Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No Shed

I had hoped to be blogging about the new shed by now but it still hasn't arrived, already three weeks overdue I got a call from the agent to say I will not be getting it until the end of the month. So there will be no shed blog for a week or two. Still that has allowed me to ease back into work around the place as I'm still feeling a bit doughy after the surgery.


The cooler weather and a little bit of rain have been a great pick me up for the garden and everything is starting to fire up again. I've turned a bit of ground for the winter veg and planted swedes, turnip and parsnip seed. I've also started some cauliflower and cabbage in pots that I will plant out as seedlings when they are ready. I've also been making a bit more biochar.

I started playing around with this stuff about five years ago after watching a documentary on Amazonian black earth ("Terra Preta de Indio") and doing a bit of internet research on the work of Johannes Lehmann. While I did start out being all scientific and working with little test plots I soon got sick of that and now just use it everywhere as I make it. Whether it makes that much difference it's hard to tell, although my veg always do a bit better than my neighbours and the ground does seem to hold the moisture better where I have used it.


I make this char out of all the fruit tree prunings that are too big to compost. I just let them dry for a while and burn them in a big wood gas burner I made out of some old paint cans. The residue is charcoal that is broken up and spread on the garden. While doing the burn I can do a stir-fry, cook up a bit of rice or even a BBQ, saves wasting the heat that is generated with this stove.


There is a fair bit of research going on into the sequestration and land improvement benefits of biochar at the moment and also a bit of amateur interest as well. Who knows, it may have a lot of benefits in the future but in the meantime it's a way of getting rid of my prunings and seems to help my veg grow a bit better.

4 comments:

webmaster April 21, 2010 at 9:18 AM  

That's pretty frustrating to still be waiting for your shed. Still, it seems to be the way of things these days. I expect it to get worse rather than better too, sadly :-(

Good to hear that you are on the mend. It's no fun being limited by injury. Very frustrating when there is work to be done.

Well done for making your charcoal. Much better than sending everything to the tip! I came across the following site a while back when I was looking into it. I am considering setting up a community drop off site to gather large garden trimmings for this kind of use, so I am looking into charcoal burning on a larger scale.

http://www.twinoaksforge.com/BLADSMITHING/MAKING%20CHARCOAL.htm

I would love to have some way of using the waste heat productively too.

jonesy May 6, 2010 at 6:04 PM  

Hi webmaster,
sorry for the delay getting on to a reply, I was caught out not paying attention. The shed is still not on site and the agent is on notice to have it here this weekend. Thanks for the link, that looks like some heavy duty charcoal making there, great if you have a forge.

tearmunn June 6, 2010 at 6:39 AM  

Interesting about the charcoal, I will have to look further at this. You may also want to read this book: http://www.sustainableinsight.com.au/shop/natural-farming-by-pat-coleby-272-page-book.html

I've just started it, and it gives great explanations about how to improve soil and keep it in good condition.

jonesy June 13, 2010 at 11:01 PM  

Hi Tearmunn, biochar is getting some attention lately with a few commercial operations coming online.Tim Flannery is involved in this one http://carbonscape.com/people/ I'm just playing with it because I have some waste I need to dispose of and this seems like it may be worth a try.

Thanks for the link to the book if I can't get some one to shout me a copy for my birthday I'll see if our local library has a copy.

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