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Creating your own carbon sink for fun and climate resilience

Climate change has impacted gardeners everywhere and has changed how home gardeners approach their activities and maintain their landscapes. Rising temperatures, unpredictable weather patterns, and increasing droughts and wildfires are some climate change impacts that have affected gardening where I live in the Pacific Northwest United States.

This got me thinking about carbon sinks. A carbon sink is a natural or human-made system that removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and stores it, helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change. Peat bogs are a natural carbon sink, and that’s part of the reason that many gardeners are moving away from a dependence on peat moss as a soil amendment. A carbon sink is an ecosystem or process that reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by sequestering it in organic matter, such as plants and soil. The cool thing is that this can be done on a small scale!

You can create a carbon sink in your yard by:

  1. Planting native trees and shrubs that are well adapted to the region and can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

  2. Composting yard waste and food scraps to produce nutrient-rich soil that can sequester carbon dioxide.

  3. Using cover crops to keep the soil healthy and protect it from erosion.

  4. Reducing lawn size to a usable size and replacing it with native plants and vegetables.

  5. Using low-carbon gardening techniques, such as drip irrigation, hand watering and organic fertilizers, to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

The carbon offset for a gardener like me varies depending on the size of the garden, the types of plants and practices used, and the location. But a well-managed garden of one acre or less can potentially sequester several tons of carbon dioxide per year, helping to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

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Photo by Xavier von Erlach on Unsplash