City Garden in a Box
I gotta say.. this is a very cool product for urban gardeners. Well packaged, complete instructions, and a fascinating soiless growing media: Coconut Fiber, also known as coir. (I have no idea how to pronounce “coir” so I shall call it coconut fiber throughout this article:)
The gable box is packed with all the right stuff: A seed germination system with coconut fiber discs and a mini green house, seeds, controlled release
Cucumber Seedlings Ready To Plant
fertilizer, and two grow bags containing compressed coconut fiber “bricks”.
All The Stuff From The Complete Garden Box
The seeds are for tomato and cucumber plants and I started by following the instructions to hydrate the seed germination discs. They expand mightily and I dutifully poked holes in them, put seeds in the hole, and covered it up with the clear lid vowing to keep them watered during the germination process. Next the instructions say to gently add water to the coconut fiber in the grow bags. What took up about a quarter of each bag compressed, immediately swelled to about 3 inches from the top of this 3 gallon bag. Pretty cool! You add a package of controlled release 14 14 14 fertilizer to the fiber filled bags now so that it can permeate the fiber and be there for the baby plants when they are potted up into the bag after germinating. Once the seedlings are ready you plant them in coconut fiber in the grow bags. My crop has been superb and my peppers are like an ever bearing tree!
I did need to stake my tomatoes as they grew but I’ve had a nice crop from that grow bag. I was thinking that this product would make a great fundraiser for Middle and High School Ag classes. HydroPro Sales is actually sponsoring fundraisers with the City Garden. Check out the details here if you are interested.. looks like a great money maker and these crops definitely grow to provide a nice farm to table at home growing adventure! No tilling or weeding needed! Just a sunny spot and water.
Tomato plant in grow bag
My Etsy Shop “Gulfcoast Folk” is a fun way to sell some of the art items I create. I started making cypress wood fish and painting them in a folk art style, and after a little research I chose Etsy as one of my marketing channels. Etsy showcases shops by artists and creators of handmade items. It’s a great place to shop for something different as there are so many creative products to find there. The shop was easy to set up and before I knew it, I was selling my fish all over the country! I’ve been kind of surprised at their popularity.
The Snapper School
To create my folk fish, I start by hand cutting Florida Native Cypress planks that I either re-purpose from fence pickets or purchase from the Crossroads, a local sawmill located close by. I love the rough cut marks the sawmill leaves on the wood. After I cut out my fish, they get sanded for a surface smooth enough to work with. I paint them with acrylic paint, and usually during that process, they get a name. Finally they are sealed with a glossy UV inhibiting acrylic sealer.
Many of my wood fish are whimsical creations from my imagination, but lately I’ve tried creating some fun species specific fish. I’ve added a few tarpon and snapper along with the whimsey folk fish. These wood fish wall hangings are perfect rustic fun decore for a beach cottage, Florida room, dock, deck, lanai or fence. I can also create signs from my fish. They are perfect to point the way to the pool, the bar, or wherever you want to direct your guests.
If you’d like to purchase, or commission a style or color, check out my Etsy Shop or drop me a line and I’ll get to work creating a special fish or school just for you. If you like them or my page I’d just be tickled pink if you shared on Pinterest or Facebook 🙂
When To Turn To a Landscape Designer
Sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture when you are looking at what seems to be insurmountable problems with your property’s landscape. Maybe you’ve just moved into the Tampa Bay Area and don’t really know what plants work here. Maybe you desire a particular style and just want to know how to create it. Maybe your new home has “default builder landscaping” and you want something custom. Those are all good reasons to hire a designer who can put things into perspective, evaluate your soil and sun shade patterns, suggest the right plantings and give you a list of what will thrive in your yard.
A good landscape designer will provide
- Plant lists
- Drawings and photo realistic plans
Designers are often affiliated with or familiar with the best landscape contractors to get your job done right. Independent landscape designers may work with more than one landscape company and can recommend or chose the one they feel will be the best fit for you and your family. These recommendations can be priceless when considering a makeover.
When it’s hard to visualize your future landscape its time to call in a pro who can make your landscape design come to life before your eyes. While there are plenty of designers in the Tampa Bay Area, you might want to check out the cool photo realistic design from HydroPro Sales and their cool outdoor Facebook page Outdoor Spaces.
Swim with turtles In your pool
Looking for a special touch for your new swimming pool or pool remodeling project? These 3d mosaic tile sea turtles are awesome!
Created by master tile artist Robert Vogland, they add a lifelike dimension to your pool that will elicit ohhs and ahhs with their realism. Robert’s sea turtles and other creations can be added to existing pools during remodels, or added to new pool construction. Robert’s custom tile art while not “cheap” provides incredible dimension and interest to your swimming pool.
Shower Floor for Outdoor Shower
Robert doesn’t only do turtles, although he states it is one of his most popular creations. He’s created amazing lifelike mosaic dolphins, sharks and more. If you’d like to know more or get a quote for your pool, contact HydroPro Sales at 813 444 2771 for more info.
For an idea of cost, the basic pricing for the Momma and Baby turtle is around $2700 not including freight from Hawaii or installation.
Robert’s work is not confined to swimming pool installations. He creates indoor tile tapestries, signs, bath and kitchen designs as well. He loves a challenge and to be able to create what some people say can’t be done. Check out this tile floor for an outdoor shower!
Catching is Better Than Fishing!
I fish more than I catch. It’s a horrible truth that’s hard to admit. There is nothing I love more than getting out on the water and fishing. The anticipation, the hope, the dreams of a great fish dinner. I can keep that anticipation and hope alive for hours, and often do, waiting for that tide change, waiting for the moon phase to bring the fish to me, trying to find the best ambush spot, praying, lots of praying. But sometimes nothing you can do makes it happen. You paddle or ride in with the adrenaline of the day flagging and with sad knowledge it was a blank day. Wannh!
But then there’s those catching days where you can do no wrong. Every cast is a hookup and you feel like a champion tournament winner! I was fortunate to experience one of those recently down in one the best fishin’ holes in the world, Englewood Florida. Englewood is South of Venice and North of Boca Grande. There are miles of mangroves and the famous “Stump Pass” is what makes the fishing here so great! Fish enter and exit this small pass with the tides. The variety and quantity can be mind boggling but the prey, in my mind is trout, redfish and snook.
This particular day, my family wanted to go the beach. We opted to take the boat since parking at Stump Pass is so limited. We ran out the intercoastal and whipped up ski alley where I dropped off the beach goers. I put the Scout in reverse and just backed across ski alley to the other side, anchored up by a fallen australian pine and baited up. The tide was ripping in. I cast upstream and drifted down First cast STRIKE! Trout on the line! Landed and in the cooler. Second cast.. nother one! Third cast… YEP!!! I stopped for a minute to text the family to say “non-stop fishing action guys!” They decide to join me so I ran over and picked em up. For the next 2 hours, we caught sheeps head, trout and ohh la la.. that gorgeous redfish you see in the picture! Talk about heaven!
The day was good and fish for dinner was a reality not a dream.