OPEN FORUM – BRIAN O’NEIL– Two of a household’s largest monthly expenses – food and power – can be reduced sharply with the addition of a sun-room. Investing a few dollars in seed and soil will yield many times that cost in healthy strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, and assorted herbs and spices. A salsa garden is a great way to take advantage of the sunlight captured by a greenhouse. Peppers, always a challenge to grow in the Northwest, favor a warm environment and do well in a greenhouse. Once the tomatoes begin ripening, most gardeners can quickly become overwhelmed by the volume. A solarium makes an excellent food dehydrator. Simply cut the tomatoes and lay them on a clean screen to dry in the sun. The sweet morsels are excellent additions to all sorts of salads, soups and sauces.

The summertime heat captured by a greenhouse can also be used to dry clothing. Swapping a large, energy-hungry electric dryer for a folding drying rack will lead to sharp reductions in the monthly electric bill.

Perhaps the best benefit of a sundeck is the bright, warm environment it creates. As summer temps climb in the valley, coastal residents experience brisk, cool winds. Shivering friends appreciate the twenty degree bump a greenhouse offers.

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