Charcoal Experimental Plots

Author: 
Tom Miles

Charcoal Experimental Plots
Rich Haard and Larry Williams at Fourth Corner Nurseries, Bellingham, Washington, May 6, 2007
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We spread the treatment combinations today and rototilled the plots that are now ready for planting in a day or 2. Twenty six plots all together plus 1 more Larry will be putting in place in about 2 weeks.
All in a 4 foot by 500 foot long experimental bed within our regular bareroot production seedbeds. We will crop this experimental set twice. This year with Swiss Chard, a native aster, and black twinberry (Lonicera involucrata). All are very demanding for nutrients and aggressive growers. After harvest with a lifter-shaker in early November the entire bed will be winter sown with seed, most likely Indian plum (Oemleria cerasiformis), which is an ecological indicator for nitrogen rich soils and for a second crop without additional fertilizer or organic matter.

Here is the link to my flickr charcoal/farming file if you would like to browse thru the full set of images
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rchaard/sets/72157594444994347

Here are links to the most recent images that pretty well tell the story of our work today setting up these research plots.
Select image to enlarge
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Conifer charcoal, fine texture, source JF Waste energy Systems
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rchaard/487548029/in/set-72157594444994347/

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Hardwood charcoal, broken pieces, 50% 3/8" minus, source Rich and Larry
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rchaard/487548005/in/set-72157594444994347/

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From rear, plots, compost, compost + charcoal1, compost + charcoal 2, compost + charcoal 2 plus fertilizer, and etc for 26 plots total
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rchaard/487547953/in/set-72157594444994347/

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Finished plots after rototilling and before planting which will happen next week
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rchaard/487547905/in/set-72157594444994347/

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As roto-tilled showing separation between plots and depth of tilling, about 6 inches
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rchaard/487547903/in/set-72157594444994347/

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Finished compost plot
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rchaard/487547913/in/set-72157594444994347/