Right now I am innoculating my bio char with urine, but if I want to scale things up I will not have enough urine to go around. I've got pretty good access to woodchips and have had good luck getting it to break down without additional nitrogen. Anyone mix biochar with woodchips for innoculation? Would this solve nitrogen scavaging problems?
Bio-char would be a carbon. I have not done any deep reading on bio char in the last 20 months, but at the time I was unable to find any numbers about how much ammonia or nitrogen bio char would capture.
Hi Gray. I think if the biochar is for the forest garden where the soil is fungal dominated then adding to composted woodchips makes a lot of sense to me, along with some healthy forest duff/soil to inoculate the pile with the right fungi....or perhaps with something intentional like wine caps. I always add biochar to my woodchip mulches that usually also contain leaves. I have not seen any nitrogen shortage issues, but then I'm using it to top dress, not digging it into the soil so perhaps I wouldn't.
Adam regarding biochar being a carbon in composting....you're correct that the biochar is mainly carbon, about 90%, it's recalcitrant in form and really doesn't break down during composting (it takes 100s to 1000s of years to break down). There may be a little carbon present that will get eaten in the pile, but not very much. I don't count it as anything when I build compost piles with it and the piles actually heat up more and compost faster than piles made without it.
Greg I know that only a supper small % of the bio char will brake down in the first 10 years. But when adding it to compost you need to plan for it's nutrient uptake. If you don't count for it sucking up nutrient uptake that the mix will be off slowing down the rate of compost. due to a bad mix of browns and greens.
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