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Re: [SANET-MG] Putting the carbon back: Black is the new green
I have been experimenting with "charcoal" this year after reading ALL
the books about Terra Preta, reading ALL the information on at Eprida
http://www.eprida.com/home/index.php4 plus other information on the web
such as at Cornell.
According the Eprida, the proper charcoal means heating suitable organic
materials to about 400 degrees C. (750 degrees F.) without oxygen.
Volatiles, hydrogen and water are outgassed. These gases can be used in
a variety of ways. The charcoal is ground to 30-45 mesh. They also have
developed a process to saturate it with ammonium bicarbonate using
My focus has been on enhancing microbiological activity and nutrient
holding capacity in the soil. If you add some charcoal to quality
finished compost or worm castings you will get obvious enhances
microbiological activity as seen by doing a simple water extraction
after one day of culturing and looking at it under a microscope.
Enhanced nutrient capacity occurs because the carbon matrix of the
charcoal starts taking on "functional groups" and hence forms a type of
humus that increases the CEC.
Here is how I have produced the charcoal "fertilizer" in small
quantities: Grind commercial "lump" barbecue charcoal (Cowboy, Royal
Oak, etc.) to a fine powder. Do not use brickettes. I run it through an
old meat grinder then put small amounts in an electric coffee mill. Mix
charcoal powder with equal parts by volume fine sifted compost or worm
castings. According to the charcoal weight, add 5% high quality fish
meal, krill meal or other quality protein meal. Avoid solvent-extracted
meals. Add sufficient water (non-chlorinated) usually about 1/2 the
charcoal volume. Mix throughly. It should be wet, not mucky. Usually I
work the mixture through a 1/4 inch hardware mesh to fluffy it up and
cut up any lumps. Let sit in a plastic bucket for a week maybe with a
loose cover in dry climates. Actineomyctes (sp?) smell will replace the
protein smell in a few days and some white specks should develop.
Small quantities of this product can show a noticeable improvement in
plant appearance and growth/production. Apply to the soil surface and
water in. I will not go into my exact experiences but I have been
organic gardening for decades and have experience with a wide range of
organic fertilizers and amendments. I have never seen anything quite
If you have questions about what I have mentioned I would invite you to
reply to me personally or to the list.
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