Jeremy Mecham

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since Sep 25, 2015
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Recent posts by Jeremy Mecham

You could get a lot more peaches this year if you were to do some pruning. Our peach trees produced about 20 peaches each the 2nd year (last year) by strategic pruning in the spring.
4 years ago
For $50 you could broadcast plant pearl millet very heavily. It puts down very deep roots on minimal water. It's pretty miraculous as far as cover crops go. Along with the roots, you'll get up to 10,000 lbs of biomass that could be mowed and left in place to return nutrients to the ground. Sorghum sudangrass is a pretty similar option that would give similar results, the only difference being the roots won't go nearly as deep if you don't mow it the first time it reaches about waist high.
4 years ago
Thank you Erica, that was a fantastic and well thought out response. A couple things in regard to my design, fuel, and intentions.

I recently bought 40 acres of ranch property in AZ. I will be getting a well drilled in the near future and I am moving there to start a homestead in about 2.5 years. The temperatures are not insane like a lot of AZ, average summer days are mid 80's, sometimes peaking closer to 100. I collected soil samples that I dissolved in a glass jar and it looks like I'm at about 95% sand with some silt and organic matter as well. So I started looking into ways to improve soil nutrients, bring in more organic matter, retain more water, all that kind of stuff. Well a week ago I learned about biochar and have done a lot of reading and watching videos. I have to say that the responsible creation of it, as well as the explanation of how it works makes sense. I'm completely sold on the idea to be honest. I believe it could do wonders for my sandy soils when mixed with compost. I think worst case I would end up retaining more water for my plants and orchard.

So I have 2.5 years to get my soil in shape before I move there and start planting. My plan is actually to make the bone char class of biochar due to the high phosphorous levels. I have spoke with a local wild game processor and worked out a deal to take as much deer and elk bone as I would like.

As for my rocket stove design, it looks like my guesstimate was off on the tube width, my internal diameter is 7.5 inches which should work fine for the 36 inch height. I may run into some issues with warping but now that I already have it I will give it a try. The design should burn every bit as clean as any rocket stove though. I will start a small fire in the J tube section, once it gets enough heat to the heat riser I should start to burn efficiently and clean. Then once I start getting gas from the bone, the small holes in the bottom of the burn chamber will feed the fire and keep it burning with minimal additional wood being fed.

Again, this is all making sense in my head, but in reality who knows. I'm guessing there will be some experimentation in both making and using biochar. One thing I will stick to though is being responsible with it. I will only burn clean, I will utilize as much of the heat as possible in as many ways as possible, and if I don't see positive results using biochar, I will stop using it.

I have started making a video of the creation of the retort, when it's all said and done I will put it on YouTube and show the design and how well it works. Then down the road, I'll also show the results of using the bone char.

Thanks again for your feedback.
5 years ago
New member, big fan, first post!

The question:
Is 10 inches wide and 3.5 feet long going to function properly as a heat riser or does it need to be longer for that width to really draw the air and get to the high heat?

The reason I ask:
I am building a rocket stove biochar retort kiln. I'm planning on putting the heat riser in the center of a barrel with external insulation and small holes at the bottom of the barrel near the heat riser to feed wood gas as the fuel once I reach that point in the burn.

I know metal isn't the ideal material for the heat riser due to the carbon burning out and breaking down after repeated use, but I went crawling through a junk yard and found some sort of welded steel tank that is about 3.5 feet long and measures 10 inches wide. The steel is about 5/8 or maybe even 3/4 an inch thick (I'll measure it once I cut the ends open with a torch).

Being so thick, I think it would last a very long time in a rocket stove. I also found some unusual barrels that are the same height as the heat riser and much wider than a normal 55 gallon barrel, I think the pair will work great as long as I weld another thick piece of steel to the bottom to handle the high heat.

Eventually I'd like to utilize the heat in a RMH design while making biochar since I am going to be making LOTS of biochar for my huge garden over the next few years. I am considering pumping the heat through a pottery kiln made of fire bricks, and/or from there into a large thermal mass in the barn to give the animals some extra warmth in the harsh winter months, and maybe into a green house.

If you have any feedback about the original question or design ideas I'd love to hear it. Thank you for reading!
5 years ago