© DBL Ranch 2016

Biochar

Biochar is the carbonized form of biomass.  Biochar is produced through a process known as pyrolisis, which is the heating of biomass stock in an oxygen deprived environment to temperatures upward from 300 C to around 600  C (or 572 f  -- 1,112 F ). Biochar production for use as a soil amendment is recently renewed practice that is centuries old.  Most commonly known association is with the terra preta soils of the amazon region where the carbon rich biochar was regularly added to garden soils.  Biochar provides a unique opportunity to improve soil fertility for the long term using locally available materials.  It can be used alone or in conjunction with compost, manure, minerals, and/or agrochemicals.  Of note, is that the application amounts of water and fertilizer can be reduced when using it with biochar while realizing the increasing benefits to the productions.  Biochar can help the environment remove toxins and through production of environmentally friendly products including energy as biofuels, as numerous agricultural application, and as numerous other products still in the R&D stages.
BIOCHAR IS ONE TECHNOLOGY THAT CAN POSITIVELY REVERSE THE PRODUCTION OF CARBON AND METHANE INTO THE ATMOSPHERE WHILE IMPROVING FOOD SUPPLIES, CLEANING WATER, AND EMPLOYING MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN LOCALLY BASED ECONOMIES.
The following benefits occur with additions of biochar to the soil, in amounts ranging from 3 oz. per square foot up to 16 oz. per square foot- 1 Enhanced plant growth 2 Suppressed methane emission 3 Reduced nitrous oxide emission (estimate 50%) 4 Reduced fertilizer requirement (estimate 10%) 5 Reduced leaching of nutrients 6 Stored carbon in a long term stable sink 7 Reduces soil acidity: raises soil pH 8 Reduces aluminum toxicity 9 Increased soil aggregation due to increased fungal hyphae 10 Improved soil water handling characteristics 11 Increased soil levels of available Ca, Mg, P, and K 12 Increased soil microbial respiration 13 Increased soil microbial biomass 14 Stimulated symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes 15 Increased arbuscular mycorrhyzal fungi 16 Increased cation exchange capacity biochar
What we do know is this- 1 Biochar (charcoal) is created by burning wood or similar materials in an oxygen free or oxygen deprived environment. biochar is not ash that comes out of your wood burning stove. 2 The addition of biochar to soil has profoundly positive effects on the environment that are extensive and long lasting. By some estimates the lifespan of biochar in soil is in excess of 1,600 years. 3 The amount needed is quite small- from 3 oz. per cubic foot to an upper limit of around 16 oz. per cubic foot. 4 There is a definite, noticeable period of productivity lag after adding biochar directly to the soil if it is not activated with micro-nutrients. 5 Biochar needs to be “charged” or “activated” with minerals trace elements, and micro-organisms prior to it being able to contribute to soil fertility. The best way to do this is in compost, preferably a manure-based compost that already has minerals, trace elements, and a microbiome base colonization. 6 Adding a mineral and trace element rich supplement to the biochar/compost greatly increases the nutrient cycling and “activation” of the biochar 7 The time period needed to “charge” the biochar is at least six months, preferably a year. 8 Soon after adding biochar to compost, the fungal, microbial and earthworm activity drastically increases. 9 Adding biochar to compost speeds up the decomposition by several times. 10 The ideal size for the biochar chunks is between the size of rice and corn. So how, exactly, does one go about incorporating biochar into the garden?  The learning the process is relatively simple…. Workshops are available for those interested on hands on instruction. Biochar is relatively easy to make or it is now becoming more easy to find at nearby nurseries, garden supply stores, and online suppliers.
Sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it? There are many pages of discussions on the positive impacts of biochar or biochar, what is the best method of making  biochar, how much to add to the soil, etc. and etc. It is easy to read oneself blind. It is wonderful to see so much attention devoted to studying the benefits of biochar and how it interacts with the soil. The home gardener, however, is usually more concerned with how to incorporate an idea into their garden than reading all of the latest research. Let’s face it, sequestering carbon, qualifying for carbon credits, and reducing greenhouse gases for the home gardener is a smaller interest than the increased soil fertility, nutrient cycling, nitrogen fixing and improving plant growth, health and productivity that biochar provides.
For questions: Call Jim Busher @ 530.341.2242   or  write:  jim@dlbranch.org Info:   http://www.biochar-international.org/     OR  For local assistance:   www.biocharnorthwest.com
© DBL Ranch

Biochar

Biochar is the carbonized form of biomass.  Biochar is produced through a process known as pyrolisis, which is the heating of biomass stock in an oxygen deprived environment to temperatures upward from 300 C to around 600  C (or 572 f  -- 1,112 F ). Biochar production for use as a soil amendment is recently renewed practice that is centuries old.  Most commonly known association is with the terra preta soils of the amazon region where the carbon rich biochar was regularly added to garden soils.  Biochar provides a unique opportunity to improve soil fertility for the long term using locally available materials.  It can be used alone or in conjunction with compost, manure, minerals, and/or agrochemicals.  Of note, is that the application amounts of water and fertilizer can be reduced when using it with biochar while realizing the increasing benefits to the productions.  Biochar can help the environment remove toxins and through production of environmentally friendly products including energy as biofuels, as numerous agricultural application, and as numerous other products still in the R&D stages.
BIOCHAR IS ONE TECHNOLOGY THAT CAN POSITIVELY REVERSE THE PRODUCTION OF CARBON AND METHANE INTO THE ATMOSPHERE WHILE IMPROVING FOOD SUPPLIES, CLEANING WATER, AND EMPLOYING MILLIONS OF PEOPLE IN LOCALLY BASED ECONOMIES.
The following benefits occur with additions of biochar to the soil, in amounts ranging from 3 oz. per square foot up to 16 oz. per square foot- 1 Enhanced plant growth 2 Suppressed methane emission 3 Reduced nitrous oxide emission (estimate 50%) 4 Reduced fertilizer requirement (estimate 10%) 5 Reduced leaching of nutrients 6 Stored carbon in a long term stable sink 7 Reduces soil acidity: raises soil pH 8 Reduces aluminum toxicity 9 Increased soil aggregation due to increased fungal hyphae 10 Improved soil water handling characteristics 11 Increased soil levels of available Ca, Mg, P, and K 12 Increased soil microbial respiration 13 Increased soil microbial biomass 14 Stimulated symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes 15 Increased arbuscular mycorrhyzal fungi 16 Increased cation exchange capacity biochar
What we do know is this- 1 Biochar (charcoal) is created by burning wood or similar materials in an oxygen free or oxygen deprived environment. biochar is not ash that comes out of your wood burning stove. 2 The addition of biochar to soil has profoundly positive effects on the environment that are extensive and long lasting. By some estimates the lifespan of biochar in soil is in excess of 1,600 years. 3 The amount needed is quite small- from 3 oz. per cubic foot to an upper limit of around 16 oz. per cubic foot. 4 There is a definite, noticeable period of productivity lag after adding biochar directly to the soil if it is not activated with micro-nutrients. 5 Biochar needs to be “charged” or “activated” with minerals trace elements, and micro-organisms prior to it being able to contribute to soil fertility. The best way to do this is in compost, preferably a manure-based compost that already has minerals, trace elements, and a microbiome base colonization. 6 Adding a mineral and trace element rich supplement to the biochar/compost greatly increases the nutrient cycling and “activation” of the biochar 7 The time period needed to “charge” the biochar is at least six months, preferably a year. 8 Soon after adding biochar to compost, the fungal, microbial and earthworm activity drastically increases. 9 Adding biochar to compost speeds up the decomposition by several times. 10 The ideal size for the biochar chunks is between the size of rice and corn. So how, exactly, does one go about incorporating biochar into the garden?  The learning the process is relatively simple…. Workshops are available for those interested on hands on instruction. Biochar is relatively easy to make or it is now becoming more easy to find at nearby nurseries, garden supply stores, and online suppliers.
Sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it? There are many pages of discussions on the positive impacts of biochar or biochar, what is the best method of making  biochar, how much to add to the soil, etc. and etc. It is easy to read oneself blind. It is wonderful to see so much attention devoted to studying the benefits of biochar and how it interacts with the soil. The home gardener, however, is usually more concerned with how to incorporate an idea into their garden than reading all of the latest research. Let’s face it, sequestering carbon, qualifying for carbon credits, and reducing greenhouse gases for the home gardener is a smaller interest than the increased soil fertility, nutrient cycling, nitrogen fixing and improving plant growth, health and productivity that biochar provides.
For questions: Call Jim Busher @ 530.341.2242   or  write:  jim@dlbranch.org Info:   http://www.biochar-international.org/     OR  For local assistance:   www.biocharnorthwest.com