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Old 03-31-2017, 04:58 PM #861
joppemannen
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I heard about the terra preta first time last year and I'm sold about the idea, it's a great supplement for my outdoor grows and I hope the result will be a bit better than last year
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Old 04-09-2017, 09:08 AM #862
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Thinking the easiest way to make large amounts of char hassle free is just to dig a big hole around a metre or so in depth (preferably with some kind of machine but could be done manually no worries in softer soil than around these parts which is full of rocks) and just start a burn in there.

Keep adding dry branches etc and then when the hole is full right up put a sprinkler/hose on it for a few hours to completely cool it all down.

The only downside would be having to get in the hole with a shovel but it weighs fuck all so not a biggie!

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Old 04-09-2017, 09:12 AM #863
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Actually i guess in heavy clay i might end up with a bit of a pond... but thats cool i would just have to scoop out the char with a net or something... the water would drain away eventually. I want to combine hugelkulture with biochar amended top soil for the mother of all wins!
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Old 04-23-2017, 01:21 PM #864
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I've been growing with biochar for few years now and it works great.
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Old 09-07-2017, 12:37 AM #865
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Hi Silversurfer,

I have been having great success using a method similar to the one you describe, just with a few differences:

First I dig a deep hole of around 1 meter by 1 meter (depending on how much char I want to make).

I then cut a 45 degree channel on the side of the hole from the base to the ground above. Into this is inserted an old scaffolding pole (a hollow metal pole able to resist high heat without melting). This is vital to keep the fire going at the early stages. If you just dig a hole the fire will really struggle, and may not get hot enough to produce plenty of char. Instead you get lots of burned wood bits and a bit of char.

You can also use a bicycle pump to get it going by aiming the end down the scaffolding pipe. Kinda handy.

I then fill the hole and burn whatever hardwood I have available. As long as its not too sappy/resinous it will produce good char. Very sappy wood like pine can burn a bit fast/hot.

I wait until all the hole is glowing embers. Like the cherry on the end of a joint.

I place a big metal cover over the hole. I use an old bit of scrap metal i cut to size. This is then covered with soil and the scaffolding pipe end is covered over.

Wait a fair while, like four days to a week. If you are impatient and open it too soon it can combust again and you loose your char. Its ready when the metal lid is totally cold to the touch.

I then crush the char I collect in an old fertiliser sack by stamping on it like a maniac. You get the odd hard lump and loads of perfect char powder. Happy days.
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Old 09-11-2017, 08:47 AM #866
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Hey chambabird thats rad and just the kind of information we need good job. Got any pics?

Been thinking about getting my char on now its spring time in these parts.

Got a big ass pile of dry wood i was gonna turn into a hugulkulture but i have realised its way too close to some big ass gum trees so not the best spot.

Char and compost shall be the go
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Old 09-13-2017, 05:31 PM #867
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Made a fresh batch including a bucket of various bones i had collected. It burned for about 5 hours and i added lots of chopped up dry tree branches... started pissing it down with rain about an hour in but the fire was plenty hot enough to keep burning regardless...

I made this brick kiln a few years ago and it works well. Dug into the side of a small slope. It has a lid and i was sealing it up with a bit of mud on top of the bricks to finish the charring process and eliminate air getting in. Now i find its easier to just position hose over the top on shower mode. Let it run for an hour or so and its done.

Have about a wheelbarrows worth which i will add to my latest compost heap. I add most char crushed and sprinkled over the bottom to capture runoff and near the top to capture off gassing nitrogen.

Last pic is a piece of charred bone. It crushes up real easy like the rest...

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Old 09-23-2017, 09:11 PM #868
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I pre-charged some BioChar with hydrolyzed fish/kelp fert so it would dry out by winter when I mix up some soil-less. Anyway I set the pH of the fish/kelp solution at 6.9 and poured it over the BioChar. Would the pH of the fert solution make any difference to the soil-less mix? I use about 10% Bio-Char in my mixture of soil-less.
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Old 09-26-2017, 03:14 AM #869
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Good to go dude if that mix is already working a wee bit of kelp/fish won't be too much of a worry. Sometimes i add some apple cider vinegar to counter balance the basic kelp/fish. But 10% char WILL make a big difference to your ph if it isn't aged long enough... if you are using sphagnum peat as your base should be sweet kitty cat
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Old 03-12-2018, 02:53 PM #870
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Hello all, I'm doing something very similar this season with dark soil. In ND. it's called Leonardite. A layer of vegetation between two layers of clay. Fully decomposed over millions of years. It's very high in humid acid and has generous levels of folic acid. I will be adding the fine ground material to my soil. I also have a liquid form I will use with my fish emulsions as a supplement. I will try and do a couple updates here along with the two threads documenting this grow. Peace
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