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ThunderSRQ

Mulch nutritional value

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Zeeth

Biochar from the fire process above

P1010925.jpg

How easy is that stuff to break up into pieces? Anytime I've added charcoal to the ground, I've needed the sledgehammer to break it up. I've only done it with store bought lump charcoal though.

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nomolos

hi Keith not too hard to break it up, easiest way is to pick it up and crush it in our hand while wearing flexible garden gloves.

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Alicehunter2000

Did anyone have an answer for the "to add or not to add clay" to beach sand dilemma?

..... sorry...the biochar experiment was cool....couldn't you just throw leftover natural charcoal from a grill or smoker into the yard as well?

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trioderob

wouldn't that be something that a university or major Florida agricultural grower have figured out already ???

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trioderob

is there anyone here who is NOT hot composting ? - if so why ?

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_Keith

Did anyone have an answer for the "to add or not to add clay" to beach sand dilemma?

..... sorry...the biochar experiment was cool....couldn't you just throw leftover natural charcoal from a grill or smoker into the yard as well?

If started with the newspaper method, sure. But I would not do this if using a petro based starter. Also, would be best to water cool right after use, rather than letting it burn down to pure ash.

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LJG

Some really great information here. Thanks guys.

Sol, you should make a second thread on your biochar. I think others might find it interesting. I have never seen this before and learned a lot.

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_Keith

is there anyone here who is NOT hot composting ? - if so why ?

I have done it in the past, but don't now. Reason is just time and convenience. I have a large garden and can produce lots of waste. I am always short of time. I just pile stuff in very large nursery pots, like 48" in diameter pots. When one fills I just let it rot down till the next spring and apply it first before covering with the new year mulching. Yes, I leach off some nutrients, and yes it may still have some viable weed seeds, but I get 90% of the benefit and that is enough for me. But if you have the time, and like to do things really well, hot composting is the way to go.

Oh, and I have tried sheet composting, just digging holes and burying directly next to something, slash and drop composting, you name it. I am a hopeless experimenter.

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trioderob

yea out here its too dry- we just don't get the same biological activity

I remember seeing some amazing things in your state - like going to honey island.

out here you have to attack it from a different angle -

honey island

wamp.jpg

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trioderob

here is an extreme example-

the HOH rain forest near Seattle WA.

its rains every day

wood chips would be fine there -but in Cali takes 5 years for them to start breaking down

notice that the biological activity is so extreme that trees grow right out of stumps

blognurselog.jpg

Edited by trioderob

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trioderob

then you also get things like lettuce lichen which make nutrients available to the plants

360px-Lettucelichen.jpg

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Josh-O

here is an extreme example-

the HOH rain forest near Seattle WA.

its rains every day

wood chips would be fine there -but in Cali takes 5 years for them to start breaking down

notice that the biological activity is so extreme that trees grow right out of stumps

blognurselog.jpg

neat pic! It goes to show that a wet moist climate provides lots of good material decay which in turns breaks down into micro nutrients for plants.

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nomolos

I am not a fan of my tumble compost, doesn't heat up and is too small. I'm going to try a different system.

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rprimbs

I am not a fan of my tumble compost, doesn't heat up and is too small. I'm going to try a different system.

Maybe you need to throw some cheap nitrogen fertilizer in it. Or if you want to go even cheaper... save your urine and throw that in.

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Josh-O

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trioderob

don't save the urine- it goes rancid very fast

use it after 12 hours max or it will stink up the house - bad

also -use more coffee grinds

Edited by trioderob

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nomolos

I used heaps of coffee grounds and other nitrogen sources but I dont think the tumbler is a very good system.

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amazondk

Since Keith mentioned Terra Preta do Indio, which is a topic I enjoy to ponder. I have included a picture. Most of the Terra Preta soils were made over 1000 years ago and retain their fertility to this day. One article I read claims that the pottery shards commonly found in Terra Preta were made and placed in the soil purposely not just as garbage of broken pots. The Terra Preta deposits run from 2 to 350 hectares normally.

tp_01.jpg

This part of an article gives a good description of the soil. Article is here http://www.philipcoppens.com/terrapreta.html

"Typical Terra Preta pockets in the Amazon are seldom larger than 2 acres, reaching down to a depth of approx. 50 centimetres, with traces going down to 2-3 metres deep. Terra Preta, in short, is like a small pocket of different soil, stretching over a small area of land, and not going to any depth. Still, when the various pockets are added up, about ten percent of the Amazon landmass is like this (though others argue only 0.3 percent of the basin is covered), a space roughly the size of France – or twice the UK.

As a rule, Terra Preta has more plant-available phosphorus, calcium, sulfur, and nitrogen than is common in the rain forest. The soil is specifically well-suited for “tropical fruits”. Corn, papaya, mango and many other foods grow at three times the rate than in the “normal” tropical soil. Fallows on the Amazonian Dark Earths can be as short as six months, whereas fallow periods on Oxisols are usually eight to ten years long. Only short fallows are presumed to be necessary for restoring fertility on the dark earths. However, precise information is not available, since farmers frequently fallow the land due to an overwhelming weed infestation and not due to declining soil fertility. In 2001, James B. Petersen reported that Amazonian Dark Earths in Açutuba had been under continuous cultivation without fertilization for over forty years.
What’s more: the soil behaves like a living organism; it is self-renewing. It acts more like a super-organism than an inert material. It is even more remarkable when it was discovered that it was most likely created by pre-Columbian Indians, between 500 BC and 1500 AD, and abandoned after the invasion of Europeans (other dating suggests 800 BC to 500 AD). Dating of the soil samples has shown that cultivation stopped in 1500, at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Francisco de Orellana, of the Spanish Conquistadors, reported that as he ventured along the Rio Negro, hunting a hidden city of gold, his expedition found a network of farms, villages and even huge walled cities. When later Spanish settlers arrived, none could find the people of whom the first Conquistadors had spoken. Had they been lured here with a lie? And if the farms did not exist, a “city of gold” seemed to have been an even bigger lie. Later, scientists were sceptical of Orellana’s account, as in their opinion, the Amazonian soil could not support such large farming communities. Of course, these scientists were speaking at a time when Terra Preta was not yet identified.
Wim Sombroek of the International Soil Reference and Information Centre in Wageningen, the Netherlands, has identified one of the biggest patches of Terra Preta near Santarem, where the zone is three miles long and half a mile wide. The plateau has never been carefully excavated, but observations by geographers Woods and Josephn McCann of the New School in New York City indicate that this area would have been able to support about 200,000 to 400,000 people. This makes Orellana's account at least plausible"

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