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has anybody used charcoal as compost

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I don't think it is charcoal, wasn't it Wood ash?

I think charcoal is not really good for the plants, in the other side, any ash coming from real wood is good for compost and will keep the snail away if you put some around your plants ^^

I have some ash around my plant but didn't mix it in it.

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i don't know for the seed, but i think bird poop and ash could do the work, but a compost has to sit for a long time before being good for use, i don't know how long bird shit takes to be available.

Maybe some other member will know :)

Good luck

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Hey Dust.... Coal or char coal comes from plants... there is one contradiction.

Here is another for you. coal has nice amounts of phosphorous and some sulfer ( higher grade coal has more but we don't need large amounts)

from the composition i would assume that the absorption of small amount would be fairly quick, lasting a few weeks at most i think.

same i would consider for coal ash, one must consider with burning coal that you are polluting the air alot with it with isn't always the best trade off.

go ahead question this :D simple path (dead plant matter + centuries and pressure = peat +decades = coal )

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well flail i don't doubt that real charcoal is actual dead plant material yes, my grandfather's charcoal, but i don't think the charcoal i buy for make my bbq in supermarket, with autolighting stuff on it to light up faster etc, is as good as REAL charcoal.

Of course if we talk about real charcoal than yeah it is probably good and that i don't doubt about and that is why i talk about ashes, If amazonian indian burn trees before planting seeds I guess it's not for nothing :) but i don't loose from sight of eye that commercial things we get aren't always good ;)

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there are actually about 5-9 diffrent grades of charcoal, oddly enough graphite is the top grade

the lowest two grades are the ones available from the store for bbq tho the auto start stuff wouldn't help

@ OP if using sparingly it could be used full cycle

the plant only needs small amount of phos and sulpher

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I use a lot of wood ashes in my compost.

It's extremely beneficial for sprouts or anything trying to take root.

Early Native Americans used to burn whole fields because it made them more fertile the next spring.


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wood ashes are definitely best composted first, otherwise they can cause problems if just topdressed them on or whatever, high alkalinity being the culprit; I learnt this the hard way once, don't ask LOL

biochar and charcoal are entirely two different things and biochar production requires low oxygen conditions and is not the same as lumps of coal out of your open fireplace. Apparently it also needs to be 'activated' to be a nutrient addition as opposed to a nutrient sink. The way you go about that is to make the char in a way approximate to what was described above by nvmedigrower, put it all in a bucket and then...

Wait for it...

Pee in it. 


I'm not even kidding, yes you pee in it. Then allow the char to soak it up, and then turn the bucket upside down on one of your best and most diverse garden beds, so you have basically created a closed bucket-dome with the pee-soaked char resting on the bare soil. And then leave it for a good while (like a month would probably be a good start)to populate with all the beneficial microbes from your local area, 'activating' it

There are other methods of doing the activation bit, but really this is the simplest and most cost-free method for us mere mortals that aren't in the business of biochar manufacturing and just want like 25L at a time or whatever to support our hobby growing

or you could just buy it LOL sure be easier, but it has been my experience with this kind of organic stuff like biochar, castings and composts; the shop bought stuff is nowhere near as impressive as your own homemade once you get it right

happy growing


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