So you’d think it would be easy to tell you how to use biochar. I mean really how complicated can it be? Well for those that want a quick and dirty (dusty may be a more accurate description) rule, apply a biochar blend (more on the whole blending topic later) about one inch deep and till it into your soil. Easy enough?
The optimal application rate is a tad more complicated and mostly resting in the ‘TBD’ category for research. The thing is not all biochar is the same. Biochar is made from all sorts of different feedstock and its made in a variety of ways both of which make the characteristics of the end product differ – and not by a little either! [Before you buy any char, its best to try to find out what and how it’s made…more on that topic later too!] Another huge variable is your soil type. Believe it or not, not all soils are the same! The good news is that biochar works best in soils that are depleted, compacted, sandy, toxic or just plain crappy. Not surprisingly though, this makes it rather tough to give you a one-size-fits all answer. The best research I’ve seen suggests adding 10% – 20% by volume with the poorer soils getting a heaver hand. Some suggest that you do add it gradually over a few years versus dumping it all into the soil in one year.
If you are feeling inspired and have a bit of a green thumb, insert yourself here and become part of the ‘soil-ution’. Do some testing and share your discoveries! But get moving, get digging already..your soils will thank you!