I would like to embrace the no-dig method for a new market garden project that I am about to start next fall and I would like to promote as much as I can these wonderful practices through this project. One of the questions I’d like to answer is the all-around impact on greenhouse gas emission of the system. (I can easily see the beneficial impact on biodiversity, water pollution, etc.)
Hot composting is a forced decay process that releases more CO2 than a slow natural decay and it involves some heavy machinery to process in large quantities.
But on the other hand, no dig uses near-zero machinery on site and produces so much in such a small space that you can dedicate perennial space for carbon farming (green manure, prairies, tree planting, etc).
For example, if someone converts 2ha of conventionnal mechanized bare-soil veg growing to 2000sq meters of no-dig. Let’s assume the same amount of annual crop is produced in a tenth of the space used before. The rest (1,8ha) is then dedicated to low maintenance perennial plants for carbon farming.
What would be the carbon impact of the conversion?
I know a bunch of parameters come into play but I’m looking for a very rough order of magnitude (2x better, 10x better, even, worse?) to make sure that such a conversion will go in the good direction in terms of carbon emission and anticipate criticism about the important use of hot compost, its non-upscalability, its emissions, etc.
Many thanks if someone has some numbers to share on the question that I hope does not seem too irrelevant.
Wow Nicolas, that is some number crunching.
I don’t know how much carbon is lost in hot composting.
Not all composts are made hot and with frequent turning. For example most home composts, animal manures, leaf mould and woodchip composts.
I reckon no dig is generally very positive for CO2 emissions.