Anyone here know about biochar? I’m in Myanmar and they’re using a lot of biochar made from rice husks as a potting mix base. I’m not sure how they’re making it; if its real pyrolysis (sort of burning it without oxygen). How can you tell, do you know?
Time to stop using peat!
From a broader perspective, it would be great to stop using all this peat moss in potting mixes, as we’re doing in other parts of the world. Crazy.
You can obviously make biochar with a lot of different materials but what is often not talked about is that you have to charge charcoal or whatever with nitrogen before you dig it down in the ground. Otherwise it will take the nitrogen it needs from the soil and your plants will suffer.
Good quality charcoal is great in combination with bokashi. Used in a bokashi bucket it will absorb a lot of excess liquid, which will also load it with nitrogen. This means you can use a bucket without a tap if you want (cheaper, easier). Microbes love hanging out in charcoal and I’m assuming the same holds for other forms of biochar.
And biochar is a great soil additive, balances moisture and nutrients in the soil and works really long term.
If you’re going to use it in a bucket, crush it a bit first (charcoal is often made for cooking purposes and is in big chunks). That way the microbes can get it easier and there will be fewer air pockets.
Check your source!
Oh, and another thing. Check that the source of your biochar is ok, especially in the case of wood-based biochar. Ethical forest and all that. Makes no difference to the microbes but all the more to the planet.
Any thoughts on this? Have you used biochar in your soil?
Footnote: we had an interesting discussion on our facebook page Bokashiworld this week, a lot of good input from Walid Gabr who has done a lot to spread the bokashi message in Egypt and the Middle East. Here’s a link to the discussion.
These were a couple of biochar videos he recommended, they’re good!