Growing the Desert Garden

Welcome to the Desert Garden, with garden coach Tyler Storey, where we talk about everything having to do with gardening and landscaping in the Desert Southwest. From composting to Cercidium and agaves to arugula — we'll cover everything you want to know to grow your own beautiful Desert Garden.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Composting Homegrown Carbon Credits

Pile of Carbon Credits ©Tyler Storey

Carbon credits seem to be all the rage recently, but they can be a fairly confusing concept, especially when we read stuff like this:

"An individual allowance, such as a Kyoto Assigned Amount Unit (AAU) or its near-equivalent European Union Allowance (EUA), may have a different market value to an offset such as a CER. This is due to the lack of a developed secondary market for CERs, a lack of homogeneity between projects which causes difficulty in pricing, as well as questions due to the principle of supplementarity and its lifetime."

Nope, not a clue. So, in the interest of clearing things up, here follows a brief primer on Carbon Credits for the Desert Garden.

Pictured above is a whole pile of carbon credits I raked up in the side yard here at The Ranch this morning. If you look carefully you might recognize that most of the credits came from the various Ash (Fraxinus sp.) trees in the park across the street, while a few of them are from some neighboring Chinese Elms (Ulmus parvifolia) and my Indian Rosewood (Dalbergia sissoo) tree.

Winter is prime time for gathering carbon credits in the Desert Garden; here's a partial list of carbon credits that are generally plentiful this time of year:

  • dried leaves
  • Palo Verde leaf stalks
  • twigs
  • dead grass
  • woody prunings from shrubs and trees
  • Summer vegetable plants that finally died in the frost
  • hay and straw
  • cornstalks
  • pine needles (including your late, great Christmas tree)
Once you've collected all your carbon credits (and neighbors will generally just give you theirs if you ask nicely), chop or chip the larger bits into pieces no larger than an inch or two (chopping up your credits actually increases their value), and sequester them in your compost bin, along with about an equal amount of nitrogen-bearing material, such as coffee grounds, vegetable trimmings, grass clippings, etc.

Be certain to keep your sequestered carbon credits about as damp as a wrung-out sponge, and turn them regularly, keeping them well-mixed with the nitrogen bits. The more frequently you turn your credits, the sooner you can withdraw them and trade them for fresh vegetables and flowers from your very own garden.

And that's really all there is to it.

I didn't count the carbon credits in my pile this morning, but there must have been at least a million; it's humbling to be so rich.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like that a lot! Off to 'count' and turn my very own credits now!