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Where do you put biochar in your garden?

 
gardener
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I decided that since I am making limited amounts of biochar with each batch, I would need to decide where to put it.  

WE have naturally acidic soils due to high rainfall.  I checked mine and it was ph 5.4  Too acidic.  I have added ag lime since then, but I still think we're on the acidic side.

There are lists on the internet showing the preferred ph of each tree.  I checked to see which of my plants prefers neutral to alkaline soils.  Then I decided to create a circle

around the dripline of each tree that preferred neutral to alkaline soils.  

For me the big ones are persimmon, Asian plum, and pie cherry.  After reading one of Redhawk's emails, I decided that the best way of getting the biochar in deep was to get out a shovel and dig

a trench around each tree, by digging the shovel it and pushing it back and forth.  I completed the rings on some of the trees and they seem to be happy.  More pie cherries than ever before.  

My new plan is to drop nutritive waste on top of the circles.  Since biochar is hotels for microbes and their attendant nutrients, rotten fruit placed above the circle could help populate the biochar.  

Of course I inoculated it with nutrition for weeks before putting it into the garden.  It seems to me that the indigenous of South America intentionally placed their organic waste in the pits with the biochar and they had great results.

They are long gone, but the soil is still unbelievably fertile there.  

John S
PDX OR
 
John Suavecito
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Most fruit trees seem to prefer slightly acidic soils.  Ours are naturally in the 5's.  I am first putting the biochar into the soil for the ones that don't like acidic soil.  Once I am done with the neutral/alkaline tolerant fruit trees and bushes, I am going to dig the biochar into my raised beds for the vegetables.  Most of the vegies I've seen really seem to prefer neutral soil, quite close to 7.0 ph.

I am not a biochar expert, just an enthusiast. Does anyone else have a preferred strategy of where to put it in the land?


John S
PDX OR
 
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At such low ph as 5,most trees struggle to make fruits and thrive because with low ph the phosphorus becomes non available( ie,because in acid enviroment,the iron rusts and it traps phosphorus).
Thats why you will see carnivorous plants in low ph bogs wich evolved to get their nutrients from insects rather than soil.
Charcoal has a ph of 9 because it contains somme ash and its good to raise the ph.
When i add biochar to my trees add at least a 10 litters bucket of biochar per tree and i dig a trench around the roots,mix the biochar bucket with 3 buckets of soil then i add it into the trench as deeper as possible and tje left over soil i add it on top of the biochar soil mix.

Ive done this to houndreds of fruit trees.
In the pictures there is a 3 year old Hargrand apricot that struggled to grow so i added 2 buckets of biochar to it and it started to develop.
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Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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John Suavecito wrote:Most fruit trees seem to prefer slightly acidic soils.  Ours are naturally in the 5's.  I am first putting the biochar into the soil for the ones that don't like acidic soil.  Once I am done with the neutral/alkaline tolerant fruit trees and bushes, I am going to dig the biochar into my raised beds for the vegetables.  Most of the vegies I've seen really seem to prefer neutral soil, quite close to 7.0 ph.

I am not a biochar expert, just an enthusiast. Does anyone else have a preferred strategy of where to put it in the land?

John S
PDX OR



I am installing bioactive char one 4'x4' square at a time by using the garden fork to open the soil (no turning over) and spreading the char over my worked soil area.
Since I have lots of mycorrhizae working with my fruit tree roots, I am adding the char to our garden beds first.
I have switched to pit burns for making the char and I do add lots of other items to the burn piles before I light one off.
Once the flames are going well I spray a mist of water over the pile to knock the flames down somewhat but not put the fire out.
 
John Suavecito
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I am looking forward to hearing how the results of each experiment have advantages in each type of growing area.  Fruit trees, guilds, raised beds, large fields, alleys, etc.  Then we can use each way in a particular area that it works best for.
JohN S
PDX OR
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Since you and I are working with experiments that are in conjunction John, I'll say now that I am crushing the char so it passes through a #8 sieve, larger pieces are recrushed and screened so I have a homogenous "powder" for my installations.
I am keeping records that list out size of particles, weight of installed char, depth of the fork (10" tine length, buried down to the cross bar at the top so I get the full 10" depth), amount of water applied to sink the char into the fork holes.
Once an area has been completed I will make a hole with a spade  so I can monitor if the char spreads and how much it spreads on a month by month basis.

I'll come back to this thread to post the findings every month when I get to that stage of the trials.

Redhawk

** the char I am installing is fully activated by soaking in compost tea, that way I don't have to separate any compost particles prior to sieving and spreading.
The garden bed I am using is 4' wide and 36' long the soil currently is very robust and contains 1m bacteria per 15 cm3, 20k fungi per 15 cm3.
 
pollinator
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This is great.  One of the questions I was holding back on until later was how to use Biochar to fruit trees after they have been planted.
 
pollinator
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I recently started broad forking my compost with biochar into various areas. After forking, I cover with wood chips a few inches deep. I'm hoping to create really fertile soil much faster than I did with mulch alone.
 
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