At Kellogg Garden, we like to mimic Mother Nature as much as possible, because she obviously knows what’s best for her, right? This is why you’ll find several products that have an added ingredient you may never have heard of: biochar. What sounds admittedly mind-numbing scientific is actually a fascinating look at the interaction between fire and plants, and how Soil reaps the benefits. Get ready to geek out with me here for a minute.
You know how after a forest fire; lush green growth appears? There’s a reason for that, and while it happens naturally, there are ways for gardeners and those interested in the well-being of the environment to harness that phenomenon. When trees and other woody plants are burned, they release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, (not good!). But when those same plants burn at a high temperature in a low oxygen environment called pyrolysis, carbon dioxide is not released into the atmosphere (that’s good!) — and instead, something called biochar is created.
Those tiny pieces of biochar have the same characteristics of the plant that was burned; the same graining and tubulars that provided water and nutrients to the plant when it was growing. When mixed with soil, these nooks and crannies hold onto nutrients, keeping them from washing away when watered, which is exactly what we want. They also have a large surface area that helps hold onto water molecules allowing for greater water retention.
Incorporated back into the soil and combined with other types of organic matter (hello, compost!), biochar helps to create a living soil with a large, diverse microbial population to benefit the soil and plants and… reduces CO2 in the atmosphere.
Improves soil structure
Reduces nutrient leaching
Sequesters carbon in the soil
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