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Carbon Farming

Carbon farming increases the amount of carbon your garden can pull from the atmosphere and store in the soil. It’s a great way to combat climate change while creating a more resilient landscape.  

Carbon farming practices: 

  • Use compost. Feed your soil with compost to make your garden more resilient to drought and disease. Not only will the compost directly add carbon to your soil, it will also help plants take in more C02 from the air and store it in their stems, leaves, and roots. 
  • Maximize soil cover. Keep unplanted areas covered with a thick layer of mulch such as wood chips, straw, tree leaves, or compost. Mulch helps soil retain moisture, encourages microbial activity, and prevents erosion.  
  • Minimize disturbance. Rototilling destroys the microorganisms and fungi that bind up carbon in the soil. Instead of tilling, try sheet mulching when preparing your garden beds. 
  • Maximize continuous living roots. Woody perennial plants store large amounts of carbon in their roots, and create the perfect environment for beneficial microorganisms and fungi. If you are growing annual vegetables, plant cover crops after you harvest instead of letting your land lie fallow, or plant cover crops with your vegetables. 
  • Maximize biodiversity. The more diverse your plant community, the more diverse the soil food web will be. This helps prevent pests and pathogens from harming your plants, and creates excellent habitat for the beneficial microbes that enable plants to store carbon.  
  • Avoid synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. Synthetic inputs harm the insects and microorganisms that keep carbon locked up in your soil. Also, when synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are exposed to water the reaction produces nitrous oxide, a very harmful greenhouse gas.