Bamboo Biochar – converting waste into sustainable nutrients

Bamboo waste can be converted in to valuable biochar. Rather than discarding bamboo clumps left over from  propagation and dead clumps in our maturing plants and garden stock we have started to turn this waste into biochar.

Bamboo biochar is an effective soil fertiliser and conditioner. It helps increase crop yield and plant growth by supplying and retaining nutrients.

Biochar made from timber has been used for years however bamboo is a much more sustainable matter to make biochar from as it is quick growing compared to timber forests. In the same growing conditions, bamboo can yield up to 25 times the amount of timber because it is ready to harvest so quickly.

To do this we fashioned a chamber from 44 gallon drums and cut the bamboo into lengths that would fit in the chamber. We fired up the chambers with small pieces of bamboo under the the thicker wall pieces and then finished it off on top with smaller pieces of bamboo again to give the fire a lighter glow.

Once attaining the right glow we poured water in the chamber from the bottom up, dousing the coals to cool. Thus starting the next phase in using the bamboo biochar.