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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 arborvitaes.

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 point.

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 best.

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



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