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Justcozz

Veggie Garden prep

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I’m working on getting my outdoor veggie garden prepped. It’s a 60’x 25’ area of mostly sandy soil. I have a couple of brush piles from trimming fruit trees as well as a pile of old lumber that’s been sitting for several years. I want to turn all that brush into something good for the garden. I’m thinking just burning it down, mixing the ash and charcoal  with manure and tilling it into the soil. I’ve read that 10% bio char is the goal, but I don’t have that much brush. At 10%, it’s supposed to increase plant growth and yields by 300-400% as compared to the same soil with zero bio char. 

I need some advice. I don’t have drums or stove pipe etc. I’m thinking of using a pit. I figured wetting the coals in the bottom of the pit periodically will avoid turning everything into  ash.

Should I burn the brush in the garden area? 

Should I spread it over the entire garden, way less than 10%, or smaller area with a higher % and overal smaller garden. 

Last year my fish pond got a leak, and I couldn’t keep enough water in it to keep the pump from burning up. So, all the fish died (about 150 4-8” koi gold fish mix). I figure with all the dead algae (about 1 1/2 foot deep) and decomposing fish this would make for some great organic matter to add with manure to mix into the biochar and soil. I can used a trash pump to pump all the material from the pond to the garden.

I still need to work with my new neighbors to get a bunch of last summers manure. If and how much I can get is an unknown. Should have had the last owner dump it all over the fence before he moved. There is probably close 100 yards spread out in three piles from the last few years.

Today I am going to use a shovel and turn over the top foot or so of the soil to kill grass and weeds already in the garden.

To bring in soil, it will take at least 55 yards to cover the whole garden with 12”. That is way outside of my price range. 

Any inexpensive ideas are very much appreciated

Thanks ahead for any and all suggestions.

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13 minutes ago, HUFFnPUFF said:

if its sandy i would want to ad as much as organic material, ash will just leech

Yes the ash will leach, but every little particle of charcoal will give the microbes a home to live in long term. I also have 3 years worth of grass clippings to add. 

Thanks for the input bro.

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1 minute ago, Justcozz said:

Yes the ash will leach, but every little particle of charcoal will give the microbes a home to live in long term. I also have 3 years worth of grass clippings to add. 

Thanks for the input bro.

Just sift out the fine ash from the char and use it a little at a time mixed in your compost. I will never ever ever ever use uncharred wood of any kind in my soils for many reasons, but mainly after my experience with termites this past season. The old saying, "never say never" can go fuk itself, I'm saying it and mean it. NEV VA!:thumbsdown::thumbsdown::thumbsdown:

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OH @webeblzr can help you with making the Bio Char, he posted his method on a thread around a year ago.

Best,

Bad

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I remember the info, just didn’t remember who shared it. I’ve thought of doing it in stove pipe, but with such a large area, that method won’t cut it. 

Anyhow, I’ve been out all day turning over the garden. Holy crap I forgot how much work it is. Ive got about a 16 x 16 section 1 1/2- 2 foot deep done. Shoveling sucks, but obviously I need the exercise. Arms are jelly, I need a toke.

Maybe that’s it, I need to smoke some ganja and I’ll forget how tired I am. Or I’ll forget I’m supposed to be working and back to the couch I go. Lol

 

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Hey Justcozz, wow that is a huge garden!! We had ours about that big for years, but we can not keep it properly anymore. Hell I could weed for 5-6 hours a day to keep it proper like. We found if we planted more than 2-3 tomato plants, the amount of work, to can them, or prepare them to be frozen, was a lot of daily work. Then with all the other items,....overgrow.

We are downsizing our garden, and going raised beds, and just growing our favs. There are so many garden stands around, then all the CSA's, we just did not need a a big garden anymore.

Here is my BIOchar knowledge, but I think Hempys would be better for your issue.

But my understanding is that you want the wood to burn to a solid ash if that makes any sense. I did use a small stope pipe fitting stove,  hand made, so it's a silly looking item that works well. Not practical for your garden. As you need to extinguish the burning wood, by covering it, dumping dirt on it as it burns, to keep the wood from going to fine ash. OR going to a couple of 55 gallon sized steel barrels, with some torch work, maybe a couple of welded on tabs. Or a barrel with a locking lid dealy, so you can slap it on to stop the burn, when you want it to.

Some slits around outside of it, will let the placer gas escape from the wood, and let you know when the gas is reducing, and you cover it.

I've also well before I knew about biochar, would pile up my yard cuttings from trees and ornamentals, and burn it, and rake it over the top. I use my long reed type grasses, as next years walking paths, to block some weeds, and keep adding organic matter, into the garden. 

I would move my vegetables  sections each year, and keep one section is the compost/pile area. In just a couple of years, and soil is so fertile, and full of life, I do not add any fertilizers, except for working root balls, into the soil from the indoor grow areas. I'm sure there is still nutes in there.

Shot of the char, it snaps, and with a bit of squeezing, crumbles, but not to to a fine ash. Then my char maker, with the extinguishing sheet wrapped around it, to stop the burn, after I drag it from the fire pit. Probably not as perfect as it should be, but workable.

I then load my fresh char into a bucket I cut the bottom out of, and riveted screen under there, and it fits down into another larger tote, that I had premixed up a strong dose Extreme Microbes, and let it soak a for a couple of days, (do NOT forget the tablespoon or 2 of molasses) with a airstone bubbling constantly. So simple, and when I see a $40.00 price tag for a few pounds at the grow shop, I just giggle a bit to myself.

Man enjoy that garden!! I suck at it but love the damn thing.

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Thanks @webeblzr. Good info brother. I’ve made charcoal for smoking meat with the stove pipe method. Looks very much like your pic. Just too small for my needs. Good idea on keeping a spot as a mulch pile to the side. Didn’t even think about doing that. :D.  I have one of those small hand tillers to help with the weeds. It won’t get every one, but it’s quick and has a full length handle. Much better on the back than crawling around for hours.

I got the rorotiller yesterday evening. Went out and ran it for about 20 minutes until the sun went down. I’ll head out this morning and work on it some more. Hope the rain doesn’t mind...lol. After I get the whole thing tilled, I’ll start adding mulch etc. till it all again. Then start burning brush, get the trash pump to empty the ponds, ....damn, I have a lot of work to do, good thing I started early this year.

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Its coming around.  Still a long way to go

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Stunning garden man!! WOW just WOW! I posted over in the other thread about possibly using local farm animals to be fenced in your pens, to let them work the soil and give up their fertilizers for a summer. But your way faster having it tilled up already!! 

 

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Got rained out yesterday afternoon. I will get back at it this morning. 

On a side note, why don’t they make yard and garden equipment for people over 5 feet tall. Damn rototiller handle is only 2 1/2 feet from the ground when the tiller is digging. I’m 6’4, my back is killing me, it’s almost easier to operate this thing while on my knees. If I was into dudes, Id get well trained for a side job as a hooker. 

I have to check out the local rental company today for a pump for the ponds, I’ll see if they have a larger tiller also. I’d like to dig down a little deeper, this on is only getting down about 8 inches.

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Good news. I may have all the manure I need. I just learned that a family member has a pile of manure about the size of a house. Mixed camel, horse, cow, goat, emu ostrich as well as small birds chicken, quail, pheasant etc.. Nothing has been added to it since last fall, and most of it is a few years old. I need to jump on it before he cleans out all the stables and pens. 

Funny, I never even thought about getting it from him. I go over there all the time. It’s about an 80 mile drive each way, but he has a ten yard dump trailer and the equipment to load it. I will only have to spend gas money to haul it.  :verrygood

I’m waiting on a phone call now...woo hoo. My garden might be rock’n this Year

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