EcoChar: compost in a jar

I’m trying out a new fertilizer formulated for gardeners and farmers alike. It’s a biochar type product with the trade name Ecochar. Through a method called gasification various biodegradable waste products, such as manure, food scraps and the spent grains from making alcohol can be transformed into a beneficial soil enhancer. A number of companies make biochar, mostly from charred wood, rather than agricultural waste products. Ecochar is different as it recycles various waste products and doesn’t add carbon to the atmosphere.

For gardeners and commercial growers, Ecochar is more nutrient-rich than wood biochar. The company sent me specification sheets along with the samples. These products have been analyzed by an independent laboratory and found to be pathogen-free and rich in minor and major nutrients. It’s odorless and the company states that it is safe to use around children and animals.

Ecochar is basically a soil enhancer. It takes whatever growing medium you’re using–soil or a nonsoil growing medium for a greenhouse–and makes it better. 

I received three different products from the company: Vital Force Roots “N” Shoots & More, Flowers “N” Fruits & More and Professional Strength Soil Energizer. 

For their Roots “N” Shoots fertilizer they’ve added 8 different “prebiotic” components to encourage microbial action in the soil. These components include organic substances such as blood meal, feather meal, and worm castings. 

For their Flowers “N” Fruits fertilizer, they’ve added a blend of 12 different ingredients, soil enhancers that help to improve the tilth of the soil, retain moisture, use and retain nutrients better, and support soil microbial life and biodiversity, while helping plants cope with stressful growing conditions, such as drought and disease. Flower “N” Fruits is made up of a number of microbial food sources, including kelp meal, alfalfa meal and feather meal and soil conditioning components, including humates and azomite. 

Similarly, they’ve added 13 different ingredients to their Vital Force Soil Energizer, which is often used in conjunction with the other two products to supercharge your soil. While the other two products can be used alone, combining them with Vital Force Soil Energizer allow you to get the most out of these products.  

I’m just starting to use the product in my indoor gardening and I will soon be adding it to the Premier Pro-Mix growing medium I use for transplanting my tomatoes and other vegetable plants. Since I’m going to rely on recycled medium this year that I’ve saved from last year, it will be nice to have this soil enhancer to mix in with the growing medium.  

Of course, it can also be used for container planting, in raised beds and agriculture. I like the fact that it’s a carbon-neutral product made from waste that would otherwise be sent to a landfill or be buried. 

The company recommends using a tablespoon of the product for houseplants and I’ll probably add a cup of each of the above blends for five gallons of growing mix. I’ll let you know how I make out.

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