Building Soils by Composting with Biochar




As composting gains in popularity in fields and gardens everywhere comes the opportunity to enhance compost by the addition of Biochar or horticultural charcoal.   Biochar is considered the most efficient organic soil amendment and by inoculating it with compost, the Biochar becomes “charged” because with microorganisms necessary for soil health will occupy the pores.

Start anytime: use yard waste, kitchen cuttings, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc.  Add ½ cup of Biochar to every gallon or so of compost.  Throw on leaves, garden trimmings, then turn, water, repeat. 

Biochar or horticultural charcoal; the ‘stuff’ of Terra Preta can improve compost in several exciting ways:

  • Biochar is known as a compost accelerator because when it is layered in the blend, the highly persistent chunks of charcoal create pathways for air, water and worm movement.
  • Inoculation of the Biochar will result as the compost breaks down; enabling moisture, nutrients and microbes to move into the pores of the charcoal – instead of leaching out and going elsewhere.
  • Biochar can be added to any bagged topsoil, manure or compost and if allowed to “rest” together in open air for at least several weeks any mobile matter or volatile materials will be eliminated making the blend ‘shovel ready’ for the garden.



Mike Urban
BioChar Merchants

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