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Farm update, tea, biochar sweet potatoes

Tea: We did our third tea harvest on November 30, processed as a green tea.  We have actual packaging now with a logo and label.  Several people bought it to give as a holiday gift.  As our first green, it was delicate and floral and nice, and it sold out quickly.

Biochar: the first solid results are in.  Test 1 (green beans) didn’t work well as plants varied widely within each plot.  Test 2 (popcorn) showed promise with the char plots growing better, but heavy rains this fall prevented any of the plots from maturing to compare yield.  Test 4 (taro) is still in progress as taro grows slowly at our elevation.  Test 3 (sweet potatoes) was harvested yesterday:

8 plants, control: 13.8 lbs
8 plants, with char and IMO: 21.2 lbs

That’s around 50% more tuber, and here’s the picture, control on the left:

This corresponds what Jay in Puna has reported on his use of biochar with hawaiian food sustainability (see biochar on the Sensible Simplicity forum)

This entry (Permalink) was posted on Saturday, January 2nd, 2010 at 9:29 pm and is filed under biochar, tea. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Responses to “Farm update, tea, biochar sweet potatoes”

  1. Jay Says:

    Hi Ben and Deb! So glad that the char is working out. It only gets better as it goes along. I’ve got to say experimenting with it has been one of the most hopeful things I’ve done in a while. I would also add that it’s certainly best to create the char in a traditional mound style burn, as the industrial stuff is too hot and you lose a lot of the trace acids that are key to getting the micro nutrient levels up. I posted a link to a great study on all that a while back–let me know if you’ve not seen it.

  2. ben Says:

    Thanks Jay. The char for this test was applied along with my neighbor’s IMO, which is a bunch of unknown microbes. The other char used on my farm is inoculated by either sitting in a bucket of manure water for a while, or simply being added to the compost cycle, where is goes onto beds after passing through all the microbial activity stages of hot/cold compost. From what i read on the biochar list, it seems so far that the production conditions (speed, temp) are less important than the bioactivity of the char that comes from inoculation.

  3. Michael Gothschild Says:

    But do they taste as good?

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