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The No-Till Flowers Podcast

Mar 18, 2022

Host Jennie Love sits down with Dr. Catherine Brewer of New Mexico State University.  Dr. Brewer (Catie) is a chemical and materials engineer who has devoted a good portion of her professional scientific career to studying biochar, particularly as it relates to processing agricultural waste to create a valuable farm input. 

Biochar is a "fine-grained charcoal high in organic carbon and largely resistant to decomposition...produced from pyrolysis (burning) of plant and waste feedstocks" (Source IBI Website).  It's been used for centuries as a soil amendment, particularly in the Amazon and when other indigenous peoples around the world had prescribed burns to areas they wished to farm. 

Biochar resists further decomposition for hundreds or even thousands of years, making it a superb vehicle for sequestering carbon in our soils.  It also provides excellent "housing" for soil microbial populations.  Perhaps most importantly for growers, biochar is a great tool for helping even out water cycles in farm soils.  Catie has great information about why that is exactly.  

In this conversation, we learn how biochar can be used at a farm to "close the loop" and make better soils for future generations.  This is a long game strategy, one that will be vital to the regeneration of our earth over more lifetimes than our own.  Our flower farms can do so much more than just grow flowers and biochar is an example of that. 

Mentioned in this show is the trench method for burning debris to make biochar.  Here is a video by Bare Mountain Farm about how to dig a good trench and how to manage a burn.  


This show is brought to you by the Regenerative Flower Farmers Network (RFFN).  Your membership in RFFN will go to support the making of more podcasts here on No-Till Flowers. Join RFFN today to read dozens of great articles on regenerative practices as they specifically relate to flower farming.   On RFFN, you'll find a more information about making biochar as well as a live video Q&A session with Catie. 

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