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Biochar?

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Biochar? - Page 5 Empty Re: Biochar?

Post  markqz on 1/15/2020, 8:26 pm

According to wikipedia, charcoal is usually made by a process of slow pyrolysis.  So ... could we crush up charcoal and use it?

I imagine attempting to make your own bio-char by pyrolysis would be violating all sorts of statues here in CA. Enjoy your freedom, all you gardeners outside the banana state!

Bio-char runs $37 a cubic foot on Amazon. Since it's "bio", it's probably not going to stick around as long as vermiculite.

At some point, I'm reminded of the book The 64 Dollar Tomato (How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden).
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Post  OhioGardener on 1/15/2020, 8:33 pm

CN, my thought is that you may be OverThinking It.  Shocked 

The residue from burned plants will contain both charcoal and ash. When sprayed with a hose, the ash will wash away, and the charcoal will be left.  But, both the ash and the charcoal are beneficial to the soil. 

The overthinking part is in regards to inoculating or charging the charcoal to turn it into Biochar. If adding the recommended 10% Biochar to the soil, inoculating it first is essential to ensure it is already loaded with moisture and microbes. Otherwise, for the first year or so it will pull the microbes & nutrients from the soil to store them in the biochar cells, and deprive the plants of the needed nutrients and microbes. But, if adding a very small amount of charcoal/biochar to the soil, it will have very little impact on the plants.

I added inoculated Biochar to each of my raised beds at the rate of 1 cu ft per 4'x8' of soil, and worked it into the top 6" of soil. I inoculate the biochar by soaking it overnight in compost tea, then blending it with an equal amount of homemade compost and letting it sit for 24 hours. Then it was spread evenly on the soil surface and worked into it.  I did not use the biochar as a replacement for the vermiculite or perlite, but as an addition.  That said, the biochar is a "permanent" amendment which should be there well past my lifetime. Charcoal is a very stable form of carbon, which does not decompose in the soil.

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Post  countrynaturals on 1/16/2020, 12:14 am

@OhioGardener wrote:CN, my thought is that you may be OverThinking It.  Shocked 

The residue from burned plants will contain both charcoal and ash. When sprayed with a hose, the ash will wash away, and the charcoal will be left.  But, both the ash and the charcoal are beneficial to the soil. 

The overthinking part is in regards to inoculating or charging the charcoal to turn it into Biochar. If adding the recommended 10% Biochar to the soil, inoculating it first is essential to ensure it is already loaded with moisture and microbes. Otherwise, for the first year or so it will pull the microbes & nutrients from the soil to store them in the biochar cells, and deprive the plants of the needed nutrients and microbes. But, if adding a very small amount of charcoal/biochar to the soil, it will have very little impact on the plants.

I added inoculated Biochar to each of my raised beds at the rate of 1 cu ft per 4'x8' of soil, and worked it into the top 6" of soil. I inoculate the biochar by soaking it overnight in compost tea, then blending it with an equal amount of homemade compost and letting it sit for 24 hours. Then it was spread evenly on the soil surface and worked into it.  I did not use the biochar as a replacement for the vermiculite or perlite, but as an addition.  That said, the biochar is a "permanent" amendment which should be there well past my lifetime. Charcoal is a very stable form of carbon, which does not decompose in the soil.
YEE-HAH! I have a huge bucketful of accidental compost tea, so I can inoculate my biochar before spreading it. thankyou so much OG. Without your post, I would have just added the biochar without inoculating it, and dumped the compost tea, so I would have basically wasted both of them. dangit
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Post  sanderson on 1/16/2020, 3:23 am

CN, It will be interesting to see how your experiment works.

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Post  countrynaturals on 1/16/2020, 10:35 am

@sanderson wrote:CN,  It will be interesting to see how your experiment works.
Got a storm going on today, and nothing but rain on Friday, but Saturday I should be able to get this going. Nature is washing off the ash for me, and the kids did a nice, big burn before it started raining, so I have plenty of material. I need to get someone to cover the bucket of compost tea, so it doesn't overflow and wash away.

Sunday is also supposed to be nice, so that's when I plan to spread it. Last time, I didn't use nearly enough. I won't make that mistake again, either. dangit

For the next batch, can I use fresh horse manure for the compost tea or should it be aged? thinking (Time to do some research on that topic.  geek )
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