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Making biochar based liquid fertilisers from vermicompost [Biochar] Malawi’s farmers grow crops with 'magic liquid' fertiliser #vermicompost


Stephen Joseph
 

Yes i use biochar in my garden and have done so for about 10 years now.  Two people can add all of their organic waste and urine without having smells if you have about an area 60ft by 60ft and you have intensive fruit/vegetable and herb production.  I am running out of land so now I am building vertical gardens and will make a liquid biochar product that I will use a solar pump to circulate through the hanging beds.  I will use a soilless medium of biochar zeolite diatomite and coir fibre in my beds.  

I dont have a lot of spare time for gardening but I usually dilute my worm juice urine mixture 5-10 to one and apply in between the plants.    The ratio of worm juice to urine depends on season as the juice is produced naturally when raining goes through my worm farms.  I add about 5 percent of dry biochar when my wife adds the vege scraps every week.

It seems to work fine whatever ratio I use with my biggest problem being slugs snails birds moths and other insects. We also live in a valley surrounded by eucalyptus trees so lack of direct sunlight especially in winter slows growth down and fungus can be a problem (I spray dilute wood vinegar to reduce this).

I am going to do some experiments adding TiO2 nanoparticles to wood and then pyrolysing and then making foliar sprays to see if I can increase photon capture.   Also will add some magnetite and MgO to try to increase photosynthetic efficiency.  Having your own garden is great for experimentation.  I will also do some experiment putting a carpet of this mineral enhanced biochar on the ground to see if this reduces my snail slug problem.    I am lucky also that I have been lent an electron microscope that sits in my home office so I can examine the biochars and also examine roots and leaves (I have  a special device that allows me to do image and analyse without destrying the biological sample).  So for me isolation is a boon as I have time to experiment and think.  There is so much more we need to do and understand.

I include images of the surfaces of a wood biochar and EDS analysis from the stomach of a worm form my biochar vermicomposter.  This particle that I imaged was approximately  .1mm in diameter.  You can see that the structure of the wood biochar has changed significantly.  Now these biochar particles actually go into the worm juice and you can spray the juice as a folair spray on your leaves but dilute 100 to 1 (experiment with dilution rates) as you will kill the leaves if you put too much on.  

By far the best biochar I have found to add to worm farms is made from straws if you can get it or make at home. 450C is a good temperature although I like to have a 50/50 mixture of high and low temperature biochars as the composition of the water soluble organics is quite different. The high silica content and some of the organic compounds appears to help protect the leaves from fungal and insect attack.  

I would love to have people's experience with biochar based foliar sprays and liquid fertilisers.

We need to do more detailed research/testing on these types of foliar sprays both at a small and large scale.  For you in the North enjoy spring planting.

Stay well and safe everyone.  A lot more to do after the virus goes away before we are hit again.

Stephen

image.png
Higher magnification of surfaces on the particle below with X-ray analysis of the minerals.  I was surprised to find a range of minerals that had been adsorbed onto the surface of the wood biochar.  It is probable that these come from the breakdown of the food scraps although you cant be certain.  Note the high N content in the second image indicating that a range of N compounds and N cations and anions have been adsorbed onto the surface and in the pores
image.png
This is a lower magnification image of one of the particles from the stomach of a worm.  The images above come from this particle.

On Mon, Apr 6, 2020 at 8:39 AM Tom Miles <tmiles@...> wrote:

Using the magic liquid in a biochar amended soil would seem to have some values that could be monetized. There is the “avoided cost” or DIY savings which I was looking for: not buying the nutrients as fertilizer.  There is also potentially the more efficient use (reduced loss) of the nutrients compared with commercial fertilizer.

 

Tom

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of mikethewormguy via groups.io
Sent: Saturday, April 04, 2020 4:35 PM
To: Biochar Group <main@Biochar.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [EXTERN] [Biochar] Malawi’s farmers grow crops with 'magic liquid' fertiliser

 

Tom,

 

What is the value of making plant nutrients onsite....?

 

For our operation the value is in "avoided cost ", resilience, and enjoyment..

 

Like Stephen, we use food residue and vermicompost, as well as, time, as ingredients to make liquid&solid plant nutrients onsite.

 

my 2 cents...   

 

Mike

 

 

 

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

 


Nando Breiter
 

Hi Stephen,

Very interesting post! 

From your experience and research, what might be the recommended char particle size range for biochar vermicomposting - specifically to ensure the worms can consume them?

May I post your images and related comments on the vermicomposting page of biochar.info?


On Mon, Apr 6, 2020 at 1:38 AM Stephen Joseph <joey.stephen@...> wrote:
Yes i use biochar in my garden and have done so for about 10 years now.  Two people can add all of their organic waste and urine without having smells if you have about an area 60ft by 60ft and you have intensive fruit/vegetable and herb production.  I am running out of land so now I am building vertical gardens and will make a liquid biochar product that I will use a solar pump to circulate through the hanging beds.  I will use a soilless medium of biochar zeolite diatomite and coir fibre in my beds.  

I dont have a lot of spare time for gardening but I usually dilute my worm juice urine mixture 5-10 to one and apply in between the plants.    The ratio of worm juice to urine depends on season as the juice is produced naturally when raining goes through my worm farms.  I add about 5 percent of dry biochar when my wife adds the vege scraps every week.

It seems to work fine whatever ratio I use with my biggest problem being slugs snails birds moths and other insects. We also live in a valley surrounded by eucalyptus trees so lack of direct sunlight especially in winter slows growth down and fungus can be a problem (I spray dilute wood vinegar to reduce this).

I am going to do some experiments adding TiO2 nanoparticles to wood and then pyrolysing and then making foliar sprays to see if I can increase photon capture.   Also will add some magnetite and MgO to try to increase photosynthetic efficiency.  Having your own garden is great for experimentation.  I will also do some experiment putting a carpet of this mineral enhanced biochar on the ground to see if this reduces my snail slug problem.    I am lucky also that I have been lent an electron microscope that sits in my home office so I can examine the biochars and also examine roots and leaves (I have  a special device that allows me to do image and analyse without destrying the biological sample).  So for me isolation is a boon as I have time to experiment and think.  There is so much more we need to do and understand.

I include images of the surfaces of a wood biochar and EDS analysis from the stomach of a worm form my biochar vermicomposter.  This particle that I imaged was approximately  .1mm in diameter.  You can see that the structure of the wood biochar has changed significantly.  Now these biochar particles actually go into the worm juice and you can spray the juice as a folair spray on your leaves but dilute 100 to 1 (experiment with dilution rates) as you will kill the leaves if you put too much on.  

By far the best biochar I have found to add to worm farms is made from straws if you can get it or make at home. 450C is a good temperature although I like to have a 50/50 mixture of high and low temperature biochars as the composition of the water soluble organics is quite different. The high silica content and some of the organic compounds appears to help protect the leaves from fungal and insect attack.  

I would love to have people's experience with biochar based foliar sprays and liquid fertilisers.

We need to do more detailed research/testing on these types of foliar sprays both at a small and large scale.  For you in the North enjoy spring planting.

Stay well and safe everyone.  A lot more to do after the virus goes away before we are hit again.

Stephen

image.png
Higher magnification of surfaces on the particle below with X-ray analysis of the minerals.  I was surprised to find a range of minerals that had been adsorbed onto the surface of the wood biochar.  It is probable that these come from the breakdown of the food scraps although you cant be certain.  Note the high N content in the second image indicating that a range of N compounds and N cations and anions have been adsorbed onto the surface and in the pores
image.png
This is a lower magnification image of one of the particles from the stomach of a worm.  The images above come from this particle.

On Mon, Apr 6, 2020 at 8:39 AM Tom Miles <tmiles@...> wrote:

Using the magic liquid in a biochar amended soil would seem to have some values that could be monetized. There is the “avoided cost” or DIY savings which I was looking for: not buying the nutrients as fertilizer.  There is also potentially the more efficient use (reduced loss) of the nutrients compared with commercial fertilizer.

 

Tom

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of mikethewormguy via groups.io
Sent: Saturday, April 04, 2020 4:35 PM
To: Biochar Group <main@Biochar.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [EXTERN] [Biochar] Malawi’s farmers grow crops with 'magic liquid' fertiliser

 

Tom,

 

What is the value of making plant nutrients onsite....?

 

For our operation the value is in "avoided cost ", resilience, and enjoyment..

 

Like Stephen, we use food residue and vermicompost, as well as, time, as ingredients to make liquid&solid plant nutrients onsite.

 

my 2 cents...   

 

Mike

 

 

 

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

 


--
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland


mikethewormguy
 

Stephen,

Making Garlic Char...........

1. 100% Garlic Extract.......  There are 240 varieties of garlic with only 4 types are grown commercially.   We grow hardneck garlic. We use Georgia Crystal garlic to make our extract.

100% is defined as 1 gram / mL.  We make a gallon of 100% garlic extract.

We soak 1 gallon of biochar with 1 quart of 100% Garlic Extract.  

The types of biochar we like to use for this application are either bone char and/or nut shell char.  These chars have sharp edges whose physicality aids in its effectiveness as a snail deterrent..... 

Let us know directly if you have further questions.......

Mike








Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


Tom Miles
 

The first question a Pacific Northwest farmer asked me about biochar in 2006 was if it would keep snails out of the garden. We breed them here. : -)

 

Thanks Mike

 

Tom

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of mikethewormguy via groups.io
Sent: Monday, April 06, 2020 5:13 PM
To: Biochar Group <main@Biochar.groups.io>
Subject: Re: Making biochar based liquid fertilisers from vermicompost [Biochar] Malawi’s farmers grow crops with 'magic liquid' fertiliser

 

Stephen,

 

Making Garlic Char...........

 

1. 100% Garlic Extract.......  There are 240 varieties of garlic with only 4 types are grown commercially.   We grow hardneck garlic. We use Georgia Crystal garlic to make our extract.

 

100% is defined as 1 gram / mL.  We make a gallon of 100% garlic extract.

 

We soak 1 gallon of biochar with 1 quart of 100% Garlic Extract.  

 

The types of biochar we like to use for this application are either bone char and/or nut shell char.  These chars have sharp edges whose physicality aids in its effectiveness as a snail deterrent..... 

 

Let us know directly if you have further questions.......

 

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

 


Stephen Joseph
 

Hi Nando

The char I have has an average size of 1-2mm but ranges from less than .01mm to 5mm.  I have noted the larger worms eating the 1-2mm diameter char.  My guess is they wont consume biochar that is larger.  What is interesting is that in the process of composting the larger particles seem to break down which Kurt Spokas noted in one of his papers. Part of Bioturbation so maybe having bigger particles doesnt matter as they will be broken down during the composting.

On Tue, Apr 7, 2020 at 9:45 AM Nando Breiter <nando@...> wrote:
Hi Stephen,

Very interesting post! 

From your experience and research, what might be the recommended char particle size range for biochar vermicomposting - specifically to ensure the worms can consume them?

May I post your images and related comments on the vermicomposting page of biochar.info?


On Mon, Apr 6, 2020 at 1:38 AM Stephen Joseph <joey.stephen@...> wrote:
Yes i use biochar in my garden and have done so for about 10 years now.  Two people can add all of their organic waste and urine without having smells if you have about an area 60ft by 60ft and you have intensive fruit/vegetable and herb production.  I am running out of land so now I am building vertical gardens and will make a liquid biochar product that I will use a solar pump to circulate through the hanging beds.  I will use a soilless medium of biochar zeolite diatomite and coir fibre in my beds.  

I dont have a lot of spare time for gardening but I usually dilute my worm juice urine mixture 5-10 to one and apply in between the plants.    The ratio of worm juice to urine depends on season as the juice is produced naturally when raining goes through my worm farms.  I add about 5 percent of dry biochar when my wife adds the vege scraps every week.

It seems to work fine whatever ratio I use with my biggest problem being slugs snails birds moths and other insects. We also live in a valley surrounded by eucalyptus trees so lack of direct sunlight especially in winter slows growth down and fungus can be a problem (I spray dilute wood vinegar to reduce this).

I am going to do some experiments adding TiO2 nanoparticles to wood and then pyrolysing and then making foliar sprays to see if I can increase photon capture.   Also will add some magnetite and MgO to try to increase photosynthetic efficiency.  Having your own garden is great for experimentation.  I will also do some experiment putting a carpet of this mineral enhanced biochar on the ground to see if this reduces my snail slug problem.    I am lucky also that I have been lent an electron microscope that sits in my home office so I can examine the biochars and also examine roots and leaves (I have  a special device that allows me to do image and analyse without destrying the biological sample).  So for me isolation is a boon as I have time to experiment and think.  There is so much more we need to do and understand.

I include images of the surfaces of a wood biochar and EDS analysis from the stomach of a worm form my biochar vermicomposter.  This particle that I imaged was approximately  .1mm in diameter.  You can see that the structure of the wood biochar has changed significantly.  Now these biochar particles actually go into the worm juice and you can spray the juice as a folair spray on your leaves but dilute 100 to 1 (experiment with dilution rates) as you will kill the leaves if you put too much on.  

By far the best biochar I have found to add to worm farms is made from straws if you can get it or make at home. 450C is a good temperature although I like to have a 50/50 mixture of high and low temperature biochars as the composition of the water soluble organics is quite different. The high silica content and some of the organic compounds appears to help protect the leaves from fungal and insect attack.  

I would love to have people's experience with biochar based foliar sprays and liquid fertilisers.

We need to do more detailed research/testing on these types of foliar sprays both at a small and large scale.  For you in the North enjoy spring planting.

Stay well and safe everyone.  A lot more to do after the virus goes away before we are hit again.

Stephen

image.png
Higher magnification of surfaces on the particle below with X-ray analysis of the minerals.  I was surprised to find a range of minerals that had been adsorbed onto the surface of the wood biochar.  It is probable that these come from the breakdown of the food scraps although you cant be certain.  Note the high N content in the second image indicating that a range of N compounds and N cations and anions have been adsorbed onto the surface and in the pores
image.png
This is a lower magnification image of one of the particles from the stomach of a worm.  The images above come from this particle.

On Mon, Apr 6, 2020 at 8:39 AM Tom Miles <tmiles@...> wrote:

Using the magic liquid in a biochar amended soil would seem to have some values that could be monetized. There is the “avoided cost” or DIY savings which I was looking for: not buying the nutrients as fertilizer.  There is also potentially the more efficient use (reduced loss) of the nutrients compared with commercial fertilizer.

 

Tom

 

From: main@Biochar.groups.io <main@Biochar.groups.io> On Behalf Of mikethewormguy via groups.io
Sent: Saturday, April 04, 2020 4:35 PM
To: Biochar Group <main@Biochar.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [EXTERN] [Biochar] Malawi’s farmers grow crops with 'magic liquid' fertiliser

 

Tom,

 

What is the value of making plant nutrients onsite....?

 

For our operation the value is in "avoided cost ", resilience, and enjoyment..

 

Like Stephen, we use food residue and vermicompost, as well as, time, as ingredients to make liquid&solid plant nutrients onsite.

 

my 2 cents...   

 

Mike

 

 

 

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

 


--
Nando Breiter
http://biochar.info
CarbonZero Sagl
Astano, Switzerland


Stephen Joseph
 

Hi Mike

Thanks

This is clear.  I have macadamia nut shells and will try these with the garlic extract.

Regads
Stephen

On Tue, Apr 7, 2020 at 10:14 AM mikethewormguy via groups.io <mikethewormguy=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
Stephen,

Making Garlic Char...........

1. 100% Garlic Extract.......  There are 240 varieties of garlic with only 4 types are grown commercially.   We grow hardneck garlic. We use Georgia Crystal garlic to make our extract.

100% is defined as 1 gram / mL.  We make a gallon of 100% garlic extract.

We soak 1 gallon of biochar with 1 quart of 100% Garlic Extract.  

The types of biochar we like to use for this application are either bone char and/or nut shell char.  These chars have sharp edges whose physicality aids in its effectiveness as a snail deterrent..... 

Let us know directly if you have further questions.......

Mike








Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


mikethewormguy
 

Robert L.,

It looks like the active ingredient in the tea seed meal is a saponin.  This class of saponin is hemolytic which I suspect why it is effective against the snake worms.  

The challenge is that this type of saponin is non-specific so it can effect a number of wee beasties upon application.

There are other types of seeds, like quinoa, that contain this class of saponin.

You will find saponin also in garlic, soy bean, yucca, to name a few sources.  These saponins are NOT hemolytic.....  These saponins are helpful.

Mike






Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


Robert Lehmert
 

Thanks Mike, 

This experiment came to mind precisely because of the discussion about garlic.  

Do you have snake worms by you?

How could I get a batch --- either made in Vermont (with your guidance) or made/shipped by you  -- for experimentation by Professor at the University of Vermont? We would be applying in deciduous forest leaf  litter. All we have to do if drive them to the surface. 

Golf courses have this problem a lot. I suspect you could make a commercial product if it works. 

Rob


mikethewormguy
 

Rob,

The snake worm has been seen in Wisconsin USA.

The saponins in alfalfa sprouts may work against these worms.  These type of saponins are found in guar and soap bark.

The saponins in garlic are not the right type. 

Mike





Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


Robert Lehmert
 

Thanks Mike.

It's probably for the best -- nobody likes a golf course that smells of garlic and dead worms

I'll pass this information to the professor who is researching snake worms... Do you know if the alfalfa is effective as a dried biomatter, a tea, or an oil?


mikethewormguy
 

Rob,

The professor could set up an experiment to answer your question, as well as, compare different sources of hemolytic saponins, like quinoa, guar, and soap bark.

Mike





Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone


d.michael.shafer@gmail.com
 

I have a much simpler story to tell. We charge our char mix with pig pee. If you are not familiar with the smell, you are blessed. It is awful. Running a training, I will stick a bucket full of pig pee under farmers' noses to get them to recoil and then pour it into a pile of ground char - where it instantly stops smelling. Totally. Completely. Instantly. Really.


On Fri, Apr 10, 2020, 8:52 PM mikethewormguy via groups.io <mikethewormguy=aol.com@groups.io> wrote:
Rob,

The professor could set up an experiment to answer your question, as well as, compare different sources of hemolytic saponins, like quinoa, guar, and soap bark.

Mike





Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone