Carbon storage on a backyard scale


Backyard gardens accumulate old timber, typically from trees that have blown down or been cut down during pruning, plus building timber so old that its value for construction has become outweighed by the fact that it is taking up valuable space and looks ugly to boot.

The wood heap in our garden grows for some years until other pressures force me to deal with it. This Spring, a long chain of causality has pressured me, once again, to get out the chain saw and table saw to sort the wood heap onto the firewood stack or the kindling stack. [In brief, to be able to find working space in my own shed, I have to move the woodheap to make room for a new chicken shed so that I can empty the old chicken shed to receive a bunch of unused furniture that’s clogging up my shed. So it goes – each job in a garden generates six others!]


My youngest son is kind enough to help Dad with this work, and cook and gardener move all that wood by wheelbarrow around the property until, finally, space is cleared.

Now all that has to happen is the building of the new chicken shed, the movement of stuff hither and yon until space and order appear in front of my workbench, and the other piles of carbon – two very large stacks of twigs-and-sticks – get put through the shredder and laid onto the soil of the garden paths to break down further for storage in the soil as worm food.


The soil of this district is a sticky red clay; in my garden, the rich loamy black texture of the soil arises from annual storage of carbon broken down from mulch, shreddings and compost, seasoned with the ash from our winter wood-fires.


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