Carbon Neutral Garden

tree

They are not making ‘Carbon’ anymore nor is carbon ever totally destroyed. Carbon is one of natures greatest recycling projects. Carbon is present in gaseous form like Methane(CH4), Carbon dioxide(CO2) and Carbon monoxide(CO). Carbon is also dissolved in water particularly the oceans but is naturally present most notably as a solid in rocks such as limestone, minerals like oil and coal plus trees and plant matter.

Do you think about the carbon cycle?

Is your garden carbon neutral?

Are you offsetting your own carbon emissions?

Environmental Benefits of Planting Trees

Common Sense Carbon Neutral

Do you think about the carbon cycle?

As a conservationist or concerned gardener you probably don’t burn trees, twigs and garden waste any longer. – Burning creates greenhouse gases by converting solid carbon into gaseous carbon. This is done by releasing as heat all the years of sun that have been soaked up by the trees and plants changing the solid carbon into a gas. Carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide help create the greenhouse effect and global warming. However burning only changes the carbon from a solid to a gas it is always there in one form or another.

As solid carbon can help control global warming grow longer lived hardwood trees if you have the space. Hardwood trees are usually deciduous such as Oak, Ash and Beech. They lock up the carbon in solid form for a long time and create wood that can be used for furniture, construction and other environmentally friendly purposes.

Is your garden carbon neutral?

Carbon in the forms of fossil fuels such as coal, gas, oil and wood are converted into energy and CO2 by consumption at the point of use, say in a petrol driven mower or via electricity. To be carbon neutral you need to convert CO2 back into a solid in equal quantities to that you have consumed.

Transport is one of the big fuel consumers. Consider the import of plants, from say Holland, which are grown in hot houses, shipped and trucked to a garden center for you to visit in a car. Worse still may be the flowers grown in Columbia or South Africa that are airfreighted.

Packaging uses energy in its production and often in its destruction. I am not totally against plastic in the garden as the carbon is locked in but I detest the disposable nature of thin plastic pots that can’t be reused. Reuse and recycling are two of the best ways to contribute to a friendlier environment in the garden. I buy fresh seed usually in paper packets without a glossy printed picture on the front and a foil wrapped internal packet. Both these later two items the foil and the print are to help retailers sell more and increase the shelf life rather than help the gardener or the environment.

Energy use directly in the garden is not normallyso heavy but a heated greenhouse will have a large carbon footprint. Insulate the greenhouse with bubble wrap in winter and keep the heated area to a minimum by partition or division. You may be able to move plants indoors where it is already frost proof and maintain a cool greenhouse. Where practical locate the greenhouse so maximise solar gain and minimise winter heat loss. Old greenhouses were often against north facing walls or had a solid rear wall. Consider heat pumps or reusing heat from composting or sub soil heat.

Water use if from a mains supply has to be pumped filtered and treated so it is more effective to conserve your water in a rain butt. Hard landscape creates water run off and cement costs energy in production whereas soft landscaping can be carbon footprint reducing.

Are you offsetting your own carbon emissions?

So you have reduced your carbon emissions. You have recycled, composted and reused to the best of your ability. Your buying habits have been tuned to local production that is environmentally sensitive. What is left to do? Big companies can ‘trade carbon credits’ a hot air generating scam in my view. We can join pressure groups, support charities and try maintain rain forests and support replanting schemes.

Above all we can plant our own mini forest. There are schemes for those who do not have the space at home but even small gardens should be able to find somewhere for a small tree or shrub.

Environmental Benefits of Planting Trees

  • Trees are like the lungs of the planet. They breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen.
  • Additionally, they provide habitat for birds and other wildlife.
  • Trees trap CO2 from the atmosphere and make carbohydrates that are used for plant growth. They give us oxygen in return.
  • CO2 is one of the major contributing elements to the greenhouse effect
  • Trees also help to reduce ozone levels and pollution
  • Trees reduce urban runoff and erosion by storing water and breaking the force of rain as it falls.
  • Trees can absorb or deflect sound and reduce noise pollution.
  • Planting trees can also help cool your home in the summer avoiding the need for air conditioning (with our summers we should be so lucky).
  • In the winter, trees can act as windbreaks and can help you save on heating costs. If enough trees are planted the overall microclimate improves and total energy use for heating and cooling is reduced.

Common Sense Carbon Neutral

  • Growing your own vegetables and food crops cuts transport, packaging and often chemical treatments of the crop.
  • Read more about the subject and think through the cause and effect particularly of the big issues
  • Do what works for you economically and socially
  • Do not get too stressed out – the carbon cycle balances out – you should retain your natural balance

Book Cover

2 Responses to Carbon Neutral Garden

  1. BevaBlarp May 17, 2009 at 16.03 #

    mm.. attractive ))

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  1. Allie’s Answers » Blog Archive » Carnival of the Green # 138! - July 28, 2008

    [...] green is your garden?  Gardeners’ Tips shows us how to have a carbon neutral garden.  And Vegan Bits talks about reducing your carbon [...]

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