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 | Mar 21, 2013 | B-Sustainability, Education
Purple Cherokee Tomatoes
Brent Knoll, of Knoll Landscape Design, understands the superiority of heirloom seeds. Heirloom seeds are seeds that have been passed through the generations for hundreds of years. They have been lovingly tended and carefully preserved by the sons and daughters of the planters that came before and so they carry with them a legacy of respect and devotion. They bring us back to a time and a state of mind that placed natural virtue well above material vanity. It is a kind of culture when mothers and fathers pass down the essence of their joyful labors, and sons and daughters inherit natural abundance and sustainable prosperity. The saving and passing on of seeds is the last vestige of our natural heritage and a clear reflection of our working connection to nature.
Heirloom vegetables will always stand out and bring a special atmosphere to any garden. They have personalities of their own; bright colors, stunning patterns, rich flavors, stimulating textures, and a strong hearty constitution. The lineage of heirloom plants preserves the knowledge gained from their collective experiences. Plants have an exceptional capacity for adapting to the conditions of their environment. They can alter their processes and structure to become less vulnerable to particular pests, fungi, and chronic soil conditions that are becoming more common as the planet itself begins to change. These learned adjustments begin to develop over the generations as the plants begin to code these developmental changes into their new seeds. When the lines of these plants are preserved, their wisdom is passed down and continues to grow greater in each new seed.
Seeds that are sold by large companies are often hybrid seeds. This means that to create these seeds two varieties of plant from the same species were intentionally crossed to produce the best traits of both parent plants; e.g. preserving the large size of the father and the prolific yield of the mother. This method of production is used to breed plants that will embody exceptional traits, yet unlike the open pollination heirloom plants who develop these traits organically over generations, hybrid plants have these traits embedded immediately through human manipulation. Of course any man made manipulation of a natural process is most often a short sighted solution that will become a great detriment in the big picture. When the hybrid method is used to create plant seeds, the plant may grow well and yield prolifically but the genetic structure is too unstable to produce viable seeds. In other words seeds from hybrid plants cannot be saved for future sowing or passed down to the next generation.
Brent’s favorite heirloom cucumber, The “Japanese Long”
There should be a clear distinction made at this point between hybrid plants and genetically modified plants (GMO). Hybrid seeds are not the same as GMO. While they share essential traits and common disadvantages through their manipulation of nature, the GMO process uses a more intense approach that results in a much more dangerous ecological outcome. Hybrid seeds are created by intentionally breeding particular plants to create a desired plant trait in offspring. Genetic modification of plants is the direct manipulation of the genes themselves. Often times genes are used that do not even come from plants but rather fish genes or even genes of harmful bacteria.
Genetic modification is a highly dangerous and incredibly irresponsible endeavor that only exists out of a fluctuating combination of public ignorance, blind greed, and misguided desire to save humanity. The biggest problem with this industrial process is that there is no way to opt out of it. Seeds by design are made to spread across great distance and cannot be contained. Pollen drifts through the open air on and seeds float across the fields on the breeze. If someone is using GMO plants in their garden or farm, they are putting at risk an area larger than most would imagine.
While the difference in intensity is quite clear, in the context of seed saving, GMO and hybrid seeds arrive at the same essential downfall. When the seeds we sow cannot produce seeds of their own they become, quite literally, unsustainable. While this becomes quite conducive to the consumerist system of our culture by veiling the free providence of nature and making us dependent upon a marketplace or manufacturer, it allows us to fall out of alignment with the natural order to where we cannot harmonize with our inherent natural legacy. If we cannot preserve the natural history that is at the very root of our sustenance as ecological co-creators then we gradually erase our place and purpose in this world of being.
Brent understands these issues very well and furthermore he understands them on a very practical level. While others are ranting and raving about the politics of it all and engaging in laborious self perpetuating struggles of the mind Brent brings the simple practical solutions to the grassroots of us all. We all have the opportunity to practice our views about this issue in a joyful productive way. When we grow our food sustainably and responsibly in our own back yards then our voice grows and fruits in the sight of our universal neighbors. What we do and how we live becomes the loudest clearest and most influential argument for natural harmony and the case for sustainable natural freedom.
Heirloom plants provide superior flavor, texture, and heartiness than any other method of seed creation. They perpetuate the freedom of nature and alleviate great financial strain by continually providing the seeds of their own reproduction again and again. They afford us the ability to offer an inheritance to our children that will nourish and serve not only them but their children and their children’s children.
Heirloom melons illustrate the inherent superiority in flavor of heirloom plants
When Brent plants fruit and veggie gardens for his clients across Miami, he uses the methods that best suit us all. Brent works with heirloom seeds that his predecessors have been using for generations. He sows and waters those seeds with joyful memories of his youth and the love of those who planted before him. He preserves and cherishes the seeds to be replanted again and again in the gardens of the children who are enjoying the sweet fruits of those seeds today.
by Brent Knoll | Mar 11, 2013 | B-Butterflies, Education
Making your landscape a butterfly garden
South Florida hosts wide range of exquisite butterfly species. More than a dozen or so types of butterflies can be seen around our area all year. Swallowtails, Zebras, Fritillaries, and Monarchs are just a few of the majestic little garden dwellers that you have the opportunity to encounter in your very own yard. Seeing as there are so many butterflies in our South Florida landscapes, it makes a great deal of sense that there are so many native plants in our area that are butterfly attractors.
Two monarchs getting to know one another
Butterflies have a very intimate relationship with plants; they feed on the nectar of flowers and lay their eggs on leaves and stems. Native plants have become markedly dependable for their nourishment and shelter, and so by incorporating more native butterfly plants in our landscape and gardens we will become an honored host. Plant these host plants and you’ll have a thriving butterfly garden in no time.
One of the best plant choices to bring butterflies into your life is Milkweed. Butterflies absolutely love milkweed nectar and you will love how their striking orange, pink, and red flowers liven up your landscape or garden. Milkweed is also relatively inexpensive and, living up to its name, grows very quickly in virtually any soil condition. As a South Florida native, milkweed, in addition to its butterfly attraction, will do wonderful things for your soil and surrounding ecology. Milkweed is an important element in any butterfly garden.
Queen butterflies having lunch
When you attract butterflies to your garden with food they will come and go, but when you give them a place to lay their eggs, well they’ll be there all the time! There are many plants in South Florida that are larval plants, however few compare to the Corky Stem Passion Vine. The corky stem is a larval plant to Zebras, several types of Fritillaries, and the Julia butterflies. The corky stem passion vine is also reasonably priced and grows very rapidly. This is an ideal vine for privacy fences. The flowers are not especially striking however the massive clouds of gorgeous twirling butterflies more than make up for that.
Corky stem passion vine
A very important consideration for butterfly attraction is to be mindful of any chemicals you might be using in your garden. Butterflies are very fragile creatures. Commercial fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides are lethal to butterflies and their larva. Brent uses safe organic means of pest control but even some of his organic methods must be undertaken with great care to preserve the winged beauty of his garden spaces. Brent uses an organic pest control product that is essentially an organic bacteria. This bacteria has no effect on the plant but it is toxic to caterpillars and other bugs that feed on our fruit and vegetable plants. When Brent is spraying this on his tomatoes, peppers, squash, and other edible plants he must very carefully avoid getting any of it on his butterfly plants. Brent remains vigilant in his application of these agents and, as a true lover of butterflies, takes the greates care in keeping them safe and comfortable in his gardens.
There are so many bright, vibrant, and beautiful butterfly plants that can be utilized in our area all year long, and Brent knows them all. In Brent’s garden, when you are experiencing the breathtaking display of endless swarms of butterflies as far as you can see, it is difficult to imagine at that moment that there could be any butterflies anywhere else. When Brent unleashes his famous, “Butterflies Gone Wild” it surely seems as though every butterfly in South Florida is in eager attendance.
Butterflies transcend all ages
Landscape Designer Brent Knoll knows butterflies and Brent knows butterfly plants. Whatever the taste and whatever the budget, Brent can turn your home yard and garden into a favorite destination for butterflies everywhere. Give him a call today at 3054965155 and turn your South Florida landscape into a butterfly haven!