One of the earliest forest products, charcoal has been produced for millennia as a fuel source and when incorporated into the soil is known as biochar and is an incredible soil amendment. Biochar captures carbon from decomposing wood and stores it for the long term in the soil effectively taking it out of the global carbon cycle.
Biochar has an incredible surface area and it is extremely porous, this becomes a home for microorganisms and acts like a sponge in the soil, sucking up nutrients and water and storing them for the long term. Biochar prevents these nutrients from being washed away and results in better water retention in soils and a continuous decline in fertilizer requirements.
Charcoal’s extremely porous nature is what makes it an excellent filter and deodorizer as it readily absorbs these odor causing chemicals. At Dragon Mountain farm, Biochar was used in the goat shed to absorb manure and ammonia and it really works. Charcoal can also be included in livestock feed and is shown to improve animal health while distributing biochar throughout the pasture.
Biochar must be inoculated with nutrients before it can be used in a garden or else it may actually stunt the plants growth because the biochar will absorb all the available nutrients in the surrounding soil. The easiest way to inoculate biochar is to mix it in with your compost for a few months and that is what we have done here at Dragon Mountain Farm. By including Biochar with our Haskap Transplants we’re providing long term nutrient and water storage right at the root base, and this will help our transplants grow faster and produce more berries!
This is a great video about making Biochar!