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Biochar

Simple description of Biochar:

 Biochar is charcoal made out of organic material. I make my biochar out of wood chips. This charcoal when added to the soil acts like a sponge and holds onto nutrients and moisture making it available to the plants and improving plant growth. Biochar also provides a habitat that microbes like to live in, these microbes also improve soil performance.

 

 

My biochar experiment.

I’m not a scientist and I know there are special ways of conducting experiments like this but I thought I would just try a simple experiment of my own a see how it went. I took a patch of virgin Yukon soil cleared this season and divided it into two equal squares using 1X4 boards. I added biochar to one square and not the other. I seeded them the same and treated them the same for the rest of the growing season.

 

Biochar

Bucket of char ready to go.

 

Biochar

Char added to soil before mixing in.

 

Biochar

Left soil without char, Right soil with char mixed in. Seeded with carrots and beets.

 

Biochar

Results one month after seeding. Right char /Left none.

 

Biochar

Results one month after seeding. Top char / Bottom none.

 

 

Biochar Havest

Results at harvest time, Top two bunches from plot without biochar, bottom two bunches from plot with biochar.

 

Lessons Learned

  • I possibly should have ground the Biochar up first to allow it to better mix into the soil.
  • In poor soil, such as found in the Yukon Biochar appears to improve plant growth.
  • I think biochar warrants more formal research.
  • ***Update*** Zakus farms is currently participating in a number of formal research projects involving Biochar. Below is a link to one of the projects:

http://biocharyukon.weebly.com/index.html

 

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Whitehorse Yukon Canada
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