The CenUSA Bioenergy biochar demonstration gardens are now about to embark on year two of the CenUSA Bioenergy project. This year, the University of Minnesota is adding the Fond du Lac Biochar Demonstration Garden in Brookston, MN to its list of biochar demonstration garden sites.
To be consistent across demonstration garden sites, we prepared biochar gardens in the same manner between all CenUSA Bioenergy biochar demonstration gardens in Minnesota and Iowa. Prior to planting, Josh (seen below) incorporated the biochar throughout the demonstration garden.
UMN Extension’s Dawn Newman (in the white shirt) and volunteers at the Brookston Community Center helped carry plants and planting supplies from the car to gardens.
Julie Weisenhorn, UMN Director of the Master Gardener program, orchestrated the planting using a planting plan that has been used at all the other CenUSA Bioenergy biochar demonstration gardens.
Julie explains the CenUSA Bioenergy biochar demonstration garden is 1000 sq ft and is divided into three plots of 300 sq ft each. Each plot has different amounts of biochar that have been added (or not added), as outlined here:
- a Control (CTRL) plot with no biochar added;
- a Treatment 1 (TRT1) plot amended with one-half pound of biochar per square foot (150 pounds), and a
- Treatment 2 plot (TRT2) amended with one pound of biochar per square foot (300 pounds).
We used soil test recommendations from the UMN soil test report and applied a nitrogen fertilizer and murate of potash to all plots. This fertilizer will provide the nitrogen and potassium needed to grow plants in the 1000 square foot Fond du Lac Demonstration Garden soils.
Volunteers gathered to get ready to plant.
Volunteer get ready to dig in the really sandy soil!
Planting gets underway in gardens.
We quickly realized our water set-up is not going to cut it all season long.
Julie writes a list of garden supplies, which includes soaker hoses!
That’s it for now. In the next few weeks, we’ll have updates on other biochar demonstration garden sites and biochar information. In the meantime, you may like to catch up on all CenUSA Bioenergy biochar demonstration garden blog posts @ https://publish.extension.org/mastergardener/tag/cenusa-bioenergy/ . Be sure to let us know if you have questions about this research. The blog comments are open for just this purpose.
“The CenUSA Bioenergy project is supported by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant No. 2011-68005-30411 from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.”