[Market-farming] soil fertility continuing ed

Road's End Farm organic87 at frontiernet.net
Mon Mar 21 12:37:05 EDT 2011

On Mar 21, 2011, at 12:07 PM, William H Shoemaker wrote:

> So I wonder if we really need, or benefit from biochar in the  
> temperate
> zone? I suspect it's a great technique in the tropics but I'm a little
> skeptical about it in the area most of us grow our crops in.

Thanks, Bill. I've been wondering about this myself. I really would  
like to see some hard information about effects of biochar in various  
temperate zone soils, including specifically in soils with a fair  
amount of clay.

I think there's a tendency on the part of some people to look for a  
"magic bullet" that can be applied to all situations. I'm suspicious  
of the "remineralization" people for this reason: the people pushing  
this who I've spoken to at conferences usually seem to want to sell  
the same product to everyone, without any recommendations for checking  
first whether the soil and soil life in the particular field will  
actually benefit from it, or might in some cases even be harmed by it.

None of this is to say that such techniques can't be very useful for  
some -- only that we shouldn't assume that a soil improvement material  
useful in one field is necessarily useful in all, any more than we  
should assume that a tomato with great flavor and production grown in  
one location will automatically taste that great and do that well  
grown anywhere on the planet. Other people's successes are useful  
information, because they give us good places to start looking: but  
they're not necessarily the solution to our own specific situations.

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale

More information about the Market-farming mailing list