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Terra Preta

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  • travelerinthyme
    Charcoal is the ultimate soil amendment, google Terra Preta and find out the info. Everyone around here just burns the cedar scrub when they clear land, but
    Message 1 of 11 , May 22 2:06 PM
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      Charcoal is the ultimate soil amendment, google "Terra Preta" and find out the info.

      Everyone around here just burns the cedar scrub when they clear land, but ashes are just what this alkaline soil does NOT need. Put the fire out with water before the charcoal is all ashes, spread the charcoal all over, and WOW you won't believe what gorgeous dirt!

      Bonsai soil is basically gravel mixed with charcoal. Our garden, which had hard black gumbo clay, which turned too acid when we added oak leaves, is now absolutely marvelous with last year's addition of a lot of cedar charcoal. No rain in months, but it's very green out there, everything that survived the hard frosts is very healthy.

      ~Traveler in Thyme, zone 8-9, Texas Hill Country
    • Elaine Sommers
      Thank you Marc and Traveller. Just a question, what is it that the ashes do to the soil which makes it not a good idea, as opposed to the charcoal which is
      Message 2 of 11 , May 23 12:49 AM
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        Thank you Marc and Traveller.
         
        Just a question, what is it that the 'ashes' do to the soil which makes it not a good idea, as opposed to the charcoal which is much much better? This is probably a very simple question but it something I have not thought about before. When I was little everyone had garden fires and spread the ashes over the soil to 'improve' it. What do we now know that we didn't know then??
         
        Blessings,
        Elaine.
         
         
         
         
        ". . . the greatest peril of life lies in the fact that human food consists entirely of souls. All the creatures that we have to kill to eat, all those that we have to strike down and destroy to make clothes for ourselves, have souls, souls that do not perish with the body . . . All that exists lives."
         
        from 'Shaman, the wounded healer' by J. Halifax, 1982





         

        To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
        From: traveler.in.thyme@...
        Date: Sun, 22 May 2011 21:06:47 +0000
        Subject: [pfaf] Terra Preta

         
        Charcoal is the ultimate soil amendment, google "Terra Preta" and find out the info.

        Everyone around here just burns the cedar scrub when they clear land, but ashes are just what this alkaline soil does NOT need. Put the fire out with water before the charcoal is all ashes, spread the charcoal all over, and WOW you won't believe what gorgeous dirt!

        Bonsai soil is basically gravel mixed with charcoal. Our garden, which had hard black gumbo clay, which turned too acid when we added oak leaves, is now absolutely marvelous with last year's addition of a lot of cedar charcoal. No rain in months, but it's very green out there, everything that survived the hard frosts is very healthy.

        ~Traveler in Thyme, zone 8-9, Texas Hill Country


      • Ludwig
        Hi Elaine, Wood ashes contain lime, therefor it sweetens the soil, making it more alkaline. If your soil is acidic it is a good idea. If your soil is alkaline
        Message 3 of 11 , May 23 2:40 AM
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          Hi Elaine,
          Wood ashes contain lime, therefor it sweetens the soil, making it more alkaline.
          If your soil is acidic it is a good idea. If your soil is alkaline it is less so. People add woodash to the soil to provide potash.

          Adding charcoal to the soil has a few benefits. It makes the soil darker in colour, warming it up earlier in spring. The structure of charcoal is hollow, providing air into the soil and storing water and nutrients. It is a good carbon store (climate chaos). It decaysreally slowly, providing benefits for centuries to come.

          Ludwig



          On 23/05/2011 08:49, Elaine Sommers wrote:
           

          Thank you Marc and Traveller.
           
          Just a question, what is it that the 'ashes' do to the soil which makes it not a good idea, as opposed to the charcoal which is much much better? This is probably a very simple question but it something I have not thought about before. When I was little everyone had garden fires and spread the ashes over the soil to 'improve' it. What do we now know that we didn't know then??
           
          Blessings,
          Elaine.
           
           
           
           
          ". . . the greatest peril of life lies in the fact that human food consists entirely of souls. All the creatures that we have to kill to eat, all those that we have to strike down and destroy to make clothes for ourselves, have souls, souls that do not perish with the body . . . All that exists lives."
           
          from 'Shaman, the wounded healer' by J. Halifax, 1982





           


          To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
          From: traveler.in.thyme@...
          Date: Sun, 22 May 2011 21:06:47 +0000
          Subject: [pfaf] Terra Preta

           
          Charcoal is the ultimate soil amendment, google "Terra Preta" and find out the info.

          Everyone around here just burns the cedar scrub when they clear land, but ashes are just what this alkaline soil does NOT need. Put the fire out with water before the charcoal is all ashes, spread the charcoal all over, and WOW you won't believe what gorgeous dirt!

          Bonsai soil is basically gravel mixed with charcoal. Our garden, which had hard black gumbo clay, which turned too acid when we added oak leaves, is now absolutely marvelous with last year's addition of a lot of cedar charcoal. No rain in months, but it's very green out there, everything that survived the hard frosts is very healthy.

          ~Traveler in Thyme, zone 8-9, Texas Hill Country



          -- 
          Reconnecting People, Land and Nature
          Permaculture courses, workshops and design, Forest Gardening, Wild Food, Nature Connection, Tree Work.
          www.earth-ways.co.uk 07760 142 495
          Earth Ways is on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Earth.Ways
        • Javier Cosp
          Terra preta means black soil in portuguese. It was found in the Amazonas in certains places and it is about 5000 years old. Certain theories think that it
          Message 4 of 11 , May 23 5:52 AM
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            Terra preta means "black soil" in portuguese. It was found in the Amazonas in
            certains places and it is about 5000 years old.  Certain theories think that it was
            produced by humans (pee and poo?) but I have the theory that it is produced
            by ants, which carry huge amounts of leaves under the soil to produce the fungus
            that they eat.

            They invented agriculture long before humans. I live in South America and have
            seen how these ants can take to their nest all the leaves of a big tree in just one night. 

            Javier (Paraguay)


            El 23/05/2011 5:40, Ludwig escribió:
             

            Hi Elaine,
            Wood ashes contain lime, therefor it sweetens the soil, making it more alkaline.
            If your soil is acidic it is a good idea. If your soil is alkaline it is less so. People add woodash to the soil to provide potash.

            Adding charcoal to the soil has a few benefits. It makes the soil darker in colour, warming it up earlier in spring. The structure of charcoal is hollow, providing air into the soil and storing water and nutrients. It is a good carbon store (climate chaos). It decaysreally slowly, providing benefits for centuries to come.

            Ludwig



            On 23/05/2011 08:49, Elaine Sommers wrote:

             

            Thank you Marc and Traveller.
             
            Just a question, what is it that the 'ashes' do to the soil which makes it not a good idea, as opposed to the charcoal which is much much better? This is probably a very simple question but it something I have not thought about before. When I was little everyone had garden fires and spread the ashes over the soil to 'improve' it. What do we now know that we didn't know then??
             
            Blessings,
            Elaine.
             
             
             
             
            ". . . the greatest peril of life lies in the fact that human food consists entirely of souls. All the creatures that we have to kill to eat, all those that we have to strike down and destroy to make clothes for ourselves, have souls, souls that do not perish with the body . . . All that exists lives."
             
            from'Shaman, the wounded healer' by J. Halifax, 1982





             


            To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
            From: traveler.in.thyme@...
            Date: Sun, 22 May 2011 21:06:47 +0000
            Subject: [pfaf] Terra Preta

             
            Charcoal is the ultimate soil amendment, google "Terra Preta" and find out the info.

            Everyone around here just burns the cedar scrub when they clear land, but ashes are just what this alkaline soil does NOT need. Put the fire out with water before the charcoal is all ashes, spread the charcoal all over, and WOW you won't believe what gorgeous dirt!

            Bonsai soil is basically gravel mixed with charcoal. Our garden, which had hard black gumbo clay, which turned too acid when we added oak leaves, is now absolutely marvelous with last year's addition of a lot of cedar charcoal. No rain in months, but it's very green out there, everything that survived the hard frosts is very healthy.

            ~Traveler in Thyme, zone 8-9, Texas Hill Country



            -- 
            Reconnecting People, Land and Nature
            Permaculture courses, workshops and design, Forest Gardening, Wild Food, Nature Connection, Tree Work.
            www.earth-ways.co.uk 07760 142 495
            Earth Ways is on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Earth.Ways
        • patbrry
          I ve experimented in the past with a Japanese style charcoal maker: http://homepage2.nifty.com/sumiyaki/eindex.htm homepage in japanese is more useful. It s
          Message 5 of 11 , May 23 6:38 PM
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            I've experimented in the past with a Japanese style charcoal maker:

            http://homepage2.nifty.com/sumiyaki/eindex.htm

            homepage in japanese is more useful.

            It's primary thing is it can make use of very small twigs, wood shavings, producing a charcoal dust. We used it to clear wood shavings from a yurt workshop.

            Notes -
            bury it as deeply as you can, but preferably somewhere where it won't fill up with water between uses.

            Any sort of steel at that kind of temperature will react a little bit - you will only get a certain number of uses out of it before the carbonic acids have eaten through the shell. Obviously, the thicker the steel the better.

            the air tight seal on the top is crucial. Clay is suggested, but I found it shrank too much as it dried out - cracking and letting air in.

            If air gets in (I was opening it up periodically as a demonstration) you will loose all the charcoal and just get ash. Not a big deal, but annoying.

            Didn't get to experiment with the effect of the produced charcoal on veggie crop yields. If you have the garden space and the inclination (and the woody stuff to clear) it might be worth it.
          • Elaine Sommers
            Is the charcoal added as a mulch or dug in? And does it make a difference as to the wood or other matter used? I only ask because I found this info on the
            Message 6 of 11 , May 24 12:04 AM
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              Is the charcoal added as a mulch or dug in? And does it make a difference as to the wood or other matter used? I only ask because I found this info on the Buckingham Nurseries newsletter and thought it might be of interest:
               
              Over the past few years experiments with mulch have been carried out at R A Bartlett Tree Laboratory which is based at the University of Reading. The experiments were carried out both with container planted and field grown Beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Hawthorn/Quickthorn (Crataegus). These two species were chosen as Beech is notoriously difficult to transplant whereas Hawthorn is the opposite. When we buy 'mulch' at a Garden Centre it is nearly always made from a mixture of types of wood, but when they conducted their experiments they used a mixed 'mulch' and also one made from pure Hawthorn, one from pure Cherry and one from pure Beech and the results were interesting.
               
              • Pure mulch from Hawthorn or Cherry proved to be the most effective.
               
              • Pure mulch from Beech was the least effective but even this increased crown volume growth by 20%. This is against a figure of 100-150% with Hawthorn. When applied to fruit trees the fruit yields increased by 50% when pure Hawthorn was applied.
               
              • Using a mixed mulch is not as effective as pure Hawthorn or Cherry, but results were far better than when no mulch was used.
               
              Blessings,
              Elaine.


               
               
               
               
               
              ". . . the greatest peril of life lies in the fact that human food consists entirely of souls. All the creatures that we have to kill to eat, all those that we have to strike down and destroy to make clothes for ourselves, have souls, souls that do not perish with the body . . . All that exists lives."
               
              from 'Shaman, the wounded healer' by J. Halifax, 1982





               

              To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
              From: madd0ct0r@...
              Date: Tue, 24 May 2011 01:38:53 +0000
              Subject: [pfaf] Re: Terra Preta

               


              I've experimented in the past with a Japanese style charcoal maker:

              http://homepage2.nifty.com/sumiyaki/eindex.htm

              homepage in japanese is more useful.

              It's primary thing is it can make use of very small twigs, wood shavings, producing a charcoal dust. We used it to clear wood shavings from a yurt workshop.

              Notes -
              bury it as deeply as you can, but preferably somewhere where it won't fill up with water between uses.

              Any sort of steel at that kind of temperature will react a little bit - you will only get a certain number of uses out of it before the carbonic acids have eaten through the shell. Obviously, the thicker the steel the better.

              the air tight seal on the top is crucial. Clay is suggested, but I found it shrank too much as it dried out - cracking and letting air in.

              If air gets in (I was opening it up periodically as a demonstration) you will loose all the charcoal and just get ash. Not a big deal, but annoying.

              Didn't get to experiment with the effect of the produced charcoal on veggie crop yields. If you have the garden space and the inclination (and the woody stuff to clear) it might be worth it.


            • Ludwig
              Hi Elaine, I don t like woodchip mulches. I prefer finer organic matter. Grass clipping, straw, bracken, leaves... Not digging your garden is the best way
              Message 7 of 11 , May 24 12:50 AM
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                Hi Elaine,
                I don't like woodchip mulches. I prefer finer organic matter. Grass clipping, straw, bracken, leaves...
                Not digging your garden is the best way forward. It allows life in the soil to increase. Which benefits your plants. If you're digging anyway I'd dig some in.
                Mulching your garden is a good idea. It stops weeds, keeps the soil wet, stops erosion, stops nutrients from being washed away etc.
                I just add charcoal to the mulch or spread it out on top, which ends up being buried by mulching ans lasagna gardening. I use a good mixture of charcoal of different trees. Diversity is always a good idea.
                I don't make charcoal on purpose. It takes a lot of wood to make it. I clean out my wood burning stove every morning of the charcoal left over. A handful a day is a lot of charcoal.

                Ludwig
                On 24/05/2011 08:04, Elaine Sommers wrote:
                 

                Is the charcoal added as a mulch or dug in? And does it make a difference as to the wood or other matter used? I only ask because I found this info on the Buckingham Nurseries newsletter and thought it might be of interest:
                 
                Over the past few years experiments with mulch have been carried out at R A Bartlett Tree Laboratory which is based at the University of Reading. The experiments were carried out both with container planted and field grown Beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Hawthorn/Quickthorn (Crataegus). These two species were chosen as Beech is notoriously difficult to transplant whereas Hawthorn is the opposite. When we buy 'mulch' at a Garden Centre it is nearly always made from a mixture of types of wood, but when they conducted their experiments they used a mixed 'mulch' and also one made from pure Hawthorn, one from pure Cherry and one from pure Beech and the results were interesting.
                 

                • Pure mulch from Hawthorn or Cherry proved to be the most effective.
                 
                • Pure mulch from Beech was the least effective but even this increased crown volume growth by 20%. This is against a figure of 100-150% with Hawthorn. When applied to fruit trees the fruit yields increased by 50% when pure Hawthorn was applied.
                 
                • Using a mixed mulch is not as effective as pure Hawthorn or Cherry, but results were far better than when no mulch was used.
                 
                Blessings,
                Elaine.


                 
                 
                 
                 
                 
                ". . . the greatest peril of life lies in the fact that human food consists entirely of souls. All the creatures that we have to kill to eat, all those that we have to strike down and destroy to make clothes for ourselves, have souls, souls that do not perish with the body . . . All that exists lives."
                 
                from 'Shaman, the wounded healer' by J. Halifax, 1982





                 

                To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
                From: madd0ct0r@...
                Date: Tue, 24 May 2011 01:38:53 +0000
                Subject: [pfaf] Re: Terra Preta

                 


                I've experimented in the past with a Japanese style charcoal maker:

                http://homepage2.nifty.com/sumiyaki/eindex.htm

                homepage in japanese is more useful.

                It's primary thing is it can make use of very small twigs, wood shavings, producing a charcoal dust. We used it to clear wood shavings from a yurt workshop.

                Notes -
                bury it as deeply as you can, but preferably somewhere where it won't fill up with water between uses.

                Any sort of steel at that kind of temperature will react a little bit - you will only get a certain number of uses out of it before the carbonic acids have eaten through the shell. Obviously, the thicker the steel the better.

                the air tight seal on the top is crucial. Clay is suggested, but I found it shrank too much as it dried out - cracking and letting air in.

                If air gets in (I was opening it up periodically as a demonstration) you will loose all the charcoal and just get ash. Not a big deal, but annoying.

                Didn't get to experiment with the effect of the produced charcoal on veggie crop yields. If you have the garden space and the inclination (and the woody stuff to clear) it might be worth it.



                -- 
                Reconnecting People, Land and Nature
                Permaculture courses, workshops and design, Forest Gardening, Wild Food, Nature Connection, Tree Work.
                www.earth-ways.co.uk 07760 142 495
                Earth Ways is on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Earth.Ways
              • travelerinthyme
                Our soil was so terrible, I dug deep as possible to add amendments for the first three years, otherwise plant roots were not penetrating the lovely top layer
                Message 8 of 11 , May 24 4:56 AM
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                  Our soil was so terrible, I dug deep as possible to add amendments for the first three years, otherwise plant roots were not penetrating the lovely top layer of the "lasagna" thru the hard packed clay underneath. Same with my previous garden, where the under layer was full of limestone rocks.

                  Now, of course, there is 1,000 sq. ft. of perfect "potting soil" out there, and I'm never gonna hurt my back digging again!

                  ~Marcia Cash, Texas Hill Country, zone 8-9
                • Geir Flatabø
                  A handful of charcoal, a day- -pieces as they are, or pulverized to dust , or as small as possible ??? Geir Flatabø 2011/5/24 Ludwig
                  Message 9 of 11 , May 24 9:33 AM
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                    A handful of charcoal,  a day- 

                    -pieces as they are,
                    or pulverized to dust , or as small as possible ???

                    Geir Flatabø

                    2011/5/24 Ludwig <the_pooh_way@...>


                    Hi Elaine,
                    I don't like woodchip mulches. I prefer finer organic matter. Grass clipping, straw, bracken, leaves...
                    Not digging your garden is the best way forward. It allows life in the soil to increase. Which benefits your plants. If you're digging anyway I'd dig some in.
                    Mulching your garden is a good idea. It stops weeds, keeps the soil wet, stops erosion, stops nutrients from being washed away etc.
                    I just add charcoal to the mulch or spread it out on top, which ends up being buried by mulching ans lasagna gardening. I use a good mixture of charcoal of different trees. Diversity is always a good idea.
                    I don't make charcoal on purpose. It takes a lot of wood to make it. I clean out my wood burning stove every morning of the charcoal left over. A handful a day is a lot of charcoal.

                    Ludwig

                    On 24/05/2011 08:04, Elaine Sommers wrote:
                     

                    Is the charcoal added as a mulch or dug in? And does it make a difference as to the wood or other matter used? I only ask because I found this info on the Buckingham Nurseries newsletter and thought it might be of interest:
                     
                    Over the past few years experiments with mulch have been carried out at R A Bartlett Tree Laboratory which is based at the University of Reading. The experiments were carried out both with container planted and field grown Beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Hawthorn/Quickthorn (Crataegus). These two species were chosen as Beech is notoriously difficult to transplant whereas Hawthorn is the opposite. When we buy 'mulch' at a Garden Centre it is nearly always made from a mixture of types of wood, but when they conducted their experiments they used a mixed 'mulch' and also one made from pure Hawthorn, one from pure Cherry and one from pure Beech and the results were interesting.
                     

                    • Pure mulch from Hawthorn or Cherry proved to be the most effective.
                     
                    • Pure mulch from Beech was the least effective but even this increased crown volume growth by 20%. This is against a figure of 100-150% with Hawthorn. When applied to fruit trees the fruit yields increased by 50% when pure Hawthorn was applied.
                     
                    • Using a mixed mulch is not as effective as pure Hawthorn or Cherry, but results were far better than when no mulch was used.
                     
                    Blessings,
                    Elaine.


                     
                     
                     
                     
                     
                    ". . . the greatest peril of life lies in the fact that human food consists entirely of souls. All the creatures that we have to kill to eat, all those that we have to strike down and destroy to make clothes for ourselves, have souls, souls that do not perish with the body . . . All that exists lives."
                     
                    from 'Shaman, the wounded healer' by J. Halifax, 1982





                     

                    To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
                    From: madd0ct0r@...
                    Date: Tue, 24 May 2011 01:38:53 +0000
                    Subject: [pfaf] Re: Terra Preta

                     


                    I've experimented in the past with a Japanese style charcoal maker:

                    http://homepage2.nifty.com/sumiyaki/eindex.htm

                    homepage in japanese is more useful.

                    It's primary thing is it can make use of very small twigs, wood shavings, producing a charcoal dust. We used it to clear wood shavings from a yurt workshop.

                    Notes -
                    bury it as deeply as you can, but preferably somewhere where it won't fill up with water between uses.

                    Any sort of steel at that kind of temperature will react a little bit - you will only get a certain number of uses out of it before the carbonic acids have eaten through the shell. Obviously, the thicker the steel the better.

                    the air tight seal on the top is crucial. Clay is suggested, but I found it shrank too much as it dried out - cracking and letting air in.

                    If air gets in (I was opening it up periodically as a demonstration) you will loose all the charcoal and just get ash. Not a big deal, but annoying.


                    Didn't get to experiment with the effect of the produced charcoal on veggie crop yields. If you have the garden space and the inclination (and the woody stuff to clear) it might be worth it.



                    -- 
                    Reconnecting People, Land and Nature
                    Permaculture courses, workshops and design, Forest Gardening, Wild Food, Nature Connection, Tree Work.
                    www.earth-ways.co.uk 07760 142 495
                    Earth Ways is on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Earth.Ways



                  • Ludwig
                    Diversity is always good. Big and small and dust :-) ... -- Reconnecting People, Land and Nature Permaculture courses, workshops and design, Forest Gardening,
                    Message 10 of 11 , May 24 10:15 AM
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                      Diversity is always good. Big and small and dust :-)

                      On 24/05/2011 17:33, Geir Flatabø wrote:  

                      A handful of charcoal,  a day- 


                      -pieces as they are,
                      or pulverized to dust , or as small as possible ???

                      Geir Flatabø

                      2011/5/24 Ludwig <the_pooh_way@...>


                      Hi Elaine,
                      I don't like woodchip mulches. I prefer finer organic matter. Grass clipping, straw, bracken, leaves...
                      Not digging your garden is the best way forward. It allows life in the soil to increase. Which benefits your plants. If you're digging anyway I'd dig some in.
                      Mulching your garden is a good idea. It stops weeds, keeps the soil wet, stops erosion, stops nutrients from being washed away etc.
                      I just add charcoal to the mulch or spread it out on top, which ends up being buried by mulching ans lasagna gardening. I use a good mixture of charcoal of different trees. Diversity is always a good idea.
                      I don't make charcoal on purpose. It takes a lot of wood to make it. I clean out my wood burning stove every morning of the charcoal left over. A handful a day is a lot of charcoal.

                      Ludwig

                      On 24/05/2011 08:04, Elaine Sommers wrote:
                       

                      Is the charcoal added as a mulch or dug in? And does it make a difference as to the wood or other matter used? I only ask because I found this info on the Buckingham Nurseries newsletter and thought it might be of interest:
                       
                      Over the past few years experiments with mulch have been carried out at R A Bartlett Tree Laboratory which is based at the University of Reading. The experiments were carried out both with container planted and field grown Beech (Fagus sylvatica) and Hawthorn/Quickthorn (Crataegus). These two species were chosen as Beech is notoriously difficult to transplant whereas Hawthorn is the opposite. When we buy 'mulch' at a Garden Centre it is nearly always made from a mixture of types of wood, but when they conducted their experiments they used a mixed 'mulch' and also one made from pure Hawthorn, one from pure Cherry and one from pure Beech and the results were interesting.
                       

                      • Pure mulch from Hawthorn or Cherry proved to be the most effective.
                       
                      • Pure mulch from Beech was the least effective but even this increased crown volume growth by 20%. This is against a figure of 100-150% with Hawthorn. When applied to fruit trees the fruit yields increased by 50% when pure Hawthorn was applied.
                       
                      • Using a mixed mulch is not as effective as pure Hawthorn or Cherry, but results were far better than when no mulch was used.
                       
                      Blessings,
                      Elaine.


                       
                       
                       
                       
                       
                      ". . . the greatest peril of life lies in the fact that human food consists entirely of souls. All the creatures that we have to kill to eat, all those that we have to strike down and destroy to make clothes for ourselves, have souls, souls that do not perish with the body . . . All that exists lives."
                       
                      from 'Shaman, the wounded healer' by J. Halifax, 1982





                       

                      To: pfaf@yahoogroups.com
                      From: madd0ct0r@...
                      Date: Tue, 24 May 2011 01:38:53 +0000
                      Subject: [pfaf] Re: Terra Preta

                       


                      I've experimented in the past with a Japanese style charcoal maker:

                      http://homepage2.nifty.com/sumiyaki/eindex.htm

                      homepage in japanese is more useful.

                      It's primary thing is it can make use of very small twigs, wood shavings, producing a charcoal dust. We used it to clear wood shavings from a yurt workshop.

                      Notes -
                      bury it as deeply as you can, but preferably somewhere where it won't fill up with water between uses.

                      Any sort of steel at that kind of temperature will react a little bit - you will only get a certain number of uses out of it before the carbonic acids have eaten through the shell. Obviously, the thicker the steel the better.

                      the air tight seal on the top is crucial. Clay is suggested, but I found it shrank too much as it dried out - cracking and letting air in.

                      If air gets in (I was opening it up periodically as a demonstration) you will loose all the charcoal and just get ash. Not a big deal, but annoying.


                      Didn't get to experiment with the effect of the produced charcoal on veggie crop yields. If you have the garden space and the inclination (and the woody stuff to clear) it might be worth it.



                      -- 
                      Reconnecting People, Land and Nature
                      Permaculture courses, workshops and design, Forest Gardening, Wild Food, Nature Connection, Tree Work.
                      www.earth-ways.co.uk 07760 142 495
                      Earth Ways is on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Earth.Ways




                      -- 
                      Reconnecting People, Land and Nature
                      Permaculture courses, workshops and design, Forest Gardening, Wild Food, Nature Connection, Tree Work.
                      www.earth-ways.co.uk 07760 142 495
                      Earth Ways is on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Earth.Ways
                    • travelerinthyme
                      If wood has actually burned down to pure charcoal, it melts when it gets wet, or breaks up in the soil quickly. Big chunks of wood unburnt get eaten by pill
                      Message 11 of 11 , May 25 5:01 AM
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                        If wood has actually burned down to pure charcoal, it melts when it gets wet, or breaks up in the soil quickly. Big chunks of wood unburnt get eaten by pill bugs and other critters, eventually, but it's best to sift out the big chunks, if you don't want so many bugs.

                        Ashes are useful, too, in small quantity if the soil is alkaline, like ours, they do add potash useful for root health.

                        Cedar (our native juniper scrub) burns down really quick. We've been under a burn ban for years, now, so all the cedar we clear is going to mulch and landscape logs to build terraces on the hillside. My back acre is beginning to look like China, pretty cool. Our neighbors who burned all the cedar they cleared from their hills have got terrible erosion, what little soil there was has washed into the creek, leaving lots of bare rock, while ours is thick with grass and wildflowers.

                        ~Traveler in Thyme, Texas Hill Country, zone 8-9
                        (I sign my posts with 2 zones, because they meet in my yard)
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