The annual UCR Turf Field Day had its usual turnout of several hundred from across California and beyond. Jon Montgomery's thesis includes a large field experiment funded by the Metropolitan Water District's Innovative Conservation Program. Enjoy Jon's enthusiastic description of the project and his results, but please ignore me:
Jeff Licht from the University of Massachusetts and Frank Shields from the Soil Control Lab will be visiting next week, November 2-4.
Jeff has been working on biochar, green roofs, and restoration projects. His most recent work shows biochar effects on plant water stress that are not measurable by standard methods.
Frank worked for Soil Control Lab for many years, and had the only protocol set up to accept biochar samples for testing of properties related to plant productivity.
A number of other people from the biochar community will be stopping in. If you would like to join us, send me an email and I will give you the particulars. We will probably have a reception on Monday night, and presentations and meetings throughout their stay.
The Governor has been expressing concerns about dying trees and wildfires. Mike Ballantine passed on this link explaining why this could be a future environmental disaster, and how biochar might fit in:
Dave Dzwilewski from Gail Materials in Los Angeles sent me some interesting articles on biochar and water. Like a lot of people, his concern is whether adding biochar to the soil will or will not decrease the need for irrigation. There are a lot that show it will, but one of the better ones showing it won't comes from a group from several northern European countries. You can find the study by searching for the title of the report:
Effects of biochar on water retention in the Interreg Biochar: climate saving soils field trials
As with all these studies, it really depends on which biochar you use and the soil type. But this study was thorough and collected the right data.
PS: Thanks to everyone that came to our reception for Frank Shields and Jeff Licht. We had a lot of people excited about biochar and a good time.
This is a very nice article about a group in the Claremont area called Uncommon Good:
Uncommon Good uses biochar and other amendments for locally grown organic produce. To quote their website (http://uncommongood.org/?page_id=160):
"Half of the food grown is sold to the community from Uncommon Good's office, Monday through Saturday. The other half is given to the families served by Uncommon Good who cannot afford fresh produce. The farmers are fathers of children in the education program who are paid a living wage and benefits by Uncommon Good. The farm plots also serve as real world learning laboratories, both for science subjects and small business development skills, for the students and parents served by Uncommon Good."