My long term goal is to convert every inch of my sterile, depleted lawn into a productive food system.
A food system that requires as little work as possible to maintain for the maximum possible yield.
I’ve got my work cut out for me.
My soil is (mostly) dead. It’s a thin layer of sod on top of a feast of rocks held together with clay.
Converting soil this dead into soil so rich that life literally pops out of it isn’t easy.
It takes planning, the right materials, hard work, and time (time for nature to take its course).
One of the best ways to improve a soil is to change it a structural level.
The most interesting long term structural amendment I’ve found is biochar. Biochar is a form of charcoal (it’s not the same charcoal you use in your barbecue) that is created through pyrolysis (an oxygen free burn that breaks down the organic matter).
Even modest additions of biochar can radically improve nearly any soil it is added to.
How? By improving its ability to store nutrients, house micro-organisms, and sequester water.
Not only that, this soil amendment lasts a long time. How long? Recent testing indicates that it may remain beneficial for over a thousand years.
To get a feel for how it impacts soil productivity, take a look at this picture of trial in Australia:
Same is true when biochar and compost are combined.
So, why isn’t everyone using biochar to improve their soil? That’s simple.
Not that many people know about it yet.
As a result, biochar is still expensive.
Fortunately, you can work around that by making it yourself. There are lots of great ways to do that.
PS: Surrounding your home and community with high quality, organic soil is one of the smartest investments you can make in your future.