Hello Arcadia. I am centrally located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada. I first learned a little about soil amendments as a very young child. My brothers and I were a bit disgusted at how my Mom collected coffee grounds and kitchen waste, which she dug in around her roses. Jumping ahead 30 years, I started my own garden on heavy, clay soil. Years of compost, cow manure, seaweed, and working the soil has gradually produced a clay loam that grows a variety of veggies, especially particularly yummy root crops. I learned some basic principles from a Belgian farmer, who used chemicals in his seed rows, and toxic sprays, which went against my convictions, so I concentrated on trying to provide better conditions for my plants to grow, so they would be less susceptible to pests. Now, 40 years later, I am still trying to add sufficient organic matter to help retain moisture, as climate change has affected my summers significantly. We can go 3 to 4 months without rain in the summer, which is difficult to mitigate with a shallow well. I eventually hope to install a rain collection system, to augment the cistern I installed.. Rather than remove deadheads, seed stalks, and plant roots, I use them in my walkways, difficult as they are to compost, along with sometimes straw, and maple leaves I collect in the fall. Eventually, they breakdown and provide lots of organic matter.
I would love to better understand carbon gardening. I do burn blowdowns, branches, and trimmings in my firepit, and then spread the ashes, but I have no idea how to produce char without oxygen. In today's world, it feels more young people are taking an interest in gardening practices, which I have basically taken for granted for decades, along with canning and preserving the bounty. This is something that is badly needed in a time when an addiction to convenience, and seasonal fruits and vegetables are in demand year round. Talk about carbon footprint! Thanks for adding your voice!