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Is anyone using Biochar in their garden?

Discussion in 'The Green Patch' started by DKR, Dec 18, 2011.

  1. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    If you are would you be kind enought o share...

    How did you test the soil before application?

    Sourced the biochar? Or home vrew?

    Feedstock of biochar - wood chips, cuttings, etc?

    How well has it worked in your garden.

    Really interested in anyone in the PNW, northern tier US or Alaska.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Check with UofA Extension Service, I bet they can answer that question... .......
    Falcon15 likes this.
  3. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    The soil test folks are out in Palmer, with the farmers (duh) - don't fell like driving 100 miles or more for some simple tests.

    There is a "biochar.org' that lists some activity in Ak, but the links are dead or go to 404.

    Hence the post here.
  4. Pyrrhus

    Pyrrhus Monkey++

    Yes, but I just call it charcoal. Does good things for the acidic soil around here. You can use any hardwood to make your charcoal.
  5. carly28043

    carly28043 Monkey+

    If you are willing to pay for it Timberleaf soil testing is great. They have a website to order from and the test kits are sent throught the mail. I did a base test through them and now use the cheap kits in the local stores to monitor the basics. I just did the standard test. I wasn't sure that I was willing to pay for the others.

    Timberleaf Soil Testing
  6. DKR

    DKR Interesting ideas, interesting stories

    Thanks Carley

    Thanks for the link.

    As for charcoal,. biochar is a relatively high temp (900+ F) pyrolysis of 'biomass' which yields a fine grain product. The big deal, as I understand it, is that biochar is high in organic carbon and resistant to decomposition over time.
    Hence my question o find users in a northern tier or PNW state.

    Bichar, also called
    Terra Preta in the Amazon basin, still provides a good growing medium despite the wet environment - thus catching my interest. I had a bad potato crop two summers ago due to the wet, despite my work to have the bed well drained.

    I composted the patch this last summer and covered with black plastic to increase the heat in the earth - I'll test the soil pH at breakup (spring thaw) to see if any lime is needed.

    The biochar is supposed to hold nutrients, and help the soil resist changes in pH...

    I'll keep looking for a local source, thanks to all for your input!
    Motomom34 likes this.
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