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 | Feb 27, 2013 | B-Sustainability, Education
Composting in South Florida
Often times you may be driving around South Florida, and you will see landscape trucks filled to the brim with dead palm fronds, tree clippings, pulled weeds, and many other products of a day’s work in the yard. You may also see these piles sitting out by the curb waiting to be collected by waste management.
We see it all the time and it has become very normal for us. After all, what else are you going to do with all of that “waste”? When you have your yard mowed, your hedges clipped, weeds pulled, trees trimmed, and leaves raked you have to do something with all of that “stuff” don’t you? You can’t just leave it there, can you?
Natures composting process
Well lets think about what would happen out in nature. If we sent teams of landscapers into a pristine forest and collected all the fallen leaves, dead branches, decomposing fruits, and all other fallen “waste”, and we brought it out of the forest to the dump, then that forest would surely perish. It may look prettier and “neater” to our conditioned eyes for a time, yet that forest would starve to death before very long.
We know that , along with plenty of sunshine, plants feed on nutrients in the soil. They gather the nutrients with their roots and use them to create new growth. However, we need to ask ourselves how do those nutrients get into the soil. How does the soil replenish itself? The answer to that question lies in heaping piles at the Dade county dump. The decaying matter that falls from the plants at the end of a life cycle decomposes on the ground and the nutrients from that decomposition replenish the soil; making it very fertile.
Composting as fertilizer
Of course when we have a detached experience of the process of nature we might be conditioned to think that plant food comes in bags and bottles from the Gardening store. We assume that manufactured fertilizers are essential to a healthy landscape and that rich potting soil is something that must be purchased at the Ag shop. The truth is that when we understand, appreciate and facilitate the natural process of plants, we see that the plants have all the necessary resources to take care of themselves.
Manufactured plant foods and fertilizers are really just a poor quality replacement for the high quality, nutrient rich plant food that is literally falling into our yards everyday. When we gather and remove the clippings and deadfall from our backyards we are not only taking away the most nutritious and compatible food source from our plants, but as we throw these resources away we are also throwing away all the money we spend on fertilizers, plant foods, soil, etc.
Brent smelling fresh composted soil
Composting is clean
The good news is that we CAN have the best of both worlds if we learn to work with nature’s process. We can have a neat clean and tidy yard while still being able to utilize the free food that our plants provide for themselves. We do this when we create a composting system in our own yards. Simply by finding an inconspicuous area behind some hedges or in a hidden corner to pile our debris, we create an inexhaustible source of food for our many plants. When we gather and mix our yard clippings, chipped branches, dead leaves, and food scraps, we watch our soil and plant food being created before our eyes.
At Knoll Landscape Design, Brent Knoll encourages his clients to avoid taking anything organic off of their property. Brent knows the value of that organic matter and how much it means to his plant friends in his organic landscapes and gardens. He also realizes that one of the greatest advantages to the copious heat and sunshine of the South Florida climate is how rapidly organic yard waste can decompose to become fertile soil. This advantage makes the compost turnover rate surprisingly fast, and leaves little excuse not to have a compost area in every yard. Brent will actually find a suitable space for a compost area in his clients yards and can even create functional and aesthetically pleasing compost bins when desired. This is his way of being sure that no nutritious future plant food is tragically towed away to the dump.
Organic vegetables grown from compost
Composting is the way of the future
Although it should be known that, thanks to Brent, even when others unknowingly dispose of this nutritious organic plant food it doesn’t necessarily go to waste. A wise man knows that what many perceive as trash, others see as treasure. When Brent builds his magnificent garden spaces he is actually using your waste! Brent collects the organic matter that has been sent away by other homeowners and uses it to build massive stores of “homemade” organic soil. Using his own special composting process, Brent takes truckloads of chipped trees, yard waste, and manure and turns it into some of the most fertile soil in South Florida.
So now that you know how it works, “Keep it in your own yard”. Create a space for a compost pile and collect all that beautiful nutritious debris. This is a cornerstone of sustainability. Why throw away the resources nature provides only to use industrial means of manufacturing unnatural and inherently poor quality substitutes that cost you money? Embrace your ecological relationships and utilize the perpetual providence of nature. This natural partnership is essential to our philosophy at Knoll Landscape Design, and facilitating that process for our client’s is our mission.
Raised Bed Garden
Need help with your Organic Garden?
Need help getting started wtih your organic garden? Knoll Landscape Design is there for you. Call Brent Knoll at 3054965155 to schedule an in person consultation and get your organic garden going in the right direction. Brent has been designing organic gardens in Miami for over 20 years and is ready to help you. Call today!
Landscape Designer Brent Knoll
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!!!