Gardening does more than give us food and flowers. It also can combat climate change. How so?
A saying worth repeating is this: “A successful gardener grows soil, not plants.” Why, because in order to have healthy plants, healthy soils are vital. Carbon gardening builds healthy soil.
Carbon gardening is growing plants in a way that reduces greenhouse gas emissions or captures and holds carbon in vegetation and soils. The plan is to remove excess carbon from the atmosphere. Why?
Carbon is a major contributor to climate change. Gardening stores carbon in the soil and the plants benefit from this as they require carbon to flourish.
Plants use carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the way a plant converts the energy from the sun into a chemical carbohydrate molecule. Plants use this carbon chemical to grow.
Photosynthesis removes carbon dioxide from the air and pumps it through the roots of plants and into the soil. In addition, as a plant decomposes, it adds, organic matter to the soil.
There are a number of ways to aid this process. Adding compost to the garden bed at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the gardening season is one. Composting is a great way to recycle household vegetative waste.
A second way is to use the compost and make compost tea. Compost tea can be employed as a foliar spray, that is applied directly to the plant leaves, or can be used to water the plant itself.
The third and my personal favourite way is to create a garden that requires no digging or tilling. The no-till approach begins just like any other garden does.
Begin the process by deciding where the garden will be placed than use string to measure out the bed. The garden bed does not have to be square or rectangle, a subject we will explore in a future article.
1- Mulch is spread on top of the soil around the plants and along pathways. You can use wood chips, leaves from deciduous trees and shrubs, lawn clippings and sawdust as mulch around perennial plants.
2- For your vegetable garden use nitrogen-rich green materials, for example, lawn clippings and other green garden trimmings.
· To mulch your lawn, leave the grass clippings in place after mowing as this add nutrients and reduce water loss.
· Annuals, perennials and vegetable seedlings can benefit from mulch which you move aside at planting time and then pull back around the plant as it grows.
· You do not put mulch too close to tree trunks or near the base of heat-loving vegetables and flowers (mulches cool the soil). Spread the mulch trees out to the drip line, which is the outer perimeter of the tree’s branches.
· Remove mulch or turn it under in the Spring as slugs and snails will see it as an ideal lace to lay eggs.
Choose the method that works best for you or consider using all three which is what I do., so until next week, happy gardening.