Thursday, January 5, 2012

What to do with the Biochar?

I have a pretty large garden area (I'll measure it later!) and have tried and been successful at several different vegetables. My spinach, swiss chard, tomatoes, beets, bell peppers, eggplant, artichokes and asparagus have been very abundant. Right now I have tilled a garden next to a fence that will be used as a trellis for my peas and snow peas. I planted about 100 seeds and have over 50 that have sprouted now. The peas do not need the Biochar, as the roots of peas actually replace the nitrogen in the soil and do not require much in the way of fertilizer. So the Biochar I created yesterday will be incorporated in the garden with the existing plants, which currently include bell peppers, eggplant, asparagus, artichoke and spinach.

A word on Artichokes? You can buy a plant at most nursery's for $3 (small) -$15 (1 gallon). Or you can buy a pack of seeds. The first plant I started with produced about 60 med. sized artichokes the first year but the really great thing was in the next spring, it had a bunch of shoots off the base, which I cut off and replanted and they all took. So what started with one plant quickly turned to 10 or 12. These things grow like weeds. And I didn't mention all the plants I pulled up that grew from seeds off the artichokes we did not pick and allowed to flower the prior season? Lesson? Don't invest a lot of money...they grow like weeds. Also, they grow to be about 6' tall and take up about 6-8' across, so you need some room! I currently have 7 artichoke plants that are large, healthy plants, all from one $15 plant, either grown by splitting the shoots or from seeds off the flowers I allowed to bloom.

In the next couple of weeks I will be planting seeds for swiss chard, kale and beets. These will all be grown in the soil with the Biochar I created. I will post pictures once they sprout so we can watch it grow! Another project I am going to begin is a semi-raised garden for what I will call my salsa garden. It will include jalepeno's, tomatoes and peppers. (Maybe some garlic and onions, I am not sure yet.)

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