For our in-town small garden plot, we make something that is basically mimicking biochar. My question is, does it make sense to do what we’re doing?
We get naturally made charcoal in bulk that they make locally in huge bags (about 200 pounds), then break up the big pieces into tiny <1cm pieces. (Most people buy the charcoal to grill out or cook with, as it’s not technically biochar)
We mix in a 5 gallon bucket about 2/3 tiny charcoal pieces and about 1/3 guano de isla (basically a bird-feces organic fertilizer sold locally, made in Peru where we work, but it’s so popular that it’s sold internationally. The birds live on an island, so their diet is just fish, so their feces is super rich). Then we fill up the bucket with liquid gold (urine) and let it inoculate for at least a couple weeks. I could substitute our duck poop when we run out of the guano de isla.
So basically charcoal saturated with urine and poop. As I understand it, biochar is burned longer than charcoal, so the oils are all burnt out leaving more gaps to be filled with beneficial bacteria. That being said, what percentage of benefit am I getting with just using charcoal in this manner instead of going to the effort of making biochar? 25? 50%? 75%?
I’m just gauging if it’s worth it to make biochar for in-town use. Of course a big part of my plan is activating or inoculating the charcoal with super rich fertilizers.
Current use of this biochar impostor is placing under a layer of compost in intensely planted polyculture garden, placing it at intervals in our compost to speed up the composting. I think I might put it under plantings on new trees also.
Any thoughts on our process? Pros, Cons, comparisons with true biochar?