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 29, 2017

A Guerrilla Gardening Weekend

May 1st is International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day
https://www.facebook.com/guerrillagardening/ and http://www.guerrillagardening.org/

Redbud, apple seedlings and more
are heading out on a "mission" of
beautification and food production
Guerrilla Gardening is planting where you don't actually have permission, whether road ditches, along bike trails, abandoned lots or public parks & open spaces.  Guerrilla gardeners often see these spaces as neglected and ply their trade as a way to improve the space.  Sometimes vegetables and fruit trees are planted for food, while other times sunflowers and other flowers are used to beautify a space.  Fruit bearing branches can be attached to ornamental pear and crabapple trees by Guerrilla Grafters.  Even moss can be used as a form of "Green Graffiti."  Guerrilla Gardening can be used as a political act to encourage local food production, bring attention to urban blight or promote changes in land use policies.

Watch Ron Finley's famous Guerrilla Gardening TEDtalk

This weekend, although cold and rainy, was actually a decent time to put out some plants particularly in the "wild" as bare rooted apple seedlings ended up cool, out of direct sunlight and the roots stayed moist with little extra effort.  The continued cool weather forecasted shouldn't stress them much; and more rain will provide a cool drink that will also ease the transplanting stress.

Milkweed for butterflies, purple cone flowers for all pollinators, redbud trees for habitat and pretty blossoms are all good native choices for guerrilla gardening with positive benefits without the risk of invasiveness or obnoxiousness.

Seed bombs can help make a gardening "drive-by" with a quick "getaway"

Chris Rice and our friends over at the Quad Cities Edible Landscape group put this video together for a higher tech approach to their "Operations" of increasing native Paw Paw trees.  Paw Paws are a sought after edible, with rising popularity and a short shelf life.  If you know where a patch is, finding the fruit at the right time is a nice treat!  They are also one of the few host plants for the Zebra Swallowtail butterfly.

This video will show you how to Guerrilla Grow food bearing trees in a wooded area. You will learn the tools and techniques necessary for a successful planting mission and there are links to suppliers in this description. In this video we are planting the native pawpaw tree which is well suited to growing as an understory plant and has delicious fruit.
Read the full article here with how-to's, more information and links to the tools used:

Join their Facebook group, the Quad Cities Edible Landscape​ at:

Beyond guerrilla gardening you could always get a plot in a community garden; volunteer at a botanical center, arboretum or shelter garden; restock books at a Little Free Library; or hang birdhouses around town.  Sometimes people with a yard or garden may let you help them out for a share of the seasons produce!

Have a great Guerrilla Gardening Day! and International Permaculture Day! and...

Happy May Day to you too!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Earth Day Weekend

I usually get a post out earlier for Earth Day deals and events, but we have been going like crazy with the warmer weather this Spring!

Earth Day is everyday at Abundant Design!

I have mentioned to a few friends lately that part of the reason I love doing what I do is that I have been able to plant way more trees than I ever could've on my own property. 

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade
they know they shall never sit in.” -Greek Proverb

Today we were pulling Creeping Charlie by hand, no chemicals in our yards.  We also built some small terraces, planted pollinator habitat, berries, rhubarb and herbs.  We'll mulch everything with fresh wood chips next week.
Good for the earth, good for us!

Many have gardens partially planted.  We have peas, potatoes and spinach in so far.  A couple friends even have tomatoes in hoop houses and the ones I saw in a backyard greenhouse were AMAZING!

Speaking of tomatoes and other garden plants, Nine Square Feet is hosting a

Plant Swap next weekend!

Keeping it local by trading those garden plants we have an abundance of for those we are short on.

I'll close with a few hints to help make everyday Earth Day for you, too!

Water - the most necessary nutrient we need.
  • 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
  • Fix leaky faucets, shorter showers, turn off the water when brushing teeth, and more...

Air - Try breathing without air, hard isn't it?
  • Plant trees and windbreaks to clean air of dust and dirt
  • Indoor plants can help clean pollutants from the air inside your home
  • Keep Tires properly inflated to avoid wasting gas and reduce your emissions 
  • Ride a Bike for all trips under two miles.  May is Bike Month try riding to work/register
Here's a non-YouTube/non-gardening video for you :)

Land - Where will our food grow without the land?

Life - we are all in this together!

I hope you are having a great weekend, take a few of these things and 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.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter - Resurrection Sunday 2017

The last week or so has had great weather (when it wasn't raining) for getting outside for fun or work.  We've been on our bikes, did some spring cleanup, prepping garden beds, planting seeds and more.  The bees are also getting things done, while birds are singing happy songs of Spring and courtship.

Bumble bee working the cherry blossoms
I came across this article in the last month or so, and have reflected on it while starting some of my own garden planting.  With the weather already favorable for planting along with the late holiday this year it seems especially fitting to share with you on this Easter Sunday.

Author J. Fowler of the Sustainable Traditions project compares the planting of seeds with the death and resurrection of Christ. 

"As you plant your seeds it is a hope-filled endeavor but have you ever considered that your garden is a place of deathbeds. I know it sounds morbid but JESUS said:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” [John 12:24]
As you bury each seed in it’s final darkness it begins slowly dying, deconstructing, coming undone, transforming. It is ceasing to be a seed as root and shoot activate. And as more roots and shoots emerge, the seed ceases to be. But this death is swallowed in the newness of life. But first comes the death."

Jesus, The Seed of Resurrection and Life (montage: J Fowler)

Read the rest of the article here:

I hope you have had a weekend full of rest and reflection (in addition to any planting you've gotten done)
Happy Easter!

Early Spring color in the young Forest Garden

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Fauxboo Creations at the 2017 Seed Exchange

Early post this week... if the forecast is correct, I hope to be getting stuff done outside this weekend!

I like to encourage people to take part in growing healthy food and landscapes, and even design and install those sorts of things.  But often times I'm asked what to do if you have no yard or live in an apartment or condo.  At first, options seem somewhat limited but there are possibilities with potted plants, vertical deck gardens, even dwarf tropical fruit trees and more.

By combining vertical gardening and hydroponics in an innovative and artistic way, Jon Neufeld of Fauxboo Creations provides one of these great solutions!  I had seen Jon's work previously online and while visiting Cherry Glen.  So, I was glad to get to know him better and have him share a little about his mission and Fauxboo's products at the Seed Exchange a couple weeks ago.

For more information go to http://www.fauxboocreations.com/

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Pacifying Extreme Rain

By now you've heard of Cyclone Debbie in Australia, or at least seen the images of the "Man-eating Shark found on road..."  I took the click-bait wondering how bad the "Sharknado" was if sharks were eating people in flooded ditches.  They got me. 

Estimated cleanup for the devastation is estimated at nearly a billion dollars.

But as you can see in premier Permaculture Designer and Teacher, Geoff Lawton's videos below, good design can pacify and manage even the 17" of rain in 24 hours they received.

The water catchment design of Zaytuna Farm is to the left.

I think our weather outlook looks warm enough to hook my rain barrel back up.  I will still manage the overflow into a portion of our mini-"food forest" and watch for any potential hard freezes that could damage valves and seals.

Are you ready for our April showers?