Biochar is any kind of biomass (wood, seed/grain hulls, manures,, etc.) burned in a low oxygen environment. Biochar is a "force multiplier", as it contains many different properties to help improve soil health in a variety of ways, and I make it here on the Big Little Farm. We use mainly hackberry, a "trash tree" found here in Texas. This helps keep trees out of landfills, and sequesters a huge amount of carbon. Our biochar is finalized with compost tea, which facilitates and promotes microbiological growth and activity within the biochar, and reduces the hydrophilic nature of the biochar.
Biochar contains a vast amount of microscopic tubes within its structure. These tubes greatly increase the surface area of the biochar. This attracts and harbors microbes within the walls of the tubes, and from this, symbiotic relations are formed within the soil structure. Plant roots migrate into the biochar, which harbors the microbes that break down soil matter into plant nutrients. The plants uptake these nutrients more efficiently, and in return provide those microbes plant exudates in the form of simple sugars. These sugars provide the food source for the microbes. It's a crazy, kooky, wonderful cycle that biochar helps develop.
Biochar, due to it's electrochemical makeup, is great at absorbing and binding toxins, so anywhere you have animals and odor control problems, biochar could be your answer. This is why biochar holds up to 5 timer it's weight in water. Also, this binding effect biochar has on soil increases soil aggregation, which helps improve water retention and oxygen infiltration into the soil. Here are a few more uses . . .
In the Yard and Garden . . .
Working with Chickens . . .
The Ithaka Institute, from where I copied the design of my biochar kiln, has identified 55 uses of biochar, and you can find them here:
You can order your biochar directly from us, or you soon can pick it up at several retailers in the DFW area we are currently working with. We will update you with that information as it happens.