Location: Josiah’s Front Yard in Pahoa, Hawaii
The Biocharista: Someone who specializes in the art and science of blending biochar
Josiah transforms scrap lumber from a local saw mill into a powerful soil amendment inspired by "terra preta," a rich soil found in the Amazon basin. He says: “The wood becomes black after a few hours. Instead of quenching it with water and harvesting it, I allow it to bake under the soil for 3 to 5 days at high temperature. As the embers slowly breathe through the porous soil, the biochar’s molecular structure is further refined, like grape juice becoming fine wine.”
Biochar improves soils by providing habitat for microbial life. It retains water, and sequesters carbon, making it a promising tool for climate mitigation.
How to make “Hawaiian-style Open Biochar Pit”
1. Dig a pit where large fires can be made
2. Start a fire in the bottom of the pit
3. Feed it as fast a possible while still maintaining a clean (virtually smoke free) fire. Be sure to use larger pieces of wood first, as they will take longer to burn
4. When all the wood has turned to char, cover with dirt for a few days, then moisten and remove.
BE CAREFUL! Biochar fires can burn for weeks.