Biochar: An Easy Way To Make CO2 For Plants


At Kellogg Garden, we like to mimic Mother Nature as much as possible, because she obviously knows what’s best for her, right? This is why you’ll find several products that have an added ingredient you may never have heard of: biochar. What sounds admittedly mind-numbing scientific is actually a fascinating look at the interaction between fire and plants, and how soil reaps the benefits. Get ready to geek out with me here for a minute.

You know how after a forest fire; lush green growth appears? There’s a reason for that, and while it happens naturally, there are ways for gardeners and those interested in the well-being of the environment to harness that phenomenon. When trees and other woody plants are burned, they release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, (not good!). But when those same plants burn at a high temperature in a low oxygen environment called pyrolysis, carbon dioxide is not released into the atmosphere (that’s good!) — and instead, something called biochar is created.

Those tiny pieces of biochar have the same characteristics of the plant that was burned; the same graining and tubulars that provided water and nutrients to the plant when it was growing. When mixed with soil, these nooks and crannies hold onto nutrients, keeping them from washing away when watered, which is exactly what we want. They also have a large surface area that helps hold onto water molecules allowing for greater water retention.

Incorporated back into the soil and combined with other types of organic matter (hello, compost!), biochar helps to create a living soil with a large, diverse microbial population to benefit the soil and plants and… reduces CO2 in the atmosphere.

Improves soil structure
Reduces nutrient leaching
Sequesters carbon in the soil

The results are plants that have larger root mass, better resistance to pests and disease, greater drought tolerance, and more vigorous overall health and growth. So, when you see Kellogg Garden Products like Organic Select Garden Soil and Organic Select Potting Mix formulated with BiocharMax, or G&B Organics Eden Valley Blend Garden Soil and Potting Mix also formulated with BiocharMax, you’ll know — it pays to follow Mother Nature’s lead!


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  1. I read that biochar needs to be “activated”, otherwise it could take up to 1 year to “activate” within your soil if all you do is add it. I recently just purchased the Raised Bed mix (not the G&B line) that does not have biochar in it, so I was considering adding it before planting. What is your recommendation? Should I purchase the “activator” as well to add to your soil along with the biochar? Or is it enough to just buy the biochar itself?

    Thank you!

  2. Hello, I have a question along the same line. Can I use your raised bed mix mixed with water to activate biochar chunks in a bucket?

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