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Energy-Saving Ideas for Hobby Gardening

Gardening Equipment
Whether you only grow houseplants or whether your gardening endeavors extend to encompass all the flowerbeds in your yard, feel great about your choice. Gardening is a very eco-friendly hobby. Make your hobby even more eco-friendly and reduce your electric bill by using these energy-saving ideas.

1. Protect Plants Without a Greenhouse

In Orlando, temperatures rarely dip below freezing, but when they do, this can be rough on gardens. However, you don't always need to move everything into a heated greenhouse to protect the plants from frost.

Simply use cold frames (transparent roofed enclosures), row cover (protective fabric), and other insulating methods to keep plants slightly warmer when nights get cold. This is especially useful when growing frost-sensitive plants such as tomatoes, which may still produce fruit late into the fall.

Some super-sensitive tropical plants may require a bit more protection, such as a blanket and a warm hot-water bottle. Keeping super-sensitive plants in pots as much as possible may be easier. That way, you can simply move the plants into your garage or mudroom overnight when they're in danger of cold damage rather than heating a greenhouse for them.

2. Try Winter Sowing

If you want to start your gardening early, you can plant many seeds in containers outside, where the seeds simply wait the winter out and sprout when the weather is right. This technique is called winter sowing and allows you to save on energy and make use of the natural sunlight instead.

3. Use Natural Light for Houseplants

If you have a collection of African violets, the natural light from a window should be plenty to sustain them. You don't need to use fluorescent lights; instead, you could simply install them on a wire shelf by a window. Just be careful they that intense light doesn’t burn them. A sheer curtain may help if the sunlight seems extremely bright and hot.

The same goes for other houseplants. They'll typically be fine with natural light and shouldn't need artificial light unless you have no windows. And if you think your houseplant could benefit from more light, consider putting it outside during the warmer months. Be careful to check the plant's habitat and light requirements first, and don't shock the plant by putting it in direct sun.

4. Find Local and Pre-Owned Items

Manufacturing plant pots and shipping them across the country takes energy and fuel. Avoiding this energy use doesn't help your electricity bill but does help lower your overall energy footprint.

Often you can pick up free or nearly free nursery pots when nurseries are done with them, or find great decorative pots listed cheaply in local online marketplaces. These pre-owned items help you avoid the energy expenditure inherent in buying a new pot, and if people gave the items away for free, you likely saved them from the landfill as well.

You may want to rinse the pots with a disinfectant such as bleach or hydrogen peroxide before using them, depending on what you plan to do with them. Other gardening items you can often acquire locally from other gardeners include gardening tools, water features, wheelbarrows, drip trays for pots, plant hangers, and other similar items.

5. Look for Solar-Powered Options

Small solar-powered items such as walkway lights have become more and more popular. Since these outdoor items spend their time in the sun already, manufacturing them with a small solar panel is relatively easy to so that these items can collect the small amount of energy they require. Other solar items you may find include fountains, watering systems, and pond pumps.

These five tips can help you make the most eco-friendly and energy-efficient choices with your hobby gardening. You can both save on your electricity bill (and in some cases on battery costs) and reduce your environmental footprint. For more advice on energy efficiency or for help installing energy-efficient appliances, get in touch with In Phaze Electric