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Biochar — The Grow Network Community
Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.

-Thomas Edison


Have you used or made biochar?

Does it have to be charged/activated?

Do you mix it in with compost? Can you just "layer" it?

How fine do you crush it?

So many questions! We have a fire pit that mostly the boys use, then before they come in, they wet it down, which makes awesome biochar. It's really pretty and crunchy and I have several 5 gallon buckets full, but there's all kinds of conflicting evidence about mixing it with compost or charging it with "stuff" (various complicated recipes with various ingredients) for 2 weeks, etc.

I have a large 30 gallon trashcan full of compost tea that I could soak it in and I'm pretty sure I remember David the Good just crumbling it on top with some compost and slightly raking it in. I don't recall him charging it. Have any of you made/used this and what method did you use and what were your results. The last thing I want to do is to steal nitrogen for a year (but then I heard for several years after that, the soil and benefits are awesome). I'm wondering if waiting til fall would work, so it can soak in all winter.

Your thoughts are appreciated.


  • CherlynnCherlynn Posts: 149 ✭✭✭

    I have a bag of it and was told to just mix it in with my organic matter. Haven't had a chance to try it out this year but the next growing area I will add it in.

  • EarlKellyEarlKelly Penn state master gardener Northeastern Pennsylvania zone 5bPosts: 226 ✭✭✭

    @KarynPennington if you go to you tube and look for edible acres my buddy Sean is extremely knowledgeable. He has a video where he makes the biochar in his wood stove. Very helpful info. His place is very interesting. Have made the trip a bunch of times for his trees and plants. Has many videos I’m sure you will find helpful. Hope this helps you and good luck.

  • judsoncarroll4judsoncarroll4 Posts: 1,247 admin
    edited January 22

    Cuatemoc Villa is one of my Permaculture teachers through Matt Powers' Advanced Permaculture course. He's a great guy and a real expert on biochar. Check out his videos on youtube https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=cuatemoc+villa He inoculates biochar with worm tea and water kefir

  • JensJens Posts: 366 ✭✭✭

    @KarynPennington you can use it straight out of the fire pit, well maybe crush it a bit finer. I use it as a sprinkle within the mulch layer.

    The enormous advantage of soaking it in compost tea, diluted urin, or any other liquid fertilizer is that you have it loaded witht he goodness and it will straigtaway release it over a long period and you have a long term fertilizer.

    If used straight on this propertie will only develop over time but work nevertheless.

  • probinson50probinson50 Posts: 38 ✭✭✭

    Biohar was featured in the documentary The Need to Grow: https://www.earthconsciouslife.org/theneedtogrow

  • 2017pams@gmail.com[email protected] Posts: 12 ✭✭✭

    I would sure like to try it in my garden. Need to ask my kids to create some or find some. I always love the experiment. My grandfather and I would talk of soil fertility in the 90s and that it was one of the biggest issue facing the world. He loved his acres of trees though he fed many people from his huge garden for 6 decades. Combining the 2 to solve this problem would have made him happy. We need to do more to make it available to ordinary people.

  • llvonnllvonn Posts: 18 ✭✭✭

    It is also useful for getting rid of odour. I had a minor issue with my chooks, some of their food spilt and got trampled and combined with the heavy rain started to smell a bit. A friend raked over the area with biochar and odour went away. Haven't had any problems since.

  • tomandcaratomandcara Colorado front range- Denver MetroPosts: 526 ✭✭✭

    @judsieffert and @probinson50 Thank you for the video links. Very informative.

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