"Greening Up" your RV

December 10, 2012 -- RV Trader

We've all read about fuel efficiency and lower emissions. Somewhere down the road, a hybrid coach may even be in development. But there's another way to 'green' up the space in your RV and save yourself some money to boot. Bring along a garden.

While gardening on the go presents some challenges, those of us who love green and growing things don't have to leave them behind when we hit the road. There are a variety of options, depending on the space you have available, what you want to grow, and how dedicated you are to maintaining your garden.

Look around your RV. Is this a full-time home, or are you only on the road sporadically? Where could your garden grow? Don't forget places like a back bumper, where you could build a planter box. Basic descriptions are available on the internet, which you can revise to suit your RV and your needs.

Portable planter boxes are ideal items for indoor planting, so long as you're able to fasten them securely while under way. Don't forget to figure in the weight of the planter box, both as a concern for your fuel efficiency, but also as a concern for you when you have to move it. Several smaller boxes that can be moved easily might be better than one large container that strains your back. Moveable containers may also save you the cost of grow lights, since you can move your plants to an ideal location, no matter where you are.

You've probably seen the round containers with cutouts along the side for growing strawberries. Find one that's strong but lightweight, put some rocks in the bottom for drainage, and fill with potting soil. Strawberries can be planted, but don't forget herbs, lettuce, beans, peas. . . you're limited only by your imagination! And larger produce like beets or onions can be planted in the opening on top.

There are many products available to help you garden in small, moving spaces. Herb kits are available from a variety of stores. They contain herb seeds and peat pellets, or even small, already-established herb plants. Many come with a plastic dome to help keep your plants warm and moist. The Aerogrow® system is one such product. It comes in several sizes, and includes grow bulbs, so even traveling in cool climates, you can still have fresh produce. What could be better than pinching off a fresh basil or mint leaf to garnish dinner with?

If you crave vegetable gardening, the trend in small-space gardening for apartment dwellers has given RV gardeners huge benefits. Products like the Earthbox® come with everything you need except the seeds, and use French intensive techniques to help you grow more in a small space. They require much less attention than a standard planter box, but are more expensive.

If you prefer a hanging garden, products like the TopsyTurvy® planting system, where the roots are up and the plant grows down, frees up counter space while still providing fresh veggies.

Flowers, of course, add color and scent to your RV, and clean the air, to boot! Any of the planting ideas above'except planting upside down'will work for flowers. In fact, consider mixing some flower seeds among any veggies you plant. That way you can get the best of both worlds.

Bringing your garden with you takes a little planning and, of course, some time dedicated to planting, trimming and harvesting. But once you find a method that works for your lifestyle and RV, you'll reap the benefits of a year-round harvest.

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