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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old April 8, 2013   #31
Tapout
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I suspect the Amazonians didn't set out to make bio-char on purpose. They found bio-char with broken clay pottery. This leads me to believe that the production of pottery was the main reason for the massive amounts of wood burnt in concentrated areas.

Charcoal is what you want to turn into bio-char. Ashes is what you don't want. Wood goes through stages while being burned. Ash is the final stage and has little surface area for any microbial habitat.
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Old April 8, 2013   #32
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From www.MicrobeOrganics.com <- This guy is ahead of the field in his research.

"First of all I’d like to make it clear that most aquarium air pumps don’t produce enough air to use in a container larger than 1 gallon when considering making an aerated brewer. So don’t even try the 5 gallon pail with the aquarium pump idea everybody is passing around. You need a minimum 0.05 CFM (cubic feet per minute), open flow of air and an optimum 0.08 CFM per gallon (US) or higher to make aerated compost tea (ACT). ACT should have the DO2 sustained at or above 6 PPM. Generally, aquarium pumps produce around 0.02 to 0.16 CFM. Another generality is that 25 watts of power usually produces 0.75 to 1.0 CFM in diaphragm air pumps. The wattage is usually marked on the pump which will help you figure out the approximate output. I’ll cover more on air pumps later."


"If you are going to buy a pump to run your aerated CT brewer, I can recommend the Eco Plus Commercial 5 (4 CFM max.) for up to 50 gallons and the Eco Plus Commercial 1 (1.75 CFM max.) for up to 10 gallons. I’m sorry but I cannot recommend a retailer for these pumps. I buy them wholesale and perhaps if you contact them, they can refer you to a retailer. http://www.nationalgardenwholesale.com
I can also recommend Hailea 9730 pumps (2 CFM max.) which you can purchase from www.aquaticeco.com and other places. These are solid, long lasting pumps and I know other commercial brewers use them for 50 gallons but I just can’t recommend them for more than 30 gallons. If you use one for a 5 gallon unit it will last virtually forever. All of these pumps come with a little threaded brass fitting for screwing into the air output. DO NOT USE THESE! Put them in your parts drawer. These constrict the air and reduce your CFM by at least 20%. Rather, find tubing which slides over the nipple into which the threads are tapped. In the case of the Eco Plus 5 and the Hailea, 5/8ths inside diameter works. Slide the air tubing over and secure with a gear clamp. The Eco Plus has a very short nipple so I score the metal with a couple of swipes with a hacksaw to create barbs for the tubing to grip. You can find tubing at a building supply like Home Depot or Rona in Canada. I use the braided reinforced stuff which does not kink. Always try to keep your pump at or above the surface of the water so it does not siphon back if the power fails."
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Old March 18, 2014   #33
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Here is a good vid on biochar easy to understand for anyone.

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Old March 19, 2014   #34
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Has anyone tried using hardwood lump charcoal yet? I like the idea of biochar. But I find there's a lot of marketing jargon being attached to it and I have a feeling that one could probably make their own and have just as good results.
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Old March 19, 2014   #35
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My wife and myself were about to pull our hair out listening to these two guys.


Scott thanks for the video it is good for people that dont know anything about it.

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Old March 19, 2014   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epsilon View Post
Has anyone tried using hardwood lump charcoal yet? I like the idea of biochar. But I find there's a lot of marketing jargon being attached to it and I have a feeling that one could probably make their own and have just as good results.

Yes I have some that I made myself.
Did it work?
I cant say, I wouldn't go on line and say it did without a full blown scientific experiment.
I mixed it with compost and existing clay soil and the tomatoes did as well as the rest of the garden.


Too bad that people are hyping it up just to sell a product and get rich.
The amazon where it was discovered has very poor old soil.
The trees get their nutrients from the surface from rotting organic material not from deep in the soil.
It has basically no top soil.

The people that live there.
We cant judge the people that lived there 600 years ago by the people that live there today.
They were wiped out by epidemics brought by the Spaniards after 1492.
These epidemics spread through the Americas like a wild fire.
We may never know what these people were capable of.
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Old March 19, 2014   #37
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Quote:
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Has anyone tried using hardwood lump charcoal yet? I like the idea of biochar. But I find there's a lot of marketing jargon being attached to it and I have a feeling that one could probably make their own and have just as good results.
Not 'lump'. You'll need to break it up a bit before use. Been using it for a number of years, easy to make in a two barrel system.
Suggest you do a 'google', lots of information available, many different ways of making it.
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Old March 19, 2014   #38
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Exactly Worth, like I said before, results depend on the soil you have already. I have used it and gotten awesome results and I have used it and saw little difference. Basically, the more poor the soil was to start, the more advantage to using biochar. Soil in say a sand dunes area, like my Uncle, Brother, and Parents in Florida...That will have great results adding biochar. It even helped here some since I had depleted sandy loam over hard red acidic clay. It really is astonishing how the soil I have here can be soooo bad when it is bad...yet sooooo good when you simply add carbon.

I have stopped using biochar in my garden though. I have managed to use enough to get done what I wanted done, and now just add mulches compost and manures. (and dark roast coffee ) But I will be using compost mixed with some biochar in my "special dirt" I use at transplant time for the project I am running.

PS. Yes I have used lump charcoal, ground and added it to my compost. Seemed ok.
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Old March 19, 2014   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redbaron View Post
Exactly Worth, like I said before, results depend on the soil you have already. I have used it and gotten awesome results and I have used it and saw little difference. Basically, the more poor the soil was to start, the more advantage to using biochar. Soil in say a sand dunes area, like my Uncle, Brother, and Parents in Florida...That will have great results adding biochar. It even helped here some since I had depleted sandy loam over hard red acidic clay. It really is astonishing how the soil I have here can be soooo bad when it is bad...yet sooooo good when you simply add carbon.

I have stopped using biochar in my garden though. I have managed to use enough to get done what I wanted done, and now just add mulches compost and manures. (and dark roast coffee ) But I will be using compost mixed with some biochar in my "special dirt" I use at transplant time for the project I am running.

PS. Yes I have used lump charcoal, ground and added it to my compost. Seemed ok.
Whats sad Scott is that you aren't standing on the soil that used to be in your area (maybe) I dont know exactly where you live.

Many feet blew away leaving sand a clay.
I know you know that and looking out at the waste of something that took 1000s of years to form would break any ones heart.
I know it did mine the first time I was in western Oklahoma and saw the devastation.
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Old March 20, 2014   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
Whats sad Scott is that you aren't standing on the soil that used to be in your area (maybe) I dont know exactly where you live.

Many feet blew away leaving sand a clay.
I know you know that and looking out at the waste of something that took 1000s of years to form would break any ones heart.
I know it did mine the first time I was in western Oklahoma and saw the devastation.
Worth
I sit almost exactly on the border where the cross timbers (wooded savanna of post and blackjack oaks) historically gave way to the tallgrass prairie in central Oklahoma. The soil exactly where I sit is called LitB and I am literally right next to StDC less than 200-300 yards to the east. Both are considered prime farmland when taken care of, yet especially LitB is really poor when depleted. You typically only have a layer a few inches deep before you reach the acidic clay, and I keep seeing the red clay right at the surface all around me. That means about a foot +/- is just gone. Blown away in the wind. I guess I should be happy I am not in Western Oklahoma which got hit much worse. But it still makes me cry. Where the lite sandy loam remains it is REALLY fertile and beautiful to work with. But that clay can be a beast. The red clay has just enough sand to make it hard as bricks!(when dry) Think standing my full 200 pounds plus on a shovel with both feet and jumping up and down till my feet hurt and not being able to even dig 1 inch.
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Old March 20, 2014   #41
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I extended a bed and tillered the lawn to about 12 inches deep ..it is jersey soil and looks good not too sandy or too much clay.. it will get hard during the summer .. should i tiller in a 3 cubic of peat (6x20=120sq ft) earth looks nice enough but I think the peat will fluff it up more and condition the ph reading is around 6.5 to 7 wondering is a bucket of wood ash would benefit too.. was even thinking of shoveling in mg garden soil when it is time to dig in the plants. also have 10-10-10 but not sure if I should use that ..any suggestions appreciate?
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Old March 20, 2014   #42
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No wood ash it will raise your PH again.
Unless your PH is low.


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Old March 20, 2014   #43
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No wood ash it will raise your PH again.
Unless your PH is low.


Worth
right, i almost forgot ..no lime or wood ash with ph around 7.. i was researching after it was mentioned here too about adding a spoon of epson salt under some earth below the plants roots.. .. if i remember , i always had some kind of deficiency ( leaves turning yellow too early in a couple my beds.. is there any way of knowing if in fact I should use Epson salt?
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Old March 22, 2014   #44
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Worth

I was dragging the back logs of T-ville for more biochar info. I came across a thread dated 2009.
At that point you were contemplating incorporating biochar into your soil.

How did that turn out?

Gaston
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Old March 22, 2014   #45
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Originally Posted by Worth1 View Post
Yes I have some that I made myself.
Did it work?
I cant say, I wouldn't go on line and say it did without a full blown scientific experiment.
I mixed it with compost and existing clay soil and the tomatoes did as well as the rest of the garden.
Worth
The area where it was done is pretty much grown over with tree branches now and is too shady.

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