Gardeners new to the concept of carbon gardening often ask these two questions: What good soil management strategies will help maximize carbon sequestration? And, what would be a good plant palette to help accomplish this? Good questions both, to which I wish I could give detailed, specific answers. Carbon gardening in northern Illinois, where I live, differs from carbon gardening in other regions; each will require region-specific strategies and plant palettes. Everything depends on where the gardener lives and the conditions in which they are gardening. Thus, what follows is more in the way of a general discussion that might help point in the right direction than a series of rigid prescriptions.
Organic carbon sequestration is one of the oldest tricks in nature’s ancient playbook for global ecosystem regulation. These days, as we search for ways to pull excess carbon out of the atmosphere in order to mitigate global warming, new attention has focused on “natural climate solutions,” or managing land for carbon sequestration by conserving and restoring ecosystems and changing agricultural and gardening practices.