[Market-farming] Charcoal in soil

Allan Balliett aballiett at frontiernet.net
Fri Feb 9 08:00:19 EST 2007


Hi, Pat!

I think at the moment, due to the global warming thing, it's not 
considered to be socially responsible to set large patches of land on 
fire.

Terra Preta charcoal can be prepared for use in the US by slow 
burning certain woods in 55 gallon charcoal makers (home made 
devices) The emission is much less with a slow burn. Better still, 
though, is to think of using coal dust (NutriCarb) or bio-char, 
produced by a ZERO emission pyrolisis oven (www.eprida.org). YOu're 
looking at incorporating something like 20% by volume char into your 
soil to reach terra preta values, so you most likely will need a 
source other than field debris.

Everyone should note that char raises pH and terra preta depends on a 
very active microbial community. You do not want to bring your pH 
above 7, as far as I know. (The bad amazonian soils, of course, have 
very low pH.) -Allan

>Allan,
>I realize it might not be exactly what you mean, but as a kid we 
>burned off our garden beds. Did this put some usable charcoal into 
>the beds? I still do this with my tomato bed. I have straw & 
>newspaper under and between the rows. Come fall, I drop the fencing 
>and burn the whole area. Then apply the aged manure and compost for 
>the next years growth and get it ready for spring. Please could you 
>share a little more about it?
>So much nicer than till vs. shoot down.
>Thanks, Pat Ohio Now recognized as zone 6.
>
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