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Ok well I wanted to start my own pile soon and I was wondering if anybody knew anything about bio char ( http://www.biochars.com/biochar.html ) basically its organic material smoldered down under pyrolysis. Anyways I was thinking of trying this with a bunch of nutrient rich materials then making the biochar and mixing it in with soil around my house, along with some other experiments.
I know it will improve any soil I mix it in with over time but I guess my question is would I be able to say use some with maybe a substrate...Im not sure the mycelium could feed off it but after reading a little bit on it I think it could work rather well if introduced into mycology
Anyways if anyones interested let me know what you think...I dont think its available to purchase online from that website but I should have all the stuff here to make a kiln or whatever.
Im not sure if Im thinking right about the process but would it work by taking your organic compost pile and smoldering it until its chunks of carbon? It seems like more work than one might want to do just to try something new but it seems to have alot of good feedback about its ability to improve soil and thats always a good thing right?
I mean you can even add this stuff directly to your compost and Im sure it would add benificial microbes.
anyways if anyone has any feedback about this stuff let me know.
It's just fancy non-wood charcoal. Don't have the time to look up if anyone's ever tried growing on charcoal before, but it doesn't seem like it would work out that well. It would be interesting to test out though.
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Yea thats what I was kind of thinking that it might not work as direct food for the mycelium but mixing it into your soil or maybe adding a little powdered biochar to your substrate might help out a little.
It does say it lowers ph in soil along with boosting crop growth.
Regardless if it works for mycology purposes I think Im still gonna give it a try
Heres some info I found on it, it can explain it much better than me
Biochar is ... plant biomass derived materials contained within the black carbon (BC) continuum. This definition includes chars and charcoal, and excludes fossil fuel products or geogenic carbon.
From the International Biochar Initiative:
Biochar is a fine-grained charcoal high in organic carbon and largely resistant to decomposition. It is produced from pyrolysis of plant and waste feedstocks. As a soil amendment, biochar creates a recalcitrant soil carbon pool that is carbon-negative, serving as a net withdrawal of atmospheric carbon dioxide stored in highly recalcitrant soil carbon stocks. The enhanced nutrient retention capacity of biochar-amended soil not only reduces the total fertilizer requirements but also the climate and environmental impact of croplands. Char-amended soils have shown 50 - 80 percent reductions in nitrous oxide emissions and reduced runoff of phosphorus into surface waters and leaching of nitrogen into groundwater. As a soil amendment, biochar significantly increases the efficiency of and reduces the need for traditional chemical fertilizers, while greatly enhancing crop yields. Renewable oils and gases co-produced in the pyrolysis process can be used as fuel or fuel feedstocks. Biochar thus offers promise for its soil productivity and climate benefits.
One hypothesis is that the best biochar is formed by low temperature pyrolysis, ideally at about 500 deg C, with higher temperature pyrolysis producing a more traditional charcoal. This is a high enough temperature to achieve maximal surface area but also low enough temperature to achieve some bio-oil condensate retention.
When used broadly, the term biochar simply refers to charcoal made from any biomass waste, and may or may not have a significant bio-oil condensate component. In this broader context biochar is simply charcoal which could be used to improve soil quality.
Biochar enthusiasts generally agree that raw biochar needs to be processed further prior to being added to the garden. Composting, or soaking with compost tea, is commonly used to charge the pore volume with beneficial organisms and nutrients. Soaking in a nutrient rich solution (examples are urine or fish emulsion) prior to composting is accepted practice.
And here are some benefits of adding it to your garden...
The following benefits occur with additions of biochar
Enhanced plant growth Suppressed methane emission Reduced nitrous oxide emission (estimate 50%) (see 5.10 below) Reduced fertilizer requirement (estimate 10%) Reduced leaching of nutrients Stored carbon in a long term stable sink Reduces soil acidity: raises soil pH (see 5.01 below) Reduces aluminum toxicity Increased soil aggregation due to increased fungal hyphae Improved soil water handling characteristics Increased soil levels of available Ca, Mg, P, and K Increased soil microbial respiration Increased soil microbial biomass Stimulated symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes Increased arbuscular mycorrhyzal fungi Increased cation exchange capacity
It might be good in a casing mix as a vermiculite replacement. But as for nutritional content none. This stuff is what you call carbon black it is very messy, dusty, and stains things black. It holds water well, absorbs co2, and is ph buffer in itself. It might work quite well in a casing mix with peat. You might even be able to skip the lime using this. The co2 absorbtion might help to trigger pinning faster. Who knows? give it a try. I do warn you though it will be very messy to work with.
I actually worked in a carbon fiber factory for over 5 years. This stuff as a soil amendment is like a kinder gentler version of slash and burn farming.
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Which led to Terra Preta production from 450 b.c. to 950 a.d. btw.
Was thinking of it as a possible idea as a substitute for vermiculite just now,,, and remember that it's not "just lamp black" but the exact same sort of stuff you see sold at pet shops for water filtration in granular or chunk form, not just powdered.