I am a big fan of solar power! As well as running Ecofreak I design and supply small scale renewable energy systems. Everything from lighting signs to powering “off grid” buildings and telecommunications. I’ve used solar photovoltaic panels to power farm buildings, stables, beach huts, a tennis club and many other things besides. Using the sun to provide green energy is appealing, it meets a practical need and I find it very rewarding.
It occurred to me today however that there is a much more fundamental way we can pretty much all benefit from solar power. It too is highly rewarding, very green (in more ways than one) and best of all can be very low cost. What is it? Well it’s converting the sun’s energy into food.
This year I have had the chance to do a bit of vegetable gardening and it seems to me that this is probably the most efficient and cheapest way of utilising solar energy in our every day lives. I haven’t sampled the spoils yet (nothing ready so far) but the patch is showing promise and I can hardly wait. Everyone can do it. We’ve all seen the TV chefs extolling the virtues of a window box, or a few tates or tomatoes in a grow bag. And they are dead right. It’s true, you don’t need a garden like Kew to grow a bit of veg for the table. And I recommend you all get on and have a go at it of you can.
It’s not difficult. If you buy some seeds in a packet it will tell you what to do on the back. I would appeal to all of you who haven’t already to have a go. If it doesn’t work it’s not the end of the world. What have you lost? A couple of quid and an hour or two of your time – that’s all. If it works, however, you will have top quality produce that you will enjoy more than any you have eaten before. It will taste better and be better for you. The food miles will be zero. To top it all it’s been provided by solar power, water and soil – all natural ingredients!
It’s not too late. There are plenty of veggies you can grow very easily from seed – just browse the seed packets and eye up the ones you enjoy eating and check the suggested sowing dates. If it’s getting a bit late you need to boost your chances of success by watering dry summer soils, please remember to use collected rainwater whenever possible.
I can’t wait to start harvesting! Home grown , solar powered veg : fresh, tasty, healthy and green. Mmmmmm.