by Brent Knoll | May 29, 2014 | B-Edible Landscape, Education
Banana Fun Facts for Edible Landscaping
1. A banana is an edible fruit produced by several kinds of large herbaceous florwering plantsi in the genus Musa.
2. The majority of the bananas grown these days are a clone of one another originating in Southeast Asia which could lead to problems with fungus and soil born diseases.
3. Musa species are native to tropical Indomalaya and Australia, and are likely to have been first domesticated in Papua New Guinea.
4. The banana plant is the largest herbaceous flowering plant in the world. That’s one big herb!!!
5. Bananas are one of the easiest edible landscape fruits to grow producing huge clumps of bananas all year long. Usually over 100 bananas in each clump!
6. The banana fruits develop from the banana heart, in a large hanging cluster, made up of tiers (called “hands”), with up to 20 fruit to a tier. Each individual banana is called a finger.
7. Bananas are naturally slightly radioactive, more so than most other fruits, because of their potassium content and the small amounts of the isotope potassium-40 found in naturally occurring potassium.
8. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portuguese colonists started banana plantations in the Atlantic Islands, Brazil, and western Africa. Today we consume over 100,000,000,000 annually making them the 4th largest agricultural product in the world.
9. Bananas like rich organic soil, like composted horse manure. Make your own organic soil with composted vegetable scraps!
10. Edible landscaping with bananas creates microclimates great for growing herbs, vegetables and berries all year long.
11. Want a great garden idea for growing bananas in your space? Try growing bananas in an edible forest, an edible landscape or in pots in your patio garden.
12. There are around 1,000 different types of bananas but most are not edible. The banana grown mostly for commercial food is the cavendish.
13. Ever wonder why organic bananas taste better? Export bananas are picked green, and ripen in special rooms upon arrival in the destination country. These rooms are air-tight and filled with ethylene gas to induce ripening. Gross!!!
14. Ever had fried plantains? Delcious! Plantains or fried bananans constitute a major staple food crop for millions of people in developing countries. In most tropical countries, green (unripe) bananas used for cooking represent the main cultivars.
15. Easy to grow and fruits all year long in Miami and South Florida, making it my favorite edible landscape plant of all time!
Go to www.easyediblelandscapes.com for the latest and greatest garden ideas regarding edible landscaping in South Florida.
Call 3054965155 to have your edible landscape installed today!!!
by Brent Knoll | May 22, 2014 | B-Edible Landscape, Education
Return of the Victory Garden
The Victory Garden movement of WWI & II, and The Great Depression encouraged nearly 20 million Americans to plant fruits and vegetables in backyard gardens, empty lots, on roof tops, in neighborhood parks, and on other public land including 800 gardens in the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Also called war gardens, these food spaces were promoted because of necessary food rationing, to reduce strain on the short-handed labor and transport industries, and to promote patriotism and boost low public morale. The American government encouraged citizens to plant, including USDA distribution of gardening booklets and videos. Neighbors pooled resources, planted different crops, formed coops, and made it happen. The result? During WWII alone, 9,000,000 – 10,000,000 short tons of produce were grown in urban spaces, equaling then-current commercial production of fresh veggies! Good job local organic urban America!!!
victory garden woman stands with vegetable basket and hoe
As I began to read about victory gardens, I was thrilled to find the above statistics. Brent and I began talking about how the concept of The Victory Garden applies today. What has changed? What still rings true? I continued to read, and one tidbit of info stuck out like a sore thumb. Here it is… “Although at first the Department of Agriculture objected to Eleanor Roosevelt‘s institution of a victory garden on the White House grounds, fearing that such a movement would hurt the food industry…” What?! Wait a minute! Morale is soaring! People are empowered! In a matter of a couple of years, “average citizens” are producing the same amount of fresh vegetables as commercial farming! It seems like a no brainer! Why did we ever STOP doing this? Why are we where we are today when it comes to food, health, and gardening?
uncle sam in victory garden with vegetables and herbs
I have a lot of smart friends. I hear many of them talking about things like US poverty, inflation, big agriculture, big food, and big pharma buying out our politicians, the high cost of healthy food vs the low cost of junk food, and the even higher cost of healthcare and prescription drugs, and while I don’t tend to go on political rants (yuck), I do know how to connect the dots. So I’ve decided the modern Urban Victory Garden just may be the solution to a huge portion of our political, social, and environmental woes! What’d she say??!! You heard me. How?
victory garden easy edible landscapes
Just google “big ag big pharma”, and you’ll find more reading than you want on the fact that our government gives subsidies to big commodity (corn and soy) producers while withholding the same funding for fruit and veggie farmers (making unhealthy foods cheap and healthy foods expensive), allows large food corporations to pump out these cheap, high calorie/low nutrient foods with merciless advertising often aimed at children, and then also caters to the pharmeceutical and health insurance giants who happen to reap the greatest benefit from a nation in which 75% of it’s citizens are overweight (a condition linked closely to diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease and CAUSED by the inferior food being sold). There it is in one sentence. Need I say more? (And please, all you grammar geeks, give me a free pass on this one!)
look at all those veggies!
And if the problem lies at the core of our political and economic system, what can we do? Plant a veggie bed, and if you have some spunk, plant one in your front yard. Why? Because it’s the very best way to not only stick it to “the man” (who is this man??), but it’s ground zero for taking the power back as well. Grow only the best, save your money, eat it fresher than ever, get your kids away from the tv and teach them the right way to eat for great health, recover from your chronic illnesses, feel the amazing “alive and enlightened” feeling of clean eating, and Go Be Well. Is it that easy to change the world? I really do think so.
We’re ready to help you “take the power back” and plant your New Urban Victory Garden. There are many ways to grow your own food. Here in Miami, South Florida, raised bed gardens are very popular as the soil is very rocky. Others want to rid themselves of the high maintenance that comes with grass by installing an edible landscape, or edible forest, a permaculture approach to landscaping. Give Landscape Designer Brent Knoll a call today at 3054965155 to help you get started growing your own food.
Join the organic gardening revolution today!!!
Brent Knoll and Sarah Reimer with the kids
by Brent Knoll | May 13, 2013 | B-Edible Landscape, Education
A Healing Garden is more than a landscape, it is a spiritual oasis that can directly affect what we bring into our lives. Our Healing Garden is the anchor to our truth of who we are and what we want to feel. The Healing Garden is the highest guru and has the power to reshape the essence of our human experience.
As much as we enjoy socializing and spending time in community, we really need to value and honor our need for solitude and personal space. When we go out into the world we consciously and unconsciously interact with so many different energies that can alter our mood and affect our thought patterns. Sometimes, among all the various energies, we can become confused and mistake what we are feeling for the energies of others around us. This confusion is more common than we realize and if we don’t allow ourselves to take time in solitude amongst our own sacred space we can lose touch with the personal essence that brings us our peace of mind.
A Healing Garden provides an ideal energetic sanctuary for us to relax and contemplate what really matters in our lives. Within the boundaries of a Healing Garden we can sort through our thoughts and feelings while being supported by the pure nourishing energies of the living plants all around us. Those plants and their natural energies provide an energetic reference with which we can calibrate our own energy field and identify any discordant energies that we may have picked up out in the world. The more time we spend in our healing garden space, the more familiar we become with the pure energies of nature, and the more familiar we become with those pure energies of serenity and life the easier it will be for us to move towards that type of energy wherever we are.
Consider, in this context, the law of attraction. The energetic vibration that you are projecting attracts thoughts, feelings, people, and objects that match or resonate with that vibration. When we are feeling angry, tense, hopeless or depressed our vibration is very low and so we attract unproductive and unharmonious situations. When we are feeling joyful, positive, relaxed, and grateful, our vibration is very high and we attract situations that are beneficial, serendipitous and fruitful. That being said it is wisest to always keep your vibration high, but of course that is much easier said than done.
Healing garden design
No matter how much time we spend in contemplation, practicing relaxation, or in meditation we still do not have control over the vibrations and energies that are brought into our field of experience by those around us. The people that we encounter in our lives have unpredictable moods and vibrations that, despite how much we may care for them, affect the way we feel and therefore what we attract into our lives. Friends, family and strangers alike embody inconsistent and erratic energetic patterns that can make it difficult for us to remain grounded in our experience of peaceful consciousness.
On the other hand, the plants, flowers, butterflies, bees, trees and all beautiful life in our healing garden embodies a steady and reliable vibration of graceful vitality and joyful abundance. The more time we spend in that presence the more we will align our own energetic vibration with it. As we begin to identify more and more with the energy of the healing garden it becomes easier and easier to maintain that vibration out in the world. As this vibration becomes an effortless constant projection we will begin to attract circumstances into our lives that reflect the abundance, prosperity, vitality, and joy of the healing garden energies. You will invariably discover that the new people and opportunities that come into your life are also embodying this very high vibration of prosperous joy and abundance.
Healing garden design
Building a Healing Garden is, in itself, an energetic declaration of personal reformation. When you take the time and effort to build this sanctuary for yourself you are putting the universe on notice that you are ready and able to be filled with lively joy and abundance. You are taking responsibility for your self in a way that is energetically, ecologically, and economically sustainable. You are opening yourself up to a sacred healing partnership with the earth and accepting the grace and providence of nature. When you identify with the high vibration of the Healing Garden you are beginning to realize that, like the earth, you have all the power to heal, and to provide safe energetic space for yourself and others.
Landscape Designer Brent Knoll of Knoll Landscape Design specializes in Healing Garden Design. Call Brent today at 3054965155 to schedule a consultation and experience for yourself the Healing Power of the Garden.
by Brent Knoll | Apr 25, 2013 | B-Edible Landscape, Education, Landscape design
Raised Bed Garden-The Edible Paradise
Image Courtesy M. Evelina Galang
Landscape Designer Brent Knoll of Knoll Landscape Design Miami and Easy Edible Landscapes, regularly installs raised bed gardens for his South Florida clients. Why? These raised bed gardens are a highly effective method of planting herbs, fruits and vegetables for people and families that live in an urban to suburban community.
What is a Raised Bed Garden?
Raised bed gardens offer great function and flexibility to the urban/suburban gardener in both utility and aesthetics. A raised bed garden is when you build a wooden frame and fill that frame with organic soil in which you plant your fruits, vegetables and flowers. By providing an 8-10 inch layer of rich composted soil, your fruits, vegetables, and flowers are given the healthiest start to prolific growth. Brent Knoll makes his own organic super soil, btw it’s Amazing!!! Clients are often astounded by just how much they get to harvest from their compact garden space. A fertile and well planted raised bed garden will produce great yields through every growing season which not only provides you with the most nourishing and delicious high quality produce, but it also saves a fortune in grocery bills.
What is the ideal location for a Raised Bed Garden?
The raised bed garden is ideal for urban and suburban settings such as condos, townhomes and home owners. The attractive wooden frame contains the rich soil to provide a neat and organized look in most any location. This is perfect for situations in which more traditional and intensive methods of gardening may appear intrusive to your landlord or too radical for your neighbors and HOA’s. In special situations Brent builds the raised bed frames from red cedar or other such decorative woods to provide a more glamorous garden when desired.
What can be grown in a Raised Bed Garden?
Despite what some may believe, growing in a raised bed doesn’t limit your gardening options. We may think of a raised bed garden as just an overgrown planter box for growing lettuce and herbs; however Brent Knoll of Easy Edible Landscapes has found a way to grow pretty much anything in a raised bed. He uses tipi structures to grow beans, cucumbers, and peas. Brent and his crew have even built custom trellis boxes to really maximize the vertical growing space for those happy climbers. Even tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, are more than happy to grow in a compact raised bed kitchen garden.
Raised Bed Gardening and Compost
Although most people have come to know this method as “raised bed” gardening, there is another common term in the world of permaculture called “compost bombing”. We tend to think of this method as a way to obtain a neat and discreet gardening solution in a suburban setting, yet in the fields of horticultural sustainability and permaculture compost bombing has been developed as a way to create a fertile and root friendly planting area without tilling the soil.
The essential idea of any “no-till” gardening technique is to create a healthy layer of fertile topsoil on top of the surface of the ground. This is done to avoid the damage and disruption that takes place when we dig into the ground. If we till the ground, and essentially dig it up, we wreak havoc on the very complex micro-environment that exists in the root layer of the ground. Not only does this create an imbalance and deficiency in the soil, but every time we dig into the ground we are releasing more carbon into the atmosphere. This is just another of many examples of how aesthetics can overlap with ecological integration.
If you want a quick and easy garden that will give you an untold abundance of fresh delicious organic food all year then you want a raised bed garden. Raised bed gardens are attractive, easy to maintain and even relatively portable. Contact Edible Landscape Designer Brent Knoll for an in person consultation or go to their website http://www.easyediblelandscapes.com to order your raised bed today!!!
by Brent Knoll | Apr 15, 2013 | B-Edible Landscape, Education
Easy to plant, easy to peel, easy to digest, planting and growing bananas is as easy as eating them!
Bananas are the fastest growing fruit tree you will find, but that is mostly because they are not actually a tree but technically a grass. It may be hard to believe by their appearance that banana plants are in the grass family. However, the extraordinary rate in which they grow and multiply is definitely reflective of this fact.
Banana plants grow very quickly. So quickly, in fact, that their growth progress can be significantly observed in the matter of hours. I’ve left banana plants in the morning and come back in the afternoon to see brand new leaves shooting out of the stem!
The ability and ease of the banana plant to multiply make it an ideal plant for both food production and landscape. If you need quick privacy, you can simply plant a few bananas and before long you will have a broad and lush patch creating a beautiful bright green wall of flora. Then, as a giant bonus, each plant will provide an abundance of sweet, delicious, and nutritious organic food.
Planting a banana plant is incredibly easy. With fruit trees you must deal with a fairly large root system that makes it very difficult to transplant any trees larger than 3 feet. However, since bananas are not really fruit trees they have a relatively shallow root structure that allows for plants up to 7′ in height to be dug up and replanted with a few well place shovel strikes and minimal labor.
Many fruits can be quite finicky about their planting soil. The constitution and condition of the soil must be fine tailored and even then it takes a bit for the roots to become accustomed to the new soil enough to grow and begin to fruit. Bananas on the other hand, while heavy feeders (requiring large amounts of fertilizer) are quite easy to please. They are so tolerant to nitrogen that they can be planted in fresh composted manure. Sometimes in ideal conditions they can even be planted straight into manure, however Brent finds great success in creating a planting medium that is a mix of compost and native soil with a heavy addition of horse or chicken manure.
As the plants grow they can be direct fed nitrogen rich plant material or manure however the best food for a banana patch is provided by the bananas themselves. As the plants grow and produce fruit, each plant sends out several offspring from its rhizome (root structure). Then when the mother plant’s fruit is harvested its own life cycle has come to an end while its children plants begin to produce their fruit. Now as a last act of devotion the mother plant falls in place where it stood to decompose and feed its growing children. This beautiful cycle is what keeps your plants healthy, productive, and exponentially multiplying with very little effort.
Bananas love water and while they require a good bit of it for prolific production, they can’t have too much. By planting bananas in a depression or area prone to flooding you will not only have healthy plants but additionally, they will act as a sponge to keep that area from becoming too swampy or soggy. Banana plants tend to produce and grow more in the hot rainy summer anyway where there is generally more than enough water to go around.
Bananas are so much fun to plant and observe. Their unique and simple life process can teach us a great deal about nature and abundance. Yet, the simple genius of bananas goes well beyond growth and harvest.
Bananas are a delicious treat but many are unaware of their nutritional value. In fact, many people have been misconditioned to believe that because they are so sweet and delicious they cannot be THAT good for us, and perhaps they are better to be considered a treat. The fact is that our taste is our primary natural indicator of healthy foods and the total package that bananas offer make them a viable and valuable staple in any healthy diet.
Bananas are loaded with readily available vitamins, ideally balanced amino acids, and yes even proper ratio of omega fatty acids. Furthermore they are incredibly easy to digest, requiring very little excess energy from our body. This means that for the rich nourishment they provide they use very little by way of enzymes, digestive acids, etc. In other words, you are getting a great deal for spending very little.
Many foods that are supposedly very high in nutrients keep those nutrients locked up tight and require a great deal of energy from our body to process and use those nutrients. By the time we go through that complex digestive process we have spent more than we are given. Some complex proteins and high fat “omega rich” foods can take up to 20 hours to fully digest, requiring several different digestive enzymes and gastric secretions. For the same level of nourishment, bananas digest fully in 15-25 minutes, and require nothing from the stomach while they make their way directly to the small intestine for immediate absorption and assimilation. Their simplicity, once again, continues to bring more abundance to all levels of our being!
Anyone who has the proper climatic conditions to cultivate bananas would be silly not to take advantage of their simple brilliance! On all levels and all stages of growth, production, harvest and use it could be said that with very little effort or resources you will reap an extraordinary abundance in return.
by Brent Knoll | Feb 12, 2013 | B-Edible Landscape, Education
Why you should install an Edible Landscape in your Miami yard
The simple essence of edible landscaping is to create the same bright botanical display that any gardener desires, while using plants that are as delicious and nourishing as they are stunningly beautiful!
In the conventional methods of landscape design, the goal is to provide an aesthetically pleasing backdrop to your home. Landscapers use trees, bushes, flowers, sod and vines to decorate the surroundings of your house and yard. It is more than rational to want to make our outdoor spaces attractive and pleasing to onlookers. A visually pleasing setting brings about a very positive energy to a residential environment, and cultivating plant life in the area of our homes can keep us aware of our connection to nature.
A good landscape design also incorporates the use of plants for utility. Decorative vines and shrubs may be installed to hide visually unpleasant elements of the home such as oil tanks or swimming pool pumps. Tree rows are planted to create visible boundaries and to provide a wind break. Hedges can even be installed in place of a fence for privacy. There are so many useful and innovative ways to create a landscape in our yards, yet in the convention of landscaping today so many of us are missing a golden opportunity.
In a time when food costs are steadily rising and there is very little comfort in the quality and source of fruits and vegetables, we should really begin to explore the possibilities of growing our own food. Sure, you can grow a vegetable or herb garden, and many of us do. However, there are a large number of homeowners who don’t think they have the time or space to have a garden. Yet, since most of them do make certain that their property is landscaped, the solution seems quite logical; use edible plants in your landscape design!
Who wouldn’t want a strong wooden pergola overflowing with gorgeous blossoming flowers creating an archway into their backyard. This majestic scene would be a breathtaking addition to anyone’s space. Now, imagine that these flowers belonged to the passion fruit vine, and in addition to the splendor of their captivating display this wonderful plant would also provide delectable morsels of free organic fruit! Now imagine a border of ornately shaped deep green ground cover mixed with bright luscious hibiscus flowers. Well, guess what, those ornate green groundcover plants are actually tender salad greens, and even better yet, those hibiscus flowers are just as edible, and go great in those salads!
Sometimes the use of edible plants, in itself, requires the application of even more beauty. If you utilize raised bed vegetable or herb gardens in your yard you will need them to be pollinated right? So there is no better way to do so than planting a copious display of breathtaking butterfly plants. In addition to the outstanding display of bright colorful butterfly attractors such as fire spike, milkweed, and lantana, your landscape will be infinitely enhanced by the butterflies themselves; an organic living display of graceful beauty and the unifying symbiosis of nature, right in your backyard!
You see where I am going with this? For every ornamental plant we use to beautify our outdoor living space, we could easily substitute a delicious edible food that would be just as beautiful as any other typical landscape plant. If we collectively begin to think with this mentality we will be creating a great deal of positive opportunity.
Using edible plants in the design of our landscape is a very economical solution and, in the end, will provide a great deal of financial relief. We will, of course, save so much money that we would have spent on the overpriced low quality store bought fruits and vegetables, but also think about how much healthier we will be when these highly nutritional treats are growing all around us. Any time we make a healthy change in our life we can recognize the money we inevitably save on the high costs of healthcare.
We should also consider the amount of open space we are losing every moment from residential development. That, plus the growing overreach of industrial plant and animal farming, is making organic growing space quite a limited commodity all over the world. In that awareness it would be most responsible and wise to utilize every square inch of soil we do have, to produce what we all need to survive; food!
So when you are considering an installation or upgrade in the landscape of your outdoor living space, remember how important it is to explore the possibilities of edible aesthetics. Instead of pouring your resources into the beautification of your yard, make an investment in your health and prosperity. While saving money, enhancing your wellness, and achieving the serenity of visual splendor, you will simultaneously be contributing to an incredibly positive environmental impact worldwide. Be smart, be sustainable, be beautiful, grow your own food!
Need guidance on how to proceed with your edible landscape? Knoll Landscape Design is teaming up with Easy Edible Landscapes of Miami to bring you the most complete organic gardening service available. Need a consultation or landscape design. Landscape Designer Brent Knoll has been creating gardens for over 20 years and is ready to help you. Give him a call at 3054965155 and get started with your edible landscape today!!!