Don’t give up on your gardens just yet!
These 5 alternative approaches will have your herb garden thriving all winter long.
Just because the temperature has changed doesn’t mean your green thumb has to hibernate! You just need to modify your approach to stay gardening throughout the cold season.
Are you ready to start producing flavorful foliage all winter long?
Cold-resistant herbs like chives, mint, oregano, parsley, sage, and thyme tend to withstand the cold better than some of their counterparts such as rosemary. Regardless, any of these can survive when they follow these five steps.
Encase your herbs using cold frames or cloche.
Cold frames and cloches protect your herbs from the cold by encasing the entire plant. The enclosure traps the heat rising from the soil, raising the temperature several degrees when it otherwise would be too cold. This can promote further growth of your herbs.
What is a “cold frame” or a “cloche”? A cold frame is a house-shaped frame with glass panels that slope downward in position that capture the most sunlight for the enclosed plant. Cloches tend to be smaller in size and significantly more portable. Traditionally they are glass and bell-shaped. However, their higher price tags have encouraged the DIYers to create their own using cut-off milk jugs or soda bottles to enclose each plant. If you choose the DIY approach, don’t forget to push the edges about an inch or two below the soil to prevent them from blowing away. You can purchase plastic ones here.
Cover in mulch or straw.
Like a warm blanket, a thick layer of mulch or straw will allow your herbs to continue growing in the cold season. This approach works best in places that don’t experience extreme cold. When you would like to harvest, simply pull back the mulch or straw blanket, cut the herbs you need, and then return the mulch/straw blanket to its place. Keep in mind your herbs will not produce at the same rate as they did during the warmer seasons. If a small layer of snow falls atop the mulch/straw blanket it will act as additional insulation. When spring returns you can turn the mulch/straw blanket into the soil with little to no waste.
Repot your herbs and transport them inside to a greenhouse or sun porch.
If you are growing your herbs in the ground one of the most popular options for keeping them alive and producing is to repot them and move them somewhere warmer. The optimal way to accomplish this is by first trimming them back to about an inch tall making them easy to transport. You can use the trimmings and if there are extra follow step 5. Using a sharp shovel separate them at their bases ensuring that the roots of each one will fit into its container with well-draining planting mix. They will grow back when replanted in the garden in the spring.
Grow herbs in your sunny window.
Herbs can add that extra greenery to your kitchen window. Make sure they receive at least six hours of sunlight a day. If not, you can use artificial light to supplement, keeping in mind it takes about 14 hours of artificial light versus the six hours of sunlight per day. Keep your plants in an atmosphere where the temperature ranges between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a well-draining potting mix and water often.
Extend life in a cup of water.
Some plants don’t need soil at all. You can place a cut of basil, mint, sage, oregano, thyme, and green onions in a cup of water on your window sill and they will begin to produce roots and grow new leaves. This is a great way to get extra from your harvest.
Be sure to remove lower leaves to keep them from being submerged in the water.
Keep in mind all plants will do better outside but these ones are a great alternative. Their leaves might be thinner and a tad less flavorful, but they will still be fresh for weeks to come.
If you liked this article, you can find other useful household articles by searching our blogs. Keep reading here.
Homeownership is a lifestyle choice. Therefore, choosing homeownership isn’t a decision made overnight. The decision often takes careful planning for how the purchase of a home will fit into your life now and in the future. Additionally, the decision will take financial planning for how to pay for the home of your dreams. How will you know if you are ready? Follow along as we explain the fundamentals of preparing for homeownership so that you know when the time is right for you.
When renting, you usually don’t have to worry about maintaining the property, making repairs, or remodeling the home. Are you ready to take on those responsibilities as a homeowner? If so, are you ready to be tied down to one place? Renting offers a bit of flexibility because leases are renewed on a regular basis allowing you ease of relocation. As a homeowner you’ll need to spend time and money selling or renting out your home before relocating.
As a renter you never gain any long term savings in the form of home equity. As a homeowner, the longer you are in the home the more equity you can expect to gain. You can get a better idea of why by the explanation in our article, Is It Better to Buy a Home or to Rent One?.
A couple of good questions to ask yourself if you are considering becoming a homeowner are:
If you needed to move in a couple years, would you feel comfortable renting out your home or selling it?
Could it potentially bring in a cash flow?
As a homeowner you are ultimately responsible for paying the mortgage. Are you financially stable enough to not default on your loan?
Most importantly, becoming a homeowner means putting down roots. Are you and your household emotionally ready to make that change and commitment?
If you answered yes to the above questions, you are on your way to homeownership. Let’s dig a little deeper to see if you are financially ready to take the leap:
Do you know how much home you can afford?
There are a lot of factors that play into knowing how much home you can afford. Of course, there is the price of the home, but you must also consider interest rates as they play a significant role in your monthly mortgage payment. For a good demonstration of the effect of interest rates on your monthly mortgage payments check out this article, Rising Mortgage Rates. Furthermore, what many first-time home buyers forget to consider in addition to the down payment and monthly mortgage payments are closing costs, moving expenses, inspection fees, property taxes, and homeowners’ insurance just to name a few. A great agent will connect you with a lender that will walk you through how these will affect your payment and if they pertain to your loan. Don’t have an agent? Connect with us here to get paired with the perfect agent for you. Identifying how much you can afford is not a task to do alone. You must connect with a lender. They will look at your financial position and get you pre-approved for a home.
Are you working to reduce your debt-to-income ratio?
Lenders know that it is not realistic to have no debt. Therefore, lenders are looking to see that you are making progress towards paying down your debt. Demonstrate your plan to get your debt paid off. Your lender can help you determine the best course of action so connect with them sooner rather than later.
Are you prepared for a downpayment?
Lenders recognize 20% down payments as a demonstration of financial stability. 20% down payments decrease the initial risk to the lender and benefits the buyer by not having to pay PMI when they put 20% down. You can read more about those benefits here. However, we know not everyone can afford 20% down, but everyone needs a place to live. Therefore, there are different programs and flexible options that make owning a home attainable even when you do not have funds for a 20% down payment. It is important to talk to your lender to determine which fits your unique needs.
Maybe you already got a pre-approval letter, but you aren’t satisfied with the limits. You have several options. Provide your agent and lender with a clear expectation of your wants and needs. If you aren’t exactly sure what you want, try reading 6 Reasons to Attend Open Houses to solidify your desires. You can use this form to help identify your wants and needs to share with your agent and lender. Once you have a clear list your lender can help create a financial plan to reach your desired goal. Your agent can simultaneously watch the market for homes meeting your criteria and help you understand the dynamics of the local market. Knowing the market can help you understand your purchasing power. Your agent can help you understand the difference between a buyers’ and sellers’ market and help you understand what to expect and how to leverage the market to your advantage.
If you are ready to buy or still unsure, you should begin talking to an agent. If you don’t already have an agent, you are in luck! We have incredible agents and connections with lenders who can guide you through your unique situation and help you know when you are ready to purchase a home. Connect with us here.
773 Fort Ebey Road, Coupeville
From the spacious, light-filled entrance to the expansive sunset views over the Salish Sea, this solid construction and timeless design custom high-bluff waterfront home invites you to slow down and breathe!
Lovingly designed and built by the owner’s late husband, architect Dennis DePape, 773 Fort Ebey Rd creates a lasting impression on all who view it, but especially those who reside within it’s walls. Planned and built in two phases, the western half of the home was completed in 2013 using strawbale infill and sturdy epoxy-filled stucco construction over a high-quality concrete floor. Phase 2, the eastern half of the home, was completed in 2015 with traditional wood and insulation materials wrapped with the same high-quality stucco. The roof is commercial grade TPO, smartly designed to drain from one downspout on the north side which carries water to the gulley at the street. Since its construction, neighbors have dubbed this “the eagle house” for its likeness to an eagle with two soaring wings and eagle eye tower as viewed from the south on Fort Ebey Rd.
Timeless Design Inside
Inside, you’ll be wowed by the tower entry and foyer, with beautiful lighting and display shelves. The open floor plan of the main living room, dining room, and kitchen keep the view central to whatever you are doing. If accessibility is a concern, buyers will appreciate the zero-step access points from the front and the side patio, completely level floorplan, and a no step bathtub/shower in the primary bathroom. The carpet in the home was installed over a finish-quality concrete floor with stryofoam insulation underneath for warm feet! High quality Canyon Creek Cabinets, granite countertops and stainless appliances will delight the chef, as will the propane range.
Solid Construction Designed for Awestruck View
The upward slope of the ceiling toward the west invites attention to the immense views. Large concrete patio on south side provides view not only of the Salish Sea and sunsets, but also the waves crashing on the shore 140 feet below to the south. Speaking of the bluff, one can view rebar stakes that were placed near the edge of the bluff when the home began construction in 2012 and they are still standing. A bluff study was done at the time of construction and is available to give buyers confidence.
Location. Location. Location
Located in Coupeville’s Sierra Country Club, this home features unobstructed westward views of the Salish Sea and 365 days of sunsets. Sierra is close to beach access at Libbey Beach, as well as Fort Ebey State Park with it’s beaches and miles of hiking and mountain biking. Sierra Country Club has a community pool, clubhouse, and playground area for all to enjoy! Wildlife abounds in this community, from deer to bunnies to soaring bald eagles.
This property is built to last, from its solid construction to its timeless design features. Built in the rain-shadow of Central Whidbey, with proximity to Fort Ebey and Libbey Beach parks and its endless views, this home will delight it’s new owner for years to come.
Want to learn more about the advantages of straw bale and stucco walls? CLICK HERE.
Enjoy this list of ideas for your special day at home with the one you love.
Breakfast in bed:
What better way to start the day than with breakfast in bed? Surprise your Valentine by waking up early and preparing a decadent breakfast like pancakes, an omelet, or frittata. Pair it with some fresh fruit, and perhaps a pastry and coffee or champagne.
Couples massages are a fitting indulgence for Valentine’s Day. Luckily for you, this experience can be easily recreated in the comfort of your own home. Set the mood with some lit candles with relaxing music playing in the background. Take turns applying facial masks and giving each other massages to put you both in a state of relaxation and draw up a nice warm bubble bath. Try adding hand made body products from Oak Harbor local Little Town Cottage.
Playful scavenger hunt:
What better way to introduce joy and excitement than with the thrill and adventure and your memories as a couple than with a scavenger hunt around your home. Create each clue on a red heart tied to a special memory from your relationship and hide them around your house. Don’t forget to have the answer lead to the next clue. Get creative and plan something special for discovering that final clue!
Most of all enjoy the day with your special someone. Happy Valentines Day.