Go green and save this Earth Week
What special plans do you have for Earth week? It’s a great time to teach the kids about taking care of our planet, creating a recycling program for your home, or making a plan to help your household save energy. Best of all, none of these ideas cost you any money…in fact most of them will actually help you save money while saving our planet.
My family will be spending Earth week outdoors getting our yard ready for the warm weather ahead. The blustery winter brings lots of leaves, branches, and twigs that need to be cleaned up (they’ll be headed to our compost pile as you’ll see below) and the kids love to explore while we are doing so. What a better way to celebrate the Earth than being outside and enjoying it!
This week we’ll also be starting seeds indoors for our garden which we do every year. I love involving the kids, and they love being a part of the seed to garden to dinner process. Starting our plants indoors from seeds is a great way to save money since mature plants at the store usually cost $2 – $3 each. In addition, you’ll also be saving money later when eating vegetables from your garden instead of buying produce at the supermarket. Seeds also give you tons of variety in what you can grow. Another benefit…you can start them this week as part of Earth week!
When our seedlings are ready to head outside we prepare our soil by mixing it with some homemade compost. Now our compost pile is nothing fancy. In fact it’s pretty much just that, a pile. To build our pile we add lawn clippings, yard debris, leaves, egg shells, vegetable peelings…pretty much anything besides meat, fish, and fats. The end result is wonderful rich compost full of nutrients and beneficial bacteria. Creating a compost pile reduces household waste too by giving all those scraps back to the environment instead of to the local dump.
There are also quite a few homemade tonics that I’ve been using for years on my lawn, garden, shrubs, and flowers too. I love the book, Terrific Garden Tonics, by Jerry Baker. In it you’ll find tons of homemade lawn and garden tonics that work just as good, if not better, than many of the more expensive chemicals you’ll find in stores. You’ll be skipping all the extra plastic bottles too since you can just whip up these tonics in a bucket at home. An example would be his All-Season Green-Up Tonic. In a large bucket mix 1 can of beer, 1 cup of ammonia, ½ cup of dishwashing liquid, ½ cup of liquid lawn food, and ½ cup of clear corn syrup. Pour that mixture into a 20 gallon hose-end sprayer and spray everything in sight every three weeks right up through the first hard frost. The nutrient-rich, sweet snack will have your yard green and your flowers blooming through the entire summer.
Once summer arrives, here in the mountains of Pennsylvania the weather is always just a little cooler than you’ll find in the valleys. With the shade provided by the trees it can be hard to warm up swimming pools with just a solar cover alone. The roof of our home, however, is basking in the sun all afternoon. To take advantage of that, using black rubber garden hoses we created a type of “solar panel” on our roof. Using the pool’s filter and a water deflector valve, water is slowly pumped underground through a pipe from our pool, up to the roof of our house, then back down to the pool where the warm water enters through the jet. Obviously the longer the journey through the hose (so the more hose that you use), the warmer the water will be. This same type of “panel” can also be created next to the pool if your roof is not a good option. There is no extra power needed and it’s a great way to take advantage of those hot summer rays year after year.
Kara Zoeller is founder of SavingByDesign.com and a Savings.com DealPro. She is a stay-at-home mom, couponer, and crafter and loves to share her favorite ways to save on groceries, craft supplies, gifts, and more!