Things we can do with our gardens to reduce our carbon footprint

Our gardens can help combat global warming by catching more carbon than they release.

 The M25 and city centre pests gluing themselves to roads and buildings to relieve (maybe justify) they're lonely boring lifestyle's should look at their own carbon footprint.

 

I personally know four of the pests. Two from Insulate Britain and two from Extinction rebellion and they know that I know, there "low maintenance " gardens paved over with impervious concrete, tar and slabs are almost plant free. Producing more carbon than they absorb.

 

 In the great big scale of things unless the world's worst polluter China wakes up to what the world are saying, praying and asking for, whatever we do to our gardens is not going to be enough. However, if we do our bit, it will help reduce the carbon we produce and release and may persuade China to do their bit. A better tactic than blocking roads in the UK? Why not try gluing yourselves to roads in China.

Our carbon footprint
Our carbon footprint

Can we do anything with our gardens to reduce our carbon footprint?

The answer is yes by catching and holding more carbon In our gardens than they release. We could plant trees. Yes trees lock up carbon for decades. However, realistically few of us have space for more than a tree or two plus a few shrubs. So let's look at easier, more realistic ways to reduce our carbon footprint in our gardens.

 

Some simple changes to our gardens outlined in this article mean we Really can help by catching more carbon than we release.

 

I'm going to cover the simple changes we can make to our gardens in this article. To keep it short and readable I will link to some of my other pages with more detail.

These are some of changes we can make to our gardens to reduce our carbon footprint

 

The Problem with Impervious Surfaces

The Problem with Impervious Surfaces is two fold. Firstly, releasing carbon into the atmosphere, contributing to Global warming. Secondly, storm water runoff and flash flooding and I have covered this in more detail here rain gardens

We have known for a long time that cities are hotter than the surrounding countryside. It's called the urban heat island effect.

Simply put this means; Areas that have been covered with hard surfaces mean there is no vegetation or moisture to absorb heat and cool the landscape; Tar and concrete, even natural stone absorb the sun's energy during the day and re-release it at night.

The answer is simple less grey (artificial) and more green (natural) in our gardens.

 

Garden soil containing organic matter locks in carbon

Understanding and looking after your garden soil can help combat global warming

  1. Soil contains decayed organic matter and all organic matter contains carbon. So soils with the highest humus levels lock down the most carbon. Avoid deep digging if you can, soils hold huge amounts of carbon dioxide, digging releases carbon into the air and apart from being back aching and knee wrecking  doesn't do a lot of good to the soil. It's easier and better for the environment to Improve soil and suppress weeds by using mulches. More information about no-dig gardening
  2. Mulch. You can make your own mulch using home made compost, shredded prunings or leaf mould and manure from pasture-grazed horses. Mulching your soil annually locks in moisture, feeds plants resulting in healthier plants.
  3. Peat. To reduce your carbon footprint use peat-free compost as peat bogs store huge amounts of carbon releasing it into the atmosphere when being dug out. Most multi-purpose composts contain peat,
  4. Fertiliser. Make your own fertiliser. Production of artificial fertilisers clocks up a large carbon footprint.
  5. It’s easy to make your own fertiliser. As well as mulching your soil, use homemade comfrey liquid to feed your plants during the growing season.
  6. Pests. Encourage natural predators with companion planting  Over time, by using fewer artificial chemicals, you will notice you have fewer pests as the garden establishes a natural balance. 
  7. Compost. Composting food and garden waste in the garden stops it going into landfill, where the biodegradable waste breaks down and produces methane,. Methane is 70 times more harmful than carbon. You can reduce the production of this gas by composting in the garden. This not only reduces your carbon footprint, but produces a really good soil conditioner for your garden.

 

So, In woodland, trees catch and hold a great deal of carbon. The ground beneath them is full of carbon-rich humus. That comes mainly from leaf-litter that is topped up each autumn. So well-run gardens have much in common with woods. Gardens just need you to lend a helping hand.

 

A garden pond reduces your carbon footprint

A garden pond in your garden will help toward combating global warming and reduce your own carbon footprint.

Garden ponds increase garden biodiversity and in some cases, depending on the situation and site, can help prevent flash flooding by catching and slowing down the flow of water caused by heavy rain. And importantly, from the point of view of this article. Garden ponds also store carbon in the sediment accumulated at the bottom of ponds. In fact, pond sediment holds more carbon per square metre per year than the same area of grassland and woodland. My article here explains how to build a nature pond.

 

More plants Less concrete

More green and less grey, grow more plants to reduce your carbon footprint

 

 All plants absorb carbon dioxide, (the four motorway and city blockers I know and mentioned earlier, and probably the majority of the rest of the rabble too, could make a real contribution to fighting global warming. If instead of causing chaos and extra exhaust fumes, they spent a bit more time worrying about their own carbon footprints by improving their homes and gardens to omit less carbon). Anyway back to what I was saying. All plants absorb carbon dioxide, so the more plants we grow, the more carbon is absorbed. If space is limited grow climbing plants up walls and fences, and grow shrubs in pots. Big plants or small plants they all make a contribution to fighting global warming.

Grow your own food.

All food has a carbon footprint, related to how much land, water, chemical plant feed and greenhouse energy are used to produce the food (The Dutch and the French with their "fresh" tomatoes, potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms., cabbage, lettuce and cucumber are particular culprits). Add on the 'food miles' involved with transporting food from all across the world and the carbon footprint is massive. Growing your own food, particularly crops such as tomatoes, Onions, cabbage, beans and potatoes, can dramatically cut the food miles of your meals, and therefore your carbon footprint. Homegrown food is much tastier, organic and nutritious than imported shop-bought food anyway. Try growing your own to reduce your carbon footprint considerably. 

Grow plants from seed. 

Pot and tray grown plants are usually grown in large greenhouses, mostly in Holland, where they’re exposed to artificial lighting and heat, and then transported in lorries to individual garden centres in the UK. Most are grown in peat (see more about using peat above). Growing from seed, you reduce an enormous production and transport carbon footprint You can sow them at the right time of year (reducing the need for artificial heat and light) and use a peat-free compost.  Buying seed from local seed swaps and gardening groups also reduces your carbon footprint,. In future years save your own seeds and swap with neighbours.

 

Lawns capture and trap carbon dioxide.

Changing the way you care for your lawn will reduce your carbon footprint.

Grass lawns, in fact all types of lawns, chamomile and clover too are great at capturing and storing carbon dioxide. The problem comes with feeding the lawn with artificial fertiliser which generates carbon and dumping grass cuttings into the council's green bins.

 

Green-Lawn-Man (You know who I mean! Every neighbourhood has one, he's the guy or gal in love with their hosepipe and box of chemicals) wastes the same amount of water in one hour as a family of four uses in a week.

This combined with the artificial fertiliser they spread all over the grass and the cut grass they dump in council bins means their carbon footprint is far greater than the motorist they try blocking by super gluing themselves to the tarmac.  

 

 

Lawns mown without collecting the grass, leaving it instead for the worms to take down into the soil to feed the roots and at the same time store the carbon. Are not just healthier, but as the roots grow deeper into the soil become less dependent on wasteful watering and chemical fertilisers. These natural lawns are just as green, easier to maintain and a lot more carbon-friendly. Considerably reducing your carbon footprint.  Try it for a season. This article lawn care tips might help. OR even better grow a wildflower lawn.

 

Plant a tree to reduce your carbon footprint –

If you've got room in your garden planting a tree really does help combat global warming

 There are about 30 million gardens in the UK. If we all planted one tree, there would be 30 million more trees in our green and pleasant land. Planting trees can make a dramatic difference to global warming, Some trees absorb up to four tonnes of carbon dioxide over 20 years. Even a small  tree will make an important contribution. An apple tree has a bonus too, local apples with zero carbon footprint.

 

 

In summary it's mostly the simple things we can do in our garden to reduce our carbon footprint that will help combat global warming

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