ECHOcommunity Conversations

Bio-char source - no cost

I have been looking into the benefits of char (carbon solids) as a soil builder and natural fertilizer. The Terra Preta video was life changing. A good source in Latin America is the local coffee roaster. Here in Panama they use rice hulls as fuel for the roaster. They have literally mountains of the charred rice hulls for the taking; with permission, of course. I get 10 sacks at a time to mix into my potting soil and for lining the hole of the transplant site.

It’s carbon so it will blacken your car…

Related to this subject… Can anyone prove or disprove that there is much difference between charcoal fines as a fertilizer vs. biochar? I use the throwaway fines of charcoal or what is leftover from charcoal making and it works great. Am I missing something by not making biochar? To me, the results should be similar although I would expect biochar to potentially release the nutrients in the charcoal more quickly.

It’s all good! Technically charcoal fines are biochar, the finer the better for potting soil. see my powerpoint attached in thread…enjoy!

Thanks. I really believe we need to speed up gardening when we can which improves income per hour and maximizing the blessing God has given us through his creation. If we are going to a lot of extra work to make biochar and we can get the same net benefit by just using fine charcoal then it is good to cut back on labor and improve time efficiency. That leaves more time for other activities in the garden/farm or time for spiritual activities.

The nice thing about burned rice hulls, other than being free, and easy to incorporate, is that they keep their shape after burning so they form little hollow cos that hold water in dry season.

Preparing the soil is the most important aspect of gardening. Biochar is a huge benefit to soil composition. Especially where the soil is clay, like you n the jungle, and where the seasonal rainfall varies greatly.

All Biochars are Not Created Equal, and How to Tell Them Apart: