The eco-friendly charcoal known as biochar is fundamentally different from other soil amendments, in that it only needs to be added once. This is because it’s designed to change soil’s structure and composition for the long-term.
More standard soil amendments – like compost, manure and fertiliser – are there to feed the plants growing within the soil. Once the plants have taken up all the nutrients in such amendments, more needs to be applied. And so it goes on, season after season.
Biochar isn’t a seasonal burst of nutrition for plants, but a long-term way of improving your soil’s health. It’s not a quick fix, but the key to improving soil quality and the integrity of its subsystem for years to come. You might not see its results straight away, but the idea is that over the ensuing years you will gradually be able to reduce the amount of composts, manures and fertilisers you add to your soil, because it will be so fertile and nourishing that they simply won’t be necessary.
Biochar is all about helping soil at a microbial level. The numerous pores in its surface provide a suitable habitat for the essential micro-organisms soil depends upon. It stimulates the soil ecosystem and helps it flourish. This doesn’t happen overnight, but should ultimately result in far superior and more fertile soil.
One of the key characteristics of biochar is how long it takes to break down and, so, how long it remains in the soil. It mineralises in soils very slowly, providing beneficial bacteria and fungi with homes for the long-term. Indeed, scientists have shown that biochar can stay in soils for millennia. This is evidenced by the ‘terra preta’ soils of the Amazon basin, which were created by indigenous farmers thousands of years ago and still cover vast swathes of the area today. Contemporary farmers and smallholders in Amazonia still prize this ‘black gold’ to this day.
Because biochar is a soil amendment designed to improve the fertility of your garden or allotment for the years to come, we recommend that you apply it in autumn or early winter. It is possible to add biochar to your soil at any time of the year, but we would especially recommend this time of year, as then it will have a good few months to work itself into the soil and start rejuvenating it at microbial level ahead of the next growing season. This way you should only need to apply a very light compost in the spring and start seeing the results in your plants and crops much sooner.
Our Biochar Soil Booster is not something you will have to keep on buying year-in-year out, but a serious long-term investment for your garden or allotment – one that will enrich its soil fertility for the generations to come. Try some today, by ordering here.