We recently moved to the Western Cape and more specifically Albertinia. Because soil is part of my life for the last 30 odd years, I was immediately amazed by the “white soil” (which is actually more pure sand) that you find in this part of the world.

With this article, I want to start a discussion about carbon in the form of biochar to build a healthy and productive soil. Biochar as a soil amendment is nothing new and definitely no gimmick. The benefits in using biochar as part of your plant feeding program are numerous but we will discuss that in more detail in future articles.

Biochar is in fact charcoal that is produced in a specific way to minimize volatiles and ash content. It is a natural, organic product that gets produced from biomass (plant material) in a process called pyrolysis that is an oxygen restricted process. The carbon structure of biochar is much more stable than the carbon structures that is found in raw organic matter, compost or manures and can therefore build the total carbon content (TCC) of soils for many years to come. By lifting the carbon content of your soil, you create a healthy environment for soil microbes to multiply, optimize the uptake of plant nutrients and better the water holding capacity of your soil, to name only a few.

In its pure form, biochar is a very light and dusty black powder and therefore difficult to handle and apply. To simplify the application, we formulated and manufacture an easy dissolvable pellet that can be mixed and applied with any standard fertilizer or on its own.

2015 is designated the International Year of Soils so maybe the time to start taking care of this precious but under enormous pressure natural recourse is now. By mixing biochar into your soil, compost, manures, growing medium or organic matter, you can start building a healthy soil (from the white sand) to grow a beautiful garden or produce healthy and tasty vegetables and fruit.

Hennie du Plessis (083 787 0432)


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