Starting a Garden: Soil Preparation, Biochar, Compost & More

[Alyssa] Hey guys, so we’re going to talk
about something a little bit different on our channel today and that is gardening. So
as many of you know, we’ve been living on our property for about 7 or 8 months now.
Spring is here. The snow’s gone and we’re getting the bug to grow our own food. So we
don’t know that we’re going to have a huge thriving garden this year that’s going to
come with time but we really want to make a video on starting your garden, and one of
the things we really want to focus on is amending your soil. So, over the past few weeks or
so we’ve done a little bit of research and we’re really trying to find ways to make our
soil as healthy as possible so that when we’re ready to plant, those vegetables are allowed
to thrive and we really want to take a low maintenance approach, but what we’re doing
already on our property, we feel like we’re doing a lot of things naturally that could
help amend our soil that we’re able to implement with just a little bit of research.
[Jesse] Yeah, the soil that we have is not super so Alyssa’s been doing a lot of research
about what we could kind of do to get it more superish and so we kind of talk a little bit
about that in this video. It’s not meant to be like, we’re not gardening experts so we’re
not trying to give you advice, we’re just trying to kind of give you ideas on how to
keep life simple. [Alyssa] We just want to share what we are
doing. [Jesse] Yeah and we aren’t claiming to know
it all so we’ll just give it a shot and if it grows food, yeah!
[Alyssa] Woohoo! [Jesse] Cool! I mean, it can’t be that hard
right? Anyway, so yeah, we wanted to share some of that stuff in this video. We’ve got
a few things that we’ve been doing so we’ll kind of jump into those and talk about each
one a little in detail. [Alyssa] So one of the first things that we
did that was recommended to us by some successful gardeners in the area was to simply bring
in some topsoil. It’s not that we can’t work with what we have, but our ground is very
compacted with a lot of rock so we figured that this was a really simple way that we
could do on a moment’s notice, was simply go visit our local garden and lawn care center
and bring in a bunch of topsoil. It’s relatively inexpensive, especially if you’re only getting
a couple yards. I think we only got a yard, yard and a half, something like that, and
we were able to go pick it up ourselves which was awesome, and now we have a couple of very
nice raised beds which helps keep things a little warmer and get everything off the ground
and it really just gives us a nice space to work with.
A second thing we did that was also recommended to us by our friends was to bring in some
compost and again it’s not that we can’t make this ourselves, but it simply takes time and
we really wanted to amend the soil immediately so that if we choose to plant something in
a month our soil is good to go and there’s a good chance that our veggies will thrive.
So, many local suppliers have compost available and again it’s very affordable, especially
if you only get a yard or half a yard and we simply mixed it in with our topsoil. It’s
probably a little bit hard to tell in the camera but the compost is a lot darker than
the topsoil. It’s almost black. A lot of people refer to it as black gold simply because it
is so nutrient dense and we just mixed it in here, so right here you see a little bit
of topsoil as well as the compost. Another thing we wanted to share is when doing
some online research I ran into something called biochar and if you don’t know what
that is, I’ll put a link below this video as to really the technicalities and the science
behind it, but basically it’s what happens when you burn biomass at a low oxygen environment.
It results in a charcoal like substance but it’s not charcoal, it’s very different than
charcoal and this, when added to your soil at about a 1:10 ratio, something in there,
it really helps to aerate the soil. It also helps the soil to retain a lot more water,
which is really important when you’re on an off grid property and water may be limited
or you simply don’t want to water your garden ten times a day. It also is extremely porous
so it helps to retain a lot of the nutrients. It is important, before it goes into your
garden, to charge the biochar, because it’s porous and it doesn’t have a lot of nutrients
in it already, it tends to absorb nutrients from surrounding things such as your plants
which you don’t want, but if you put it in something like compost before you add it to
your garden, maybe for a couple of weeks, it should leach the materials and nutrients
instead of absorb them. We chose not to charge this before putting it into our soil because
we don’t have any veggies so we figure that with the compost and the topsoil it should
be more than fine when we go to plant our seeds.
[Jesse] Yeah, and the cool thing about biochar is that it’s basically just mimicking nature.
If you study forest fire habitat, this is basically what a truly good forest fire does.
The bad forest fires are the ones that go ripping through this dense undergrowth and
they get really hot and they kill everything but a good forest fire just kind of smolders
its way through the forest floor and the reason it doesn’t burn really hot is because there’s
a lot of fuel and no oxygen, not really, and so it ends up resulting in a bunch of this.
If you’ve ever been out hiking, you’ll see just little pockets of char. If you look at
a hillside that’s had a good forest fire go through it, it looks a little bit burnt, but
once things start to grow back they grow back really strong and so we’re just using those
same principles that nature uses. The question is, what do you make biochar from and then
an even better question, how do you make this stuff, because it’s not wood ash, it’s in
a low oxygen environment. The wood ash is what happens when you burn something out completely
and it’s extremely alkaline and that could really throw off the pH of your garden. Alyssa
can tell you a little bit about stuff we found around the property and then a way we found
to make this stuff pretty easy. [Alyssa] So basically we found something online.
This is called a Biocharlie, and in a nutshell, it’s really just like a stove pipe material
with holes in the bottom. It’s a little hard to see here. And what you do is you collect
biomass, and biomass could be just about anything. If you’re on a large property like us or even
just in a normal home, chances are you have a lot of scraps around your property. Things
that you can include in here are twigs, sticks, kindling is really good, things that a lot
of air can circulate around it, bones, we have a lot of bones on our property thanks
to our neighbor; it’s a very long story. [Jesse] This was a deer. This was a deer bone.
[Alyssa] Yes. [Jesse] Just saying.
[Alyssa]So instead of seeing all these bones on our property, now they’re in our garden.
The circle of life. [Jesse] Yeah, Wayne, if you’re watching this
video, thanks Wayne. [Alyssa] Yes
[Jesse] Just wanted to say thanks. [Alyssa] So basically you stick all the biomass
into the Biocharlie and you put it in your fireplace or your wood stove and the great
thing about this is we are already burning our wood stove so we might as well be making
biochar at the same time and the bone and twigs and sticks that’s not really useable
stuff on our property anyway, we’re not burning our firewood because we’re using that to heat
and the Biocharlie doesn’t really heat, it just burns, so even if you’re in a suburban
home, this is something that you could put in your own fireplace which is really handy
and it makes about, I think we calculated maybe a pound at a time, so obviously it’s
not going to fill our entire garden overnight, but over the course of a winter we feel that
for a garden our size, it could be the right ratio of biochar to soil so that’s awesome.
[Jesse] Yeah, we’re already doing it anyway so it wasn’t like a huge inconvenience. When
Alyssa was telling me about biochar and the way people make it, I’m like, No, we’re not
going to do that, it’s very elaborate, not that it has to be, but it’s just a lot of
work. When we found this, it just kind of worked in with our live style seamlessly,
so as a course of heating the cabin all winter long, making biochar, so it’s not anything
extra. [Alyssa] We feel a lot more satisfaction when
your wood stove is burning knowing that you’re helping the environment.
[Jesse] Yeah and it doesn’t really cool the stove down that much. We found that when the
damper shuts everything’s pretty good there. So it’s just a cool tool. Makes this make
sense, otherwise this sounds ridiculous. [Alyssa] And the last measure we’ve taken
to really start amending our soil is starting a compost pile. This is something that I’ve
been wanting to do pretty much my entire adult life only I’ve never really lived in a place
where I felt was appropriate or I just simply didn’t have the time, but now we have five
acres of land and this can sit here on our property very undisturbed. We have a lot of
food waste that’s coming out of our trailer every single day such as banana peels, veggie
peels, eggs, coffee, okay a lot of coffee, it’s like our primary food group. Oh, hey
look, Jesse brought me some coffee. Thanks Jesse.
[Jesse] Yeah, enjoy. [Alyssa] And all of that can be used to help
strengthen our soil versus go to the landfill so I think that’s really awesome, so there’s
lots of resources on how to start a compost pile so I won’t go into that in this particular
video, but basically in a nut shell, you need to have a lot of carbon and nitrogen. Nitrogen
are sources of your food, things like veggies, but you really don’t want to include animal
products because that could attract animals and things like that and make your compost
pile smell really bad. And then carbon includes brown things basically on your property such
as dried leaves, pine needles which we have an abundance of, sticks, sawdust. Here are
some of the pine needles. Basically our entire property is covered in pine needles so we
have an endless source of that, and as you know we’ve been making a lot of our own lumber
so we have a lot of sawdust as well and all of that really helps to cover our pile. We
also have things like egg cartons right now because we still have to buy our eggs from
the grocery store, so we just tear this up and we have this nice compost pile going and
this is the result of maybe a week and a half and it’s still pretty cold outside so I don’t
know that it’s actively composting right now, but we’re really excited for this over the
summer to see how it develops and hopefully we’ll have some beautiful black gold to put
into our soil maybe by the end of the summer. [Jesse] Alright one of the next things that
we did for our garden was we got two bangle cats. Just kidding, we got a bunch of rain
barrels. Turns out, it’s a bangle cat jungle gym. So Alyssa found these barrels on Craig’s
List and it was actually one of those you have to get to it quick kind of things because
it sounds like the demand in our area is pretty high, but there’s not very many barrels, so
what do we do? Grabbed a cup of coffee and we took off to go get rain barrels. Oh look,
a cup of coffee, thanks Honey. Mmm. We knew we were going to need water and we
haven’t sorted out our water solution yet so we’re still doing rain water for our own
needs, potable water, but for gardening and other things, we don’t have that sorted so
we thought as a soft way to start so that we can get going, we’d do rain barrels. I
know it’s exotic but we thought we’d just give it a try and see if it’ll work. We actually
need to have some water available for our hot tub too and so we thought, because we
built this deck that we would use some of the rain catchment coming from the roof and
we would just use that for gardening and things. So Alyssa got working on Craig’s list and
found us a few rain barrels so we’re excited to get those set up and it probably won’t
provide enough water for an entire summer of gardening, we’re not really sure, but it’s
worth a try and hopefully it’ll work out really well for us. Of course down the road we plan
on doing other water things, but this is a great way just to do a temporary supply of
water. You see some criticism online about rain barrels
and how much water a yard really takes and how they’re silly, but I’ll tell you, after
living off grid for a little while, we don’t use nearly the amount of water that the average
household does, so we’ll have to try this out and see if it’ll work well for us, but
the total cost I think on these barrels was around $120 which is actually pretty good
price because an equivalent tank that we would have to buy would have been somewhere around
$300 for an equal size tank. [Alyssa] So just to sum up this video, we’re
just really excited that we’re slowly making progress on our fully self-sustainable off
grid homestead and as we’re talking right now, we’re standing on our hot tub deck that
we built ourselves from trees on our own property. Our hot tub is in the corner there that will
soon be fed from the rain and then the roof from this deck will run off into the rain
barrels which will then feed our organic garden and then in the background we also have our
compost pile which is going to help feed the garden and we might also build a compost zip
line from the hot tub that will take our banana peels from the hot tub to the compost pile.
[Jesse] Yeah, put a banana right here and then it goes right into the compost bin. Sounds
like a fun project to me. [Alyssa] Now we need a hard cider compost
bin too don’t we? [Jesse] We need a distillery.
[Alyssa] Okay, well we’ll work on that next time.
[Jesse] Another video. If you’re new to our journey or if you’d like to follow our off
grid homesteading journey, please follow us on our blog. You can also follow us, of course,
here on YouTube. We’ll put a subscribe button right here, right where the garden is, and
then follow us on our blog. Its We do a lot more in-depth blog posts and things
over there that we don’t share on YouTube. We also have a Facebook and an Instagram if
you like those types of things please follow us over there. We’ll put a link in the description
below and we tend to put micro posts over there, things that we don’t put on YouTube
or on our blog, so if you like those and you like to get more frequent updates, please
follow us over there and we’ll see you in the next video. Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “Starting a Garden: Soil Preparation, Biochar, Compost & More

  1. how to charge bio-char.put char in 5 gal. bucket with compost/worm castings and 1 tbl spoon molassas with enough water to cover. let sit overnight .pour slurry onto soil and dig will see a great and organic educator since 80's.looks like your off to a good start

  2. save your egg cartons…fresh farm eggs make wonderful gifts.  no doubt you'll be adding chickens?  chickens are excellent compost turners also.

  3. Better to have a raised bed; for two things; first you don't have much soil. second is to avoid heavy rain to wash out the top soil plus easy weed control. wish you to use your own compost next year. Good luck

  4. You need to add nitrogen, and it free. You make it every day…Urine.Plus add in a little food for your mix to feed on. Like flour And cover it up with cardboard. The card board keeps it warmer and also breaks down and also helps feed it.

  5. I believe charring wood turns it into a great fire starter.  You should give it a try with some of the wood you put through your biocharlie.

  6. Hey a note on the rain collection. You have that nice hill on your property put a tarp on the ground and start collecting rain drops. Use some of the many rocks to keep it from blowing away. Build a small berm in a V shape with a 5 gallon bucket as a catch basin at the down hill corner. Two 20×30 tarps will catch ~350 gal per 1/2 rain. Set the catch basins high on the hill so the system can be gravity feed.

  7. thanks for the info on the garden. there is so much I don't know on gardening . take care and we'll see you on the next post

  8. worms and straw..and vegetable scraps an kitchen scraps ..they would turn it into black gold fast..40$ for 2000$ red wigglers. and you need to add carbon such as wood chips to the biochar to really make it work properly. half carbon like sawdust or woodchips and half biochar.

  9. As others have mentioned already, definitely check out the back to eden method of gardening. Basically you start with a later of paper or cardboard. On top of that you put your compost and top soil mixture and over that a nice thick layer of wood chips. . The first year you want to move the wood chips away from your newly planted seedlings but as they take off you can move the wood chips back around them.

    When its wet and raining the wood chips soak up water. When its dry they provide moisture for the garden. As they break down they also provide nutrients in the soil and on your hard rocky soil it will also turn that into a deep rich soil over time.

    This time of year you can find the tree services working on power lines and stuff and if they are near by they may be happy to dump on your land instead of a landfill.

    When they dump them you can just let them sit in a pile until you are ready for them. Look at it as carbon storage. I just started using a large pile I had dumped here 3 years ago and I was amazed at how much they had already broken down. I have also added them to the top of my gardens and around all my fruit trees. Even in the hottest parts of summer I rarely have to water the gardens. Maybe once or twice a year tops.

    Once you get chickens make sure you get some wood chips in with them to scratch around in as well. Use that to top the garden with and add valuable nitrogen. Once you get this going that all you will ever need to do and no further amendments will be needed.

    Since this is your first year you should also plant nitrogen fixers first. Like peas, beans and clover.

    Look forward to seeing what you ultimately do with your water situation.

  10. Check out Starry Hilder's channel. Her and her husband built their homestead on the side of a mountain which is very rocky like yours.

  11. I would also look at I have a friend it is working for him and I want to go this direction.

  12. If your really want to improve your harvest yields you can't go wrong investing in a couple of honey bee hives. The bees will pollinate your crops (dramatically increasing both yield and quality) and you get the added benefit of honey and bee's wax.

  13. You made the compost bin out of pallets, but you put the bottom of the pallet toward the compost. Take the bin apart, turn the pallets around so the top of the pallets is toward the compost. It will make life a lot easier when it comes to turning the compost. Don't ask me how I found this out. 😎

  14. Your garden is at the bottom of a pretty serious hill. Where does the water run down the hill when it rains? Swales on contour are used to collect water, slow it down, and sink it into the earth. Erosion may be a problem on your site. I don't think I would like to dig much on your site (lots of rocks?) but some strategically placed mini swales could prevent rain from washing away your soil, create places to plant, and reduce/eliminate the need to water plants. Hugelkulture berm on contour with a long level sill (at least a few inches below the lowest berm height to prevent washing out parts of your berm) to allow the collected water to gently overflow when it rains more than your swale can hold. Thank you for posting! You are both an inspiration to those of us who would like to not be paycheck slaves. I watched the property tour and a zip line from the top to the bottom of the property came to mind. Then I thought against it since you live at the bottom. I wouldn't want to create a means for anyone to show up at my doorstep from a distance away in seconds… If you lived closer to the top of the ridge (earth sheltered dwelling) a zip line down would be brilliant!

  15. I see the car-port as a potential, year round green-house. In three years, I hope to see two children, a thriving garden,three-bedroom house with…oh wait, this is your video tube, nm:)

  16. Take some sulfur grain, and make lines with it at the border of your property. So you can repel snakes, scorpions and such wild animals away.

  17. You can try, red wiggler worms to produce good soil. I only speak stuff I havent done single thing in my life.

  18. If you dont have lots of rain, dig a cave into hillside. And then in winter collect all the snow inside the cave, It will be your refrigerator and water source.

  19. When I had my farm the area we put in a raised box garden was hard clay. I had a forty foot trailer of old sawdust from a local mill delivered. It took a single shank sub soiler to break up the clay and than a Disk and tiller to work the sawdust in but we ended up with a soil much like a shag rug when we walked over it.

  20. Check out Starry Hilder's channel and the "Back to Eden" method for gardening.

  21. Wow.. Can't wait until you two start your garden.. Are you planning to or is it possible to excavate some of that hill in the background to create more usable land for your garden..?? Or are there other plans for that..?? Always wondered.. Is that soil mixture good for ALL types of crops..?? There are so many different crops to grow..!!!

  22. Wow, sounds like a great, well planned, organic, sustainable, very cost efficient garden.. You two should excavate that hill and make it a multi level garden, like a rice paddy..!! Would that work..!?!? That would be AWESOME..!!

  23. dont use pine needles. (use those for bio char) pine needles have acid in them that well kill plants, it well ruin the value of your compost.

  24. Soil Improvement? Instead of spending your hard earned money on a septic tank, just go out at night armed with a shovel, just bury them all over your hillside to decompose. Dig Swales (shallow trenches) across your hillside on the contour lines and fill the trenches with organic matter. This will gradually stop the water that would otherwise just come racing down your hill and into the river, the organic matter will gradually decompose into compost. Are you looking at getting compost worms to turn your food waste into worm wee and vermicompost?

  25. hi new subbie here 🙂 I learned from one of other utubers that adding pines on the compost isn't good because they're acidic. 🙁 I don't do it just for safety measure. But I don't know, maybe you want to check as well. hehe. Love what both of you are doing!!! Good luck and God bless!!:)

  26. if you get a watering can and a bucket, Pee in the bucket and fill it up with water and pour it in your watering can. Water your veggies with it, it's so good for your soil. And undiluted Pee us great on your compost, it speeds it up . I swear, Google it.

  27. Wow well done. Great research you did, using char cloth techniques to create garden supplements is genius! Just be careful not to grow root crops as your raised beds are very short and ground too hard.

    As for your compost bin, it looks like mine but I've got 3 bays. Some helpful advice is you don't have nearly enough green materials in there and all that pine is acidic. I'd suggest collecting either grass clippings from your neighbors or bags of coffee grounds from Starbucks. Yes you have grounds yourself but with all those browns you need massive amounts of greens. I've found a 2/3 green to brown mixture is best. You know you did it right if it heats up within 12 hours and steams. Even relatively small piles do that in the winter. I had neighborhood cats sleep on mine. Hope that helps.

    Great work on starting the garden. Let me know how I can help.

  28. Wood chips – bc they are native up here to our area – we have piles of them in our back pasture we get so many for free. Once your veggies are about 5" tall put wood chips around them, about 4" tall and you won't have to water again. Also sawdust makes great natural cat litter. We use wood chips bc they don't blow away, it takes years to compost down, around our fruit trees and pasture we put down 2 ft of chips, and we don't water, rain does, and it makes weeds super easy to pull out bc they are damp. we learned to copy the forest. We never rotate crops – we have used Azomite about a tablespoon per plant but I don't replace it each year. we have tons of night crawlers its wonderful dirt, it has lots of rocks but we added dirt when we started like you all did, and then put wood chips over it. in winter we pull back the chips and put in more manure and close the garden for the year. Don't forget to add wood ash to your compost pile – its loaded with minerals

  29. WOW  great start  and man  lots of rocks,  should look at using the rocks to build terraces UP that great slop  and that should help catch and slow down rain water so can soak into ground and also increase your available planting area  with out spending a lot on digging hauling and buying materials.

  30. The Back to Eden method is great for building soil. Completely cover your garden area with 4 to 6 inches of wood chips (put down layers of cardboard or paper sacks first if you have a lot of grass or weeds to cover). Rake back the chips to form a 2 inch wide furrow, and sow seeds in the soil. You only need to water the plants until they are about 8 to 12 inches tall. Then just push back the wood chips near the plant stems and you don't need to water the rest of the growing season. Every so often add chicken or rabbit manure compost and you will have great soil in a few years time. No watering (after plants are up), no chemical fertilizing and very little weeding needed!

  31. Is your property only 5 acres, or is there more? Your story is very inspiring too me and I love watching your videos! I am currently looking at getting a ~3 acre lot near a city where I can work/commute from. I'm curious if 5 acres is enough to self sustain, or if you are on more? I am sure more is always better, but when attempting an "off grid" homestead I'm still trying to figure out the minimum I should be looking for. Thanks, and keep up the awesome videos!


  33. I noticed that there is an abundance of rock on your property and on the flat/platau that you plan on building your house. Have you guys ever looked at USGS map of the soil types in your area? Is you place near old mining activity? Seems interesting that there's so much rock. And, the rock is smooth and not angular. Do you guys have a stream nearby? Is it possible the rock and dirt was from the construction of highways or roadways?

  34. Your sense of humors ARE humorous!
    I seem to laugh almost every video.
    Thank you and keep the great videos coming.

  35. Great video. A lot of people try feeding the veg but feeding the soil is the key. Build the soil content and the veg will come naturally. A fantastic area to grow, you guys are so lucky with the land you have.

  36. Others have probably already said this, but you might try a Hugel-bed or two, since you've got wood handy. They help to improve soil, lock moisture underneath, and raise the soil temp by raising the bed. It looks like you are in a cold climate, so this might help quite a bit. Since they decompose like slow composting, it's worth an experiment anyway. Good luck!

  37. Are you afraid of animals getting to your cats? I assume you take them in at night of course. I grew up around mountain lion, fox and bear, and cats went missing all the time from neighbors houses.

  38. Jesse & Alyssa, do yourselves a big favor and look for some Sun Choke tubers to grow. Look them up on You Tube and if you do grow them, there are two things you will NEED TO KNOW; grow them in direct sun and fence them to keep the deer and other wild animals away from them! By the way, they will grow in your rocky soil very well.

  39. I've watched a lot of your videos, and couldn't miss noticing how many rocks you have available (you've mentioned them as a problem many times). Why not collect those in a pile – about skull size or a little smaller; and think about using them as your prime building material …or at least using them for your bottom floor and using logs on the top floor.
    I've read about a waitress that built a large stone house using a slip-form method, which she did mostly by herself, but sometimes with one other person. Just a thought. You would also be saving some of your trees on the other side of the hill so your neighbors would have a few trees to look at.

  40. Remember when the septic contractor (or maybe it was the inspector) mentioned not to have the system right at the bottom of your hill due to runoff? Seems you might be doing the same thing with your garden?

  41. I just built some raised beds when I moved into this place six years ago.Filled them with cheep growbags and added chippings and the like.
    Works for me ,getting plenty of crops from them.
    P.s love your vids.

  42. You have to activate your biochar, otherwise it wont be very effective. Through it in you compost. Also, crush the biochar to very small pieces, blends better with the earth.

  43. The amazon Indians have been digging compost holes, collecting all there compost mixed with biochar. After that you put a thin top layer of good earth and just plant right on top. Saves so much time and hard labor.

  44. I know I'm a year late comming and rewatching these, but look into composting and mulching woodchips in your garden to build topsoil. It works great to quickly improve your soil. Back to eaden gardening is one resource on it.

  45. You guys should really look into drip irrigation, it's exactly what it sounds like and it's super efficient. We literally made the desert bloom in Israel with drip irrigation. Look for original parts of Netafim, the inventors of the system. It will save you tons of water and your veggies will grow better! Good luck!

  46. Biochar? Really? I'll bet none of your neighbours uses that stuff. I think if you check out a few science-based sites, you'll find that its only useful if you're trying to grow stuff in nutrient-poor soil – and I understand that you're building your soil from compost and top-soil. I apologize if I sound like a troll (and I love your videos) but I get irritated by garden myths and biochar is one of my top-ten myths for one's average garden soil.

    Thanks your you wonderful videos. Cheers.

  47. Watched an article on how to charge and make biochar and they simply put the biochar in a bucket and for lack of a better term peed in the bucket, the biochar would suck the nutrient and nitrogen Into the bio Char thus charging.

  48. The two of you are great! Heather and I are big fans and regularly watch your youtube episodes and use some of what you guys show in our own plans for offgrid homestead. Thank you for all these wonderful videos. You two have come a long way and we are looking forward to seeing your finished home and all the in between videos!

  49. i actually love your channle so much im 16 and for the past few years ive been leaning and tryingnew things for the future so i can live a simmilar life style i i just wanna say thank you for all the inspiration and tips 🙂

  50. I've just stared watching your videos and have a long way to go to catch up but am working my way through.  Here is a young couple that I have been following for a couple of years that you might find interesting with respect to gardening on their homestead.  They have just started as well.

  51. Might be helpful to break up the char before mixing with soil. Maybe do it with a bucket and a stick, like an oversize mortar and pestle. Keep adding and crushing char till the bucket is full. Then use as needed.

  52. If you are really interested in these theme….. there are a very good channel, with your climate issues, he is a canadian…. he give good tips and methods and machines and tools etc …..

  53. Don’t forget to add beneficial bacteria. Y’all are in Colorado go to your local hydroponic store. It will no bs increase your yield on everything

  54. One tablespoon of bio char has the same surface area as a foot ball field. It allows the bacteria a home to live in.

  55. The most essential thing to any and all ecosystems (little do people know) is fungi. I highly recommend you check out a guy named Paul Stamets and his "LifeBox".

  56. You definitely want to charge the charcoal before putting it in to the ground. Even if you are not planting anything right now (because it is like a dry sponge and your nutrients in the soil are like the water). You will eventually make it up in even quantities, but you will lose a few growing seasons.

  57. Totally Admire what you guys are doing. I've watched a few of your videos. I've seen hours n hours of Biochar videos / gardening. One side not for the charcoal. While it's still hot, spray cold with water spray. Helps fracture it, and gives more surface area. Same thing applies to getting it smaller, like 1/4" minus, again more surface area. Last thing, pee on it. Helps with activation. Smiles, and Thanks for trying the "best life" ever.

  58. I know you are using stuff from your land in your garden. I get good results from adding stuff from the ocean to improve the soil. This is stuff like Fish fertilizer, Kelp, Crab Shell, fish bone-meal and a little mineral called Azomite, these add amino acids and trace minerals to the soil. Combined with the compost, these products are more effective than the biochar. I do mostly worm composting and worm castings also make a real difference in the produce growing in my garden. Good Luck doing it off grid!

  59. Once you get a good compost pile going you can add raw seeds and give your chickens a big pile they can stand on and pluck at. They will add to the compost while picking through it to get to the sprouts you planted and it will keep them warm. It’s a good way to keep your chickens warm and keep feeding costs down.

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