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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Most Recent Biochar

This week marked about three moons since beginning this most recent batch. Beginning as about five pounds of char, to which I added rock dust, nitrogen, minerals and finally finished compost rich in biological life. Finally, I added about twenty pounds of expanded mica...(vermiculite). It finally came into a status that I feel emulates healthy soil after being aerated several hundred times, over the course of several moons; it has been kept moist, allowed to stay about the consistency of a wrung out sponge, warm and under shade, so the sun's UV has never touched it. Adding this material to the top few inches of soil and continuing to protect the surface from the harsh sterilizing rays of the Sun has benefits that can last for centuries, even millennea.

There has been a longstanding rule in business, they say that to succeed, never sell what you don't have and never over promise. Biochar has the potential to double production of crops when applied at the rate of two pounds per cubic yard of soil. (1 kg to one cubic meter) The raw material that biochar is built with is pure carbon which is inert in the environment. It never degrades, nothing eats or dissolves it. instead, it provides structure upon which microbes can flourish. The waste products of these microbes are actually what healthy plants need to most easily absorb their nutrients "food" from the soil. When you say, "Doubles biomass production." people tend to think that you are over promising. To prove the point, I will send anyone who wishes to do a side by side trial of biochar enough to enrich one five gallon bucket of soil. (.2 cubic meters) If you are the type of person who cooks using recipes as guides, not as gospel, then think of char this way. Every handful has fourteen acres of surface area. when first moistening char, it is best when kept just dry enough to squeal a little, like singing sands do when you walk on them. I have made really good char that almost felt like I was stirring tiny shards of broken glass. The carbon is essentially vitrified, like firing clay, it makes it more like stone than cellular tissue that it began as. However, the carbon remains a scaled down version of the original plant tissue.

Much of the nitrogen for this batch was from blood meal and as such, this biochar has been made for the pinery and blueberry beds. This material has the effect of slightly acidifying the soil.

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