Use solar power in your garden

| by Guest Blogger
Use solar power in your garden

Photos via Terrace Farmer

Agribusiness has delivered cheap food in abundance for the masses, but this method of doing things has its own drawbacks. The Department of Agriculture has said that the agriculture sector alone accounted for 7.7 percent of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions, mainly through livestock production, and Ohio Gas reported that the amount of fossil fuels burned to create enough energy to produce and transport the average American’s food intake is equal to the exhaust from an extra 20 million SUV’s on the road. In recent years, many people have explored the idea of growing some or all of their own food at home in an effort to do their part to help cut down on these problems. Through the use of solar power, gardening at home can contribute to environmental betterment and sustainability by avoiding most of the ecological damage caused by other methods of growing food.

Solar technology has been coming down in price for more than a decade, and many innovative applications for it have been found in gardening. Not only are there several sizable firms now offering solar products, but the popularity of crowdsourcing platforms has meant that newcomers to the market have an easy way of generating interest for their projects and attracting capital.

My Terrace Farmer, which collected more than $20,000 in a Kickstarter campaign, is a great example of a project having been successfully brought to life this way. Developed by Greg Ching in Colorado,this greenhouse aims to reduce water and power usage while still being easy for novices to work with. It employs advanced materials to remain translucent without compromising on structural strength. The My Terrace Farmer contains solar panels, grow lights, plant trays and vents for heating and cooling. The deluxe model allows for rainwater storage and filtering, computer-controlled fans and remote smartphone access. This greenhouse is small enough to fit on typical balconies, and because of its modular design, multiple units can be linked together to increase growing space.

While the My Terrace Farmer is a comprehensive, all-in-one solution, you can still use solar power in smaller ways around your garden if you're not ready for such a large investment. Solar lights can keep your outdoor areas well-lit without consuming pricey electricity. They charge up during the day for free and then are ready for use at night. Compared to normal incandescent lighting products, solar-powered lights last much longer, generate less heat and are up to 10 times more energy-efficient. Placing solar lights around your property is an easy way to keep your spaces bright and safe without devoting a lot of time or resources to the task.

Instead of manually watering your plants, a potentially time-consuming and boring task, you can automate this chore with a solar irrigation system. Not only will such a setup reduce your energy usage, but they can deliver finely tuned amounts of water much more accurately than would be possible otherwise. This helps promote optimal plant growth through seasonally adjusted system performance.

Solar-powered decorations, water features, wind chimes and even pest repellers are widely sold to home consumers over the internet. The styles and varieties available are mind-boggling, so you can easily personalize your own garden with solar accoutrements that conform to your own aesthetic sensibilities.

Products that use energy from the sun are transforming the world of gardening just as they are doing in other industries, like space exploration and electricity generation. They promote the well-being of our natural surroundings by reducing carbon emissions significantly, not to mention cutting down your utility bills. They also tend to be easy-to-use with no power plugs, batteries or waste products to have to worry about. You can make your garden more productive, more beautiful and more convenient without harming the environment.

Read more about gardening and landscaping.


Topics: Gardening & Landscaping, Going Green, Healthy Homes, Photovoltaic / Solar Panels, Solar Power

Guest Blogger
These columns are the work of our guest bloggers who want to share their expert green opinions on a range of topics.

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