This article “Cook up your garden with ‘biochar’? ” on Sonoma Index-Tribune provides another way to using biochar on top of Bokashi. Very clever.
Villa dug a plot of ground and filled it with wet logs, sticks and Bokashi, a Japanese compost material that provides yeast, purple non-sulfur bacteria and lactic acid.
“Over time, the wood in these logs is broken down and the living microorganisms in the Bokashi feed on that to create rich, fertile soil,” he said. “Traditionally, this process, which was used without the Bokashi by the Pomo Indians, would take about a year to allow for plantable soil conditions. But with the Bokashi speeding up the process and effectively cooking the plot, we’ll start planting seeds in as little as two weeks.”
Villa said that by introducing healthy microorganisms into the soil, the ground will develop ways to pull nutrients in from further sources and become self-sustaining for growing food. “There is bacteria in this mixture that will make tunnels that pull phosphorus from up to miles away to enrich the soil,” he said.
On top of the mound, Villa added the biochar: small pieces of coal-like rocks created by a burning plant waste, like corn husks or plant stalks.
“The biochar is porous, and when we water the mound, it will absorb the water to be distributed whenever it’s needed,” Baltar said. “Also, we want fungus and other molds to grow inside the biochar to give it some life and create a living ecosystem as soon as possible. The fungus will work with the plants to create a healthy environment for growth.”
Another benefit of biochar, added Baltar, is that it removes carbon from the carbon cycle; he said the crystallization of the biochar traps carbon dioxide in a solid state, as opposed to releasing it into the atmosphere when animals that eat the plants die and decompose.
“Essentially, we’re taking that carbon out of the cycle and reusing it to feed plants, which will again be reused to make more biochar,” Baltar said.