Meanwhile Jane is still recovering from blisters and an aching back after spending 4 weekends on her knees, hand forking 100 litres of donkey poo charged biochar into her garden. ‘I love my garden but I haven’t had the time to look after the soil for the last few years, and it had got compacted and mossy, but after a lot of hard work the improvement is really noticeable. I’ve taken some pictures during the process, (see base of page) and will take more at the same time next year to chart progress’.
So, what is Biochar?
♥ Biochar is charred biomass that is intended for use in soil and growing medium.
♥ We’d love to have come up with this idea, but it’s not new. Every time lightning hits and plant material is charred it eventually gets incorporated into the soil. It’s totally natural!
♥ Our Biochar is Herefordshire wood converted into a solid carbon residue by heating wood in the absence of oxygen.
♥ The remaining carbon matrix has a massive surface area. If 100g was expanded it would cover anywhere between the size of a tennis court and a football field. This is due to the many water and nutrient carrying vessels in the biomass.
♥ Biochar is a tool used to bring out the best characteristics of a soil.
♥ More efficient water and nutrient use.
♥ The huge surface area of the char provides beneficial microbes and mycelium with homes. Isn’t that hospitable now?
♥ Carbon from the atmosphere is trapped (sequestered) in Biochar.
♥ Char is not biologically degradable so it will persist in the soil for many years supporting its infrastructure.
♥ During the composting process Nitrogen volatises as ammonia. The char absorbs this Nitrogen and keeps it in the compost.
♥ Speeds of composting in heaps can be increased by adding Biochar. This will also charge your char with nutrients ready for use in the garden.
Naked Biochar – no additions
♥ Use it like chipped bark as a decorative mulch on flower pots or beds. Black makes an excellent blackdrop.
♥ Charge your own: Add a handful to your compost bin in every layer.
♥ Soak in comfrey tea or sea weed extract and leave to mature for at least 2 weeks.
♥ Mix with manure at a rate of 2 Biochar : 1 manure, and mature for at least 2 weeks.
♥ Mix with grass clippings at 50:50, wet down, cover with cardboard and leave for at least 2-3 months. Or mix with compost for more instant results in a couple of weeks.
♥ Keep chickens? For 12 chickens throw in a 5 gallon bucket of char or chicken poo to their run. On the yearly clean out you’ll have deodorised poo charged char.
♥ Ready mixed 2/3 biochar with 1/3 aged five year old donkey poo for your delectation.
♥ Mix with compost for use in planters at 5-10%. This looks like 1 shovel of charged char to 10 of compost.
♥ Add to planting holes.
♥ Lay along seed drills.
♥ Add to your veg patch and flower bed soil at a rate of 5-10%. This looks like ¼ – ½ inch spread over the soil and incorporated 5 inches deep.
We would love to make more Biochar. Funny odd bits of wood from the Herefordshire woodlands we manage that we can’t use for our premium products are the perfect ingredient for making Biochar. We’d love to hear what you think about your Biochar and what you do with it. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org