Climate change is increasingly becoming a global concern, with many individuals and families looking for ways to lower their carbon footprint and do their bit for the environment. As such, more people are turning to grow their own produce, as store bought produce has a high carbon footprint due to transportation, deforestation used to clear space for farms, and mass use of harmful pesticides and fertilisers.
Whilst growing your own produce does help to reduce your carbon footprint, there are certain ways to reduce your garden’s carbon footprint even further, making your home grown fruit and vegetables even more guilt free. Using just one of these methods will help to lower the emissions your garden produces (although the more you use the better!).
Use peat free compost
Peatlands and peat bogs act as a natural carbon sink, absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it within the peat. When this peat is taken away and used in compost, the earth’s ability to absorb greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide is cut, meaning carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere and contributes to global warming.
Avoid synthetic fertilisers
Synthetic fertilisers contain nitrogen which has been produced by converting methane from natural gas into hydrogen. This method also produces and releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, making it a counterintuitive way to reduce your carbon footprint. Manure is no better as it produces methane, another greenhouse gas. Stick to natural fertilisers you can find at home, such as egg shells and coffee rinds, or start your own compost.
Use compost to heat your greenhouse
When done properly, a compost bin can put out up to 100°F (37°C), making it an effective way to heat your greenhouse without relying on electric heaters. Making your own compost also reduces the amount of food waste you produce and send to landfills, and lessens your need to use synthetic fertilisers or compost containing peat.
Start seedlings indoors
Seedlings grow better with access to light and heat. While this can be given to them in a heated greenhouse, it is more energy efficient to start them off in a warm room with plenty of light available, particularly in winter. These can then be transported into the greenhouse when the weather warms up, and in the garden once they’re hardy enough.
Use rain water to water your plants
While drinking water does not produce a huge amount of greenhouse emissions, there is still enough to warrant not using it for your plants when rain water does just as good a job. Install water butts to collect water from your roof and use this for watering your plants.
Create your own pesticides
Store bought pesticides contain harmful ingredients, many of which do not degrade and instead build up in the food chain. Creating your own environmentally and animal friendly can help to reduce your carbon impact. A mix of water, garlic and cayenne pepper sprayed onto plants will do just as good a job of warding off insects.