Farming

Cover the Ground, Change the World

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That is my tomato patch. It’s pretty pathetic. In a rush, I planted the plot without improving the soil or covering the ground. I did cover it later, but it was too little too late. Thus, my tomatoes are sad and unproductive.

As opposed to what you find under my tomatoes plants, healthy soils are usually dark. That dark color comes from carbon.  Plants capture carbon from the air and put it in the ground. Carbon also ends up in the soil by decomposition from organic matter (think compost). All this good stuff leaves the soil through evaporation if it is not covered.

The good folks at the Savory Institute speculate that the grasslands of the earth have the potential to absorb enough carbon to reduce greenhouse gas concentrations to pre-industrial levels. They believe Holistic Planned grazing can accomplish this. See http://savory.global/assets/docs/evidence-papers/RestoringClimateWhitePaper2015.pdf

One aspect of this grazing strategy is to increase the number of animals and put them on a small piece of pasture for a very short period of time. They enjoy all the good grasses and trample all the other plants. The trampling covers the ground. No bare soil = a huge carbon sink.

I try to replicate this in my own garden by laying down thick green mulch. The success of this method is evident in my peppers. See below. They enjoyed soil improvement and mulch this season. This is just one contribution to changing the world.

Rachel

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