Yards of Plenty provides design and installation services of natural and sustainable landscapes, as well as organic, edible gardens throughout New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania.  We design residential and commercial landscapes of all sizes – from small urban yards to town parks. We also provide organic vegetable garden designs and consultation, landscape water management, and soil quality analyses, among other services.  In addition, we provide educational hands-on demonstrations on a breadth of topics.

Design, Consultation, Education

After many years of working in the corporate IT world, Lori transitioned to pursue her passion in sustainable landscape design and organic gardening. Lori uses her experience in permaculture and organic gardening to design landscapes that mimic the native surroundings, bringing forth landscapes that are peaceful, edible, easy to maintain, and that reinvigorate local habitats. Lori’s passion for natural, edible landscapes runs in the family – her mother grew up on an small, organic family farm in rural Pennsylvania. Lori is an ardent supporter of urban farming, edible gardening, and sustainability of all forms. In her spare time, Lori is an avid nature photographer and kayaker, and enjoys hiking and cross-country skiing. 

 

Below are the various services we offer. Click to view each one

 

2 Hour On-Site Consultation
We provide you with advice on plant choices, planting techniques, budgeting, water management, and composting systems for your landscape or vegetable garden.  Lori will walk the site with you and sketch a rough design plan and plant list, as well as teach you any necessary techniques to install and maintain your landscape.  You can then use this information to install the landscape yourself.

2 hour Consultation Flat Rates:
Full Landscape: $300
Organic Vegetable Garden Only : $150

Full Landscape Design (Free Pre-Consultation)
We provide you with a personalized landscape design.  The design will be specific to your vision of the space, incorporating native and edible plant species for year-round interest and nutrient-rich foods. By using the permaculture design method, the placement of particular plant species will allow the plants to complement one another, provide you with food, enrich the soil, and create habitat to attract pollinators and other beneficial animals, while naturally protecting your gardens from pests. We design landscapes that are specific to your soil type, sun availability, rainfall, and wind patterns, allowing your landscape to sustain itself with minimal maintenance. It will become a lush, productive, and ecologically-sound space.

In the pre-consultation, you will learn about the design process and Lori will learn about your project, but design ideas will not be given. Lori will then provide you with a proposal describing the project and fee for a Full Design and Installation.

Organic Vegetable Garden Planning & Installation (Free Pre-Consultation)
We will help you determine the best location in your yard to create a vegetable garden, and/or determine the best vegetables to grow in your chosen space. We consider soil texture and nutrient quality, amount of sunlight, and potential garden pests.  We will then design a vegetable garden that will produce plentiful food for that specific area, while also being aesthetically pleasing and relatively easy to maintain. This design will include a list of specific plant varieties, along with the vendors that supply them.

In the pre-consultation, you will learn about the design process and Lori will learn about your ideal vegetable garden, but design ideas will not be given. Lori will then provide you with a proposal describing the project and fee for a Full Design and Installation. You can choose to only receive the full, detailed design and install the vegetable garden yourself, or Yards of Plenty will install it.

Site Maintenance
Yards of plenty offers site maintenance for landscapes and vegetable gardens that we have installed. The extent and frequency of this maintenance is determined depending on the client’s needs.  Lori performs maintenance for small projects herself, but works with local landscapers to maintain larger projects. The cost of maintenance services depends on the frequency and intensity of the maintenance, as well as the size of the landscape being managed.
Vegetable Garden Check-Up
Is your vegetable garden, despite your hard work, not as productive as it could be? Yards of Plenty can help! We will review your garden, determine the plant pests and pathogens that are present, and perform soil tests to diagnose the problems.  We will then provide you with a report with specific solutions of how to improve your garden and will teach you the techniques to do so.

We can also carry out the remediation to improve your garden. The fee for the remediation will depend on the size of the vegetable garden and necessary techniques.

Flat Rate:
Vegetable Garden Review and Solution Report: $200

Rain Gardens
If you have a site where water never drains and plants/lawns do not thrive, establishing a rain garden can solve the problem. Rain gardens take up this standing water, while providing you with a flourishing garden.  We choose and arrange plant species to lead rain gardens to require minimal maintenance, while also revitalizing the natural environment of your landscape.  We will walk with you through your site and create a detailed plan for your rain garden.  We can also install the rain garden at an additional cost that will be determined depending on the size of the rain garden.

Flat Rate:
Detailed Rain Garden Design: $150

Water Management
Do you have standing water in your yard after it rains? Or is your soil often too dry? Using a variety of modern, sustainable methods, we will design a water management plan for your landscape. This plan can include rain barrels, downspout planters, grey water diversion, and altering the topography of your property, such as through the creation of swales. Water management methods can be implemented by Yards of Plenty, and the cost will vary depending on the particular methods used and size of the landscape.

Flat Rate:
Water Management Project Consultation & Design: $150

Soil Quality Analysis and Amendment
One of the most often overlooked, but key features to a productive landscape and vegetable garden is healthy soil. 
It is essential that your soil contains the correct amounts of organic matter, macro- and micronutrients, and moisture. By reinvigorating the health of your soil, you will also increase the nutritive quality of your vegetables and other edible plants. 

We will conduct a comprehensive soil test to determine soil texture, moisture, pH, micro- and macronutrients. We will then provide you with a detailed plan of how to amend your soil. You can choose to amend the soil yourself, or we can amend your soil using the appropriate techniques.  If we amend your soil, we will test your soil again after 6 months, during which time the amendments have settled into the soil.  We will then make any necessary adjustments.

The cost for the soil testing and report, and the amendments, will be determined by the size of the space, as multiple soil tests will be necessary in larger landscapes.  This cost will be determined and agreed upon with the client prior to performing the soil tests and amendments.

Composting Systems
By composting your household food waste, you can create free, nutrient rich fertilizer to use in your landscape and/or vegetable garden. We can help you choose the best composting system for your needs and the ideal placement of the composting system.  You can then install the system yourself, or we can install it. Cost of installation will depend on the style and size of the composting systems. 

Flat Rate:
Composting System Consultation & Design: $75

Educational Workshops & Presentations
Lori provides educational workshops and presentations for audiences of all ages. Topics include, but are not limited to:

Introduction to Permaculture
Edible and Native Gardens: feasible and fruitful!
Healing Your Soil
Preserving Your Harvest: Canning and Drying
Perennial Gardening: Year-Round Beauty
Herb and Tea Gardens
Organic Vegetable Gardening
Water Management & Rain Gardens

All workshops can include a hands-on component (if desired) that is made appropriate for audiences of any age. For example, at Muhlenberg College in Allentown PA, Lori held workshops engaging undergraduate students and faculty in creating an herb spiral to produce abundant herbs in a small urban plot, as well as created a swale to retain water on a steep slope at the Muhlenberg College Edible Forest Garden. For hands-on workshops, Lori coordinates and supplies all necessary materials.

Contact us to discuss your ideas for a workshop or presentation and to schedule an event.

 

Many minerals have been depleted throughout our landscapes which are vital to the health of our plants. The fertility of the soil can be restored by using organic compost and minerals that are naturally occurring, and simply by mimicking nature itself. Once these nutrients are returned to your soil, the quality of your fruits and vegetable will increase and you will reap the benefits of eating nutrient rich foods! 

I use methods derived from my learnings of permaculture, bionutrients, organic orchard workshops, as well as my personal gardening experiences in New Jersey.  

My definition of Permaculture.... Permaculture is a design that allows for one to live sustainably throughout the year, regardless of the climate or location by using the resources that are available to you at your specific site.  This design assists plant, insect and animal species to flourish in an environment that recycles within itself. 

A Permaculture environment provides harmony with all living species, using the wind, sun, soil, water, moon and landscape.  There is no impact to the environment that will disrupt the natural occurrence of life.  Even areas of poor sustainability of life where there is lack of water, or soil that has lost its nutrient level can be designed to harvest water and restore the soil nutrients by using plants, animals and techniques that will give these nutrients back and provide food.  This is achieved by using plants that have natural nutrient accumulators, nitrogen fixers, habitat and are edible.  The scale to which one wishes to achieve this, can vary from a very small space to a very large farm. 

Select to view information.

Soil

Soil nutrient levels are important to the health of the soil and how plants are able to use the minerals. If the mineral level is way off, your plants may not be able to use all of the minerals in the soil, even if they are present.

If you plan to amend your soil using minerals/stone, you must test your soil before adding certain trace elements. If you over do it with certain minerals, you will wind up with very poor results. IMPORTANT: Many trace element dust particles are hazardous. Please use extreme caution if you intend to do this yourself!

The Nutrient Density Supply Company provides the best selection of soil mineral elements that I have found. You will need to contact them via email/phone to place your order.

Mineral

What it does

Too much

Too little

Calcium

Essential for cell & membrane growth

Increases need for phosphorous & zinc. Decreases avail of NPK, iron, zinc, manganese

Poor root and stems

Magnesium

photosynthesis

Cements clay. Needs more phosphorous

Poor absorption

Nitrogen

Photosynthesis

Too much, ties up copper. Cannot asssimilate micronutrients

Poor growth

Copper

Stalk strength & resilience

Toxic, poor nitrogen avail

Poor growth

Phosphorous

Oils, sugars,starches, photosynthesis

Reduces sulfur avail., zinc and copper. Rapid maturity

Poor reproduction and growth

Zinc

Moisture absorption, chlorophyll, regulates sugar consumption

Ties up Phosphorous, manganese

Stunted. Lowered disease resistance, poor metabolism

Potassium

Helps zinc

Ties up boron. If w/high sodium, blocks manganese. Tough, stringy veggies

Slow carbohydrate formatino. Reduces frost protection

Boron

Nitrogen utilization, reduces starch from leaf for fruit production

Toxic

Poor carbohydrates

Manganese

Seed germination, growth, bloom, seed set and stalk strength

Increases need for iron & zinc

Poor reproduction, metabolism

Sulfur

Protein, root, seed, growth

Ties up nitrogen and phosphate. Reduces molybdenum avail.

disease

Iron

Chlorophyll

Zinc deficiency, poor phosphorus avail. Need more potassium to regulate

stunting


Seeds

 

How should I prepare a new garden bed to have good soil?
You should try to mimic nature and what you see in the woods. Use leaves, wood chips, sticks, branches, stumps, logs. Cover them up with a soil blend of top soil and mulch. As the branches, etc. decompose they will feed the worms and provide natural nutrients to your soil.
What is companion planting?

Companion planting is keeping in mind that some plants complement/help each other, while others may affect the growth. Here are some examples:

ASPARAGUS 
Companions:
 Basil,  parsley, tomato. 
Ally: marigold deters beetles. 

BEANS 
Companions:
 Beet (to bush beans only), cabbage family, carrot, celery, chard, corn, cucumber, eggplant,  pea, potatoes, radish, strawberry. 

Enemies: Garlic, onion and shallot stunt the growth of beans. 
Allies: Marigold deters Mexican bean beetles. 
Nasturtium and rosemary deter bean beetles. 
Summer savory deters bean beetles, improves growth and flavor. 

BEETS 
Companions:
 Bush beans, cabbage family, lettuce, onion 

Ally: Garlic improves growth and flavor. 
Enemies: Pole beans and beets stunt each other's growth. 

CABBAGE FAMILY 
(Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, kale and kohlrabi) 
Companions: Beet,  celery, chard, cucumber, lettuce, onion, potato, spinach. 

Allies: Chamomile and garlic improve growth and flavor. 
Catnip, hyssop, rosemary and sage deter cabbage moth. 
Dill improves growth and health. 
Mint deters cabbage moth and ants, improves health and flavor. 
Nasturtium deters bugs, beetles, aphids. 
Southernwood deters cabbage moth, improves growth and flavor. 
Tansy deters cabbageworm and cutworm. 
Thyme deters cabbageworm. 

Enemies: Kohlrabi and tomato stunt each other's growth. 

CARROTS 
Companions:
 Bean, lettuce, onion, pea, pepper, radish, tomato 
Allies: Chives  improve growth and flavor. 
Rosemary and sage deter carrot fly. 

Enemy: Dill retards growth. 

CELERY 
Companions:
 Bean, cabbage family and tomato 
Allies: Chives and  garlic deter aphids. 
Nasturtium deters bugs and aphids. 

CHARD 
Companions: Bean, cabbage family and onion 

CORN 
Companions:
 Bean, cucumber, melon, parsley, pea, potato, pumpkin, squash 

Enemies: Tomatoes and corn are attacked by the same worm. 
Allies: Odorless marigold and white geranium deter Japanese beetles.  
Pigweed raises nutrients from the subsoil to where the corn can reach them. 

CUCUMBER 
Companions: Bean, cabbage family, corn, pea, radish, tomato 

Enemy: Sage is generally injurious to cucumber. 
Allies: Marigold deters beetles. 
Nasturtium deters aphids, beetles and bugs, improves growth and flavor. 
Oregano deters pests in general. 
Tansy deters ants, beetles, bugs, flying insects. 

EGGPLANT 
Companions:
 Bean, pepper 
Allies: Marigold deters nematodes. 

LETTUCE 
Companions:
 Beet, cabbage family, carrot, onion, radish, strawberry 
Allies: Chives and garlic deter aphids. 

MELONS 
Companions: Corn, pumpkin, radish, squash 
Allies: Marigold deters beetles. 
Nasturtium deters bugs and beetles. 
Oregano provides general pest protection 

ONlONS 
Companions:
 Beet, cabbage family, carrot, chard, lettuce, pepper, strawberry, tomato 

Enemies: Onions stunt bean, pea. 
Allies: Chamomile and summer savory improve growth and flavor. 
Pigweed raises nutrients from subsoil and makes them available to the onions. 
Sow thistle improves growth and health. 

PARSLEY 
Companions:
 Asparagus, corn, tomato 

PEAS 
Companions:
 Beans, carrot, corn, cucumber, radish, turnip 
Allies: Chives deter aphids. 
Mint improves health and flavor. 

Enemies: Garlic and onion stunt the growth of peas. 

PEPPERS 
Companions:
 Carrot, eggplant, onion and tomato 

POTATOES 
Companions: Beans, cabbage family, corn, eggplant, pea 

Enemies: Tomatoes and potatoes are attacked by the same blight. 
Allies: Horseradish, planted at the corners of the potato patch, provides general protection. 
Marigold deters beetles. 

PUMPKINS 
Companions:
 Corn, melon, squash 
Allies: Marigold  deters beetles. 
Nasturtium deters bugs, beetles. 
Oregano provides general pest protection. 

RADISHES 
Companions:
 Bean, carrot, cucumber, lettuce, melon, pea 
Allies: Chervil  and nasturtium improve growth and flavor. 

Enemy: Hyssop 

SPINACH 
Companions:
 Cabbage family, strawberry 

SQUASH 
Companions:
 Corn, melon, pumpkin 

Allies: Borage deters  worms, improves growth and flavor. 
Marigold deters beetles. 
Nasturtium deters squash bugs and beetles. 
Oregano provides general pest protection. 

STRAWBERRY 
Companions:
 Beans, lettuce, onion, spinach, thyme 

Enemy: Cabbage 
Allies: Borage strengthens resistance to insects and disease. 
Thyme, as a border, deters worms. 

TOMATOES 
Companions:
 Asparagus, carrot, celery, cucumber, onion, parsley, pepper 

Enemies: Corn and tomato are attacked by the same worm. 
Mature dill retards tomato growth. 
Kohlrabi stunts tomato growth. 
Potatoes and tomatoes are attacked by the same blight. 
Allies: Basil repels flies and mosquitoes, improves growth and flavor. 
Bee balm, chives and mint improve health and flavor. 
Borage deters tomato worm, improves growth and flavor. 
Dill, until mature, improves growth and health. Once mature, it stunts tomato growth. 
Marigold deters nematodes. 
Pot marigold deters tomato worm and general garden pests, 
TURNIPS 
Companion:
 Pea


Lori Meier 
Certified, Permaculture Landscape Designer

lmeier1998@gmail.com
908-337-0264


 

 

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