Back in 2000, Rick Baker was a self-proclaimed "non-farmer geek type" who owned an online corporation.
Later that year, Baker bought a 30-acre farm in Versailles. His newfound passion for working outdoors led to the start of EvoOrganic, an organic garden company that opened its doors at 1032 New Circle Road last month.
The company's biggest endeavor so far is designed to take the hassle out of gardening.
The Weed Free Garden Watering Blanket, an organic gardening fabric with a built-in slow-drip irrigation system, claims to save as much as 80 percent of the water used for growing while blocking weed growth, the company says.
Never miss a local story.
Baker said he hopes the blanket will prevent people from feeling as if "they're fighting the garden, rather than loving it."
The creation of the blanket came from Baker's own search for such a product.
After speaking to gardening distributors in Australia, Spain and Israel and finding no such product on the market, Baker decided to invent one himself.
The blanket waters the plants below its surface and prevents water from evaporating. Baker said it's a hit in California, where "water management is almost a religion."
EvoOrganic has a small vineyard and garden outside its New Circle warehouse where blankets are at work and on display.
An average consumer kit retails for about $79.95. Baker said it generally pays for itself by saving labor and herbicide costs.
Baker also is developing the "WonderWall Vertical Gardening System," in which plants sit in pockets in a hanging fabric that uses a tubing system to water them.
Baker plans to build a WonderWall in the atrium of Central Bank.
EvoOrganic also is preparing to release a book, The 7-Minute Organic Garden.
The book's jacket is made of TerraSkin, a treeless paper made in Taiwan partly from crushed stone, and it uses soy inks. EvoOrganic says it will plant a tree for every copy sold.
Baker said, "It's the first book that completely practices what it preaches on sustainability."