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Using Biochar for Growing Cannabis

Cannabis Biochar

Biochar may be a helpful tool for cultivating healthy soil for your crops. While this isn’t a brand new concept, it’s becoming more popular. According to agricultural specialists, this organic waste has been employed for almost 2,000 years by farmers in Brazil.

What is biochar?

Carbon dioxide-free biomass pyrolysis produces “biomass charcoal” or biochar, an organic substance used to enhance soil conditions. According to research, it can also stabilize carbon levels, minimize mineral solidification and boost water and nutrient retention and biological activity in the ground.

Terra Preta de Indio, or “Indian black soil,” may be found in the form of black powder or lumps. Carbon accounts for 70% of the material, while other elements, including nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen, make up the remaining 30%.

Organic mechanics biochar vary widely in composition. Pyrolysis produces a variety of organic matter depending on the kind of fuel and the temperature at which you carry it out. Wood, crop leftovers, and manure are used as biomass by producers. Biochars may have diverse nutritional and physical qualities that interact with different soil types in unique ways depending on the feedstock.

For other organic fertilizers check out our article on molasses for growing cannabis and Jadam Microbial Solution in soil for cannabis.

Difference between biochar, charcoal and activated charcoal

While charcoal and activated charcoal have comparable qualities, biochar is more suited for use as a soil supplement because of its unique features. In contrast to charcoal, biochar utilizes carbon’s ability to give a vast surface area to produce a carbon-rich fuel. Activated charcoal has a lower bulk density and a lower hardness than biochar. Because of its smaller surface area, it is easier to create and incorporate than activated charcoal for soil.

What are the gardening benefits of biochar?

In the soil’s food web, biochar’s vast surface area provides plenty of hiding places for bacteria and fungus to thrive and increase. These organisms are essential to healthy soil because they provide nutrients to the roots while boosting the plant’s defenses. As such, you can use it in top dressing cannabis.

Bio charcoal for garden is occupied by more than just microorganisms. Biochar attracts water and nutrients via a mechanism called CEC (cation exchange capacity). While water has a bipolar charge and most essential nutrients have a positive charge, charcoal has a negative one. Due to its ability to draw nutrients and water, biochar is an excellent soil amendment. They would want to collaborate. This connection ensures that your soil retains water and nutrients so that your cannabis plants may absorb them as required.

Biochar’s many uses

In addition to soil improvement, you can use biochar in various other ways.

Incorporation of biochar in livestock farming

As much as 90% of the entire biochar is used in Europe’s livestock production. There are fewer odors when used for these purposes:

  • Feeding
  • Litter
  • Slurry treatment

Compared to treating the soil, the benefits are more apparent and manifest quickly.

Farmers found the following impacts when using the chemical as a feed additive:

  • The animals were more relaxed.
  • They consumed more food.
  • After using the medication, their allergies disappeared  
  • There were fewer cases of diarrhea

Using biochar to improve soil quality

The material improves the soil’s water retention and aeration by applying it to it. You also enhance the release of nutrients by raising the soil pH.

You may make a biochar fertilizer that is as effective as commercially available fertilizers by combining organic cannabis debris with compost. By preventing nutrient leaking, it ensures plants have access to sufficient nutrition at all times.

Cannabis plant grown in biochar
Biochar helps give cannabis extra nutrients.

Organic compounds, a byproduct of biochar formation, may boost your cannabis plant’s internal immune system and increase its resistance to infections. As such, consider top dressing autoflower seeds with biochar.

Construction using biochar

The low heat conductivity of earthshine biochar makes it an excellent choice for use as insulation in buildings. Furthermore, it has a water absorption capacity six times greater than the object it represents. Incorporating it into clay or substituting it for sand in lime and cement mortars results in plasters suitable for indoor use:

  • Offer excellent insulation and keep the room’s humidity between 45 and 70% all year round.
  • According to research by the Ithaka Institute, it can absorb smells and contaminants.
  • Because it absorbs electromagnetic radiation, it has the potential to protect against ‘electrosmog.’

Biochar as a decontaminant

The following are other applications for biochar:

  • Removing heavy metals from polluted wastewater
  • Construction of barriers to keep pesticides out of surface water.
  • Adsorption of chemicals and an increase in water aeration are two water treatment methods.

What are the environmental advantages of biochar?

Management of Forests

You can use biochar to remove dead trees and other waste. It significantly impacts forest fire control because it draws fuel that may start hazardous and deadly wildfires, particularly in Colorado, where detritus is abundant.

Taking carbon from the atmosphere

Burning forest snags releases enormous volumes of CO2 into the atmosphere and provides fuel for wildfires. You are putting carbon back into the ground in a stable form that won’t be released into the atmosphere, and you are also giving a home for microbes to produce complex soils that further sequester carbon as the creatures grow and die. It’s essential, primarily when you practice no-till gardening cannabis.

Soil fertility

The use of hemp biochar as a soil amendment aids in the restoration of soil that has been damaged by industrial farming. Because of its existence, organisms, nutrients, and water may be sequestered, preventing nutrient blooms in rivers, lakes, and the seas that would otherwise occur. When you prevent runoff,  you reduce inputs. It conserves water, nutrients, and soil since what you put in stays there. Good soil acts as a carbon sink by absorbing CO2 from our atmosphere and depositing it in the ground to add environmental benefits.

Using biochar as an inexpensive and easy-to-manufacture supplement is a great way to expand its reach. Biochar may help restore soil fertility in areas of Africa that have lost it due to human activity over the previous century while also preserving the soil’s water and nutrients.

How to produce biochar?

You can use a kiln to make biochar. An industrial facility or do-it-yourself projects are both viable options for this procedure. Regardless of the size, biochar production necessitates the use of biomass. You can use forest fire fuel management or yard debris to sustain this biomass.

Biochar for growing cannabis
Biochar for growing cannabis.

You can see biochar’s full potential when applied in large quantities. The mountain pine beetle has decimated massive pine snags in Colorado, which Miller Soils often employs. Upon harvest, the blocks are cut into chips and placed in the kiln, where they are roasted. Baking the biomass produces syngas (synthetic gas), which you can utilize to power the kiln or natural gas.

You can build kilns for small-scale farmers to collect gases from biomass. In most cases, you should build a fire around a metal container to store the biomass. Biomass gas is emitted and subsequently captured to assist in feeding the fire, lowering the amount of heat input required.

Picture of Janice Bernstein

Janice Bernstein

Janice has been on the cannabis scene for many years now, though she tends to keep to herself and might fly under the radar for many, even those well-versed in cannabis growing. Her writings on different methods of watering cannabis helped bring the use of reverse osmosis water to the forefront of cannabis gardening. About this Author

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