Compost bin placement

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Compost bin placement
Author: Ken (Ken)
Saturday, December 18, 2010 - 11:50 pm
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Here is a video on clean burning , biochar making stoves. These are being made by the locals via Art Donnely of Searchar.org. The stove info begins at about 3:45. Hope this helps.
Ken
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGIVh-zMWgY&feature=autofb

Author: Shush (Shush)
Saturday, December 18, 2010 - 12:38 pm
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Maybe a little help - burning wood so it appears all red, hottest, without smoke, is charcoal. Quench it by applying water to the fire, and you've got it. See Biochar-TUTORIAL. In a wheelbarrow mix earth, compost and charcoal. They say, wet it; and the soil life from compost will migrate to the wet charcoal -I HOPE. Should be interesting to observe - maybe several sesons away.

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 7:22 pm
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Test, I don't know how you are arriving at your conclusions, but I believe that you're mistaken in your understanding that biochar isn't useful for the small garden. As well as a a number of your other conclusions.
I enjoy the process of burning a portion of my yard waste using TLUD stoves that when working properly produce almost no pollution. I often cook but sometimes it's just nice to sit around and enjoy a fire.
The side benefit is that I'm making biochar, thereby removing carbon from the environment and trapping it in the earth in the process. From what I understand, that's a good thing.
I urge you to read a little about the making and using of small amounts of biochar. I find it enjoyable and it really seems to help the sandy soil that I have around here.
There is a great deal of info on the net.

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Thursday, December 16, 2010 - 12:49 am
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@knothead -

I am questioning the practice of burning fuel or organic matter just for the sake of creating biochar.

However, if you are going to burn a fuel (say wood) to cook anyway, no objection to having biochar as a by product of the process, assuming no real loss in efficiency of fuel usage or extra pollution creation relative to plain old ovens/BBQ. However, then you lose the benefit of wood ash which is a great fertilizer and insect repellent/insecticide.

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 - 11:34 pm
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@knothead - the benefits of biochar mentioned in the article you quote are for non "organic" type farms, the type of farming known to cause all kinds of health and environmental problems.

Such farmers (including governements, suppliers, tax payer funded programs...)ought to rethink their system instead of propping it up with gimmicks, quick fixes, GMO's...

Also to create biochar don't you have to burn something to generate heat to make the biochar ? That burning probably creates harmful pollutants and wastes fuel that could be otherwise used.

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 7:04 pm
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http://biochar.pbworks.com/w/page/9748043/FrontPage

"Biochar is a fine-grained charcoal high in organic carbon and largely resistant to decomposition. It is produced from pyrolysis of plant and waste feedstocks. As a soil amendment, biochar creates a recalcitrant soil carbon pool that is carbon-negative, serving as a net withdrawal of atmospheric carbon dioxide stored in highly recalcitrant soil carbon stocks. The enhanced nutrient retention capacity of biochar-amended soil not only reduces the total fertilizer requirements but also the climate and environmental impact of croplands. Char-amended soils have shown 50 - 80 percent reductions in nitrous oxide emissions and reduced runoff of phosphorus into surface waters and leaching of nitrogen into groundwater. As a soil amendment, biochar significantly increases the efficiency of and reduces the need for traditional chemical fertilizers, while greatly enhancing crop yields. Renewable oils and gases co-produced in the pyrolysis process can be used as fuel or fuel feedstocks. Biochar thus offers promise for its soil productivity and climate benefits."

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 6:26 pm
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@knothead

On the otherhand, maybe a little bit of biochar could improve the compost, kinda like salt and pepper improves a dish. I don't know.

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 6:24 pm
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@Knothead

So are you suggesting that no burning is required to make biochar ?

If there is burning then somehow the pollution is controlled or not harmful ?

Rather than burn all this material why not compost it or bury it directly unless somehow it is known that biochar is better than plain o'l compost or buried organic material ?

I suspect compost or the buried organic material would feed the soil, bacteria, fungi, and most importantly earththworms... in a superior fashion to biochar.

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 7:46 am
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I never used the word need. You don't need biochar for composting. The fact remains however that biochar is an excellent soil additive and will only improve the compost.
As far as your other comments about biochar causing pollution and waste, I suggest you do a little research.

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 1:17 am
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You don't need biochar for composting, human manure or otherwise.

I am no expert on biochar - but it seems you need to burn to create it. Burning creates pollution and usually wastes resources so I question the practice.

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Monday, December 13, 2010 - 6:48 pm
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Biochar is known to be a beneficial soil additive and obviously a good way to remove carbon from the environment. However it is like an empty sponge and unless it's "inoculated" with nutrients it will actually compete with the plants.
I mix biochar with my cover material as well and just adding it to the compost pile. It's pretty handy stuff.
My thought was that because it traps and filters so well that a layer on the bottom of the pile would be a good place for it.
I really don't think that leachate is a problem if you have a roof or cover over your pile.

Author: Utopian (Utopian)
Monday, December 13, 2010 - 12:26 pm
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Biochar is a fancy name for charcoal-- the real stuff, not the briquettes. While it can't hurt to use it, I question its need in the bottom of a pile. Charcoal can be beneficial for filtering out chemicals but in this context of concern about well contamination, the charcoal would only be of benefit as added mass for leachate absorption. A layer of ground up leaves, or any other organic matter, would serve the same purpose.

Look at it this way. It is possible that some leachate will escape the pile and the composition of the leachate will at worse be liquified feces and urine. The world is full of animals that are constantly defecating and urinating directly on the ground without ill effect on your well. The little bit of liquid that MIGHT leak out from a properly formed pile will be no worse than the output of a few small animals, and will be significantly less than that of a single deer in the area.

Author: Utopian (Utopian)
Monday, December 13, 2010 - 12:18 pm
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Biochar is a fancy name for charcoal-- the real stuff, not the briquettes. While it can't hurt to use it, I question its need in the bottom of a pile. Charcoal can be beneficial for filtering out chemicals but in this context of concern about well contamination, the charcoal would only be of benefit as added mass for leachate absorption. A layer of ground up leaves, or any other organic matter, would serve the same purpose.

Look at it this way. It is possible that some leachate will escape the pile and the composition of the leachate will at worse be liquified feces and urine. The world is full of animals that are constantly defecating and urinating directly on the ground without ill effect on your well. The little bit of liquid that MIGHT leak out from a properly formed pile will be no worse than the output of a few small animals, and will be significantly less than that of a single deer in the area.

Author: Skooter (Skooter)
Friday, December 10, 2010 - 7:33 am
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Ok, so after I dig my depression, do I lay down the straw first, then the biochar? Not really sure what biochar is either.Imma big city kid just really getting myself introduced to these things.

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Thursday, December 09, 2010 - 6:42 pm
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I would like to suggest the idea of using a layer of an inch or two of biochar as well as the straw beneath the pile. My theory is that the charcoal would act as a sort of filter for what little leachate there might be. As a bonus, you get some biochar in the soil.

Author: Skooter (Skooter)
Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - 4:01 pm
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Thank you for your response. Yes, I do remember the Handbook instructing that technique. Again, thank you for easing my mind.

Author: Md_heath (Md_heath)
Tuesday, December 07, 2010 - 3:41 pm
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composting in nothing at all like a septic tank. if there is a roof over your compost pile to mitigate rain-induced leachate from the piles entering the ground, 50' should be fine. the depth of the well is not the same as the water level. but, if the water level is 50' or more below the surface of the ground then surface distance would not matter. again, the issue is leachate leaving the pile. the Handbook talks about a shallow depression and 18" of straw on the bottom of the pile, specifically to address this issue.

Author: Skooter (Skooter)
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 8:23 pm
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Hi everyone! I am very new to all this, and although all my questions have been answered either in the Handbook, or around in other threads I still have one question.

What I wanted to know: How far should I build my bins from my well? It is three hundred feet deep if I remember right. Is there any 'rule of thumb' for any water source? Just curious. Thaks.

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