Farm biochar flowchart

How does biochar fits into our farm?  I scribbled a flowchart onto paper, and today put it into the computer; it looks like this:

Ideally, it’s a continuously flowing cycle; there is no “waste” and no need for unsustainable inputs; that’s the goal.  The chickens provide meat and eggs to the humans, and poop to the compost cycle; the biochar stabilizes the nutrients in the urine and compost, making them plant-available longer.  You can see how the compost pile is the engine in the middle of everything.

Sunflowers

Most of what i’ve been up to on the farm recently relates to biochar, but to keep this from becoming an all-biochar blog, here’s a bit about the garden.

I grew a patch of sunflowers this summer, planted mid-April. I needed to use row covers, to protect the seeds and sprouts from birds, until the plants are a few inches tall. It took 3 months for them to mature. At first i noticed that a lot of bees, and even butterflies, were interested in the flowers:

Soon after, i noticed cardinals feasting on the mature seeds, balancing on the tops of the head and pecking the seeds out, and shelling them right on the spot. That indicated they were ready for harvest, so i gathered a few for the chickens, then soon after, Deb harvested them all, dried them in the greenhouse and saved the biggest one for seed.