. The fruit makes a great fresh topping to a bowl of cereal or a healthy addition to a salad.  
Hickory - Shagbark hickory wood is used for smoking meats and the nuts make delicious snacks and additions to baked goods.  Hickory nuts are loaded with nutrients and healthy oils.
Hazelnut - Hazelnuts are packed with folates, magnesium, vitamin E and vitamin B6. They are linked to improved muscle, skin and bone health.
The seedlings are between 8 and 24 inches, depending on the tree or shrub species. 

Abundant Design can also supply Elderberry, Chestnut, Mulberry, Currant, Gooseberry, Oak (acorn), Walnut, Paw Paw and many more native edibles, along with supporting species that can help your new landscape thrive!


Friday, February 10, 2017

2017 Seed Exchange Super Party

Spring is almost here!
We still have some leftover snow today but that is not going to last long with highs in the 50's today and the next few days!  We still potentially have time for a few more snows, but the official first day of Spring is just around the corner.

With Spring rapidly approaching now is a great time to get together with friends and other gardeners in the area for a seed exchange!

              Abundant Design's    
Seed Exchange                     
               Super Party

WHEN: March 25th, 2017
 10:00am - 2:00pm (times subject to change)

WHERE: Cherry Glen Learning Farm
 3989 NW 94th Ave
 Polk City, IA 50226 (map)

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.
RSVP early for all the updates and announcements!

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!

 Come for the FUN! And Music!

How it works
Everyone brings seeds to the swap and puts the seeds out on the large tables.  Share Tables will make up the majority of the space.  These are where you can place seeds for others to browse and take as needed, and for you to take items to try.  These areas will be free-sharing for all.  There might also 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!

Usually people 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 patented plant cuttings or seeds if against licensing agreements 

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:

Thursday, February 9, 2017


I was pretty bummed about having to cancel the Permaculture Series that was to begin tonight.  However, the single day classes have had good turnouts so watch for more of those in the future.  If I see demand for the more intensive Permaculture workshops in the future we can try again.
The next big event will be the Seed Exchange, stay tuned!
Did you know that by the end of January 80% of people have given up on their New Year Resolutions?  
Well if you made a health related resolution and given up, February is Heart Month.  That is a perfect reason to give it another go for your health!
Even small changes now can have a big impact over time.  So give it another go, make a "Vector Change" and when you look back a year or more from now, you could be amazed at the difference it has made!
Thanks for checking in!