Complete Gardening Solution

The "Complete Garden" kit

The “Complete Garden” kit

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 fertilizer, and two grow bags containing compressed coconut fiber “bricks”.

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.  Pretty cool!  You add a package of controlled release 14 14 14 fertilizer to the fiber filled bags now so that it

The stuff from the box

The stuff from the box

can permeate the fiber and be there for the baby plants when they are potted up into the bag after germinating.

Now I wait for the seeds to germinate. I plan to keep the coconut fiber in the bag moist until time to plant and I can’t wait.

While the gardenmarketplace.com price is 24.95 for this product, I received it as a gift from family who purchased it at Publix on sale for $4.95,   A great investment for all that is in the box. I should add that if you purchase this product at the website, there are 3 grow bags included and you have your choice of seed varieties.

I’ve always been interested in coconut fiber as a growing media and look forward to seeing how things develop and.. I’ll keep you posted!

UPDATE!  24 days later, Here’s my crop!

From Germination to 23 Days

From Germination to 23 Days

Gulfcoast Folk on Etsy

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.

Pickle

Pickle

tommytarpon

Tommy Tarpon

trigger

Trigger

smokey

Smokey

snapper-school

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 :)

Hiring a Tampa Landscape Designer

When To Turn To a Landscape Designer

Sunny and TropicalSometimes 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 providesmithoffsetfront

  • Education
  • Ideas
  • Plant lists
  • Sourcing
  • Pricing
  • 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.

 

 

 

Sea Turtles for Your Swimming Pool?

Swim with turtles In your pool

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.

Tile Shower Floor

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!