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  1. Vermiculture, Vermicompost & Worm Castings - Part 1 Vermiculture, Vermicompost & Worm Castings - Part 2 Vermiculture, Vermicompost  & Worm Castings - Part 3 Vermiculture, Vermicompost & Worm Castings - Part 4 Vermiculture & Vermicompost Part 1 Vermicomposting is a quick, efficient way to convert kitchen scraps into a rich soil amendment using composting earthworms that break down organic matter into worm poop known as worm castings. A very valuable commodity. The following information is compiled as to enable you to have the ability to successfully raise worms and harvest their castings. It is extensive as to account for most situations and interest levels. If this compilation is helpful to you, please support those in the credits directly. Worm castings are a rich source of plant growth hormones, humic and fulvic acids along with nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium and magnesium (dependent on feed stock) with microbiology which enables ready to use nutrition for the plant and the soil web. Worm castings are rich in essential plant nutrients and many beneficial microorganisms in a fully stabilized organic soil amendment. Worm castings will not burn your plants and is excellent for starting seeds. PH is near neutral. Increases germination rates due to its growth hormones. Assist in reducing transplant shock. Plants grow strong roots and helps during periods of plant stress. Assist in raising the brix levels of the plants. Works to create healthy a soil web which can reduce plant pest. General Worm information geobeats - 10 Little Known Facts About Earthworms Worms bins and castings do not have a foul odor, smells like a forest soil. Worms can be kept indoors year round. Utilize kitchen scraps and garden waste. Feed regularly at around one half pound of food scraps per pound of worms per day. Do earthworms have eyes? No, instead they have receptor cells that are sensitive to light and touch. These cells allow earthworms to detect different intensities of light and to feel vibrations. They will move away from light, if they can. If earthworms are exposed to light for too long (about an hour), they will become paralyzed and die when their skin dries out. This is often the reason after a rain you can find dead worms on the sidewalk, bad timing with the morning light. Can earthworms smell? They do not smell like we do but earthworms have chemo-receptors in the anterior region that react to chemicals. This is how they can detect food and other environmental aspects. How do earthworms breathe? They do not have lungs; instead, they breathe through their skin. Their skin needs to stay moist to allow the passage of dissolved oxygen into their bloodstream. They coat their skin with mucus and need to live in a humid, moist environment. If the environment is to wet the they cannot breath effectively or at all. This is why in part in worm bins to ensure drainage. If I cut an earthworm in half, will it regenerate into two earthworms? No. The half with the earthworm’s head can grow a new tail if the cut is after the segments containing vital organs. The other half of the earthworm cannot grow a new head or the other organs needed to sustain the earthworm. Which end is the head? The head is at the end closest to a swollen band encircling the earthworm. How do earthworms eat? They have tiny mouths and no teeth.. An earthworm will push its pharynx (throat) out, grab microorganisms and little bits of organic matter, and pull them into it’s mouth. The food is coated with saliva, pushed down the esophagus into the crop and on to the gizzard, where it is crushed and ground apart. Next, it moves into the intestine, where food is broken down more by digestive enzymes. Some of the food is passed into the bloodstream for use by the earthworm and the rest passes out the anus as castings (worm poop). This is why introduce "grit" to the worm bins as to help them eat and process the food internally. What is the swollen band near the head called and what is it for? It is called a clitellum and it contains eggs and sperm for reproduction. How do earthworms reproduce? Earthworms are hermaphrodites, so individuals have both female and male reproductive organs. They mate by joining their clitella and exchanging sperm. Each earthworm will form an egg capsule in its clitellum and pass it into the vermicompost 7 to 10 days later. The egg capsule is golden-brown colored and looks like a tiny lemon the size of a match head. Two to seven Eisenia fetida babies will hatch from an egg capsule in 30 to 75 days. Can you vermicompost in cold climates? Yes! However, to actively eat and reproduce, Eisenia fetida (red wigglers) needs their environment to be between 59 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Worms Hatching. Dave - Worms hatching from eggs. 20 Day Time Lapse of Vermicomposting Gregor Skoberne - Worms At Work - 20 Days Time Lapse Of Vermicomposting Vermiculture, Vermicompost & Worm Castings - Part 1 Vermiculture, Vermicompost & Worm Castings - Part 2 Vermiculture, Vermicompost  & Worm Castings - Part 3 Vermiculture, Vermicompost & Worm Castings - Part 4
  2. Natural farming section Indoor gardening environment Biochar Compost extract & Compost teas Vermiculture & Vermicompost, worm castings Soil recipe Biochar Biochar is a carbon rich product made from any organic substance by thermal decomposition without oxygen. Ok, its a type of charcoal that will work to stabilize soil conditions and when the soil environment is healthy and soil thrives for a long period of time the biochar plays a role in increasing soil productivity by promoting positive living conditions and soil environment for beneficial soil microbiology. Biochar is mainly utilized as a soil amendment, in waste management, energy generation and in sequestering carbon. In gardening biochar is used as a soil amendment that becomes homes homes for microorganism. Biochar is most effective in tropical areas due to leaching aspects of rain and runoff. Biochar is also beneficial in temperate areas but its benefits are more noticeable in the tropical regions or where monsoons are a factor. Biochar increases soil moisture and germination rates when at the 1 and 2% rate. It can be made by a variety of methods but it is typically made from a waste products such as the manufacture of biofuels. However, Bamboo and hardwoods that are waste products are typically used in making a gardening biochar. Depending on your soils and farming needs a combination of high ash biochar from manure and bone mixed with hardwood or bamboo biochar can be a consideration. Biochar made from manures and bones, are mainly composed of ashes “high mineral ash biochars,” and thus can effect crops differently than hardwood biochar. High ash type of biochars will be a short-lived benefit as they contain less carbon compared to say bamboo and hardwoods. Understanding the effect of the type of biochar (such as in high ash biochar or hardwood biochar) with alkaline soils to determine if biochar can impact PH as to ensure the biochar does not increase the PH to levels to cause micro-nutrient lockouts however this is not typically an issue with healthy soils as they will tend to be more PH stable. Essentially utilizing hardwood and bamboo biochar will have less impact in PH than high ash biochar made from manure and bone. Depending on soil situations a mix of biochar types could be better than one or the other alone. Methods for making biochar vary from traditional pits in the ground, utilization of various barrel techniques and on large industrial scales. Basically to make biochar the idea is to remove all the volatile or "fuels" in the organic substance and leave just the carbon. This is then inoculated, often with a nitrogen source and then pulverized into a powder. One once of biochar has the surface area of approximately an American football field. This is wonderful news to microbiology. International Biochar Initiative - Guidelines on Practical Aspects of Biochar Application to Field Soil in Various Soil Management Systems This video is excellent in understanding about biochar USU Extension Forestry - Biochar Basics Biochar and Mycorrhizal Fungi Mycorrhizal fungi effectiveness can be reduced in plant benefit. Their is not yet a very good understanding why or how long this aspect can be. In the video above (biochar basics) it is theorized that bacteria displaces the fungi. I suspect that inoculation of high nitrogen is a negative factor in mycorrhizal and plant interactions and this initially could slow that process. The video below is only a 4 week study and they suspect that initially mycorrhizal activity initially alters the patina of the biochar which enables a later positive interactions but further study is needed. We place this information herein as to address this issue and will update as we learn more regarding this aspect of mycorrhizal fungi, biochar and plant interaction. Climate State - Biochar and Mycorrhizal fungi (2014) Biochar Creation Methods Below we illustrate various types of biochar creation and some advanced information for those who would like more information than the basics. Biochar can be simply made in a pit, with a top lite up draft, bottom fed barrel systems and kiln systems at the farm or garden location. We will spend more time on pit biochar and tlud barrel systems and tlud kiln systems that can be easily constructed on site and is mobile. Biochar can also be made in large industrial systems and larger stationary type of ovens. Mostly in this compilation we will discuss what small farmers and gardeners can create for themselves. Traditional Pit Biochar - Bamboo and wood sticks. The Natural Farmer - John Kaisner The Natural Farmer - Tropics - #18 Making Biochar from Bamboo Barrel System Top Lid Up Draft or TLUD Barrel System This system uses a chimney effect and the main heat for making the biochar comes from gas contained naturally in the wood. By design the gas comes from the bottom of the inner barrel and and is ignited in the outer barrel causing the necessary heat at a good temperature to make the biochar. How to make biochar reactor - TLUD barrel THEGREENCABBY - How to make biochar reactor - TLUD barrel Another construction video Guy Langlois - Building a Biochar Reactor Small Farm Production AnnMAugustine - Making Biochar For Small Farms Making Biochar and Charcoal with the TLUD Brick Chimney Kiln O.J. Romo - Making Biochar and Charcoal with the Brick Chimney Kiln Small home garden kiln brianzaro - TLUD stove for biochar Quality of testing created biochar Quality of biochar varies due to several factors, the material used and how well the tars and resins are removed (mobile matter) that can be toxic to plants. Their are a few ways to evaluate the quality of your biochars and should be done on home made biochar before use. Appearance and sound Black and look almost like black glass. Biochar should almost make a clinking noise when rubbing between each other. The soap test Wash hands, well made biochar will wash off easily with just water. If mobile matter is present then you will need to use soap to wash your hands clean. This mobile matter is from tars and resins that have not cooked off. Germination test. (it is not necessary to inoculate biochar for the germination test.) Germinate seeds in a germinating soil with and without biochar. Mix a bit of biochar with your germinating soil. Use only normal germinating soil. If biochar mix does not germinate it is a problem. Worm test. Do worms avoid the biochar areas? If worms avoid the biochar it is not good. If worms like it, all is well! Biochar water retention test Fill water glass 3/4 full of water Fill water glass 3/4 full of biochar Pour water glass into the biochar glass. The water should not overflow and be the same level as the water. Biochar moisture test video Ultra Compost - Demonstration on how Biochar holds moisture Inoculating or priming biochar Inoculating or priming biochar is necessary as to prevent the biochar for initially drawing nutrients into the char from the soil, this drawing effect will prevent the plants gaining access to those nutrients and can cause initial nutritional deficiencies for your plants. Inoculate by making a liquid nitrogen source from compost/garden/compost teas, FAA and/or liquid IMO. You can tailor your inoculation to best suite your needs of the biochar. Additionally you can place fresh biochar in your compost piles and spread over your animal and chicken coup floors. Takes longer before inoculation but it will help with controlling smells. Liquid IMO - http://culturalhealingandlife.com.www413.your-server.de/index.php?/topic/48-inputs-section-12-imo-4-liquid-imo/&tab=comments#comment-100 FAA - http://culturalhealingandlife.com.www413.your-server.de/index.php?/topic/43-inputs-section-8-faa-fish-amino-acids/ FFJ - http://culturalhealingandlife.com.www413.your-server.de/index.php?/topic/42-inputs-section-7-ffj-fermented-fruit-juice/ Compost tea example - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDVP8QPXrk0 Ready made organic vegetative fertilizer can be used as well. Video on different inoculation methods THEGREENCABBY - Activate & Inoculate Biochar Applying Inoculated Biochar When applying biochar to soil for improving its fertility, the biochar should ideally be located near the soil’s surface in the root zone, where the bulk of nutrient cycling and uptake by plants takes place. Certain systems may benefit from the application of biochar in layers below the root zone, for example during landscaping for carbon sequestration or if using biochar for moisture management. When biochar is to be applied to soil solely for carbon sequestration purposes, placement deeper in the soil, for example in new landscaping or construction areas, would be desired since microbial activity that can degrade biochar carbon is reduced deeper in the soil profile. Biochar Bob - Biochar Bob 101: Episode 1 - How to Apply Biochar to a Garden Biochar workshop - A must watch series full of information Biochar Workshop Part 1, How to Make Biochar Living Web Farms - Biochar Workshop Part 1, How to Make Biochar Biochar Workshop Part 2, Why to Make Biochar Living Web Farms - Biochar Workshop Part 2, Why to Make Biochar Biochar Workshop Part 3, The carbon cycle Living Web Farms - Biochar Workshop Part 3, The carbon cycle Biochar Workshop Part 4, The biochar facility Living Web Farms - Biochar Workshop Part 4, The biochar facility Biochar Workshop Part 5, Biochar and the greenhouse Living Web Farms - Biochar Workshop Part 5, Biochar and the greenhouse What happens to carbon after applying biochar A study in biochar. NSW DPI Agriculture - What happens to carbon in the soil after biochar is applied? Test results using biochar ebsmsa - Field Test Biochar with Corn and Sunflowers (final) Test without inoculating char over time period of 3 years SkillCult - Leeks in Biochar Test Bed Much Larger and Greener BONUS SECTION Biochar and Hugelkultur in a food forest The Natural Farmer - John Kaisner The Natural Farmer - Tropics - #15 Food Forest with Biochar Hugelkultur Biochar and Charcoal differences There is a difference in how biochar and regular charcoal is made. Biochar is made for use in agriculture. It is specifically pyrolized or charred to support the improvement of soil. Charcoal can have additive binders and/or tars and resins that are not agriculturally compatible as the charcoal product is going to be optimized for its energy value Biochar is considered sustainable due to utilization of waste resources and the carbon sequestering aspects but charcoal will release into the air instead of being stored in the soils. In addition Charcoal production is classically an unsustainable trade, and one of the biggest drivers of deforestation, particularly in developing country contexts. Commercial charcoal products, as I mentioned before, are often petroleum-based—another unsustainable, unrenewable resource. Carbon storage is different between charring and burning. Burning is a combustion reaction of combustible material in the presence of air (nitrogen and oxygen), but charring is a degradation of material due to heating in absence of oxygen. The products from burning and charring are also different. The burning of plant matter produces carbon dioxide and water; whereas, charring produces a complex form of carbon and low molecular weight compounds (smoke). Burning charcoal returns carbon, as part of carbon dioxide (27%) gas to the atmosphere, however, charring returns carbon to the land as a solid, char. Biochar and Activated Carbon differences Biochar is a precursor to activated carbon. Activated carbon has a heavy carbon footprint and is expensive to make and utilized chemicals. For information please visit this link: http://fingerlakesbiochar.com/biochar-vs-activated-carbon/ The following video is listed as to illustrate activated carbon creation. How to make survival activated charcoal PHOENIX SURVIVAL - Survival Activated Charcoal Made Naturally Summary Biochar is just simple carbon with great potential benefit when utilized correctly. When it is not it may not be the benefit, at least initially that many have made it out to be. The commercialism of biochar has sort of made biochar appear like a super hero amendment but biochar works best for improving poor soils and maintaining soil environments over long periods of time with proper management and technique. Due to that aspect we have created this compilation as to better impart realistic information and knowledge regarding biochar. We hope that this work helps you, your soils, your plants and the environment. A song for you! Credits - Please support these below directly. OMC VIDEOS - Old Man Canyon - Wiser http://www.biochar-international.org USU Extension Forestry Climate State THEGREENCABBY SkillCult Living Web Farms Guy Langlois O.J. Romo AnnMAugustine PHOENIX SURVIVAL The Natural Farmer Scott Laskowski Ultra Compost brianzaro ebsmsa NSW DPI Agriculture Biochar Bob Swedish House Mafia - Save The World The School of Life Links: Natural farming section Indoor gardening environment Biochar Compost extract & Compost teas Vermiculture & Vermicompost, worm castings Soil recipe ~ A Proud Cultural Healing and Life Compilation
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