BioChar is not only made of different ingredients including woodland and garden waste, it also comes in different grades, depending on its intended use. At North Lodge, John makes two grades of BioChar, the ones most popular for gardeners and plant lovers. Agricultural grade BioChar and pharmaceutical grade, also exist, and new categories appear regularly, as people discover more uses for this diverse renewable.
Once the kiln process is completed, John is left with large charcoal pieces, varying in size depending on what green waste he’s used. This all has to be ground, or chopped, to a suitable size for one of two uses:
- Soil improver. For adding to outside soil, or potting soil mixes, we make our BioChar approx the size shown in the picture below, next to a 50pence piece for comparison. We’ve found, from experience, that this size has several benefits, including being easy to mix into existing soils, being uncomfortable to slugs and snails and proving to be a perfect size for retaining nutrients in the vegetable garden. As a top-dressing for out-door pots, it’s great to replace a mulch and prevent algae build-up.
- BioChar fines. This is for using under your pot plants, as a way to hold moisture and retain nutrients for slow-release. It makes a perfect replacement for vermiculite, coming from a renewable and organic source. The BioChar fines are, as the name suggests, the finest particles of BioChar. Mix into soils for plants such as Orchids, and you’ll find it makes a premium additive and prevents overwatering.
We also find that BioChar has another connection to size; every plant we’ve grown, since using BioChar, has done better and got bigger and produced more than before we were making previously. And we’re not the only ones. There is a significant amount of peer-reviewed, published trials and data on the impact BioChar has on vegetables and their size. Prize winning gardens are proving, most often, to include BioChar in their composts.
Take a look at the British BioChar Foundation’s website for more information on BioChar and its many uses.
If you have questions on which type of BioChar would be best for your garden, just ask John in a comment.
Dinah and John
BioChar is seen as a waste product by many charcoal makers, sadly missing its varied and environmentally beneficial properties. In addition, there are manufacturers making “Biochar” simply by compressing their waste powder from charcoal into pellets. We’re very proud to be making BioChar, as BioChar; not a waste product, not left-outside to soak up moisture, but a whole kiln dedicated to making BioChar, specifically from renewable green waste. A quality product, we’re very proud of.