Biochar and Dirt Rich

On Monday, May 21st, Dirt Rich, a documentary about biochar and carbon pine-wood-biocharsequestration, had a World Premier at the Sebastiani Theater in Sonoma California. Attendees were given samples of biochar and SymSoil. Some attendees called to ask what to do with samples, with respect to their home gardens.

First, with any biochar you should check to see if it has been activated. If the biochar has not been activated, it will initially pull minerals out of the soil.  You can learn more about biochar here. So, the biochar samples given out at the Dirt Rich premier should first be blended with soil.

Blend the Pacific Biochar samples into soil, in a bucket, in about a one to one ratio.  Water should be added to the soil and biochar until it is thoroughly wet, then let it sit for a few days. During this activation process, the biochar is absorbing nutrients and the microbes are settling in.

The next step is blending this material into soil, in a ten-to-one ratio. This soil will now retain water and provide a better environment for the plants in your garden.

The SymSoil includes biochar that has already been activated, so it can immediately be blended into the soil in a ten-to-one ratio. This product has been customized with wild soil microbes from some of the most fertile soil in Northern California.

We look forward to your emails comparing the performance of SymSoil versus your other soils in your yard or garden.  If you send us and email with pictures, we will send you another sample of SymSoil next spring.

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When thinking about biochar, I always find it helpful to have a visual image:  If a single layer of carbon molecules, like industrial graphite, is a sheet of tinfoil, then biochar is the crumpled up ball of foil that we toss in recycling.  Its cleaner than activated charcoal and chemically closer to graphite.

The other helpful image of biochar comes from Hugh McLaughlin of NextChar. If each single sheet of carbon was a pringle potato chip, a one milligram cube of biochar would be like a stack of pringles – stacked like a house of cards – four miles in length, depth and width.  Imagine that – it would naturally crumple in places and be imperfect – that’s where the water and air pockets reside that make it a great “coral reef” for the soil microbes.

With respect to Terra Preta … It amazing to think that that biochar that was created 7,000 years ago is still positively impacting the soil.  It’s a funny thing, how it helps the microbes by giving them a home, but they don’t actually consume it – even over centuries.

About SymSoil

SymSoil Inc., a Benefit Corporation (B), is a leader in development of biological soil amendments for agriculture that restores the microbes that provide the right food to the plant roots, improving plant health, and food can nourish us, the way nature intended.  These indigenous crop and regional soil specific microbes regenerate the soil significantly increasing crop yields and nutrient density in food. For more information call 415-729-9184

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