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about us

Who Are we

At Modern Homestead we help people create low-maintenance, regenerative and food productive properties. We believe that every property can be a “homestead”, no matter the size. We work with our clients to design and build gardens and stonework that are productive and ecological. In all of our stone design and work we use locally quarried and recycled stone and build using as minimal concrete as possible. We believe in creating beautiful gardens, relocalizing food, regenerating the land and creating resiliency in our communities.

Johnny is our lead stone mason and point man for all construction projects. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge about plants, stone and construction to the team with his 10+ years working in landscape construction and masonry. He has a great eye for landscapes and plants, and seeing the possibilities they hold. Johnny loves building with stone and finding unique and creative ways to use stone in all landscapes.

Abby has been in "design" for a long time and has experience in landscape design and garden management. She has spent years working and volunteering on several local organic farms in the area. While we both work together on all of our designs, Abby is often the illustrator for them, using her skills both in drawing and graphic design. She also heads up our nursery, cultivating and caring for many of the plants we use in our designs. Abby loves teaching, subjects ranging from making yogurt or canning seasonal produce to pruning fruit trees and starting seeds.

 

We are excited to help you bring your landscape into its full potential!

What is Permaculture

Permaculture is a lense through which we see the world–looking at problems and seeing how they can be turned into solutions. It is a design process that it is applicable in any landscape or garden with any goals or objectives.

Permaculture is grounded in the resilient diversity of natural ecosystem, looking to the natural world as the model for how ecosystems work and thrive. In order for us to design systems based on natural models, we have to see ourselves as part of the natural world and form a deeper understanding of how these systems that we depend on work.

More than being sustainable, permaculture is regenerative design. Sustainability is about keeping things as they are and trying to not let them get worse, but to regenerate is to make something better, setting up systems that if walked away from, they would still be productive. By creating beneficial relationships that stack multiple functions, health is restored while at the same time we gain valuable yields.

In our culture, being “eco” or “green” is centered around a philosophy to make less of an impact, to do less harm. In this ideology, if the end goal is to have as little impact as possible, it would be better to not exist. This creates a dangerous and unproductive base from which humans interact with their environment and each other. Instead, permaculture depends on our ability to do good, our ability to be healing forces for the planet and communities. Then all of sudden our focus shifts and having an impact is our goal, footprint becomes something we want to leave.

 
 
 
 
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Our Services

 

Design

We offer a wide range of design services, from consultations to garden element design to full property designs. We believe good design solves problems and makes space more beautiful, productive, enjoyable and ecological. We offer installation for all of our design services.


Consultations

All of our permaculture design work starts here, this service can either be a "stand alone" visual guideline and inspiration or leads right into a full design. 

Our property consultations help give homeowners ideas about the potentials and possibilities for their landscapes as well as ideas around the process of implementation. Before the consultation we will send you a questionnaire to fill out and return to us. We will review and pull any relevant data about your property in preparation for our meeting. During the consultation, we will walk the property with you, discussing what you currently have on site and how to best utilize what your already have, as well as what inputs would serve as key leverage points. You will gain valuable design direction and we will leave you with a list of our recommendations as well as some additional resources that are relevant to your specific site.

  • Our consultations are between 1.5 and 2.5 hours (depending on size of property). 
  • The price of a consultation is $195 for a property under 1 acre and $245 for properties over an acre (plus mileage if >30 min drive from Essex). Payable at the time of service with either cash or check.
  • We charge an additional $50 if the consultation is scheduled after 5pm during the week or anytime on the weekend (we understand that these can be ideal times for homeowners, however we try to limit the amount of consultations we do during hours that are usually set aside for our family). 


Master Plan Design

A master plan design is a full design and written report for your property. The master plan gives you the resources needed for the initial installation and future management to bring your landscape into full productivity. Our consultation service is the start of this process. (Because there are so many factors that go into the design, we can not give you a quote until after the consultation) After the consultation, we will gather additional information and take all necessary measurements and record site data. Using this information, we will create a beautifully drawn permacutlure design for your property (full color, poster sized and electronic copy).  The master plan includes full color to scale landscape drawing of your property as well as a booklet describing the property design, stages of implementation for various project, long term management strategies for the property, plant list with their requirements and uses as well as other resources to help in the installation and care of your property.

How It Works: After the consultation and we have completed the site work, we got to work and come up with a first draft drawing. At that time we meet with you again to share our DRAFT design and concept ideas. Based on your feedback in that meeting we will turn it into a final property design including a written report. 

Option 2:  We can offer a cost saving option on the design for black and white only drawings, as well as an abbreviated bulleted list of recommendations instead of a full report. To get more accurate pricing please contact us.


Garden Element Design

If you have a smaller portion of your property or only a few features that need attention we offer design services to fit your needs. For example we can design a front walkway with plantings, a small orchard, a raised bed garden, a patio design with plantings or other small projects. 


Nursery

While we source many plants from nursery (online and local) we have our own small scale nursery. Our nursery focuses on edible and medicinal plants that range from fruit trees to small herbaceous perennials. We utilize these plants in our installation projects as well as sell them individuals. See our selection and contact us about purchasing!

 

INSTALLation

We work on all size projects and offer a wide range of install services; plantings, earthworks, stone and garden care. We offer installation on our design services as well as installation and care separate from those services. 
 

Stonework and construction

We specialize in designing and building beautiful stone work that highlights the surrounding landscape. We do walls, structures and flatwork. Our stone work is founded on the same permaculture principles as our gardens work. We approach every stone job ecologically, by working with and highlight the surrounding landscape, building our walls either dry stack or using very limited concrete, only sourcing stone that was quarried in New England and using recycled stone as much as possible. We believe stone is a beautiful and natural building material and we build to last, combining functionality with form. Our stone work includes patios, walkways, walls, fire pits, seating, alternative building structures and any other work you might need. We also offer other construction work, using other materials and doing earthworks. Our wood work includes seating, raised beds, trellising and fencing. Earthworks include, swale and terrace construction, grading and water management.
 

Plantings

We attempt to emulate the patterns that we find in nature into all of our planting designs. This means creating ecosystems in the landscape, where plants live in symbiotic relationship with each others. Some plants will be helping fertilize the soil, some will be helping to attract pollinators and others will be producing food, all working together to create a beautiful, sustainable and edible landscape. We source our plants from specific permaculture nurseries, local nurseries and our very own small scale nursery. 


Garden Care

A healthy, thriving, and easily maintainable landscape is one that is modeled after nature. This means focusing on improving soil health, using plants that thrive in our unique environment, and using techniques to conserve and harvest water.  We believe that people can have a positive impact on their environment, and that can start right in their own garden. We look for leverage points in the garden where the inputs can affect the greatest amount of change. The result is a garden that is both beautiful and function, meeting the homeowners needs while benefitting the larger ecosystem. We both establish and maintain gardens for peoples based on their needs.


Maintenance

We offer a wide range of maintenance services. We offer shrub and small tree pruning (ornamental and fruiting), berry patch management, organic lawn care, fertilization, spring and fall clean-ups, weed management and pest and disease control. All of our maintenance services only use organic techniques and never use any harmful chemicals. We work with the homeowner to creatively problem solve issues in their landscape, so we can come up with solutions that make sense for their goals and that add to the health of the surrounding ecosystems. 


Education

We believe in helping to equip people with skills and information so they can connect with their properties and the larger creative world. We offer a range of education experiences –permaculture workshops, classes, lectures, screenings and community events. We are excited to share our knowledge and experience with design and gardening.

 

 
 
 
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2018 Plant Nursery

Hello and welcome to our plant nursery! We are excited to share with you our plant babies! As we are just diving into and currently hard at work to grwo the nursery business, this season we have a small offering of perennials, trees and shrubs. We will add plants and remove plants from this list depending on what we have available. 

Some details about our plants...

  • All of our perennials have been grown in Coast of Maine Organic seed starting mix and potting soil. 
  • All of our Trees and Shrubs are either grown in nursery beds or in pots using our own garden soil mix that has brick ends compost added in. For plants in the nursery beds they will be dug up out of the nursery when purchased and wrapped in burlap for transport. We would recommend planting these as soon as possible and keep out of sun prior to planting and keep root ball wet.
  • All of our perennials (except some of the yarrow) have been grown using 100% biodegradable grow bags, these allow for better root grow, plants won’t get root bound. These bags can be cut away or left on when planting. If you remove the bag just add it to your compost! 
  • All of of our perennials were started from seed using organic seed and grow right here on our homestead site. Tree and shrubs have either been sourced from quality permaculture nurseries or propagated / grafted right here on our homestead.

We are currently not ready to have set "store hours", so please fill out the form below with your order and we will get back to you about picking up the plants. Payments must be made at the time of pick up. Cash or check only at this time.

 

Perennials

Alpine Strawberries | Fragaria Vesca Sempervirens

These hardy, evergreen perennial plants yield tiny berries continuously throughout the summer and are perfect in window boxes, hanging baskets, raised beds, rock gardens, patio containers, or as edging plants along a garden path or flower border. 

They are clumping and not running, they gradually grow in leafy mounds about a foot in diameter / height. Every 2-4 years crowns will multiple and should be divided, doubling or tripling your plants. 

HARVEST: Seven or eight mature little Alpine plants will yield about a cup of berries several times a week on a continuous basis throughout the summer.

SOIL: Rich, fertile, well drained soil. 

LIGHT: Full Sun / Part Shade

PRICE: $10 / plant

 

Bee Balm /  Wild Bergamont | Monarda fistulosa

Bright-lavender blooms with a spicy scent. Used by Native Americans to soothe bronchial complaints and ease colds. Plants produce flowers in the second year after planting.  

The fresh or dried leaves are brewed into a refreshing aromatic and medicinal tea.

HARVEST: Leaves and flowers once plant has established. 

SOIL: Likes slightly acidic soil

LIGHT: Full Sun / Part Shade

PRICE: $6 / plant

 

Catmint | Nepeta mussinii

Profuse lavender blooms on spiky stems. Good for containers and the perennial garden. Soft, crinkled, gray-green leaves on a compact, mounding plant. Attracts bees and butterflies.

Edible Flowers: The flowers are very small, but have strong flavor and aroma. Use as a flavorful garnish in any savory dish or dessert. Flavor is minty, spicy, and refreshing. 

HARVEST: Harvest blooms in season and cut foliage as needed throughout the season. Dry the leaves and use in tea or potpourri. If the plants are deadheaded, they will bloom sporadically through fall.  

SOIL: Fairly rich soil, high in humus.

LIGHT: Full Sun / Part Shade. Catmint grows best in part shade, but tolerates full sun.

PRICE: $6.50 / plant

 

Chives | Allium schoenoprasum

Edible leaves / blooms used for cooking and medicinally. Can be used fresh or dried. 

HARVEST: Leaves and flowers once plant has established.  

SOIL: Fairly rich soil, high in humus.

LIGHT: Full Sun / Part Shade

PRICE: $6 / plant

 

Lavender | (Ellagance Purple) Lavandula angustifolia

In late fall, clip plants back to below the flower stems and mulch heavily. During the second year, cuttings can be taken from August-November, when the stems are semi hardened, but before they have been subjected to a hard freeze. 

HARVEST: Harvest the flower spikes on a dry, warm, sunny day just as the flowers are about to open. Hang to dry in a dry, well-ventilated space out of direct sunlight.

SOIL: Plant in a light, well-drained, gravelly soil.

 LIGHT: Full Sun

PRICE: $6.50 / plant

 

Lemon Balm | Melissa officinalis

Distinct lemon flavor.

Fresh leaves for tea and salads. During the summer, small white flowers full of nectar appear which attract bees.

HARVEST: Individual leaves may be picked as soon as the plants have become established. Cut entire stalks before the plants begin to bloom, being careful not to bruise the foliage. In the first year, two cuttings are possible. Leaves are best used fresh, as they turn brown and lose much of their scent when dried.

SOIL: Grow in moist, well-drained soil of medium fertility.

LIGHT: Full Sun / Part shade, does best in full sun.

PRICE: $6.50 / plant

 

Sage | Salvia officinalis

Dusty, green leaves are used in dressing, sauces, salted herbs, sausage, and tea. Make a good base for dried floral wreaths. Also known as garden sage.

Edible Flowers: Edible, lovely, small lavender flowers appear in early summer with a mild and sage-like flavor. Flower spikes can be battered and fried, cookedor used to garnish salads and pizza. 

Plants become woody and should be replaced every 3-4 years. In very cold areas, sage should be mulched in winter months.

HARVEST: Individual leaves may be harvested the first year once plants have become established. In the second and following years, cut stems to within 6" of the base of the plant just as flowers are starting to open. Hang small bunches of sage upside down to dry in a well-ventilated location out of direct sunlight.

SOIL: Grows in most soils with good drainage and fair amount of nitrogen. 

Good drainage is essential for overwintering.

LIGHT: Full Sun / Part Shade

PRICE: $6.50 / plant

 

Yarrow (White) | Achillea millefolium

This creeping herbaceous flowering perennial is native to temperate zones worldwide and a member of the aster family. It is an excellent companion plant,  especially helpful in attracting predatory wasps, lady bugs and hoverflies. 

Medicinally it is used in relieving fevers, shortening the duration of cold and flu, helping improve relaxation during illness, and relieving cramps associated with hormones or illness. Applied topically, it is helpful with skin itching, rash, hemorrhoids, wounds or cuts. (this herb is said to be safe for children) Some people will notice relief from allergy symptoms by drinking a tea of yarrow and mint.

It has also been used as a food, and the younger leaves can be cooked as a spinach or in a soup.

Divide every 3-4 years to maintain vigor.

HARVEST: Stems, leaves, and flowers can be harvested and dried.

SOIL: prefers standard garden soil or poor soil and requires little water

LIGHT: Full Sun / Part Shade

PRICE: $6 / plant

 

Yarrow (Colorado Mix) | Achillea millefolium

This creeping herbaceous flowering perennial is native to temperate zones worldwide and a member of the aster family. It is an excellent companion plant,  especially helpful in attracting predatory wasps, lady bugs and hoverflies. 

Use Colorado fresh as a cut flower, adding drama to bouquets with the added benefit of a long vase life. 

Divide every 3-4 years to maintain vigor.

HARVEST: Fresh: Harvest when pollen is visible on the flowers. Cut in the coolest part of the day..

SOIL: prefers standard garden soil or poor soil and requires little water

LIGHT: Full Sun / Part Shade

PRICE: $6 / plant

 

Trees and Shrubs

List coming soon!

 

Please complete the form below with your order and preferred pick up times

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CONTACT US

We would love to connect with you and hear about what your goals are for your home and landscape. Please send us a message, giving us a little information about who you are, where you are located and what are goals / dreams are for your home, so we can start the conversation about how we can help you and make your homestead more beautiful, productive and ecological. Make sure you specify what service(s) you are interested in and your hopeful timeline for your project. And please remember to be patient in hearing back from us, we spend our days out working at our clients and tending plants on our own homestead so we are not always on a computer and can notrespond right away.

We can't wait to work with you!