By Clodagh and Dick Handscombe active gardeners and gardening authors living in Spain for twenty five years.
With many people including us feeling the global financial pinch and recognising that it will be with is for some years we review some of the things which are possible without the major investments required in buying solar water heating, central heating and airconditioning, cars , golf carts and lawnmowers.
Ten inexpensive possibilities
1.Immediately construct a simple solar propagator consisting of a wooden box in which seeds trays are placed and place a sheet of glass over the top and place in full sun.
2. Buy solar powered pumps to operate stand alone and pond fountains and your irrigation system.
3. Solar powered mini water features are now available for garden and apartment terraces.
4. Stand alone solar lights are unfortunately not yet bright enough to read by but they enable you to create romantic night time effects in the garden and wander around safely at night.
5. Solar parabolic barbecues/cookers are now less expensive than buying a gas heated model. One metre models are small and light enough to transport to picnic sites or the beach where they are not a fire hazard or polluting.. Last year the Andalusia government had a grant to stimulate their sales. Have a look at the ‘alsol’ website
6. Installing a battery of solar panels to make ones self sufficient in electricity is expensive but it is relatively low cost to power the house and garden security alarm system.
7. Construct a solar cooker as Dick did in the scouts in the 1940’s. You need no more than a cardboard box, newspapers or straw and a roll of aluminium foil. Get the kids to do so this weekend to be prepared for the first sunny spring weekend.
8. Construct a simple vegetable and fruit dryer to process some of your summer garden or allotment gluts and stop buying almost out of date chemical additive flavoured coloured and preserved dried fruit and nuts.
9. Recently we came across double skinned flower pots. The outside being translucent with a solar powered light between the layers to light up the pot at night. Just the thing for a romantic terrace.
10. If you have a jacuzzi or swimming pool install a simple solar tube heater so that you can use them without incurring high electricity bills in topping up the water temperature on partially sunny days in the spring and autumn to extend their period of use..
With such a list of possibilities we hope you enjoy your garden even more without a major spend.
Clodagh and Dick’s books.
The trilogy of books published by Santana Books has become a quartet. ‘Mediterranean Apartment Gardening – Terraces balconies and windowsills’
has been added to ‘Your Garden in Spain – Planning, planting and Maintenance’, ‘Growing Healthy Fruit in Spain’ and ‘ Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain’. If you don’t have a local bookshop try www.santanabooks.com or 952-485838 for same day despatch from Mijas Pueblo.
© Clodagh and Dick Handscombe February 2010 www.gardeninginspain.com