Energy conservation in the garden may seem like a misnomer, but energy use in our gardens has taken on an increasingly important role as we face the effects of climate change. There are many ways gardeners can be effective. Cutting back on consumption of fossil fuels and electricity heads the list.
Reduce Fuel Use
- Minimize use of air-polluting gas power tools; choose electric or hand tools instead. Be sure to restrict use of power tools to cooler times of day.
- Irrigate early in the day during off-peak hours of energy consumption.
- Collect rainwater to save electrical power running irrigation.
- Refrain from using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on food crops and ornamental plants. Such products require energy to manufacture.
- Install timers on LED outdoor lighting to save electrical usage.
- Grow your own food to reduce dependency on high-energy commercial production.
- Reduce yard waste by selecting appropriate size plants for the spaces in your garden. This eliminates large prunings that require some form of energy to convert into usable forms.
- Plant deciduous trees south and southwest of buildings to provide shade and block sunlight before it enters windows in summer. Deciduous trees allow sun to provide warmth in winter.
Use Green Materials
- Keep your garden “green” by using purchased or on-hand materials that are permeable, recyclable, natural, and locally produced.
- Re-use on-site materials such as large prunings or left-over construction items where possible.
- Construct a compost bin using materials on hand or other simple, natural building materials. (See link below for ideas.) Or purchase a bin made of natural materials.
- Compost kitchen and yard waste to reduce transporting costs taking it to the landfill.
- Use compost, leaves, and chipped prunings as mulch to reduce evaporation and save water.
- Gardening in the Age of Climate Change
- https://extension.missouri.edu/g6957 (simple instructions for building a compost bin)