731greener101
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Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:36 pm
Location: West Tennessee Zone 6b

Finally Planted

I finally felt like it was time to plant my garden.I have been preparing for the moment.We got a five+ inch rain last weekend and was able to till three days later(soil was just right)and this was a first(hard work paying off).I had decided to use only transplants this year and bought them three weeks ago.Yes I had to do some re-potting.I followed Edward C. Smith's WORD methods.My tomato beds are 4x8x2 with each containing two plants.I made one big bed around the16x30 perimeter that was 32"x18" deep. In the perimeter beds I placed various peppers and zucchini.I deeply straw mulched the walkways and will straw mulch then hardwood mulch the beds on Tuesday.I am trying biochar for the first time and I am giving the whole garden repeated doses of Aerated Compost Tea.Good gardening to us all. :D

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rainbowgardener
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Sounds like you are doing great! Lots of hard work and a nice spring coming together for what promises to be a super garden.

Two tomato plants in a 4x8 bed is big space. Since I only have a little city lot to work with and very little of it is sunny, the 4x8 bed I have tomatoes in has 5 broccoli plants (which will be done soon and pulled), 5 tomato plants, a little bit of carrots, some onions, 2 borage plants, some marigold and nasturtium....

How are you doing the biochar, what are you doing with it?
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

731greener101
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Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:36 pm
Location: West Tennessee Zone 6b

Yes,I am excited about the development of my garden's soil.Last year we got 15" of rain in 5 weeks.The lack of oxygen caused by the water combined with a high% clay soil set my garden back at least 6 weeks.I added finely chopped hardwood mulch,sand,and compost.The biochar is about as simple as it gets.A local hardwood floor company allows me to get all the sawdust and wood scraps I want for free.I separate loads by size of material when I collect each load.I have two food grade metal barrels I cook the material in.Once pounded to pea size or smaller I soak the char in a plastic barrel.The soak consists of non-chlorinated water,molasses,kelp meal,and worm poo.This is allowed to brew for three days then fish emulsion is added for another day of brewing.So far I have added 2 barrels to the old side(500 sq. ft.)and will add 2 barrels to the new side(500 sq. ft.)in the next 10 days.I have enough materials and the weather forecast is perfect for such a burn.Later I will do another 2 barrel burn to add to the compost pile as needed.Next year I plan to add 2 more barrels to a side.10 barrels for a 32 x32 area that is 12" deep before bedding.I am going to build the compost pile on top of the new side.I found free material from a trucker who hauls rodeo animals.The material contains cow and horse manure,straw,and sawdust.This is a lot of work but I figuire I am saving hundreds if not thousands of dollars for materials.I was told by a friend's 85 year old mother that my tomatoes were the closest thing she had tasted to her little girl memories.Makes it all worth the effort.

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rainbowgardener
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Sorry, I'm interested in this, the whole biochar thing is new to me. I seem to be missing a step in there. So you get all these free wood products (nice!) you put them in barrels and soak them in rich organic, bacteria growing stuff for four days, like making compost tea but anaerobic (right? you aren't doing anything to aerate this mixture while it brews for four days?).

Then you said something about the weather is perfect for such a burn, and burning is implicit in bioCHAR. But the burn part isn't very clear. You do the soak in plastic barrels and then you said you have metal barrels for the burn. So you move all the now very wet, heavy stuff from the plastic barrels to the metal barrels? That sounds hard. And then you burn in the metal barrels. How do you get this soaked wet stuff to burn? What are you burning to get the heat to get the wet stuff to burn. Is it all in the barrel? Is the barrel closed or open?

What is the point of all the nice worm castings, molasses, fish etc, if then you are going to burn it all? Doesn't it just get burned off again?

Sorry, but you are into an area I am totally ignorant of, so if I'm sounding ignorant, it's because I am.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

731greener101
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Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:36 pm
Location: West Tennessee Zone 6b

I am sorry I was not clear.Aiiow me to be more specific in my process.I use the smaller hardwood material(1"x varying lengths)in the sealed(except for vent hole)metal barrels.I then use the bigger material(1 inch and bigger)to burn the barrels.This material would be burned by the hardwood company( as refuse)anyways.When smoke from vent hole turns from black to white(about 4-5 hrs) I cease the burn and allow to cool overnight.Next I pound the resulting charcoal till it is pea size and smaller.I place the pulverized charcoal in the plastic barrels and allow to steep with additives.The fresh worm castings are for microbes.The molasses to feed the microbes.Fish emulsion for nitrogen so when added to soil it is less likely to deplete current soil nitrogen levels.I also add decaying straw for protozoa.I aerate with a 850 gal/hr air pump.After four days there was not a hint of that smell we ACT brewers fear.I hope this makes since to you,maybe I over thought my process.Any suggestions from you are appreciated as I have read your posts helping others and respect your opinion.

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rainbowgardener
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oh right... burn and then soak makes MUCH more sense than soak and then burn! :) Sorry, I didn't get that... And aerating the brew makes sense too. It is like the compost tea as I was thinking from the ingredients. Charcoal tea...

Sounds like you come out with wonderful stuff, super-enriched, enlivened charcoal. Do you just bury the product in garden beds then or how do you use it?
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

731greener101
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Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:36 pm
Location: West Tennessee Zone 6b

An interesting read is the report by Rodale Institute on biochar.Also the weather will be cool and moist during this burn period so I have no fear of accidental fires.I should mention as far as I've read the smoke color(black)indicates a temperature of 350-450 degrees.When the smoke changes(white)the bulk of combustibles are removed from material.I hope this is useful to you.

731greener101
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Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:36 pm
Location: West Tennessee Zone 6b

Yes,I use immediately as soon as sun is less likely to kill off what precious microbes there are.I till them into the soil then water.I hope to get all charcoal incorporated by next fall so I can retire my tiller and make my worms happy. :D.Also I will add it to my compost in the future.I cannot add it to my old side as it is already planted.

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love11
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Location: ohio

Good luck with the garden.

731greener101
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Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:36 pm
Location: West Tennessee Zone 6b

Thanks love for the words.It's easy to to be encouraged when you walk out at first light with your coffee and the plants are raised toward the sky.I hope everyone who gardens experiences this MANY times over.Do the right thing.....always.Rod

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