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old is new – a roundup of reclaimed and salvaged wood shelves

salvaged fir shelf

Furniture and accessories made of reclaimed or salvaged wood can not only save living trees from the sawmill, but they can add all the inherent character, patina and charm embodied in the old wood to your home’s decor. Here are few select items we’ve uncovered.

This woodsy shelf unit (above) is created from live edge slabs of wood salvaged from forest restoration activities. The tree has been milled, kiln dried, sanded, cavities have been filled and it’s sealed with hard matte wax. Each shelf is priced separately – by Real Wood Works

handmade reclaimed wood shelfbox

If you’re taste runs toward the rustic – this wall-mounted set of boxed shelves (above) will provide a myriad of decorating and presentation possibilities. Handmade entirely of reclaimed wood. A very tasty $99 @ Del Huston Designs   (more…)

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Top Tips for Growing Vegetables and Herbs in the Wintertime

plants and produceAnyone that lives near or drives through rural regions of America is familiar with the barren landscape that appears during the winter months. With the sun’s heat less intense and its appearances few and far between in the American heartland, winter is not the prime growing season for some of the most important crops in the world. Farmers spend this time processing the crops they’ve grown and preparing them for sale and storage.

What about your home garden? Are there any vegetables and herbs you can grow that will survive the lack of sunshine during the winter months? Below you’ll find some helpful tips to grow vegetables and herbs during the winter, both indoors and outdoors.

Best Vegetables to Grow during the Winter
Believe it or not, there are a number of vegetables you can grow throughout the winter months to produce earlier crops than springtime plantings. These vegetables are hardy plants that can deal with the cold temperatures and lack of sunshine during the winter, and are ready to pick in the spring. According to Thompson & Morgan, the following are some of the best winter vegetables:

  • Onions and Shallots: Planting these veggies in the autumn results in quality crops the next year. Both vegetables look after themselves over the winter, meaning less work and attention from you. Keep in mind that onions have a longer growing season, so they won’t be ready until the following summer. Plan accordingly when you plant.
  • Garlic: Garlic is one of the easiest plants to grow. Garlic, like onions, has a long growing season. You’ll need to plan accordingly to enjoy your garlic next year.
  • Peas: This vegetable is a hardy plant that is capable of growing through the tough winter months, and your peas will be ready for harvesting in the spring.
  • Asparagus: It takes several years to establish an asparagus bed that is easily reused each year, but once you do you can enjoy tasty asparagus that is homegrown. Take note though, asparagus can take two years to grow. Once your bed is established though, the plants can produce for up to 25 years. Additionally, the plants can survive through summer and winter growing seasons with ease.

Indoor Herbs and Vegetables
If you lack the space to grow veggies and herbs outdoors, or the faith in outdoor growing during the winter, you can always care for your plants indoors. Off the Grid News identified the following herbs and vegetables as the easiest to grow indoors during the winter months:

  • Basil: The herb requires just four hours of sunlight each day and proper watering to grow indoors during winter. If necessary, you can substitute the four hours of sunlight for 12 hours under a florescent bulb.
  • Rosemary: This herb needs at least six hours of sunlight each day and can, like basil, survive under a florescent bulb when necessary. One key factor: rosemary needs well-drained soil to survive.
  • Chives: A tasty onion-like herb, chives can survive on minimal sunlight throughout the winter and can easily grow under the glow of a florescent bulb.
  • Tomatoes: Larger tomatoes are difficult to grow indoors, but small cherry and windowsill tomatoes are easy to grow inside during the winter. They require just three to four months to reach maturity and provide a vine-ripened taste that cannot be matched at the grocery store.
  • Green beans: This veggie is available in bush and pole varieties. Bush green beans are easier to grow inside. All they require for growth during the winter is a container that drains well, six hours of sunlight, and about three months to mature.

Indoor Growing with a Greenhouse
If you have the space on your property for a greenhouse or other sturdy, outdoor structure, companies like have the supplies you need. Greenhouses range from simply cold-frame structures to full-size glass structures. Depending on the specific structure you purchase and the vegetables and herbs you wish to grow, a greenhouse can include electricity, heat, benches, lighting, and humidity controls.

Establishing a greenhouse on your property allows you to grow your favorite herbs and veggies outdoors throughout the winter, without worrying about their survival. You can start your seeds earlier, grow throughout the year, and enjoy fresh vegetables year round. Consider the following guidelines as you setup your new greenhouse:

  • Heat & Ventilation: The ideal temperature inside a greenhouse is 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Many structures capture the sun’s rays for heat, while others use dedicated heaters to provide warmth. Good ventilation includes open doors (or lids on cold frames) on warm days and stand fans, when necessary, to circulate air.
  • Shade cloth: Green shade cloths can help control the temperature inside your greenhouse by blocking the sun’s rays during the day.
  • Humidity: For tropical plants, humidity control in a greenhouse is vital. To generate greater humidity during the winter months, place trays of pebbles with water underneath plants. As the water evaporates, humidity is added to the air surrounding the plants.

With these tips and guidelines, you’ll be able to grow your favorite vegetables and herbs throughout the winter.

Author: Allen Baler is a Partner at 4Patriots LLC, a Tennessee based small business that provides products to help people be more self-reliant and more independent. Allen founded the company in 2008 after 14 years as a corporate executive leading profitable business for the Easton Press and the Danbury Mint. He graduated with honors from Harvard University and resides in Nashville with his wife and 3 daughters.

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