May 15, 2012

Deck-orating

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Flood Wood Care. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hiya peeps!

Welcome back, and I hope you all had a lovely Mother's Day!  We had a nice day.  Avery took some good naps (which makes for a nice day regardless!) , Nick put a new shelf up in the master closet, and we heard from the deck guy.

Unfortunately, Deck Guy didn't have great news....he'll be starting our new deck a week later than planned.  It will now be completed probably closer to the middle of June rather than the beginning of June like we first thought. 

Even though we're going with composite planks for the deck, the skirting and the pergola will be cedar.  We like the idea of the "no maintenance" composite, but with the money saved by using actual wood for the other portions, it's worth it to us to learn how to take care of it.

Luckily, I've been reading up about the various options for wood stains and sealants, and I think I've found a brand I want to try on our brand-new deck: Flood® Wood Care

flood.com

Flood® is known as the "wood care specialist" and has been around since 1841.  Their CWF product line comes up often in online forums I've looked at regarding the various types of stains and sealants available for decks, and it's always highly rated by the users.  I think we'll be giving it a shot.  Lucky me Flood® was also looking for some bloggers to do a sponsored post!

We want a high quality product because (hello!) who wants to be restaining their deck or pergola every year?  Now, honestly, if it needs it every year, I'll do it, but if we can somehow help it look great and only refinish it every few years, even better.  Flood® seems to be the best option out there for protecting outdoor wood from the elements and UV rays.  For our western-exposure deck and pergola, that UV protection will be even more important.

Sorry I don't have any pictures of our awesome deck (because it's still pretty rotten at this point?), but as soon as work starts, you'll be along for the ride!

Thanks for stopping by! 

 

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May 2, 2012

Some (Plant) Food for Thought

This post brought to you by Whitney Farms. All opinions are 100% mine.

Hi friends! 

Since my last post about our sad, rotten deck.....

     ....the deck guy still hasn't gotten started.  Hopefully he'll get to us soon, since our weather has been beautiful and his schedule should be right on track.

     ....the neighbor's big dog has busted (Batman style - ka POW) his way through the fence into our yard and/or dug and shoved his way under the fence three times now.  He thinks digging in our garden and mulch is SUPER FUN FUN FUN!  He's gotten our wheels turning once again to generate a little more privacy in our backyard.  Not privacy from the dog, alas.  But privacy from the neighbors, yes :)

     ....and whatta coinkydink! We met with a landscape designer to get ideas for said privacy!  One of our local nurseries was offering 30 minute sessions with a designer for a $25 donation to the American Cancer Society.  What a great way to get a little professional input for not much money!

We really like the designer's ideas, and we'll be implementing them as we can.  But in order to bring in new (expensive) plants, I need a good plan in place to help them get established.  This includes transplanting the existing plants, amending the soil as we go, and finding a safe and effective plant food for both the transplants and the new trees and shrubs.

Here's a grouping of recent transplants (some of which have been dug up by the neighbor's dog.)  Obviously, they need some time (and help?) to get re-established!

I've been thinking a lot about the chemicals I use in our yard, and now that we have a baby and plans for these new shrubs and trees, I'd like to get away from the conventional, chemical fertilizers (Miracle Gro, anyone?) and cheapy soils. 

Side note - I got BLASTED on an online gardening forum one day for asking for suggestions on fertilizer.  Apparently the use of "fertilizer" is a HOT BUTTON for a lot of folks. 

Instead, organic "plant food" seems to be the better route. 

Honestly, I'm pretty uneducated about the whole chemical-fertilizer thing, but if there were good alternatives I actually knew about  (other than compost - already doing that), I'd reach for those instead.

Enter Whitney Farms®.

Whitney-Farms-Logo_Banner_New_C.jpg (6 documents, 6 total pages)

Whitney Farms has a line of organic plant food and organic soil.  I recently learned about these guys, and although I haven't tried their products yet, I'll definitely be looking for them next time I'm at the store.  Clicking on the link above also gives me (and you) a $3 coupon for a Whitney Farms product. 

 Their products are 100% natural with no additives and nothing artificial.

109103_1.jpg (6 documents, 6 total pages)

I'm not sure I could go wrong with that concept.  Plus, those same gardening circles who told me to jump in a lake with my fertilizer question (maybe they're a little pretentious) have *nothing* nice to say about many potting soils, including the Miracle Gro brand.  Apparently, many potting soils have very junky ingredients that aren't helpful for plants at all.  Who knew?  Maybe that's why I have so many planters that look *awful* by the end of the summer?  Maybe an organic soil would pass muster?

Organic Plant Food

A few more perks of Whitney Farms plant food and soil are:
   -Low to no dust (because who likes stuff blowing into their face?)
   -No manure odor (we live near cow pastures.  We have enough stink.)
   -Easy to apply (whoo hoo! Easy is my M.O.)
   -Contains beneficial microbes (it had me at "beneficial".)
   -Specially designed protein-based blends (plants love protein.  Remember those images from school of Native Americans showing the pilgrims how to put a dead fish in each planting hole? They were on to something.)

But first things first.  In order to eventually get some new shrubs and trees into our yard, I need to do some more transplanting of the smaller plants currently in the way.  A little organic plant food would probably go a long way in helping them re-establish in their new locations, and it would be the perfect opportunity to test it out.  So pardon my dust while I go print off my $3 coupon and chase the neighbor's dog out of our backyard. I've got some plants to move!

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