Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A simple biochar tutorial

Current: Sunny
Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 68%

I was getting ready today to start a fire in the ol' wood stove when I saw a very charred log inside. I pulled it out, started the fire as usual and got warm. Then it dawned on me, this can be used as biochar in the garden.

So, here goes, the simplest biochar tutorial.

1. Take a burnt out log from the wood stove, or wood burning bbq grill that you didn't clean out yet. Take those nice charcoal chunks and mash them into dust in a bucket. You can do it with your hands if you want. I used an 8# mini-sledge in a 5 gallon bucket while wearing a face mask. I don't want to breathe in charcoal dust, and neither do you! I didn't want to make dust, but I wanted smaller then a log to its just lightly broken up.

2. Clear the mulch back to the soil, dig a small trench, and fill with some of your charcoal.

3. Next add some composted manure. In my case a year old half-bag of chicken manure I got from McKay's. Guys, a little liquid of your human waste won't be half-bad either on top. This all helps gets food to the millions of micro-organisms going. This phase is generally referred to as inoculating the biochar. It honestly would of been better to burn a small fire here and let is smolder out with compost on top, but this is to show how easy this newly rediscovered gardening technology can work for the betterment of your soil and plants.

4. Next I used a hand rake and lightly worked it all in together, and done. Plant, and replace the mulch. Bam! You are now done. Easy-peasy wasn't it?

I will make another version of this soon as soon as I work out a way to deal with my photos. It might take a while, its a nice day and there is a lot to do.

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