What is BioChar?
You know how a Brita pitcher filters out all the junk out of our water? Those water purifies works by using carbon, which does an amazing job at capturing and holding all of the stuff we would rather not drink. What if we filled that carbon up with the stuff that plants want?
At a microscopic level, charcoal, which is mainly pure carbon, is extremely porous, and is extremely effective at holding particulates of all kinds within them. It holds these particles so well that they basically stay put in those pores (which is also why you should change your water filters regularly).
By taking advantage of the properties of charcoal, they become an extremely effective soil amendment that not only helps our plants grow, but can become part of the solution in addressing our growing climate crisis. When adapted to use in agriculture, it is called BioChar.
What do we use it for?
BioChar is a key component in our soil mixes we use for seed starting. It was extremely important for us to reduce the use of peat moss, as it is an extremely a problematic product. Peat moss is not a sustainable, and harvesting it is extremely damaging to the ecosystem. Peat bogs hold many times more carbon than an equivalently sized rainforest, and harvesting it releases that carbon into the atmosphere. Like peat though, BioChar is great for soil structure, as it makes the soil nice and fluffy, reduces clumping, and retains water water well
Because it hold nutrients so well, using BioChar can reduce the use of fertilizer significantly, as it prevents them from being washed away. BioChar is also great at promoting soil microbiology, which is the foundation of nutrient intake by plants, and thus promotes plant growth and plant health. Because it is mostly carbon, putting it into the ground is not only adding carbon content to the soil, but actually also sequestering it as well.
Our studies have shown that our seed starting mix outperforms premium mixes by a wide margin as well. So not only do we not use peat, reduce nutrient runoff, and sequester carbon, but our plants perform better as well.
When added to feed, it can also reduce methane production, and benefit the overall health of animals. We have been adding it to our chicken feed. This helps keep their waste in a more stable form, which we then use in the garden.
In construction, charcoal can be used to not only the compressive strength of concrete, it also lightens the concrete. Because of the weight reduction, it has the potential to exponentially strengthen the building, as the overall load is lighter. As sand and cement supply is strained, locally sourced concrete can also potentially reduce cost.
We sell BioChar in limited amounts, crushed and processed to be ready to use. We also host BioChar making workshops.