Fourth Corner Nursery (4CN)

Third year results: Fourth Corner Nurseries Soil/Biochar Study
Richard Haard, Plant Propogationist, July 31, 2009

This study predates the coining of the term biochar and I claim grandfather rights to use the word charcoal.

Third year results, Fourth Corner Nurseries soil/biochar study

Summer 2009 Biochar plot studySummer 2009 Biochar plot studyresults are showing some trends I have had difficulty measuring with the last two years of cropping these plots. The use of buckwheat, a short season cover crop plant makes a visual view of performance reflecting nutrition, quite vivid. In spite of the dips in the plots due to deer browse.

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Third year results: Fourth Corner Nurseries Soil/Biochar Study
Richard Haard, Plant Propogationist, July 31, 2009

This study predates the coining of the term biochar and I claim grandfather rights to use the word charcoal.

Third year results, Fourth Corner Nurseries soil/biochar study

Summer 2009 Biochar plot study results are showing some trends I have had difficulty measuring with the last two years of cropping these plots. The use of buckwheat, a short season cover crop plant makes a visual view of performance reflecting nutrition, quite vivid. In spite of the dips in the plots due to deer browse.

This image is a merged sequence of pictures taken at same distance. Background may be confusing because of perspective. These plots are the first set, (south end), of treatments laid out in a systematic way. Results from the north set are similar and will be presented in a final poster

This plot study included: compost ( a wood based commercial compost of sewage solids)
charcoal 1 ( about 1/2 inch minus), charcoal 2 ( powder from John Flottvik's pyrolyser).
fertilizer: a complete, chemical fertilizer

Charcoal, Agriculture and Climate Change
Richard Haard, Ph. D, Fourth Corner Nursery, Spring Catalog, March 10, 2008

Here is a global issue

Charcoal in agriculture: Numerical Data
Rich Haard, Propagation Manager, Fourth Corner Nurseries, Bellingham, Washington, January 11, 2008

This is addendum to my earlier report of

Charcoal in agriculture: Experimental research at Fourth Corner Nurseries Richard Haard, Fourth Corner Nurseries, Bellingham, Washington, January 3, 2008

posted recently at
http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/haard4cncharcoalreportjan07

I have been looking at the data sets of the soil analysis we conducted on the plots on June 25, 2007 and October 30, 2007. The first soil samples were taken about a month after project setup and planting and the last was at the end of the growing season. I sampled with a hand held soil coring device, and took samples uniformly in each 17 foot long test bed. They were dried and screened to remove lumps and pieces of wood/charcoal etc.

Charcoal in agriculture: Experimental research at Fourth Corner Nurseries
Richard Haard, Fourth Corner Nurseries, Bellingham, Washington, January 3, 2008

Greetings

I just finished over the last few days organizing images and data from my charcoal experimental plots. I am presenting a new set of posters showing root systems of the native shrub, Lonicera involucrata or black twinberry that I used as an experimental subject in these treatment plots this summer.

This will be the last of a series of piecemeal postings about my findings on the terrapreta reading list. In time, I will prepare a summary of what I have accomplished this year, the shortcomings, what I feel I have learned from this work about using charcoal and my plans for continuing this experiment for 2 or more growing seasons.

CEC and % base saturation
Richard Haard, Jim Joyner, December 13, 2007

Greetings As an extension of my conversation with Jim I am forwarding this farm in-house conversation on % Base saturation. Noteworthy is a interesting trend of higher Mg % saturation where I treated with charcoal powder 4 growing seasons ago. The following information from this Clemson University Soil scientist is a good way to get a working understanding of CEC and base exchange and how we might use it to manage soil nutrition here.

WHAT IS THE USE FOR THE CATION EXCHANGE CAPACITY (CEC)AND THE PERCENT BASE SATURATION ON THE SOIL TEST REPORTS?

It is interesting also as an indicator of functional activity of charcoal in soil higher CEC did not show up in our block tests this year. The literature however indicates there is a weathering process and combination with soil organic matter < in the tropics> that brings on this activity. Also Cornell researcher Janet Thies showed continued rinsing and incubation improve CEC of charcoal in soils.

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Biochar Trials at Fourth Corner Nursery
Richard Haard, Fourth Corner Nursery, Bellingham, WA, December 6, 2007
Hello All - For your interest

I submitted to Tom for posting [attached] some initial soil analysis data from my charcoal block study. In am just beginning to compile a report on this work. When it is posted you will see soil analysis results averaged for each replication(2) for 2 dates , April and October. Listed are pH, Buffer pH, OM, Nitrate, Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) and base exchange components, % Potassium, % Magnesium, % Calcium. Other soil analysis was taken but not presented here.

Keep in mind this is a 2 to 3 year study and no additional additions or treatments will be done other than continuous cropping and harvest of all growth, tops and roots, at our bare-root native plant nursery. It is my attempt to emulate Christoph Steiner, et al research in Manaus

Long term Effects of manure, charcoal and mineral fertilization on crop production and fertility on a highly weathered Central Amazonian upland soil

http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/node/442

Growing plants with charcoal
Richard Haard, Fourth Corner Nurseries, Bellingham, WA, June 27, 2007

Select image to enlarge
This is an image of our charcoal as soil additive study at our nursery. Shown is one of our test subjects a local native shrub that we propagate and sell for riparian restoration projects. Black Twinberry, Lonicera involucrata. This plant was a 2 year old seedling, bareroot harvested and stems clipped to 6 inches before planting in the test bed 7 weeks ago.

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1344/634886240_78b8dc7032_o.jpg

and our set of images on the 4CN charcoal project

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rchaard/sets/72157594444994347/

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Azotobacter Question and Answer June 2007
Richard Haard, Four Courner Nursery, Bellingham, Washington, June 11, 2007

Question by Sean Barry:
RH ". . .Learning about potential for enrichment culture of Azotobacter and trying to measure available nitrogen in this situation."

Here you mention promoting the growth of nitrogen fixing Azotobacter. I have always been interested in the possibility of inoculating charcoal with mycorrhizal fungi.

Do you think it might be possible that you could isolate, culture, and propogate enough of both types of microorganism species from the soil in your area, then enrich or inoculate charcoal with it, and put that charcoal into plant growth trials? I have seen some FDA ARS (Agricultural Research Service) documentation about developed and patented methods to do this (propogate soil fungi) kind of thing. The charcoal you have on the forest floor with the litter (I believe I've seen this picture); is it incorporated into the soil containing the fungus? Or just on top with the litter? Are there any plants growing in it? Are there also Azotobacter in that soil (along with the mycorrhizal fungi) ?

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Charcoal Experimental Plots
Rich Haard and Larry Williams at Fourth Corner Nurseries, Bellingham, Washington, May 6, 2007
[G2:366]

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