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Biochar enhances yield and quality of tomato under reduced irrigation

 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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Awesome Alex! I'm gonna have to give this one a good read through. I've been screaming CHAR from the rooftops for way lots long now.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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If you are really wanting to see what is going on in the Biochar research world: BIO Webstie
 
alex Keenan
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I have been following Biochar since last century
There has been work with improving flavor with salt water.
Many people have been trying to get biochar mainstream.
Now think about how much people spend each year to grow tomatoes.
How much would they pay for potting soil that would actually improve the taste of their tomatoes?
I see a marketing opportunity for some of the Permies out there.
True taste tests are not hard to conduct.
Also, there is alot of research on flavor components of tomatoes.

If you make it and can back it up with research and taste tests people will buy it if the price is reasonable.
So lets get together a tomatoe biochar group this summer and see what we can come up with.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Hau, Alex, I have been involved with Biochar since 1970. It is always good to find kindred spirits.
I like your idea on tomatos, I have a commercial grower friend that has incorporated three tons of Biochar per acre to his fields over this winter.
(He finally decided to try what I had been telling him over the past three years).
His fields are now ready to be planted out around the end of this month, and he is amazed at how dark his clay type soil is now and how well it is holding water.
Last year I got him talked into cover cropping.
I'm very happy that every time he decides to give what I am hinting at a go, that the results he sees convince him that I know what I'm talking about.

Two years ago we added salt to his soil via mineral salts to adjust his soil to improve it per his soil test results. The crop of tomatoes have been great tasting since then.
We are now working to get his soil even better, every fall and winter we are making improvements through amendments and sheet mulches that end up turned into the soil prior to planting.
I can't seem to get him to give No-till a try, but I am working towards getting his fields to maximum productivity for him.

I will post here a tomato crop based biochar recipe, that is the one we are testing on part of his fields this year, later this week.
 
John Mcdogoode
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May be a thread somewhere dedicated ot this, but I was wondering what the benefits of using biochar are? I have seen the practice used the world over in videos and movies, but havent been sure of what happens biologically and energetically for the soil. I am a biodynamic farmer, incorporating permaculture techniques into my developing practices of Natural Farming. Sounds like soil structure is helped significantly through water retention and possibly nutrients are made available via the char or microbes activating life in the soil when the char hits, allowing assimilation of nutrients (in a burned forest type manner). Any of you experienced souls have any general gists of what such a farmer as myself could learn from biochar and its use?
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Chemical
Biochar is awesome. It works similar to the activated carbon that filters use.
It absorbs all the awesome minerals in the soil but doesn't hold on to it too tightly so the plants can still get to it.
Because the plants have to do less work to get the minerals they need they use less water.

Biological
Biochar also has an increase surface area allow more healthy life living microbe to co-exist per cubic feet of soil.
This means bad microbes are out-competed, and with more space/resource even the bad ones don't feel the need to invade a tree just to survive

Physical
Biochar is mostly air and it will make your soil more porous, allow more air into soil and more water storage.


Electrical
Other than lead acid battery, every other type uses activated carbon(biochar) anode to get electron to do work.
There is a reason why and we are just utilizing it's natural properties

THE BAD.
Similar to how mixing sawdust into the soil, will end up with all the nitrogen/minerals being locked up in the microbial explosion and the trees/plants will suffer until they use up all the sawdust and then die returning all the mineral/nitrogen to soil. Biochar will do something similar, it will enable a microbial explosion which will create a similar situation. This is why alot of folks add it to a composting system or at the very least add it to manure. I also think that unless some type of micro-minerals(rock dust) the extra mineral that the biochar is store will have to come from the surrounding soil, hopefully from the subsoil via fungi.
 
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