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Carbonized bones

 
pollinator
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I know there are some threads about this, but I'm not sure this was answered. If I chuck some bones on a woodstove ember fire and damp it, they carbonize (see pic, lovely porous carbon structure): How available to plants is that calcium? If it were a char that retained some calcium that resisted leaching, so much the better!
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Bones that are heat treated just right will crumble into almost dust without much pressure (you shouldn't have to grind them like in a mortar and pestle).

When I cook bones I use my grill and wrap the bones in foil, once they are done I can use light blows of a hammer on the foil and when I open the packet there is a lot of fine particles and some shards might be left over.
Just using a rocking motion with the hammer head breaks these into fine particles.
I then sprinkle the bone around the plants leaving some space between the emergent stalk (looks like a donut).

(I would like to say, those bones look about as perfect as you can get them color wise, which is a great indicator.)

Redhawk
 
Fredy Perlman
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Thanks Bryant. I'm going to incorporate carbonized bones into my pee/ash+char/comfrey fertilizer, hopefully to add calcium. Would be neat if I were adding calcium that were slow release and/or readily available to plants, but that's as yet above my pay grade. Hoping to learn that from an Elaine Ingham course.

With some plants, I'll try the donut formation, because I suspect that pieces of carbonized bone will be very unattractive to slugs.
 
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Those charred bones look perfect.  You may wish to bury them in compost for a bit so that the micro-critters of the compost can "move in" and turn your char into biochar.  Not only are charred bone fragments great for bio-char "reefs" to support microbial life, but as the fungi and microbes colonize the chunks of bones, they will also mine the bones and make the micro-nutrients available to nearby plant roots.  

Once you break those bones into smaller chunks/shards, mix them in with some good fresh compost and the microbes will do the rest.  After a week or so, they'll be ready to add to your potting mix or whatever application you have planned (you mentioned fertilizer).

If you don't "charge" them this way, the microbes will certainly still find them and move into the tiny pore spaces --- but it'll take a bit longer.  Burying them in compost for a week just accelerates the process.
 
Fredy Perlman
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Thanks Marco! I second that about charging chars...I always do with wood char. I have a lot of compost that could bank nutrients in the char. What is a more efficient use of char, compost teas or compost? (I have a feeling I'm going in big for compost teas this year.) I tend to go for teas because they're easier to distribute: fling with ladle...eventually spray.

 
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would this work with bones after they had been  used to make broth?
 
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Stephen, yes, it will work. I always utilize bone broth bones this way.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Fredy Perlman wrote:Thanks Bryant. I'm going to incorporate carbonized bones into my pee/ash+char/comfrey fertilizer, hopefully to add calcium. Would be neat if I were adding calcium that were slow release and/or readily available to plants, but that's as yet above my pay grade. Hoping to learn that from an Elaine Ingham course.

With some plants, I'll try the donut formation, because I suspect that pieces of carbonized bone will be very unattractive to slugs.



Fast, easy and cheep way to add calcium is Tums, you can simply stick them into the soil or you can dissolve for watering. 1 tab per plant, split into two pieces and you are off and running.
 
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Hau, kola Redhawk. Aren't Tums an antacid? Wouldn't we be increasing the soil pH if we watered with a Tums solution?

-CK
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Chris, While it is true Tums are labeled antacid, the antacid component is the calcium carbonate so you would need to go extremely overboard adding them around a plant to have any effect on the pH of the soil.

I use them straight from the jar, break them in half and poke it into the soil near the plant but not up against it. This makes them slow release and I've never seen any problem with the soil pH because of the Tums.
 
s. lowe
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I've made bone char a few times recently using chicken bones. Both times the foil pouch that I made was burned away by the fire so I was only able to recover most of the bones. Is there a better way to go about this? Our wood stove isn't and chicken bones are the typical bones i have access to. Thanks all.
 
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