The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Biochar in the composting toilet

Biochar with bones"I was wondering if you used your biochar to help grow your seedlings and/or put any into your garden.  I have made a lot over the winter and put it in my beds, I am hoping for a great harvest this year.  Also, what is your preferred method for getting your biochar?" --- John

I haven't posted about our biochar in a while because it's become one of those things we just do as a matter of course.  You can read my last big post on the topic here, which answers your question about how we harvest biochar and how we put biochar on the garden up until 2014.

This year, we're trying something different.  Since I haven't seen much impact from the urine-soaked biochar in the vegetable garden, I decided to use this year's charcoal in the composting toilet, tossing a few quarts down the hole every few weeks (or whenever I think about it).  I'm hoping that by putting the biochar in an active compost pile, it will become better inoculated with good microorganisms and will result in more of the kind of boost you read about.  Plus, this way our biochar will be much closer to the terra preta that started the biochar craze, since the charcoal will be combined with human wastes.  The composted biochar and humanure will go under fruit trees in fall 2015, and I might have some data for you in 2016.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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