Biochar plus Compost

Full Ears of Corn by July 4
Healthy Roots - Corn July
Good healthy growth Mid June
Adapted No-tiill setup for applying biological amendments

Farmer J.R. Bollinger has been seeing remarkable results with his no-till corn this year in the Mississippi valley near Cape Giradeaux, Missouri. As you can see from the pictures he had lush, green 6 foot corn in mid June, and full ears of corn by the fourth of July. As you can see by the root growth and green leaves, these are healthy plants and have ready access to the nutrition they need to grow and develop fruit.

Mr. Bollinger built a custom pre-tillage rig on his no-till tractor toolbar that allows him to add both wet and dry amendments as he is pre-tilling his field. Allowing him to create stripes of ground that already contain a blend of biochar, beneficial microbes, mycorrhizae, minerals and other biological amendments. Next he precision seeded the corn into the amended strips. The seedlings were directly in contact with beneficial amendments with a minimum of passes (compaction of the field) and grew vigorously and quickly. This type of system allows farmers to amend fields efficiently and use long term soil amendments like biochar and mineral amendments in a cost-effective way. In this way, he's adding carbon, micro-nutrients, and minerals to the field, and by thinking of amending a series of strips over a number of years, can improve the long term health of his soil, while growing a healthy crop for market.

For more detail see


John with covers 5 ways to improve your biochar for best results.


From Living Web Farms in Mills River, North Carolina

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


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


  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:

Some good reasons to compost with Biochar

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.

ithaka Journal Home Garden Study Results

Ithaka Journal worked with home gardeners from across Switzerland to conduct a 2 year home garden test plot study. In the study, home gardeners aged the biochar in their own compost, and applied the biochar on a 1 Meter square test plot, then compared the results with an identically planted 1 Meter square control.

The results were mixed, and there were a lot of reasons given by the authors for this. The biggest variable that they isolated in the study was the compost. Apparently the quality of the compost varied quite a bit, and could easily have accounted for a lot of the mixed results.

Additionally, the biochar amended compost was mixed into the top few inches of the planting beds. Some crops are fairly shallow rooted, and that get good benefits from this type of amendment, but most plants will do better if the biochar is blended with good compost and soil and applied to the whole root zone. We've seen better results when the planting holes are amended.

the Methodology in full:


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.


In the recent past Biochar has become popular among local media. The vernacular media is taking note and recognized the importance of biochar. We are happy that more farmers are showing interest to adopt biochar for management of their soils. About 200000 kgs of biochar compost is adopted by about 200 stakeholders in parts of India, including small and marginal farmers, tribals for horticulture, organisations, institutes and universities. This had been a seven years old Jounery for Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy: learning, understanding, designing technologies for charcoal production, biochar compost preparations, research, studies and developing methods of application. With the support of, France the process of research and dissemination accelerated. Now biochar has become 'biocharculture' with integrated wider applications for co-benefits and value addition.

CNN Biochar coverage

From saibhaskar press

Biocharcoal helps check global warming

From saibhaskar press
From saibhaskar press
From Sai Bhaskar in Press
From Sai Bhaskar in Press

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, France

From Cluster beans at GEO RC
From Cluster beans at GEO RC
From Cluster beans at GEO RC

Arborists in Chicago are studying the results of biochar on trees growing in urban soils that are typically hostile to trees. This research is part of a larger urban-soils study that includes applications of biochar in greenhouse and field plot settings at The Morton Arboretum. The Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories have also been testing adding biochar to the soil mix when planting trees. More information and media coverage of this study about biochar and urban tree care can be found on the Bartlett Tree Experts web site.



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