IS THIS CONSIDERED BIOCHAR?

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: IS THIS CONSIDERED BIOCHAR?
Author: Ken (Ken)
Monday, March 18, 2013 - 10:18 pm
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Knothead,
Man are you making the tluds. Looks like a nice design on this one. I'm getting coffee chaf from a local roaster and charing that in my wood stove using the retorts made of 16 oz cans. Your soft wood chips reminded me of that. The chaf makes good char.
This is uninteresting podcast about biochar up in Canada.

http://ia601600.us.archive.org/10/items/jordan_0013/0013.mp3

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Monday, March 18, 2013 - 2:54 pm
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Hi Ken and Full Circle,
Here's a link to a video of my latest stove if you're interested.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rjluv6GPfbc

Author: Ken (Ken)
Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 10:27 pm
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Hi Full_Circle,
Yes, the composting helps the char to fill with mositure and nutrients, and when the compost is ready, the char will be fully charged and ready for the garden.
Char can be used directly in beds but first should be charged with h2o and nutrients of some sort. Compost tea or fish emulsion would be good. If put in the soil dry, it will steal water and nutrients from the plants.
I have to say, since I've been using the Humanure method and now adding char, my plants taste so much better than before and even look healthier. We have never been more healthier either! I believe this is my 13th year using this method, THANK YOU JOE!!!

Author: Full_circle (Full_circle)
Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 6:21 pm
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Hi Ken,

Thanks for your info. I guess I need to know a few more details regarding charcoal use with humanure.First, is charcoal considered inferior to plant matter when composting if one were to choose one or the other?
I am interested in using charcoal in lieu plant matter as I want to use a resource that is readily at hand for immediate use. I guess we will have a couple of buckets ready for composting by the time spring rolls around. I'll add weeds later when the snow melts and the weeds start growing, mostly golden rod and later garden weeds.

Is the reason for soaking the charcoal so it doesn't draw the available moisture away from the biomass and thus slowing down the composting process?

"The best way to charge the char is composting"
So the charcoal sucks up the nutrients from the compost pile and stores it for later availability?
Thanks for your help

Author: Ken (Ken)
Saturday, March 16, 2013 - 9:15 pm
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Full_Circle, I forgot to add that you can crush the char from your stove. It seems that a lot of folks screen it through 1/4 inch hardware cloth and then soak it in water. The best way to charge the char is composting. So you can add it to the Humanure bin, in the bucket to control odors if there are any, but if done the way Joe explains in the book, there should be no odors. I add the char at each bucket dump.

Author: Ken (Ken)
Saturday, March 16, 2013 - 9:06 pm
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Hi Full_Circle,

Welcome. The charcoal in your wood stove would work, but a better method for biochar is in the following link. This PDF explains what it is, how it's made and how to use it. This is a simple design but works very well. In fact I made char today on mine. You can scale up using 5 gallon steel paint cans, new ones and 55 gallon steel drums if the bugs gets you.
Good luck.


http://terrapreta.bioenergylists.org/files/1G%20Toucan%20TLUD%20for%20Biochar%20Jan%202010%20-%20final_0.pdf

Author: Full_circle (Full_circle)
Saturday, March 16, 2013 - 6:26 pm
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Hi all, I'm new to all this and will be starting a humanure pile come this spring and want to do it right. We burn wood in our stove during the winter and generate charcoal and ash in the process. From what I have read Bio Char is created by heating material at high temperatures rather actually having a fire and burning it. The question I have is is the charcoal I generate in the stove from burning wood considered biochar and if it is not would it still be suitable for humanure compost pile. We have quite a pile of it and I had hoped I could substitute it for plant matter. I realize I need to separate the charcoal from the ash as the high PH will inhibit the micro organisms from proliferating. From what I read on Wikipedia there was a difference between biochar generated from high heat without fire and the charcoal created from a fire. I think I read that certain volatiles were lost when charcoal was made with a fire that were important if one was to garden using Terra Preta practices.
The pieces of charcoal I am generating average 2 inches or less in size. I am also concerned that charcoal might absorb some of the ash that is mixed with it in the pile. Unfortunately we weren’t able to separate the ash from the charcoal when we removed it from the stove so should we consider rinsing off the charcoal? If it is OK to use this charcoal should I crush it into smaller pieces or turn it to powder? The ground is too frozen now to try and start a compost pile. Can't dig post holes or scoop out dirt to make the bio- sponge. I read that fresh fecal matter is about 30% living microbes. If this poop is frozen in a bucket for a month or two and is then thawed out will there be much difficulty for me, Dr Frankenstein, in reviving it. Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.

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