One of these things doesn’t belong….

Last weekend, I was sitting on the porch and looking at my upside-down tomato plant, wondering if this strange looking contraption would actually work.

You may have seen the infomercials on TV, and while it is quite pricey for a few metal cables and some plastic, the idea of being able to walk out on the front porch for a fresh tomato anytime I want sucked me in.

I noticed a few small yellow buds developing that weren’t there last week, so I guess for now, yes indeed, it does work. But it got me to thinking about what else I could grow on my vast .07 acre property that would help offset the grocery bills, and help my kids learn about how food gets to our table. Our entire lot is quite shady for the better part of the day so a backyard garden wouldn’t work. The North side is home to my herbs which seem to do just fine with only a glimmer of late afternoon sun, and since the front yard is, well, the front yard and the only flat lawn I have, so I better leave that alone for those games of washerboards by the light of tiki-torches this summer.

No, the only place left is a small line along the side of our porch. Normally you might think that the idea of putting vegetables in with Hostas, a Rose, and some Snapdragons would be strange. But it actually looks pretty good. The Hostas are a relatively low-lying plant, the Snapdragons and the Rose add color, and when these luscious Red Bell Peppers come along, they’ll look great too.

You can do the same thing with design, and with wood in particular. Our house is by no means rustic, but we used a Character Select Heart Pine floor for the main areas downstairs. Why wouldn’t I use something of a higher grade, to fit in with the typical 1920’s architecture of our area? Because we liked it! The knots and all remind you that this is an older home, and we designed our interior colors to play into the varying tones of the Heart Pine. People usually associate the Character Select with lodges or Adirondack architecture, but you can work it in with other elements and still make for a cohesive design program.

One of the coolest uses of our reclaimed wood in a not-so-rustic application is this table we recently built for a media company in New York:

Our sister company, NEW Woodworks built the top from a series of large Oak joists reclaimed from a building in Pennsylvania. If you look around, you see no other wood in the room, yet this 18 foot table fits right in.

As I type this, we’re getting going on a large door project with NEW Woodworks where they’ll be using similar materials in a large office building. Seems as though many architects and interior designers have caught onto the idea of using wood in a new way and in a new place. No reason I can’t do the same in the garden, and no reason you can’t do the same thing in your project.

The one problem you won’t have with your wood though – Squirrels. They seem to be nuts about my new pepper plants.

Keep in touch.

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