Sunday, September 18, 2011

Effects of Bio-char on the soil.

Here is a comment I made on the article on Michigan Bio-char site--

Ken Bourne says:
There is no doubt that Bio-char is beneficial to the soil. However it is my experience that the most benefit is obtained when added to good organic soil after the bio-char has been inoculated with a tea made from a good compost, aged manure or from worm castings that contain a myriad of microbes. I would also stress that the adding of chemical fertilizer to soil that contains bio-char would be detrimental as that action would kill the microbes that are extracting the nutrients and feeding the plants! The benefits of bio-char are the effects that it has on the microbes in organic soil and the increase in the available nutrients so this results in bigger, stronger and healthier plants.
Ken Bourne
BC Canada

and here is the link to the article-------

Sunday, September 11, 2011

BIO-CHAR and reclamation of toxic mine tailings

Here is link to a story about how the area around toxic mine tailings is being reclaimed. An example of the sensible use of bio-char. It is well worth a read- ---

Ken Bourne

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Strawberries, not a big crop but lots of runners.

This is a new planting of strawberries that I did not allow to crop to its full potential.I let the plants produce lots of runners and either rooted them in the bed or into small pots for next year's crop. out of this small bed I got 86 new plants from only 12 originals.

Fresh peas and even some to freeze!

All of our family love fresh peas so with this exceptional crop this year we are having regular visits from the kids. I am going to grow twice as many next year!
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Carrots -thinned once- and need thinning again

This bed of carrots measures 2 feet by 10 feet and should give me a harvest of over 600 1 inch diameter even after all the thinning. the bed did not have a lot of horse manure just the sandy loam with some bio-char and rock dust and worm compost tea. I will try some bigger ones next year in a 40 gallon barrel with 3foot holes for each carrot. Used to do this in England for fun and won lots of competitions!

Potatoes under a blanket of grass clippings

This year I grew all my potatoes 6 inches deep and covered them with the soil in the raised beds which was enriched with bio-char and rock dust. As they grew I hilled them up with a layer of grass clippings. This made them easier to harvest and I could check on them without disturbing them too much. it worked really well and I will do it again as I have a friend who cuts grass for a living and I get all his clippings.
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Celery is worth the trouble!

Seeds sown in February- they got very leggy-trimmed them down to 3 inches and planted them out in the garden in the middle of May. I had to cover them frequently with plastic because of the late frosts- but they survived!

Russet Burbank Potatoes and Lincoln Peas

My favourite baking potatoes, always do well here, and the peas this year are exceptional. This could be because I feel so good after being sick for the last 4 growing seasons! I have not dug this crop yet but have stolen a few from under the grass clippings mulch that I used to hill them!

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Rhubarb in the Cariboo

Probably the easiest crop to grow here! I got these plants 20 years  ago  from a neighbour who had had them for over 40 years.
This is the last pickings! Had more out of one tire than we could eat, and have frozen the rest. The tractor tire , roughly 4 feet across, had a layer of old horse manure, about 6 inches, and then was filled with a mixture of compost, sandy loam, bio-char and rock dust. as with all the other crops regular liquid feeds of fish emulsion and kelp meal were given every 10 days.
Ken Bourne BC Canada
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Excellent crops will grow in the Cariboo with Bio-char and Rock Dust.

Nutrient rich crops are the aim of all organic gardeners and here is proof that the addition of bio-char and rock dust will help you achieve that.
This crop of potatoes yielded over 50lbs from 5lbs of seed potatoes (27 half potatoes).
The peas in the background were 2 double rows of Homesteader which grew this year to a height of 6feet! the yield from the 2 double 10 foot rows was, up to now, over 15lbs of shelled peas and we are still picking.
Ken Bourne. BC Canada