Monthly Archives:April 2013

How To Apply Biochar To A Garden

If you’re reading this, first of all, good for you for being part of the biochar movement! Biochar does us no good when it is only in our heads—the real change happens as soon as you buy/make biochar and put it to use! So when you’re applying biochar to your soil, remember that while you are increasing your garden’s fertility, you are also sequestering carbon and becoming part of a global response to climate change! The carbon you are putting in your soil (biochar is mostly carbon!), will not return to the atmosphere as the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide for a very, very long time. But first, how do you apply biochar to the soil? It’s super simple, I promise!

(Feel free to check out my YouTube video that shows how to do this).

I’ve read a lot of scientific studies that have experimented with different application rates and how they affect plant growth. So many, in fact, that sometimes it’s hard to figure out how much to use! Factors like what kind of soil you have, what kind of biochar you’re using, or even how the biochar was made, affects how much to use. Considering all of these variables, it’s a safe bet to aim for 5% of the top 6 inches of soil to be biochar—this means if you’re using a 50/50 compost blend, aim for 10%. Just spread it on top of your soil and till it in! But remember that all soils are different, so feel free to experiment with application rates and let me know what you find! (email:

Why the top six inches? It turns out that this top layer of earth is the most biologically active area of soil. So when we boost the biology (BIO-char, right?) in that super-active layer, the results we see are much more significant than if we buried it two feet deep. These six inches encompass a critical zone where microbes and roots interact, nutrients are cycled, and many of the important soil processes take place; this is where the magic happens.

As you stand back to look at your freshly amended soil, give yourself a dirty pat on the back and a green-thumbs up for helping put carbon back in its place.

Be cool to the planet!

Biochar Bob

TL;DR –Shoot for  5% biochar in top six inches by tilling it in. Different soils have different needs so experiment with rates!

Hi! I’m Biochar Bob

Hello! My name is Biochar Bob! I’m glad you stopped by my blog—I have lots to share. On here you’ll find a ton of biochar info, stories about the people I meet, coverage of the newest biochar science, ideas I have about sustainability, oh and a lot of happiness. I’ll be posting ideas and projects of the people across our planet who are making biochar a reality and are trailblazing the path into a sustainable future. You can expect short write-ups to accompany my videos that will provide more context and resources to the material covered. But before I get into the thick of it, I think it’s important that you know a little more about me and why I care about the things I do and why I think you should too. I invite you to look into my mind and see what I see:
It is no secret that our world needs something. We are fighting more natural crises now than ever before: sea level rise, global weirding, water shortages, food shortages, deforestation… oh, and of course, more than enough pollution and human-caused activities to drive global ecosystem deterioration. Something has got to change. There must be a shift in awareness to an existence in which our society does not show expertise in crisis management, but rather, in crisis prevention. The path to this consciousness is much easier said than done, of course. But if there were a single word to say, then the task is simpler yet: interconnectedness. Should we come to understand that all things are enveloped in a system of intricate balances, only then will we truly fit ourselves into the natural cycles of the earth and shed our long history of anthropogenic ecological detriment.

The road to absolute sustainability is long and winding with innumerable blind curves and precipices, yet I believe in human kind and I believe that we will find a way to scale the mountain of natural harmony—but we are running out of time. To ascend the steep slope of change and reside comfortably on the peak of interconnectedness, we, as a global community, must enlist every responsible tool in our toolbox. A vehicle for this tumultuous climb, and an embodiment of this ideological interwovenness, can be found in the production and application of an organic commodity called biochar. In the following pages, you will be taught the multitude of attributes and beneficial consequences held in this black carbon, yet, it is important to remember that it remains no more than a single tool in the toolbox of responsible earth stewardship. Should a carpenter rely on a single saw or a solitary hammer, his creation would bear no weight. When reading this blog it is necessary to remember that in this world of interdependent checks and balances, one must consider the whole being of the matter and understand the role of a single action in the concert of global harmony.

I have come across biochar in my search for answers as I began to realize the dangerous state of the world in which we live. I needed to know what we, as a global community, could do about our deteriorating globe. I found this answer in a small chunk of charcoal. I have since dedicated countless hours in the pursuit of this solution in the library with too many books to even carry, in living rooms of friends and family explaining its plethora of benefits, in the lab under a microscope conducting research to prove its potential, in front of a camera exploring the biochar industry and minds of its most avid stakeholders, and perhaps most importantly, in the soil where I make my cause a reality.

My name is Bob Cirino, or as this blog friendly reminds me, Biochar Bob. I grew up in a rural southeastern area of Pennsylvania that rushed itself into development. Now I find myself in Newark, Delaware, as an undergraduate at the University of Delaware pursuing a degree in Biology and Environmental Soil Science with a minor in Chemistry. I have had the amazing support of some of the world’s best scientists to work on biochar research at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. Additionally, I have been in very close relations with The Biochar Company who took me on as an intern while I was still a senior at the Avon Grove Charter School in PA. With the encouragement of Jeff Wallin and others in the company, I have been given countless opportunities to aid in the development of their company and of the industry—and now to write these blogs.

In future posts, I hope to explore the project and people that make the biochar industry tick. If you look beyond my blogs and into the world’s natural processes, it is not difficult to see that soil is the foundation for human health, economic security, and climate stability… or in short, life. When you finish reading a post, I wish for you to be inspired to greater understand how biochar can be a tool for the continuance of our comfortable lives and for balancing the many tipped scales we have long neglected yet are pleading for repair; for it is in our lives, in our communities, and in our culture that we will carry a note that finds itself in tune with the greater harmony of the world.

“Despite their artistic pretensions, sophisticated, and many accomplishments, humans owe their existence to a six-inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.” -Anonymous