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Urban lots carbon farming

 
michelle salois
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I'm hoping for ideas and studies to cite for how to store carbon in the soil with Urban landscaping methods in Permaculture designs
 
Tyler Ludens
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Charli Wilson
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I like that Paradise lot link, haven't read that one before! It is nice to put some numbers to things sometimes.

Anything that adds organic matter to the soil is essentially sequestering carbon. And anything you can do to produce this organic matter yourself will be helping.

On (2/10ths of an acre), I:
- grow things to make my own wood chip (a willow hedge can be cut back and chipped every year). Any hedging would probably do the job, but willow is prolific here.
- make my own compost- grow things specifically to make compost (have a look at biodynamics 'carbon and crop' list)

You're still sequestering carbon by using outside inputs, but the lesser outside inputs you can use the better. Having said that, free outside inputs that would otherwise be wasted are better used. I collect garden waste from neighbours and other people who would otherwise be putting in their landfill bin- either because they don't want to or can't compost themselves.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Charli Wilson wrote:
- grow things to make my own wood chip (a willow hedge can be cut back and chipped every year).


I think we need to make sure we're chipping by hand (clippers) rather than with a powered chipper. If we use a powered chipper we're probably not sequestering much if any carbon.

 
R Ranson
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I think Paradise Lot is also by our guest author. Or at least someone by the same name. Funny that should come up, I've just got my hands ona book by that name .

Oh, and it looks like he's also one of the authors of the two book Edible Forest Garden set. How exciting.

I'm wondering if choosing plants that create a large amount of leaf and stem would help sequester carbon? Like runner beans instead of their shorter bush cousins. Or, for example, growing a small patch of long straw grain, then using the straw as mulch. Maybe the straw could be created into something else before it becomes mulch. The most comfortable sandals I ever had were woven of rice straw. Sun hats are often made of straw.

Am I right in thinking that mulch and compost both help sequester carbon? How about hugelkultur? Is that feasible in an urban setting?
 
Tyler Ludens
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R Ranson wrote: How about hugelkultur? Is that feasible in an urban setting?


We've got a thread on that: http://www.permies.com/t/50725/hugelkultur/Hugelkulturs-Carbon-Sequestration

This might be more feasible for urban setting: http://www.permies.com/t/52077/hugelkultur/Buried-Wood-Beds
 
R Ranson
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Thanks for the links tyler. The first one is interesting as it talks about using landscaping 'waste'. I know it's a big issue here, (I think it's our city's fourth largest industry after education, tourism, and government). There's a place that takes the chips but it emits the most noxious smells. Finding a solution for the branches and chippings would be a great help to the area.

I agree, the buried wood beds look more useful for an urban setting, especially given our local climate.
 
Eric Toensmeier
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Hi Michelle,

Anything that increases the amount of organic matter in your soil or the amount of perennial biomass above ground is sequestering carbon. So compost, mulching, intercropping with perennials, and any number of strategies are all workable. The great thing about growing in the city is that you have access to the urban waste stream and all of the marvelous carbon it contains.

Eric
 
Casie Becker
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R Ranson wrote:
I'm wondering if choosing plants that create a large amount of leaf and stem would help sequester carbon? Like runner beans instead of their shorter bush cousins. Or, for example, growing a small patch of long straw grain, then using the straw as mulch.

Am I right in thinking that mulch and compost both help sequester carbon?


I actually remember hearing something about a drought in India (I think it was in the 1980's) that caused horrible famine. They had actually had average rainfall that year. The problem was a recent large scale change in wheat varieties. The new variety had much shorter stalks. Despite the same levels of rain, a few years of growing the shorter grain had resulted in significantly reduced water holding capacity in the soils because of the reductions in soil organic matter.
 
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