When my yard debris pile burned down to coals, I decided that I would try to make some charcoal for the garden. Charcoal is created by burning wood while starving it of oxygen. To do this I just put an old canner over a pile of the glowing coals (photo above). This limited the air that the coals got and instead of burning away a leaving a bit of ash, they burned without oxygen leaving charcoal which is just carbon.
Charcoal is a really interesting substance. It can last for more than 10,000 years without breaking down. Recent archeological discoveries in the Amazon, show that there was once a civilization living there that used charcoal in order to farm in very wet areas to prevent nutrients from leaching out of the soil. Since I learned that I have been very interested in putting charcoal in my garden, and over the last couple of years have added charcoal to my garden, but this is the first time I have made some. You can read more about “biochar” in a blog I wrote a few years ago at this link:
My little charcoal making experiment did work, and I spread the charcoal I made on my garden. You can see it in the photo below.
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