Charcoal barbeque can bring together good food, good people, and good times. It is the end of the food cycle. But using charcoal at the beginning of the food cycle may provide benefits of global proportions including permanent soil fertilization, permanent carbon sequestration, and production of sustainable biofuel. We will focus on the direct benefit to sustainable gardeners, that of permanent soil fertilization, by applying charcoal at the planting stage…or even before planting…at the soil building stage.
Plants grown in soil made permanently fertile by charcoal grow bigger, are tastier, and yield more healthy nutrition per bite. They also cost less because they require little or no fertilizer. These plants also strongly resist pests and disease and do not require pesticides. They can meet the true definition of organic. We are not talking about ordinary store-bought charcoal briquettes. We are talking about a less expensive and ecologically friendly process which results in a substance known as Biochar.
Biochar is the result of pyrolyzing waste organic matter into a non-organic form of carbon. It is mineralized carbon and when created and then mixed in soil, it yields potentially miraculous results. It acts to replenish exhausted soils and enhance native soils. We believe Biochar has the potential to give the individual in marginal gardening areas, including Alaska, the tastiest and most healthful food without the addition of expensive fertilizers and harmful pesticides.
It is this premise that we would like to test. We invite you to start your journey by viewing the on-line article titled Saving the Planet While Saving the Farm
by Scott Bidstrup. We invite comments, questions, skepticism and idealism. We propose that Alaskans interested in sustainable gardening experiment with Biochar and see if what was learned by ancient farmers is applicable to modern gardeners in marginal growing areas. Next week we will explore the discovery of Biochar and its ancient roots.