Monday, March 23, 2015

The hard to find resource... CARBON! Look in your mailbox?

It is really kind of funny that we spend so much time today talking about global warming or climate change and all that carbon in the atmosphere... Seriously, I think any sane or rational person would think about that long and hard and think about how plants and our environment works.  

As a gardener I am constantly looking at how I can make my garden sustainable.  This means equalizing my inputs required with my outputs and looking for ways to stack functions as much as possible.  It is an ever learning and growing process of our thinking and observation.  The hardest thing for me to come by for my garden is also one of the so called problems which is carbon.  I cannot find enough... Yes, for each part of nitrogen it takes far more carbon to create an environment that soil life can attach to and do something with.  So I am constantly scanning looking for ways to get my carbon resources to feed my compost, worms, garden beds and soil.

If you follow Back to Eden Gardening then you have heard about  wood chips.  They are a wonderful carbon resource.  The trees mine deep for minerals that we cannot easily get and bring thos up to the surface where we can cycle them through our soils.  However this isn't enough, and we need to be looking for things as well.  My wood chips are wonderful, but they do break down to slowly for my composting needs so I am looking for faster cycling of carbon through the system.  So I look for leaves, straw, hay, garden plant materials from the prior year etc.  One area that may be overlooked is your mailbox or your driveway!  Our mailboxes are full of junk mail and if you receive a news paper or look for the free classified ad newpapers at your local store pick a few up....  They make great carbon for your compost bins, and worms. 

How to use your junk mail?  Don't use anything shiny as far as ads and things.  I typically recycle envelopes and the mail itself.  I remove the plastic windows from the envelopes.  I run them through a shredder.  Same thing with the news paper or classified ad papers.  Just shred them and put them in a garbage bag for adding to my compost bins and worm bins.  Also if you buy eggs in cartons those cartons can be reused with a local person who may sell you eggs, or if you don't have access to someone who sells you eggs or better yet you have your own chickens so you have eggs then you can recycle those egg cartons as well.

There are many sources of nitrogen that we can use, but I find it far more difficult to find easy to obtain sources of carbon.  In our compost we call this our "browns".  Keeping your eyes open you can find additional sources of carbon to help with your gardening and adding more "flavor" to your Back to Eden Gardening... 

Funny, now I look forward to junk mail in my mailbox!  Strange how growing a garden can change perspectives?  LOL

Take Care, and God Bless you,

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