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Gardening with Biochar: Tips and Tricks

What is Biochar?

The name Biochar gives a pretty good description - it is biologically activated charcoal used in gardening and land management. Our Biochar is made from unwanted wood, usually destined for landfill or incineration, this wood turns into charcoal in a carbon neutral process. 

We then take the charcoal and activate it using organic, 100% natural, 100% plant-based nutrients and we add soil microbes. Activating the charcoal results in a very effective soil conditioner which can be used in your garden. 

Being a plant biologist I wanted to thoroughly test our Biochar products and also compare them with others on the market. For me, having accurate and reliable results from our grow tests was key and so we spent 12 months testing our Biochar before launching our online store.

I will publish a post with a detailed review of the tests and the results in the coming weeks, but for now, here are our key findings which will help you use biochar in your garden most effectively.

How much Biochar do you need?

You don’t need a lot! In fact, too much and you will negatively impact your plant’s health. Stick to a 1:10 ratio of Biochar to potting mix/soil. For example, if you have a 10L plant pot, only use 1L of Biochar.

Top Tips on using Biochar:

Mix the Biochar in thoroughly with the rest of your potting mix/soil. Use your fingertips to work out any big clumps and then add the mixed soil and Biochar into your pot, flower bed or vegetable patch.

Using Activated Biochar:

Activated Biochar is full of nutrients and microbes and can be used straight away in your garden. If you’re using Activated Biochar, hold off feeding your plants for a week after you have added the Activated Biochar, especially if they are seedlings, you don’t want to ‘burn’ their roots with too much nutrients!

Using Raw Biochar:

Raw Biochar is not activated and is ‘empty’ of nutrient and microbes, so you need to take a different approach. If you’re using Raw Biochar, for best results add it into your compost every time you empty your food waste in there, this way it will mix with your compost as it breaks down. Alternatively, add it into your flower beds or vegetable patch a month before adding your plants, this gives time for the microbes to start inhabiting the Biochar and the nutrients in the soil to be absorbed.

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