Compost Toolbox

Loosely modeled on the fine Organics and Compost Toolbox issued by the state of California, this toolbox attempts to provide a resource for compost and biochar blending and use. It is intended as a clearinghouse for compost and biochar information, and a jumping off point to find other information about composting and using compost with biochar on other areas of the web.

Compost Resources and Information

Using biochar can help create a healthier soil, but it does not compete with compost. The nutrients in the compost help charge the biochar with the nutrients necessary for plants to grow. The porous nature of biochar allow oxygen and helps air flow in the compost pile.

Composting with Biochar

Methods of using Compost and Biochar

Case Studies and Examples

Guidelines and Specifications

From the FAO: Soils, our Ally Against Climate Change

Using Biochar and Compost

John with http://www.growingyourgreens.com/ covers 5 ways to improve your biochar for best results.

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Biochar Bob highlights a project near DC where they are using biochar in a wetland restoration project to filter pollutants out of run-off and restore natural water infiltration to that neighborhood.

For more videos from Biochar Bob see his YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/user/BiocharBob

From Living Web Farms in Mills River, North Carolina
http://www.livingwebfarms.org/

Great introduction to making clean biochar lead by Bob Wells, soil scientist Jon Nilsson and Patryk Battle.

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There are some real Jewels in the Ithaka journal's article 55 uses for Biochar

http://www.ithaka-journal.net/55-anwendungenvon-pflanzenkohle?lang=en

Mr. Schmidt makes a good point that biochar provides more value when it's used for other purposes before it is worked into the soil, and then he does a nice job of laying out the pathways to do so.

One of my favorites

Cascading uses of biochar in farming with animals.

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The Soil Fertility Project is an interesting project that attempts to use biochar to address soil fertility and climate change both in Wales in weed eradication projects.

In the Indian project ( http://www.soilfertilityproject.com/Soil_Fertility/Indian_Project.html). The participants started by using the Anila stove to product biochar, but found that it was unworkable. Now they are using a digestor to process wet waste, get some energy, and use the slurry for fertilizer. They are also using a small BiG Char unit to process green waste into biochar.

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From Biochar Merchants, some great tips for using Biochar in your Compost Bin or pile.

http://biocharmerchants.com/index.php/building-soils-by-composting-with-...

HowTo

  1. For a new pile or bin, start with a layer of biochar to catch nutrients from the compost bin that would normally seep into the ground with normal water flow
  2. Add 12 inches (or a decimeter) of compostable materials, e.g. yard waste, kitchen cuttings, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc. - alternate 'greens' and 'browns' and make sure that the particle size is fairly small -about an inch or two or less in size.
  3. Add a layer of biochar (no more than 1/2 inch)
  4. Keep building the compost as normal
  5. Keep in mind, that turning the compost and keeping it moist but not too wet will help change it into the magical dark fertile compost we love.

Also go to the Biochar Merchants web site for more Soil Building articles:
http://biocharmerchants.com/

Some good reasons to compost with Biochar

Biochar innoculated with Compost Tea:

Easy Compost Tea Recipe

Look for more shared experience on CompostJunkie.com
http://www.compostjunkie.com/compost-tea-and-biochar.html

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James Cook University in Australia are working on a research project where biochar is specifically mixed in at an early stage of the composting project, COMBI-mix, to determine the impact on carbon sequestration and model the impacts on the agricultural impacts.

direct link:
https://plone.jcu.edu.au/researchatjcu/research/tess/Projects/australia/...

TESS project leader: Michael Bird

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In this methods are explored for giving water and other inputs through use of biochar.

Rootigation 1 and Rootigation 2, Sapigation and Floatigation
Some of these methods are being applied in the field for mango plantation. Floatigation methods are being applied for poly houses.

http://biocharwaterconservation.blogspot.in/

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With the addition of biochar compost, the cluster beans plant has grown upto 11 feet. With maximum of 20 beans in a cluster. I have not seen any records yet of such magnitude. This achievement is through the use of biochar compost. Hope the farmers could produce their own fertilizers using biochar and increase the productivity. On an average the plants have grown above 9 feet. Whereas the control plants (in plots without biochar compost) they have grown only 5 feet in height. This project is being implemented by GEO supported by GoodPlanet.org, France

From Cluster beans at GEO RC
From Cluster beans at GEO RC
From Cluster beans at GEO RC
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On the Practical Biology web site, there's a nicely done lesson plan that lays out how to do biochar, and biochar + compost tests with Broad Beans

Lesson plan link:

http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/practical-biology/investigating-effects-biochar-soil-fertility

This lesson plan talks kids through laying out a plot test with proper controls and blending biochar.

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Josiah Hunt, Landscape Ecology July, 2010


Biochar Trials

In 2009 Landscape Ecology was awarded a grant to produce biochar amended compost and observe plant growth responses.

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