Spring in the garden … and Bio Char

It’s been a fantastic spring for gardens in the district, with anticipation of more, beautiful, tasty crops ahead. Here’s a snapshot of spring in the garden

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We also had a visit from some Castlemaine U3A members on October 18.

Spring in the Newstead Community Garden

Interested in learning how to cook a meal from the garden, in season, with whatever’s on hand? Mount Alexander Shire and Growing Abundance are holding a workshop at our garden, led by Anthony Santamaria, to show you what’s possible. Participants will prepare, cook and eat a main meal and dessert, with recipes provided. Book with Margaret Hogg 5472 4842 for the event on Sunday 10 November, 10.30 -1.30. It’s free.

Anthony has also been busy making biochar. If you are not aware of this amazing material, click here: DPI-BioChar-in-Horticulture (this is a conservative report from the NSW Department of Primary Industries, commissioned by Horticulture Australia). Anthony has also provided this link: Using Biochar in the Garden. I’ve used it in pots, growing leafy greens, at my backdoor and was astounded by the effects (normally I would never consider pot grown veges, being a strictly soil based person!) so we look forward to seeing the effects in the community garden, many thanks to Anthony.

You can apply biochar to the soil, but it seems the best results are through mixing it with compost and applying that way. Anthony says Ikg BioChar is added to 20kg compost, activated for 2 weeks, which is enough for 20sq mts of an established garden.

The secret to biochar is the incredible surface area is presents to microorganisms for shelter, its inert and stable carbon makeup (hundreds of years if not longer) and it’s ability to hold moisture and buffer the pH of the soil that surrounds it. Not to mention very slow release of nutrients. The important aspect of biochar is in the production – basically charcoal production – in that it is produced in a low/no oxygen situation.

See for yourself. Even places like Diggers Club are selling biochar, so there must be something in it, besides my brief but impressive experience.


2 thoughts on “Spring in the garden … and Bio Char

  1. margot brulotte says:

    we have a small bio-char maker that we got after the man came and gave the talk in Castlemaine and then Ron ( my husband ) went to Bendigo for the scientific talk in depth.  So far have not used the little one as we have been burning for our heating and using those….the worms go crazy for them….

    they did a test in Bendigo where they had a pile of worms and two piles of the same compost….one with bio-char and one without…by the end of the meeting ALL THE WORMS HAD GONE OVER TO THE BIO-CHAR PILE.

    I love what Anthony has made up.

    Just think….it helps clear up for the fire season and fixes the land…..talk about a win win situation.


  2. Saide of Sandon says:

    This does sound really interesting. Would like to learn more about Bio-Char at my next visit to the garden.

    Also Anthony, if you are interested in using any of the excessive supplies of silverbeet in Plot 12 for the November Community Lunch, please feel free to harvest with gusto!

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