Planting Your Own Herbs for Healthy Cooking and Sustainable Development

Planting your own herbs in your garden is a convenient and healthy way to flavour your home-cooked meals  

Herbs gardening is not hard at all and usually takes very little space so it is common for people living in apartments to have a couple of herb pots on their balcony. Price is not really the concern as herbs are usually cheap enough if you may compare the price of a few sprigs of sage, basil, or thyme, but you cannot beat the freshness of home-grown seasonings. 

Planting your own herbs simply means that you will be able to get the full flavour, and when appropriate, the optimum medicinal features of the herbs. Indeed, the healing herbs contain substances and volatile oils that would weaken fast as soon as harvested. Same goes with the flavour of seasoning herbs actually. 

Now, talking about convenience, imagine yourself selecting a few fresh herbs from a spot near your kitchen anytime you need it! You also have the liberty of planting your most favourite herb, have a constant fresh stock at hand. Compare this to the effort of going to the grocery store and buying them without any idea of how fresh it is is a very different story. Not to forget how little you know about the potential chemical used to keep them fresh as long as possible.

A small space is enough to grow a lot of different herbs

A small space is enough to grow a lot of different herbs

To ensure convenience, it is best recommended if you reserve a spot in your garden, a few walks from your kitchen door. If you do not possess sufficient space, you can plant the herbs in different sizes of tubs, pots, containers and suitable boxes. A lot of herbs need light, plenty of sunshine, and well-drained soil. For instance, horseradish requires a rich deep soil, while on the other hand, mint likes damp soil, and because of its expansive nature, mint needs more space compared to other herbs. Thus, these herbs are most practical to be planted in a separate location. An old pail with its bottom removed will be an excellent container to isolate them.

Many deco/trendy items are available to get your little herbs farm indoor. We even have reclaimed Ulin pot covers that gives an extra classy touch to your small indoor garden.

In cases where it is inevitable to use containers or pots, the required depth for most herbs is somewhere around 10-12 inches. Smaller herbs will basically fit in containers with a depth of at least 6-8 inches. Some bigger herbs like sage, rosemary, or bay tree will do excellent in much bigger containers.

Right in your kitchen, ready to use!

Right in your kitchen, ready to use!

For effective container growing, efficient drainage is essential and drainage exits should be covered with a lot of fine wire net or broken pot shards. Containers should be disregarded to be put directly on the ground. It should be raised on stones or on tiles. It will help in making sure that your herbs have appropriate drainage, especially during winter when there is a risk of water accumulation. It will also help in preventing frost damages during the cold months.

In order to grow at their optimum condition, herbs would love some compost, especially those which are planted in containers. There are tons of available ready-made compost that you can select from. However, in support of sustainable development, you can basically do your own compost from your food scraps. We invite you to read the 2 parts Kaltimber articles about making your own compost:

Baskets and containers require regular feeding and watering. A complete renewal of compost should also be scheduled every four to five years while transferring them into larger containers. Shallow window-boxes and minimal pots should be changed on a yearly basis. You have to ensure to consider the proper height for each plant to avoid fall over and instability.

Many tutorials are available online to teach you and help you to start this fun in-house farming.

Woodworking and Tools are Inseparable!

There has never been a better time to initialize woodworking hobby. Information and how-to is anywhere, magazines and books everywhere. Add the realm of internet in to all of these and you have tons of choices to gain knowledge from.

One thing that excites individual starting in the woodworking idea is simply the tools and woodworking itself. Newbies does not have any idea what they need. Some people go overboard and purchase everything in sight while other people simply make do with what is in the garage.

 It doesn’t really matter what your pioneer project will be as there are some needed materials that you cannot live without. You don’t need the state-of-the –art power tools when you are a beginner. It is very impractical to go out and purchase a two-grand worth of power equipments just to build a pot case. Listed below are the most needed tools for each and every project you can think of as a beginner:

Processing reclaim hardwood - Kaltimber

Processing reclaim hardwood - Kaltimber

 A dependable and sturdy workbench. While a workbench cannot be regarded as a  woodworking tool, it is a bit of a complex to get things done without it. It does not really matter whether you are doing it yourself or purchase a ready-made; the requirements are basically just the same. Your workbench requires being heavy and stable so you can hit it hard on doing your project. Some benches come with a built-in tool tray or vise. These are efficient but you can do away without them.

A pair of saw. No matter what classification of woodworking are you doing, there is a great chance that you will have to cut wood to the proper size. Do not skimp when you buy these tools. A high quality handsaw will simply do it for you especially when you are a newbie. There are a lot of different saws out there. You just simply have to choose the ones with a comfortable handle bar and a good blade. Begin with a back saw for fine cutting and a rip saw for over all cutting.

Antique handsaw

Antique handsaw

Drill. The ability to drill holes in items you are working on is very important. This woodworking tool will do excellent work as electric screw driver or even a sander, if needed. A cordless drill is an easy tool. You can be able to take it without obstructing your workplace. This is a must-needed device.

 Measuring Tools. You cannot construct a lot without having to measure the sizes of the pieces of wood you are working on. This is the most essential tool you can have, you can saw all you want but if the pieces are not the proper size and shape, you will surely have a problem. Purchase a high quality measuring ruler and your project will surely benefit everyone.

Safety Devices. We all know that as a beginner, woodworking tools can also be dangerous. Always use the safety measures like wearing safety goggles. However, the most essential safety device you will possess is common sense.

There are a lot of general woodworking tools out there that you will surely need as your woodworking odyssey continues, but these should initialize your journey. If you feel the need, just add as you go and try not to purchase tools that will not get you the right project that you need.

Aspects That May Affect the Strength of Wood

Aside from the normal variability of strength within and among species, a lot of other aspects may affect the strength of wood. These aspects may be widely divided in to irregularities and natural defects, aspects in relation to the environment as well as the effects of biological agents.     

When the direction of the grain is not parallel to the longitudinal axis of a wooden element, it is regarded and recognized to be cross-grained or more commonly known as short-grained. Cross grain may manifest from spiral grain in the tree or by the method of which the timber is cut and sawn. In linear parts of furniture like spindles and legs, whose performance depends on longitudinal features like bending resistance, cross grain may result in tremendous loss of strength.  A lose of grain in one out of five may result in about 2/3 reduction in the modulus of rupture. Wooden knots are another crucial weakening defect.

wood weakness

Basically, loss in strength is the results from the distorted cross grain of wood around the knot and the abnormal grain and tissue direction of the knot itself. Compression wood, on the other hand, is a reaction wood formed in conifers as a result of leaning or crooked stems.

In hardwoods, tension wood is weak in compression parallel to the grain.

On the other hand, strength of wood is also affected by temperature. When the temperature is low, the strength of wood is high, and when the temperature is high, the strength is low. But, if exposed to higher as compared to natural temperatures, or with long period of time, it might end up in permanent loss of strength. Effects of heat in lessening the strength are least in dry air but prevalent in moist air.

heartwood split

Strength of wood is also comparable to duration of loading. Time-related creep in wood lessens the strength over long period of loading. A good example is a beam that might carry a short term load three times as heavy as it could carry for long term.

Insects and wood inhabiting entities such as termites, beetles and ants need also close attention as it affects greatly the wood’s strength. Chances are, the strength of wood weakens over time because of the presence of these little monsters. Another major cause of deterioration on wood is fungi. Wood-staining fungi use the residues of stored materials in sapwood cells.

wood pests

Be always on the look out for these factors to avoid deterioration and to avail of the wood’s optimum strength in use.

In Kaltimber we offer long lasting A1 rated ironwood. It s natural constitution makes of it an anti decay and anti termite wood perfect for all outdoor use!

Recreate an Eco-Friendly Home

This is not a drill!

Going eco-friendly is not just a trend, but a lifestyle here to stay. The call back to nature is affecting many people these days, and whenever possible, they move back to the countryside but sometimes the move is difficult and it is necessary to bring nature to us. Homeowners have learned about indoor pollution, climate change and other deforestation topics, and they increasingly express their love for nature within their homes. 

Indeed, if you have been contemplating of going green, and decide to have an environment-friendly home, the need to redesign both exterior and interior using eco-friendly materials is the way to go. One way to do it is to modernize them to become more environmentally-friendly. Sometimes, metal and plastic appliances are being replaced by wood and other eco-friendly materials whenever available.

Painted walls? Yes but..

Another important aspect is the type of paint used. It is unfortunately common for old walls to be painted with paint that includes Volatile Organic Compound (VOC), solvents being release solvents in the air as the paint dries. These solvents could be a health hazard and create headaches or dizziness. Aside from paint, other materials such as adhesives, cleaning supplies, and varnish, could include VOC solvents. Therefore, the first step when purchasing the paint you want for your eco-friendly walls is to look carefully into their compositions.

Redo the flooring

Since the objective here is a major transformation toward an eco-friendly home, consider revamping your flooring using environmentally friendly materials. Of course, Kaltimber would recommend first and foremost using reclaimed wood, but there are numerous other eco-friendly flooring materials that you may use: modular carpet tiles, bamboo, or "real" linoleum Real linoleum—as distinct from synthetic versions or vinyl—which is made from all-natural materials, including wood flour, rosins, ground limestone, powdered cork, pigments, jute and linseed oil.. These materials are not only good for nature, they are affordable and easy to install.

Reclaim hardwood flooring - Kaltimber project

Reclaim hardwood flooring - Kaltimber project

 Go for natural lighting

Now, this can bring so much impact on your home and your health: getting proper and, yet affordable and eco-friendly lighting. Where else to get this than straight from the sun? The initial cost is high but no need to explain to you about the long-term benefits, including financials. If you want to make the most of your eco-friendly home, try switching your expensive fossil-based energy supply to natural one thanks to solar energy. Solar panels are a great investment since they will last years and are affordable to maintain.

Alternatively, you can start by installing large windows to get as much natural light as possible. Big windows can give enough light for you not to use the electricity for a longer period of time. It is not easy to do a U-Turn from being too modernized toward becoming environmentally friendly, but it is possible, step by step.

You may start by researching all good ideas on how you can slowly change your home into an eco-friendly home. You might be hesitant at first, but as soon as you will have decided to make a stand for your home and nature, you will get the benefits in no time. Investing in more reliable and eco-friendly materials it will cost you at first, but this might turn into your biggest investment having the best return in the future on your finances and, more importantly, your health.

Natural light, air flow, reclaim hardwood flooring…eco-friendly 101!

Natural light, air flow, reclaim hardwood flooring…eco-friendly 101!

Oriented Strand Board Flooring, Your Sustainable Solution

Nowadays, homeowners are passionate about joining the “sustainability movement”.

As a result, the whole building industry is changing its practices to meet this demand, so designers, contractors, and many more are paying closer attention to factors such as lower energy consumption. To achieve that, they embrace new materials such as "Oriented Strand Board" or more commonly known as OSB sub-flooring.

As briefly touched-based in the previous article, flooring holds great potential in reducing energy usage and OSB emerging as one of the most efficient product choices to get significant energy savings. Indeed, Oriented Strand Board (OSB) proved itself as one of the important material in the construction industry when it comes to flooring, roof sheathing and wall sheathing. Additionally, the “OSB Panel” is environmentally friendly as it is made from fast-growing trees of minimal diameter, and is utilizing minimal levels of formaldehyde when compared with products of the same category. With competitive OSB prices and energy savings, you will save a significant amount of money. Additionally, OSB panels have double the life expectancy than regular subfloors such as plywood.  

This ground-breaking oriented strand board panels are long-lasting, durable, consistent and reliable from one specific classification to the next, and are provide building contractors with the choice of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified wood. These certifications imply that the wood is harvested from well-managed forests with the core focus of avoiding deforestation. This is a commitment that is close to Kaltimber's heart as we reclaim wood for our product and aim to apply for the FSC certification. 

plywood solid hardwood floors

An important thing to keep in mind, however, is that OSB should be well protected from humidity, be flat installed, beneath or inside covers and shielded from the elements before installing it, making sure that it is waterproof.

These types of pioneering materials are increasingly being used because of their durability and their eco-friendly aspects. True enough, Oriented Standard Boards are the material of the future in coherence with sustainable development and eco-friendly housing. 

We recommend our Indonesian readers to contact our partners EcoSmartHUB for more advice on BSB availability!

OSB flooring and structure

OSB flooring and structure

Energy Efficiency: Your home can be an Eco-Friendly Environment

As electrical appliances keep piling up, and associated power bills skyrocketing, many homeowners are looking for ways to make their homes more energy efficient. Aside from money savings, improving your energy savings can also play a crucial role in preserving the environment by decreasing your carbon footprint.

Some of the eco-friendly methods to turn into a more eco-friendly are simple but can lead to important savings. While they can vary in terms of initial investments, the long-term savings for your bank account and the planet are worth the additional cost:

Conduct an energy audit

Auditing your house  will help you to assess where you use the most energy, hence where you should focus your attention to make improvements. We are talking here about potential obsolete appliances, air leaks, or defective cooling and heating systems, and more importantly, the efficiency of your overall electrical system. Thanks to such audit, you will be able get a better idea of how energy is being utilized in your home on a daily basis and where savings can be made.

Assured Insulation Solutions, LLC

Assured Insulation Solutions, LLC

Manage the Airflow

Not many people realize this but significant amount of their home energy is lost to drafts within windows and doors as hot air is leaking while cold air is going the other way, either from outside or colder portions of the home such as the basement. Airflow problems usually come from gaps improperly sealed windows and door and filling gaps is not a big deal, especially considering the savings you can generate.

Consider Insulated Windows

Far too common in older buildings, energy often escape from the windows themselves, and if you are conscious of energy spendings, then you should try shifting towards using efficiently sealed and insulated windows. Such double or triple pane window can significantly reduce the power requirements of the home by preventing heat loss during the cold season and keeping cool air in during the hot season. If your budget is limited, you can decide to focus your investment on selected portions of your home where energy drainage is likely to occur. An information that the energy audit would have helped you to identify.

Wood flooring and ceiling

Aside from anything wood-based giving warmer feeling than slob flooring, wood flooring is also great for energy savings, especially when coupled a floor heating system because it has a higher thermal mass. Wood and other solid materials significantly reduce your home’s temperature fluctuation because they absorb and store heat.

Wood flooring is great and if your budget is significant, consider getting some wooden ceiling to get the perfect combo!  

Kaltimber flooring

Kaltimber flooring

We recommend our Indonesian readers to contact our partners EcoSmart Hub for Bali area and Toucan Ecofloors for project in Jakarta!

A closer look at Indian Wood and Indian Furniture

Each country has its distinction when it comes to workmanship and the arts. Furniture making is an art that has transcend through time. Its distinctiveness is prevalent on each country and India is one of it. This two part article discusses the intricacy of wooden furniture making in India which has its roots on the history and each individual location.

Antique reproduction showcasing Indian woodworkers craftsmanship

Antique reproduction showcasing Indian woodworkers craftsmanship

Not a lot of individuals are aware that India is regarded as one of the best producers of top wooden furniture all over the globe. Subsequently, India is recognized to have a colorful and long history as far as wooden furniture industry is concerned. While furniture manufacturing in India has obtained recognition from every parts of the world, it is a bit rare to come across individuals who know the inner history and tradition of Indian Furniture.

Furniture making in India with the use of wood has been around since 1336 AD. It was basically the kings and the empires from Southern India that enriched the said craft. Wooden articles that are more than a hundred years old are living testimony. The workers were inspired by the royalty because the woodcraft carving was tagged as more than trade but a work of art. As a positive output, wooden crafts and furniture can be found from all parts of India. Aside from the conventional and basic furniture items, walls, doors, posts, and balusters can be found even in the most remote part of India, not to mention the artsy temples and ancient buildings that showcase detailed and intricate architecture that bear proof of the workmanship.

There are several fundamental parameters of carrying out wooden workmanship in India. Indian wooden furniture and accents are strongly influenced by the literature and art of the country, enrich in history. Ebony wood has been broadly utilized in the processing of Indian furniture especially prevalent in the royal families in the South of India.

Old door with a mix of wood and iron - source 4living

Old door with a mix of wood and iron - source 4living

On the other hand, in the northern part of India, walnut wood was the thing in fashion. Legends and folklores on wood can be preserved for hundreds of years as in India, furniture has been handed down from generations to generations. Indian furniture workers are known to translate wood in to incredible pieces of useful furniture. In a broader sense, wood found locally is utilized in screen manufacturing, boxes, tables, trays, decorative items like candle holders and frames. The woods that are often used in the manufacture of Indian furniture items comprise rose, coconut, sandal and teak. Sandal Wood in general, is regarded by Indians to be the gift of god because of its dependability, strength, as well as the aroma that it emits.

The next part of this article will focus on the emergence of technology.

Organic Farming: a way to sustainable development

Organic farming modifies the quality of environmental resources based upon the requirement of agricultural economy. It makes the most effective utilization of non-renewable resources and non-farm resources as well as integrates natural biological controls and cycles. It help to preserve economic viability of farm operations as well as modify the way farmers lives which translate to society in general.

Organic farming is a method of agriculture that depends on skills like green manure, crop rotation, biological pest control and composting. It also utilizes pesticides and fertilizers regarded as natural but exclude the usage of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, human sewage sludge, plant growth regulations and nano-materials to be able to attain independence, health and safety, and sustainability as a whole.

Meanwhile, when farmers rely on a successful harvest, it is very easy to comprehend why farmers use pesticides that give fast, but short sighted solutions to complicated issues. Without realizing that the traditional pesticide-free processes to feed plants and soil could also supply productive and efficient solutions to farmer’s soil.

An organic farm is a type of farm whose prototype is constructed mimicking a natural system. It is a chance to lessen agriculture’s contribution to climate change.

Sustainable farming

Sustainable farming

Using organic farming practices can:

·         Fix nitrogen content in soil by using legumes

·         Enhance quality of soil by utilizing organic materials

·         Regulate weeds and pests by means of crop rotation, organic manures, natural predators, and biological diversity

·         Maintenance of nutrition, health, housing, breading and rearing of livestocks

·         Conservation of wildlife and natural habitats

Organic farming starts with every farmer. And as it is implemented, effects of it can be realized in no time.

vegetable growing

There are many ways to contribute to sustainable development, and organic farming is only one of them. We cannot deny the fact that organic farming is a key to sustainable development because it supplements income to farmers and a guaranteed livelihood to the community as a whole. It should be promoted everywhere in the globe in order to save mother earth and be able to sustain its life for the generations of tomorrow.

This video of Pascal Poot, a french farmer, shows how he grow all sorts of vegetables without a drop of water. Sustainable and organic farming at its best!

We take this opportunity to wish all our readers and guests a Merry sustainable Christmas and soon Happy green New Year :]

Water Recycling: Is it the one for you? 2/2

The first part of this article about water recycling introduced you to gray water. Undeniably, recycling water generates extra savings that can be allocated to other expenditures.

Aside from the money savings, we have to know that water recycling plays a major sustainability impact by preserving natural resources. It might sounds like a cliché sentence, but "water is life"!

gray water

LEGAL RAMNIFICATIONS: we talked a bit about legal issues in the first path and they can vary from place to place. The legality of water recycling differs greatly depending on where you live. Although gray water recycling has been widely embraced and depicted by numerous investigations and studies as safe for humans and its environment, laws focusing on sewage and sewerage are but slow to be amended. Therefore, before installing a gray water recycling system, you need to check out several laws and regulations relating to water recycling in your area.

ECONOMIC AND ECOLOGICAL ADVANTAGES: Recycling your water can reduce water consumption not only in your household but also at your place of business, and it can reach up to forty percent!

The advantages of water conservation, especially in areas experiencing drought, are prevalent. Lessening one’s use of water can ease pressure on strained and aging sewage treatment systems but also on natural water tables.

reclaimed water

The initial installation of a home recycling system and water reclamation can vary in price depending on the type of system you will install. That being said, you shall try to have a long-term mindset. Indeed, the amount of water you will be saving will more than cover up for the installation and initialization costs.

True enough, water recycling can bring a major impact not only in one’s household but in the society as well taking a great part into sustainable development. Saving substantial amount of water is akin to saving substantial amount of money. And protecting our ecosystem. Just like recycling other elements such as hardwood and transforming it as a new product, item or décor, water recycling gives you a different view of sustainable development but the same results. At the end of the day, what is important is that you taking an active part in resolving the looming condition of the environment while giving life to your old items instead of throwing them away.

Remember, conserving water is prolonging and sustaining the water cycle. We might say that resources are infinite, but it is better to be safe than sorry. All we know is that it is not harmful to do and act now but that tomorrow It might be too late to take action.

There is no better time to recycle water than yesterday. I hope that this article opens your eyes to the great things that are waiting for you.

reuse recycle

Water Recycling: is it the one for you? - 1/2

The first part of this article will focus on gray water. Its importance is highlighted in the entire article. Since Water conservation methods and drought are prevalent in many places worldwide, you may have come across the term reclamation or water recycling. But the question is, what is gray water recycling and will it be appropriate for you and your surroundings? Will it be able to save you substantial amount of money? Will it be an advantage in the water conservation system in your community?


GRAY WATER: This term denotes all waste water that does not include sewage. In other words, all utilized water from your house or business except those what has been used to flush your waste in the toilet. Clear water also called “white water”. Sewage water is referred to as “black water”. So, gray water is a classification in between the two which simply means not suitable for human consumption but not absolutely contaminated.

USES FOR RECYCLED WATER: The major use for recycled gray water is landscape, irrigation, crop system and toilet flushing. And in this regard, there are several risks to utilizing it for toilet tank storage. A separate plumbing system should be installed at home destined for gray water. This will simply operate as a mini-sewage treatment facility on a household level.

However, there are several things to consider before taking this plan to utilize it for crop irrigation system or simply for planting. There can be advantages in using recycled water as it has nutrients that can boost plants health and growth. Hence, if you decide to utilize the household’s water in your backyard, it simply means that you need to be more cautious of what household products and cleaners you are using to be able to stay away from poisoning your plants. Harsh elements found in detergents contain high levels of boron, chlorine or salt which can simply harm your entire garden system. It is surely an excellent idea to avoid using soaps and bleach with heavy elements of bath salts, phosphorous, solvents and artificial dyes. That will not pass as gray water. It can be classified as black water already.

Caution is required when applying recycled water as irrigation water. This is because it contains contaminants which directly harm human health. We also have to be reminded that it should not come in to absolute contact with vegetables and fruits meant for consumption especially now that people tend to consume raw vegetables.

The next part of this article will focus on its benefits and legal requirements as well as the cost efficiency and effects on environment and how can it help in the sustainable development.

DIY bathtube Gray water recycling - source

DIY bathtube Gray water recycling - source