Your soil content is very important for growing your vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Poor soil content will make your plant grow slowly and with less nutrients. The best way to start enriching your soil is adding biochar.
Biochar is crushed charcoal that is mixed with soil for the garden. Biochar like charcoal is very porous.
Benefits of Biochar:
1. Stop soil erosion
2. Hold good bacteria and fungi in soil
3. Hold water and slowly releasing it
4. Hold nutrient
Biochar is created by slowly burning wood to remove the combustible substance from wood. Biochar can also be collected from woodstoves or chimneys. After the burn process, what is left is the physical structure of the wood, which is exceptionally porous that contain high concentration of carbon. All plants need carbon to thrive. It is the same reason why plants take in CO2 and exchange O2.
Biochar has potassium in it so it will raise the pH in the soil. It is good for acidic soil. Do not mix too much biochar into your soil. Adding too much will make the soil toxic to your plants. The best ratio is to mix the soil with 5-10% biochar. Up to 30% is still tolerable but not as productive as 5-10% biochar.
Caution: Biochar is black and stains clothing.
You can use fresh biochar (raw biochar) after collecting it from the burn but the best way to use biochar is to prepare it by enriching it with other organic matter or nutrient for the plants. Mature biochar is prepared biochar that contains organic matter. Gradually good bacteria and fungi will colonize that will attract worms in mature biochar. Mature biochar requires time to age. Usually about several months, much like making compost.
An ideal way to prepare biochar is to mix it with compost and organic waste like chicken poo then mix occasionally as it matures.
As mentioned before you can collect biochar from woodstove or the chimney. However if you need large quantities, making biochar is simple. In fact, the best way to make biochar is from a woodgas stove because the by-product is the biochar. There are many videos on Youtube that teaches you how to make biochar. The concept is to slowly burn wood with low oxygen. If you don’t want to make it then you can purchase it.
You can never make too much biochar. Since biochar is charcoal, it can be used for medicinal purpose to absorb poison in the body when ingested. It can also be used to filter water to make fresh tasting water.
Saving the Planet with Biochar
Biochar is carbon negative, another word it absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere. Not only is biochar carbon negative, biochar prevents the soil from eroding from rainwater or wind. It also helps absorb chemicals that can pollute streams and rivers. So not only is biochar beneficial for your garden but also for the Earth.
Carbon is an essential nutrient for plants. Adding biochar to your garden adds carbon to your soil with multiple benefits. The practice of adding biochar to your soil is an ancient practice and we should continue practicing this method to benefit the planet.
Start your Self Reliance now. Start your garden to insure unlimited supply of fresh healthy food by enriching your soil with biochar. Gardening is a healthy hobby that is very relaxing. It can help relieve stress.
Carbon: an essential nutrient for plants
TEDx: Wae Nelson explains benefits of biochar & carbon negative
Amazonian Natives used biochar
Raw Biochar vs Mature Biochar
Best Ratio: 5-10% Biochar
How to make biochar
About the author:
E. Wong is a licensed acupuncturist in Texas that practices Traditional Chinese Medicine. With over 30 years of training in Tai Chi and Qi Gong, he shares his knowledge with his student as a Tai Chi and Qi Gong instructor.
He believes in being a responsible denizen of this planet through actions such as recycling, alternative energy, and green living.
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