Supercharging Garden Beds with Biochar and Compost
Biochar and compost, my friends. That’s what I’m doing this time.
And… freshly tilled garden beds are irresistible to chickens. Little punks.
Yesterday I shared how we started working the garden beds, along with a video. Today I have a follow-up video, plus a deeper look at my experiments.
After seeing Steven’s success with biochar and leeks – and after getting really sick and tired of how gluey the clay can get here – I’ve decided to make lots of charcoal to add to my beds.
I did an open burn and managed to get over 15 gallons of biochar. It’s mostly from fast-burning materials like palm fronds and bamboo, with a big of hardwood and random sticks thrown in.
If you throw charcoal directly into your beds it soaks up the minerals for a time, lowering or even eliminating your yields; however, if you “charge” it first with some minerals and nitrogen, it acts like a reserve in the soil. Or that’s the theory as I understand it.
Being rather insane, I decided to soak the biochar in seawater and Epsom salt. And urine. And some compost. I only soaked it for a couple of hours, though, which may not be enough.
Biochar wasn’t the only amendment I added to the garden beds. I also sifted some compost with my redneck compost sifter, AKA a carefully bent hunk of hardware cloth:
Some of the compost is being reserved for a new batch of potting soil I’m going to make to pot up some of my compost pile fruit trees, but some of it we put in the garden beds along with the biochar. Biochar and compost – what a wonderful combination!
Rachel helped with this part, even after all her vigorous broadforking.
There are few things I enjoy more than working in the garden with my wife.
Having a task in front of us and getting it done together is better than watching a movie or hanging around smoking a hookah. I think. We’ve never actually smoked a hookah together, so that’s just conjecture, really.
Next on the agenda is planting… when we do that, I’ll share it as well.
Stay warm and have a great Sunday. We’ve been unable to make it to church for weeks now due to our car and I really miss it. I hope you are part of a good fellowship… and also have a working vehicle. Eventually we’ll be back to our normal Sabbath routine. Not worried. We have food, gardens, a beach within two miles walk… hard to feel too bad about a busted car.
And we definitely have “two or more gathered together” in the name of Jesus here on our homestead.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.“