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Soil Health and Climate Change: What you can do to Help the Environment
Derek from @fiveminutegardener

As we at PlantGrow know, soil health is vital to protecting the environment. We’ve teamed up with Derek from @fiveminutegardener to show you the simple steps you can take in your garden to help reduce carbon emissions.

“I work in a busy finance job which can often be very stressful, so getting to stop off at the allotment either before or after a day in the office really helps to give my mind that little bit of a break and lets me unwind. Over the past year my son has really taken to gardening and now at two (and three quarters), he sees going up to the allotment as a real treat. Until I bought a house with my wife, we had gone many years without a garden of our own. Having a lawn that needed to be cut gave me 45 minutes to switch off from all of life’s worries. From that point, I was hooked on gardening. I then learnt to grow food that is not only better for my family than shop bought produce, but better for the environment too.
For this reason, I believe it is so important to grow organically and to reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible. By growing organically, you can truly benefit your plants simply by looking after the soil. The idea is to try and give nature a helping hand to do exactly what it wants to do. An estimated 45% of waste sent to landfill in the UK is compostable, and when it begins to decompose it will release methane gas which is over 85 times worse for the environment than carbon dioxide (CO2). If the same items were correctly composted down, we could avoid any carbon being released into the air and lock it into the soil. We can fix a lot of our climate change problems by locking down more carbon into the soil.
Climate change is largely impacted by having too much carbon in the atmosphere. 40% of the CO2 is pulled in by plants as part of the photosynthesis process and is pushed through to the soil to feed the micro-organisms that in turn feed the plants and create topsoil. A thin layer of compost can bring more carbon into the soil each year. Combine this with no-dig methods, mulching, use of green manures and growing more trees can not only slow down climate change but it can reverse it. If it sounds too simple, that’s because it is: we can all support the regenerative loop of life.”

Derek’s simple steps to using your garden to help the environment

Watch Derek and his son explain how you can play your part in reversing climate change. If your soil is healthy, it can pull in three times as much carbon into the ground. There are two easy things that Derek recommends to help keep your soil healthy and help the environment.

Use the no dig method to lock carbon into your soil

The no dig method is exactly what it sounds like – don’t dig or till your soil! When you do, it releases carbon back into the air and disturbs the micro-organisms so undoes all your hard work of making your soil healthy. It also reduces weeds, so it’s a win-win! If you do get weed growth, you can control them with shallow hoeing, hand weeding and mulching.

Compost your food waste

Composting your food waste is so easy to do if you have room for a composter in your garden. You can compost your grass cuttings and any other materials that will break down (like certain types of cardboard), and within a couple of months you’ll be able to use that compost over your raised beds. It will feed the soil and lock in the carbon to help reverse climate change.

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