Bryant RedHawk wrote:Excellent work on discovering how to properly compost Todd, but I would like to ask; when you mention biochar are you meaning that you have already activated the charcoal with bacteria and fungi?
Or are you using fresh charcoal to the compost heap so it can become activated with biologicals? (this is how I activate my own charcoal for garden use)
Biochar means biologically active charcoal, that is usually created by making the charcoal then using either an active composting (as you are doing) or by soaking in biologically active compost tea.
It is more a matter of using correct terminology, I am not trying to criticize at all, you have given a wonderful story of your journey in composting and many should benefit from it.
Greg Martin wrote:Thanks for sharing Todd. You've inspired me to turn my pile!
Also consider adding your Biochar to the new shavings in the coop. It should help keep any smells down in the coop and then will end up in the compost pile when you clean it out. I add my Biochar to the bottom of my kitchen compost bucket every time I empty it out for the same reason....really works out fantastically.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:
If you really want to get "down and dirty" in the science of composting, you should have a microscope so you can see the organisms you are breeding, then you can make adjustments to get true "black gold".
Bryant RedHawk wrote:decent microscopes
I would recommend checking out the second scope I listed, it is low price, has the magnification we need for microbiology and it can hook to a computer for photos and data recording.
You will want some slides and slip covers, and some mineral oil for the high magnification lens.
These can usually be found as a kit for cheaper price than buying them individually and you get the stains too.
I've looked at lots of used microscopes, they all seem to be missing parts or don't have the magnification needed (2500,X ) so not really any savings from my view point.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:
I do have to warn you, kola, once you have a microscope and start using it to work on your soil, your plants might grow huge and or put off more produce than you expect.
Tj Jefferson wrote:Todd,
I am very interested in whether you feel the charcoal gets inoculated enough in that time frame (since you are adding more in continuously). I have avoided adding any new char in my piles this whole summer, but it would be great to be able to add in incrementally. I could sure use a bunch more biochar that way. Are you using this compost this fall or keeping it for spring?
Bryant RedHawk wrote:
Think about how long you brew a compost tea, 72 hours is the absolute maximum, this tells us that longer than that and the organisms we want are starting to die off.
If you add charcoal to a heap at the beginning, it will be fully occupied when the compost is ready, if you let the heap get half way through the process before adding the charcoal, it will be occupied fully by the time the compost is ready for use.
Live desires to live and spread all it needs is the opportunity to do so.
Eric Hanson wrote:Todd,
How much char did you add to your compost. The reason I ask is that I have dabbled with making char myself and I have a miniature kiln that uses a soup can inside a gallon paint bucket. I have only made a few soup cans of char, but I am wondering if this is enough to make any appreciable difference to the compost. I would really like to scale up my char operation, but that is not feasible right now.
Mary Beth Alexander wrote:So much good info here!! I'm planning a "lasagna" treatment to get the old garden plot going for Spring 2019 - Zone 4a. There will be no animals or garden this year because my son is building the house - the old one burned down in Nov after QUITE a bit of remodeling! So I can't move up there until Jan/2019.
I will soon be going for a 2-month visit - haven't "seen" it yet. We want to plan for orchard planting this year - pasture fencing/living-fence, etc. I also think we could start "layering" the garden plot even tho the ground is frozen. He will have a year to add to it: worms in the summer; wood chips; grass clippings/ mowings; old hay; biochar; etc.
I'm thinking a cardboard layer first with a layer of composted cow manure to hold it down - this we can get done now. I'm not sure how much "wood" is laying around, but we could start with with a little "hugel" under the cardboard. Probably starting with a plot of 100' X 50', though we have double that available.
SOOO, what do all you experts think about my plan - my son is highly committed to a great garden, and I'm sure he will take SOME time from house-building to throw on some more layers until 2018 Winter. I'm sure he's not going to have time this Summer to "layer" in any kind of a layout, tho we ARE planning on raised beds, but might not be able to afford cedar boxes for Spring 2019. We have a nice tractor. Will it be OK to drive it thru there in the Spring and scoop out paths and mounds? Will the cardboard be rotten enough by then?
THANK YOU very much for ALL suggestions and advice! Regards to all.