Planting a Fall Vegetable Garden

It’s hard to believe that Fall is almost here! We are looking forward to cooler weather, pumpkins and all of the great holidays that are just around the corner. Here in Virginia, now is a great time to begin planting your Fall garden. Here are some plants that are perfect to sow at this time of the year:

  • Beet
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Cauliflower
  • Lettuce
  • Radish
  • Spinach

These plants can often survive the harsh Winter and will produce a bountiful harvest. Keep in mind that the first frost in Central Virginia typically falls around November 1-10, so planting soon is important!

fall veggie garden

Better Homes and Gardens has a great how-to guide when it comes to getting your garden ready for Fall. Check it out here. Remember, the Home Energy Store is always available to help you with your gardening needs.

 

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Five Eco-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Labor Day

It’s hard to believe that Summer is almost over! Most of us will be celebrating Labor Day somehow – who doesn’t love a three-day weekend to say goodbye to hot weather and hello to Fall? No matter what you plan to do this weekend, remember to stay green. Here are five eco-friendly ways to celebrate Labor Day:

  1. Having a party? Use e-vites to digitally invite guests to your shindig. This will save on paper, ink and postage – it’s a win-win-win! If you do want to use paper, save a tree and be sure it’s made out of recycled material.
  2. Ditch the charcoal. If you’re going to be operating a grill, natural gas and propane are the most environmentally-friendly ways to do so. Charcoal burns dirty, releasing soot particles into the air that can worsen chronic heart and lung problems.
  3. Don’t use plastic utensils. With plastic being harmful to the environment, here are two better choices: Use your regular dishes and wash up, or purchase plates and cutlery made of bamboo and corn – they are biodegradable.
  4. Compost your veggies. Instead of throwing out the scraps from your grilled corn or other veggie dishes, try composting them! The EPA has tips on how to do it at home, and many communities offer places to drop off your scraps for composting.
  5. Make “going green” a family affair ALL weekend long! Get your family involved in starting a compost bin or water garden together, set up rain barrels, or plant a tree in honor of all the hard work American workers do for the country since it’s Labor Day weekend.

labor daySources:

HellaWella Blog

Recycle Nation

 

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Celebrating National Water Quality Month

Summer is a time when many people are enjoying water in some form or fashion. Whether you’re swimming in the ocean, kayaking down the James, fishing in your favorite lake, or simply enjoying a few giant glasses of water in the hot, hot sun – water is all around us. Since August is National Water Quality Month, it’s a good time to consider ways to contribute to keeping our water clean and safe (a lesson we should carry with us year-round).

landscape-forest-nature-blue-water_defaultHere are some easy tips that you can make a part of your daily routine from the Natural Resources Defense Council:

1. Choose gravel over asphalt when possible. Porous surfaces can stop pollution streams when it rains.

2. Never flush nondegradable products. They can throw a huge wrench into the sewage treatment process and wind up littering beaches and water.

3. Don’t let paint, used oil, chemical cleaners, or other questionable household products go down the drain. These items contain toxic ingredients we don’t want in our water supply.

4. Pick up after your dog. You’re not just being a good neighbor – scooping up pet waste keeps bacteria from running into storm drains and water supplies.

5. Be a careful car owner. Perform regular maintenance to reduce nasty liquid emission, and go to the car wash – they have drain systems that keep the bad water in check.

You can read more the full article here.

Remember – water is essential to life. Let’s do what we can to keep it clean!

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Garden Essentials: Rain Barrels

Water conservation is important to preserve our fresh water supply. Lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40% of total household water usage during the summer months. One way to curb this tap water usage is to collect and store rainwater from rooftops for lawn and garden use. You can establish an effective rainwater system using rain barrels. Rain barrels are large gallon drums that hold rainwater, and are generally placed under a downspout or gutter to collect the water.

rainbarrelsAdvantages of Rain Barrels:

  • Water is always available when you need it during potential droughts
  • The water contains no harmful chemicals, making it ideal for an assortment of situations (watering gardens, car washing, etc.)
  • Can save about 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months, which saves homeowners money and energy
  • Inexpensive to set up
  • Easy to install, operate and maintain

The Home Energy Store currently has rain barrels on sale – buy one, get one 50% off from now until August 23! You can one up for you and one for a friend at the Home Energy Store location. We would be happy to help you get started with your rain barrel system and answer any questions you may have.

summer sale

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Four Ways to Celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month

June is National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, as designated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since we’re all about living an organic lifestyle at the Home Energy Store, we decided to put together a list of ways you can celebrate your love of fresh produce this month!

Visit a local farm-to-table restaurant.

While not the norm, farm-to-table restaurants are growing in number and popularity. You’ll enjoy produce that is organic and local. This list from Scoutology features several listed in Virginia from Richmond, Roanoke, Charlottesville and more.

millies dinerTake a trip to a farm.

Visiting a farm will make you appreciate the hard work that our local farmers put in to provide delicious food to themselves and the rest of us. There are several to choose from in the area, including the Ashland Berry Farm and Chesterfield Berry Farm.

Grow your own food.

Having your own vegetable garden is not only a nice thing to do for the environment – you don’t have to go out and purchase your fruits and vegetables! Visit the Home Energy Store for more information about organic gardening.

Shop the local farmer’s market.

Richmond is definitely a good scene for farmer’s markets. There are several in the area to choose from – get fresh fruits and veggies that you know came straight from the Earth to your table! Here’s a list compiled by Richmond.com.

Happy Fruit and Veggie Month!

Variety of fresh fruit and vegetables

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