28 comments

  1. Hello Bob,
    Is Adam Asquith located in Kauai? I am headed to HI in September for a 3 week IMO course. I am hoping to make some connections there. I am a farmer in Massachusetts and have made biochar for 5 years.
    I like your video and think you could present your information to lots of enthusiastic schools in my region. Maybe worth figuring out a way to fund that happening.
    All the best,
    Adam Dole
    Essex MA

  2. This is very interesting but most disappointing too. I cannot make a large biochar kiln out of a petrol barrel but even I ought to be able to make a small one out of a paint can. If only you had shown how! No information was given on how much biochar should be added to soil either. Since I  would like to try it I would like to know if it can be used presumably mixed with soil but who knows, I do not to grow seeds in. If it can and should be mixed in soil I want to know in what proportion. Intending to dry tomato stalks to make biochar in a can in the fire on my allotment . I think I have made biochar in a saucepan 1 hour on the kitchen stove but the lid is not tight-fitting. Lots of gas escaped from the sides as well as from the hole in the middle of the lid. Is that good or bad? More biochar was in there than in the small tin with a tight-fitting lid with a hole in the middle that I  heated the same amount of time. I pulverised it but am unsure if that was wise. I would very much like to try using biochar in my allotment and, if it is beneficial,  in my houseplants. Can it be used for orchids too? Since it takes about 20 years I have read for rose clippings, apple twigs and oak to break down in the compost biochar would be a great alternative. Also making  biochar from citrus peel and onion waste which worms do not like, from meat and fish waste which makes the temperature so hot in an indoors worm compost for kitchen waste that the worms all melt and stink terribly, from  cones from evergreens that are great for coals but cannot be used for grilling as they cause cancer, and from obnoxious weeds like thistles, couch grass, dandelions, ground ivy and some flowers that I burn as they thrive in the compost and thus get spread all over the garden is also a most attractive thought. I shall be most greatful for answers to my questions.

  3. I will send you a link to the diy video I just watched today. Awesome system using oil drums. Please watch for the email it may end up in your junk box and I notice you can't post links in the comments

  4. See the back to eden gardening. People are having some problems with it because they are over thinking it. We are a miricle grow generation. Earthworms are much better than miricle grow. Keep the worms happy and they will serve you well. Tilling is mass murder for them. That ends sustainable growing conditions. My grandad was so close to figuring this out. He knew he was already doing to much. He mentioned the crops did better where it was to rocky to till. So close. xoxo

  5. Biochar… just started looking into it. Turns out I am already on it. I colect the charcoal from my woodstove in the mornings after the draft has been shut down for the night. I know how good it is in the garden – just didn't call it bio char. The key to keeping the soil fed is to stop tilling and disrupting soils natural state. Keep it covered. Wood chips from branches with leaves are the perfect cover but rotten hay works well too. The soil beneath will stay soft and amend itself.

  6. Biochar Bob- I am an amateur high schooler biochemist. The production of biochar could be many more times carbon negative if the source of heat energy for producing it was not combustion. Check out GreenPowerScience's vids with conc. solar. Using that to make biochar would be awesome.

  7. Biochar's mineral content is of course going to be limited by what's in your starting material ie woods,brush whatever. Add that is of course is determined by what the plant uptakes and also with the soil those plants were grown in.
    Therefore probably be a good idea to throw in a little Azomite with that biochar when adding to your soils. That way you are assured to get all the trace minerals.
    Small farmers can make sure they have everything that way without doing mineral analysis.

  8. Wayne! It's great to hear that you have been making your personal world a better place!! That's what it is all about, my friend. Your visions for your home are awesome and admirable! You should make a video of your projects as a response to this video so I can see all the cool things you're talking about 🙂

  9. Please show us a Youtube video on building a down-to-earth bio char stove for the everyday backyard gardener not to complicated, bigger then a milo drum but big enough to get bulk for fruit trees& veg garden without getting into trouble with the neighbours .
    This would bring char to the everyday Joe Bob.

  10. Hi – I want to introduce bio-char into my kabook-i holistic living system, I've got an engineering friend who can help me to build a retort, Does anybody have a good instruction book on how to build one and how to use the energy to make electricity – what would be great is if I could make one from a recycled oil drum
    thanks – Mike – Singapore mikesrepost@gmail.com

  11. I am creating on a smaller scale like Adam. I am planning and gathering materials to make a retort that heats water for my family ( we have a solar water heater, but in Hilo it's not enough) and has biochar as a byproduct for my soil garden. We already have a good sized aquaponics garden. Pretty good sized for family use. 2,000 gls, 800 holes, working our way up to 100 lbs of fish. Keep trucking Bob!!!!

  12. Hey Bob! Great going! I live in Hilo, and learned about biochar a couple of months ago. I really appreciate what you're doing, cause in my own little way I try to do the same. But like one of the guys you met said, and it is so true, that everyone wants things to change, but they don't want to change themselves. Well.. . . over the past 2 years, I have changed myself, and tell everyone around me and help whomever wants to do the same. Keep trucking Bob!!! Mahalo nui loa!

  13. Anything that's considered "biomass" can be turned into biochar! Wood chips are the best thing you can use (at least in my experience), but in theory, you could use anything that used to be green. If you have a truck drive by trimming trees along phone lines they'll give you wood chips for free, as will most carpentry shops.

  14. Heyya, so funny to come across this video..I was at Josiah's Biochar demo on John's farm! I remember seeing someone video tape it…happy to see what you are doing, keep it up : )

  15. Thank you Bob, Jeff, and cast, bravo, nicely done!

    If you ever get to Southwest, MO, stop by and we will convert garden stalks and stems to biochar in a horizontal "grass" kiln, and/or walk inside traditional hardwood kilns that dot our landscape.

    And australopithecusss (search youtube) can show you her clay pottery biochar maker, dubbed the Flux Capacitor which she teaches how to make in art class.

  16. Really enjoyed this Bob and Jeff, good job putting all together Eric. We would love to have Bob come back to Costa Rica and check-out biochar in the Talamanca with the Estufa Finca crew.

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