I became aware of biochar as a result of a chance meeting. As I researched, it became clear it might be a useful additive to my garden. Since moving to the Columbia area in 2010, I have slowly built a garden spot. I started with clay. Like many subdivisions, topsoil was scraped away in contouring and development. The clay was lifeless, and I added compost, rotted manure, rabbit manure, every year for three, and slowly built a reasonable base to grow vegetables and fruit. Until last year, when I added biochar, I hadn't had much luck. A few tomatoes, some radishes, carrots, peppers, but nothing of any note. I like to organic garden, don't add artificial fertilizers, don't use any pesticides or fungicides except natural oils.
Last year before I planted I added biochar at the recommended rate, added one pickup load of compost and tilled it all in (about 15" deep). We were stunned during harvests as we were picking 10-15 #'s of tomatoes every day for almost 45 days, our carrots lasted well into mid-august and were well formed, we ate our own onions until well after Thanksgiving, and we picked cucumbers to the point no one in the neighborhood wanted any more and we are still eating peppers. Our winter squash got root rot due to all the rain, and had to be destroyed to save the garden.
To say I was pleased is understatement. I plan to add composted manure this spring, and hope to purchase it with Biochar already mixed in.
A little about me: I'm not a professional gardener or farmer, just enjoy being outside, growing my own food. Gardening is a hobby. I grow fruit tree's, blueberries, and raspberries. They aren't old enough yet to bear fruit.
J. Gillespie 1/2014
Okra! 14-feet Tall!
First year I tried Terra Char mixed with microbial solution, I didn't know what to expect. But my plants' growth spoke for results. Plant size and production were excellent (Terra Char mix left / control right). I will expand the area I apply the mix to next year, based on results I saw this year. So far, good results. - J. Price
Effects of The 4Ms on Soybean Production
Left: SumaGrow + SEA-90 + Terra Char powder
At spring planting, a solution of SumaGrow, SEA-90 & Terra Char powder was sprayed on the soil of a 5-acre test plot. On October 3, 2014, inspection showed far better shoot & root growth in the 5-acre test plot, many more Rhizobial nodules on roots, and nearly 3 times as many seed pods per plant.
2013 was our first year to use Terra Char. I added 60 pounds Terra Char Powder to 200 gallons of water, microbial products and molasses. This mix was added to our liquid system planter. We applied 5 gallons of mix 2 inches beside corn row at planting. Our goal by adding Terra Char is to increase soil carbon in a zone by plants so we keep nutrients and moisture available to plants.
I feel adding more carbon will increase microbial activity, resulting in higher yields. I plan to incorporate Terra Char in soil before planting this year. I want to build a zone under the crop by adding small amounts of Terra Char each year in the same zone. I feel we can add more quality and more bushels by doing so.