Whether your garden is a source of nourishment, beauty, or both, you want it to thrive. Using biochar as a soil amendment can make the plants in your garden flourish as never before. Using premium biochar for gardening improves any type of soil, which leads to increased fertility and healthier plants. It also means less work for you!
What Is Biochar?
At this point, you are surely asking, “What is biochar and why is it such a vital addition to the soil?”
Biochar is created by heating biomass, or organic matter, at high temperatures in an oxygen-free environment. This process, called pyrolysis, is the modern version of how Amazonian natives made Terra Preta. Indigenous people of the Amazon infused the poor soils of the jungle by creating this rich black high-carbon material. Researchers believe that after cutting plant material, it was burned and then buried to smolder. The end result was mixed with compost to make the incredibly fertile Terra Preta. Centuries later, these soils remain exceptionally productive.
Virtually any type of biomass can be turned into biochar. However, biochar made from wood is widely used because of its high porosity and excellent quality.
How Does Biochar Benefit Gardens?
Successful gardening requires healthy soil. Here are just some of the ways biochar improves soil health for gardens:
Biochar increases soil fertility, which increases plant growth and yield. Because biochar aids in water retention, plants can flourish even in times of drought.
Increased pest and disease resistance
Biochar boosts your plant’s immune system, helping them to combat disease. It can suppress plant pathogens and adsorb toxins produced by these pathogens. Adsorb differs from absorption in that the latter refers to particles transferring to another material while the former involves particles adhering to a substance.
Increased nutrient retention
Because biochar increases the soil’s ability to retain water and nutrients. Plants can more easily access these nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous, through their roots.
After adding biochar to the soil, your garden will need less watering. Biochar keeps nutrients in the soil rather than have them leach into groundwater.
Biochar does not contain nutrients per se. It serves as a conduit to make nutrients readily available to plants.
Improved soil structure
Biochar improves soil structure in various ways, including:
- Increasing the ability to hold moisture
- Reducing soil compaction and density
- Improving water drainage
- Improving aeration
Healthy soil is home to billions of beneficial microorganisms. Ranging from bacteria to fungi to earthworms, these microorganisms aerate soil, bring water to plant roots, and their waste becomes plant nutrients.
Biochar’s porosity allows it to hold the proteins and other nutrients produced by microbes. Your soil will team with beneficial bacteria and fungi.
Climate change threatens our planet. Carbon dioxide stands out among the greenhouse gases driving global warming, which is responsible for a changing climate. Biochar sequesters carbon in the earth, keeping it out of the atmosphere. Roughly 2 pounds of carbon dioxide are sequestered for every pound of biochar used.
How to Use Biochar for Growing Gardens
By using compost and biochar for gardening, you are supercharging your soil. Over time, you will not need to use as much fertilizer to achieve a vibrant, gorgeous garden.
How to use biochar in a vegetable garden
If your garden soil is not of the best quality, biochar can make a huge difference in the condition and output of your vegetable garden. Mix biochar into your vegetable garden in late winter or early spring.
After using biochar in your vegetable garden, you should find your yield increasing even as your vegetables grow larger.
How much biochar to use
How much biochar to use depends not only on the size of your garden but also on the quality of its soil. If you are blessed with good soil, use between 3 to 4 cubic feet of biochar for every 100 square feet. If your soils are poor, consisting mostly of sand or clay, up the amount of biochar to 5 or 6 cubic feet per 100 square feet.
When planting in a typical 4 x 8 foot raised garden bed, use a 1 cubic foot bag of biochar. In your biochar applications, there is no need to use more than the recommended amount. Adding more biochar than you need does not further improve the soil.
When to apply biochar
While you can apply biochar at any time, your garden benefits most when biochar is applied in the early spring. Keep in mind that biochar stays in the soil for a very long time. It’s basically there for good.
How to apply biochar
For new plantings, mix biochar into the top 4 to 6 inches of your garden soil. For most gardens, you can simply top-dress biochar on top of the soil. Tilling is the standard way to mix biochar into the soil for larger areas, but hand planting is fine for smaller plots.
For the next five to seven days, water sufficiently to keep the soil moist.
Learn More From Wakefield Biochar
Wakefield BioChar is the leader in biochar soil conditioners. We are also a family-owned company with a mission, summed up as Better Soils, Better World. We are committed not only to environmental sustainability but to helping gardeners grow healthier, more productive, and beautiful plants with less work!