Biochar What does everyone thing about it?

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Re: Biochar What does everyone thing about it?

Postby GrahamB » Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:37 am

I was sat in the treestand this morning and counted about six snowflakes. And that is as much snow as I want for now, so Guy you can keep it up there thanks.
The small amount of biochar I've made I mixed with a load of rabbit manure and scattered in on the garden where my wife grew her tomatoes. I'm not claiming it was the biochar, but those tomato plants grew into trees this summer. We had a hard time keeping them upright because they were so heavy. It does make me want to make a lot more though. I didn't go through all the procedure that the guy did on the video. I just saturated it and then immediately mixed it with the rabbit manure, making sure it was all mixed well.
This is a link to the IBI where there is lots of useful information.
http://www.biochar-international.org/Newenglandbiochar
No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.
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Re: Biochar What does everyone thing about it?

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Sun Nov 24, 2013 1:48 pm

That site has a Huge amount of information about Biochar. Thanks Graham, I had never seen or heard of that site before now. Its good to hear about your experience with the Tomatoes too. That is the type of information I am looking for, someone who has actually made the Biochar and used it in the garden. If I can get the barrels and some wood chips this year I am considering making a kiln up on the Hill this year. But before I went to all that work I wanted to make sure that it worked as advertised and really did improve the soil. :lol:
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Re: Biochar What does everyone thing about it?

Postby GrahamB » Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:39 pm

My plan is to make the same type as the Peter Hirst model with a 55gal as the outside and a 35gal as the inside. I have the 55gal but I'm still looking for the 35gal. When I've made a batch I was going to use the 35gal as the mixing container, pouring the water in on top and then filling it right up with rabbit manure. These rabbits may not have produced any meat for me this year, but they are great manure factories. I have a huge slash pile that will keep me supplied with feed stock for a quite a while, so once I've got that smaller barrel, I'm good to go.
No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.
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Re: Biochar What does everyone thing about it?

Postby michaelegan » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:58 pm

My experience with biochar was involuntary at first-- in 2008 my garage burned down. I pushed the char off the site onto the side of the hill and over the next year and a half rebuilt the garage/shop. The first summer, 6months after the fire, the hill showed little plant growth but the second summer the wild berries had taken off and taken over! I didn't make the connection to soil fertility until 2011 when my wife and I attended a week long biochar workshop in Mass. Some push it as the latest elixir. Albert Bates has one of the best books on the subject-- more balanced but definitely pro biochar. I believe it works and from what scientists say it does sequester carbon so if you can produce it without releasing lots of carcinogenic smoky particulates into the air I say do it. I plan to. Just make sure you add compost and let it season for a year before you start applying it to your garden. Otherwise it will suck up nutrients and starve plants until it reaches an equilibrium and has built up resident colonies of beneficial microbes which will work for you.
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Re: Biochar What does everyone thing about it?

Postby pa_friendly_guy » Fri Aug 14, 2015 8:48 pm

I burned my 1st charcoal kiln full of wood today, loaded it up with wood, set the fire and watched it burn for an hour. I took some pictures with my new phone, I will post then when I can figure out how to down load them, :lol: I used the design of the guy that posted the U-tube video about making Bio-Char for the small farm. He used 55 gal barrels plus 1 small barrel. I followed his design, placed the wood in carefully the wood in the bottom burn barrel, set a fire on the top, after it was going good I used a rake to spread it around, then I put the chimney on, then the after burner, it gets all of its combustion air from holes in the bottom of the burn barrel. The video said to burn it for 50 min to an hour and 10 min, so I split the difference and burned mine for an hour. He had used wood chips, I used wood from a saw mill. I should have burned it a bit longer, some of the wood at the bottom was still not burned through, but all in all I was pleased with my 1st attempt. I followed what the guy on the video did to the letter, He did not tell you to cool the after burner with a hose BEFORE you grabbed it. :o I burned some of my fingers !!!!! I don't know what is a 1st degree and what is a 2nd degree burn, but I have blisters on 4 of my finger tips. It was a " Learning Experience " to be sure. I hosed off the chimney and the burn barrel before I touched them, lol. I ended up with about a wheel barrow and 1/2 of Bio-Char, some of the wood was only charred on the out side and was not char coal the whole way through. I put it up in the compost pile to work a bit before I will put it on the garden next spring. I will try to keep you posted as to how it works for me.
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