Gardening = Energy Savings!
Gas prices have reached record highs. They are still climbing. Oil and gas
prices this winter promises to be higher, too. Where does it all end? How
can you manage your budget with rising energy costs?
Experts offer lots of ideas on how to conserve energy, and how to cope with
rising prices. As gardeners, we have additional resources and insights to
help us to save pennies, and even dollars, on our energy costs.
Let's use gardening wisdom to put a dent in your energy bill. Here are some
neat ways that you can save on energy costs while enjoying and extending
your garden hobby.
When you grow a garden, you don't use gas to drive to the grocers. And, it
reduces the energy requirement to get produce to the store. it reduces the
natural resources consumed in trucking produce from the field to
the wholesaler and then to your local grocery store.
Energy Saving Garden Ideas:
Landscaping to create windbreaks that reduce the chilling effect that
a cold winter wind has on your house. If you are just starting, look for
evergreens, and quick growing shrubs like
Strategically placing shrubs and arborvitaes to the west of your driveway
reduces drifting snow. That translates to less use of your snow blower.
Adding flowers gardens reduces lawn size. That translates to less
mowing, a gas saver.
Let the sunshine in! In the winter, southern facing windows receive
the most sunlight. Get out the clippers and the saws. Cut and trim away tree
branches, shrubs, branches and even twigs that block the sunlight.
Root Cellars have it all over freezers. There's no energy cost, and
many fruits and vegetables will last for months. Creating and using root
cellars is still alive and well in America. Garages can often substitute
for a root cellar, for portions of the winter months. Give it a try.
Mulch around the house. You mulch around roses to keep the canes from
freezing. Mulch over flower bulbs, prevent them from freezing, too. Take
some of that mulch and push it generously up against the cement foundation
of your house. Three to six inches will make a difference. Important
note: Do not mulch up against wood, aluminum, or vinyl siding.
Drying herbs, fruits, and vegetables without a dehydrator. Its' the
old fashioned way, and it works. It doesn't take a bit of energy.
Cooking and canning on cool/cold nights. If you're canning on a hot
day, the heat from the oven is battling the air conditioner. We like to wait
until a cool night, and we make a big vat of homemade soup, with all sorts
of garden veggies. We cook it until near bedtime, allowing ample time to
cool. The heat is just enough to keep the chill out of the house. Soup
tastes better the second day anyway.
Canning versus freezing may not may not save you energy. It takes
more energy to can foods. But, keeping a freezer running all year, ultimately
costs more. If you keep other items in the freezer all year, this is a moot
Keep it n the ground. Carrots and other root crops can be stored in
the ground where they grew, often for many months. A bale of hay, or a pile
of leaves over them can protect them from hard freezes. It keeps the soil
thawed, so you can easily pull them, when needed.
Foundation plants help to keep your home warmer in the winter and
cooler in summer. They act as an insulator and a wind break. Evergreens work
Grow Corn! The demand and price for corn has sky rocketed. This important
food crop for humans and livestock is now being used to create ethanol. Homegrown
corn tastes better and saves you $$$$.
Collect Rainwater - It's free. Use buckets or barrels under your
downspouts. Important: Make sure it is securely covered, so kids can't fall
into it and get hurt. Also, empty it frequently, to avoid mosquitos and other
water borne pests.
Got some ideas to share? Send your suggestions to