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Orchard Design 3 - Biochar Processing in Cone Pit Trench Method

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http://www.edibleacres.org After a solid first pass of pollarding and clearing in the new orchard space, it's time to clean up the branches and tops of trees that 1) can't be laid up in piles as a component of hugelmounds or 2) can't be easily woven into the living wall flanking the area. Using cone pit method biochar production, I'm able to process these tops at a rate on par with what a gas powered wood chipper could do. Modifying the basic shape of the pit to be somewhat more of a trench, I'm able to process branches with less modification. This system produces nearly pure charcoal at the end and can be used to improve soil texture and fertility dramatically. Plus, it's a great way to stay incredibly warm when it's 15 degrees out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1jAo7qd_Q8 - Great video by youtube producer 'skillcult' going deep into the concept of trench biochar method. Great channel to subscribe to. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLihFHKqj6JeozDm5VFoBHSHsDBMtbWr30 - Edible Acres playlist on various biochar production systems we work with.
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Текстовые комментарии (58)
Frank Strie (10 месяцев назад)
Thanks for the world wide sharing of your carbon action based around responsible resource management. May I suggest to quench your char with / in a nutrient rich bath - like "flooding from below" is practiced in the KON-TIKI deep cone kilns. If you aim to improve the growing conditions of your new orchard trees in a few month from now, it would boost the fertility of the spot very well if you could use animal and human urine to "bath tub quench", alternatively you may like to prepare a fermented nutrient rich brew, say fine Biochar Chicken Manure Tea or a  fine grained Biochar Fish Manure Tea - with a nice sweetener added, such as Molasses-Water / Cordial,  to kick the microbes along.   Best regards from under Down Under in Tassie - Australia the home of the KON-TIKI-TAS deep cone kilns (so far mobile 4 models) producer and user of FRANK'S CHAR branded Biochar products in Tasmania. www.terrapretadeveopments.com.au
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
Took a minute to look at your website and can I say your designs for the mobile processing kilns look pure genius! Makes me wish I lived closer so I could see them in action, maybe even invest in one! :)
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
Thanks, great feedback. I have done the nutrient quench in the past, somehow I skipped it this time since I don't think I was organized for it. But it makes a lot of sense. I think I'll go for a larger metal container, perhaps a 55 gallon drum cut off and have a 'bath' of super rich nutrient to be part of the quench. Makes perfect sense. Thanks for sharing your notes with all of us!
azmrl (27 дней назад)
heating the soil so close to the roots of those trees - not to mention the death of the roots and soil microbes.... couldn't you have chosen a burn location away from tree roots? or is it your goal to not only pollard, but kill those trees?
EdibleAcres (25 дней назад)
I haven't seen any trees die off from doing this... I don't think it had an ill effect. Point taken, but this was the most open area in the woods that I had so I'm not sure how else I could have done it..
Chelsea Hartweg (1 месяц назад)
I love this! A couple questions 1) how has it worked out subbing this char for the perlite in your potting mix? I’d love to use things that I can make instead of buy. 2) do you think it would be easy enough to build a sugar syrup evaporator rig over this so that I can harvest the heat to make syrup? I’m doing lots of research into ways to use wasted heat in this process and also try not to waste wood to cook syrup. Thanks!
EdibleAcres (1 месяц назад)
1) Char for perlite... Works pretty well, but I wouldn't say it's a perfect replacement. Perlite is able to really keep open and light no matter what, char will take on water and get heavy over time. Very different that way. I think the char really helps with porosity and flow, but it isn't a very light mix. I still think I'd like to continue to phase out the perlite, though! 2) possible to build that, I'm sure. I haven't done enough maple syrup to give any real ideas. But it is a ton of heat, so why not? The trick is that this fire needs a lot of poking/feeding/agitation/etc. It is a bit tricky that way, but if you can design with it I bet you can make it work. Make char a number of times first and then see how to phase in the additional layers I'd think.
Luciano Guerra (1 месяц назад)
Thank You Loader. I've been just toying with the idea but you got good results. I'll try it. Thank you very much.
Elizabeth Yates (7 месяцев назад)
<3 Skillcult His video on biochar was probably the very first I watched
EdibleAcres (7 месяцев назад)
Great content he has. I'm really happy to connect to his channel. Someday hopefully we can do some collaborating.
esUTOMO (8 месяцев назад)
When we want to pour charcol to the land, should it be chased or just pour it on?
Brian Smith (3 месяца назад)
The charcoal needs to be mixed into the soil. You can till it into a large area. You can mix it around the root zone of individual plants when you plant. You can drill holes around established planting and fill the holes with biochar (vertical mulching). You can spread biochar 3 or 4 cm deep over an area and cover it with mulch (let it slowly enter the soil).
EdibleAcres (8 месяцев назад)
Chased? I'm not sure I understand...
Maranda Quinn (9 месяцев назад)
Venus. (9 месяцев назад)
thank your for all the natural ways.   thank you
Zach Fox 狐智 (10 месяцев назад)
you gotta get a tripod man!
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
I have one, I just never seem to remember it when I go out to work. I always have the phone on me though so thats pretty much how my videos get made :) I'll try to use it more.
Debbie Burke (10 месяцев назад)
Great video. Thanks for letting us watch!
elkhound25 (10 месяцев назад)
keep up the good work. i am putting in a new orchard area this winter. will be making bio char and large planting holes based on my past tree experiences coupled with skillcults experience as well as what i am seeing you and many others doing.
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
Thats great!
Tiro Wolfe (10 месяцев назад)
Do you think that pollarded trees like this could take the place of fence posts on a sheep farm? Stretching fencing in between the pollarded trees?
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
That sounds like a lovely and natural way to make fencing that would last a little while. I'd hope you experiment and share notes!
Tiro Wolfe (10 месяцев назад)
Thank you for your response. What about weaving hedgerow cut willows in between the pollarded locust?
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
Its a good thought but I personally wouldn't do it. The trees grow/expand/go upwards... It would put stress on both the fencing and the trees and something would fail. Perhaps a temporary fencing for a year or two would be reasonable but any sort of investment I would use heavy duty locust posts set in the ground...
Carlota Chmielewski (10 месяцев назад)
Please explain why bio char is beneficial, I have much to learn. How is it used and why, and which plants need it most?
me 1234 (8 месяцев назад)
It acts like a carbon filter in the soil. It allows the soils to absorb and hold more nutrients and water.
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
I would encourage you to look that up since thats a whole lot of explaining for a comment section! But I would argue it is very worth the effort after 5 years of working with it.
Charles Robertson (10 месяцев назад)
Thanks for another interesting and useful video. I'll be burning slash on my land most of the winter and will now apply these methods, just so you know the idea's spreading.
Charles Robertson (10 месяцев назад)
Will do! Thanks again :)
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
Thats really great to hear. I think you'll love the process. I'd encourage you to make the first session with a smaller hole and smaller amounts of material so you can get a feel for it, then you can scale up to the size you need. Get friends and make a few holes, make it a full day/evening of fun and hold onto all that carbon! Be safe and have a blast!
Slama Llama (10 месяцев назад)
Skill cult is awesome. I love his channel
Michael Todd (10 месяцев назад)
Would of like to Eden the removal of the boichar from the pit. Do you let the wood burn all the way down before removing the char?
Brian Smith (3 месяца назад)
If you let it burn all the way down, it becomes ash. When the yellow flames are gone, all the wood gas and volitiles have been consumed. At this point, all that is left of the wood is carbon. No flames or blue flames means carbon is being burnt. So when the yellow flames are gone, you need to either add more wood or lots of water to quench the fire. You could cover the pile with dirt to smother the fire but this doesn't work very well. It mixes dirt into the charcoal which you may not want, it is very hard to get completely coverage so you have to keep checking on it or it will keep burning, and it takes 2 to 3 days to cool off. My experience is that water is faster and easier.
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
A little confused with the question. But I quench it before it converts to ash if thats the question.
Punky Rooster (10 месяцев назад)
Very cool process. Still not sure if this is something I should do with all the small branches I have / will have from clearing. I own a small chipper, so I'll probably just use that. :)
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
At some point I'd like to make a video of a head to head comparison of chipping vs. charring... I think the charring will win. Plus the pulverized charcoal is so insanely useful and persistent...
Aquavert GreenWorks (10 месяцев назад)
You gotta inocculate some logs with some oysters and reishi!
gup stone (10 месяцев назад)
Oh yuck. I would never willingly invite gum trees on my land. They spread like invasive weeds and never die.
Aquavert GreenWorks (10 месяцев назад)
EdibleAcres do sweetgum grow in your zone? I would plant some of that based on its growing speed and oysters love it. And it has medicinal value!
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
The bummer is none of the species I have here are great candidates for that.
SkillCult (10 месяцев назад)
Cool, thanks for the shout out. I've never tried to run one continuous like that. I make my trenches about 10 feet long for all the long limbs I've always got. I envy your locust :)
CorwynGC (6 месяцев назад)
If you want fuel, make charcoal instead (i.e. don't inoculate it with compost et al).
Qwert Zuiopü (9 месяцев назад)
The char already is the endproduct you dont want to burn it. But you can make it as a byproduct from cooking with this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gViTUz3vSF0
Denis Losier (9 месяцев назад)
Wondering if biochar can be used as a fuel for blacksmithing or cooking then use to amend garden? Denis
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
My pleasure, you put out good content, and its nice to have our communities get to know one another (although I suspect a ton of overlap already). 10 foot trench sounds appealing, although my site is pretty small for such a large flame. I may extend it a bit for the next run, and it really seems promising to extract finished char from one side and quench it and then keep running the system. The char quality came out incredibly high and I was able to get a lot processed in a smaller pit.
Rusted Oak Homestead (10 месяцев назад)
Skillcult does fantastic work... So do you!! Cheers!
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
Thanks. Yeah, it felt like it was high time to call out his work on this channel!
Andy Harrison (10 месяцев назад)
And you managed to do it on the solstice - good job :)
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
Wasn't intentional, but it made for a nice day!
Don Dufresne (10 месяцев назад)
Brilliant as usual. It's great to see this project. I've been out of action for awhile, but looking forward to catching up on your progress. This looks like an excellent alternative to chipping, which I stopped doing, but I've got lots of piles of trimmings and trees that I now have an alternative to simply leaving them to slowly decompose.
Brian Smith (3 месяца назад)
I have used this method to clean up the brush from a few acres and made 8 to 10 cubic yards of charcoal so far. It is fast, simple and cheap with the bonus of a valuable soil amendment. I dig a vertical sided pit, 3 foot wide by the same deep, 8 to 10 feet long. It handles long branches and small trees without the extra work of cutting every piece to fit. I can fill the pit in 6 hours of dragging and tossing. That is a lot of brush considering charcoal is about 25% of the volume of wood. Even if you don't use biochar in your garden, spreading the charcoal back into a forested area improves the soil and plant growth for the next few millennia.
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
I really enjoy how thoroughly and effectively this process can deal with some huge piles of slash and debris.
FatMenace (10 месяцев назад)
i love biochar videos
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
Yeah, me too :)
Mrself sufficient (10 месяцев назад)
Maybe I missed it in the video, but why put the charcoal on the north side of the trees?
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
Not any particular or specific reason, just using the piles to mark planting sites for the future.
big moist (10 месяцев назад)
How old are those locust trees at the beginning of the video?
EdibleAcres (10 месяцев назад)
I planted them in 2010 I believe.

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