About two weeks ago, we prepared and planted demonstration plots at the re:char shamba here in Bungoma. The goal of the testplots is to show local farmers, farming organizations and you – our readers and re:char followers – the benefits of using biochar.
In our two sets of test plots, which include 19 and 21 beds each, we have used different fertilizers and controlled the amount of biochar included in each test plot. The effect of this method is to scientifically demonstrate the effect of biochar on crop growth. The goal is to demonstrate to local farmers that by using biochar, which will continue to stay and improve their soils for hundreds of years to come, they can reduce the amount of expensive chemical fertilizer they need to use, which they use every season.
So far, as you can see from the pictures below, the future is looking promising. The finger millet test plots already show marked improvement where biochar has been used. For example, by using just 1.6kg of biochar in a 4×4 meter test plot, the finger millet is growing better with half of the recommended fertilizer application rate. Additionally, the test plots are also showing that increased rates of biochar application further improve crop growth.
We look forward to keeping you posted on the results of the test plots throughout the season!