12 September 2012
River Cottage HQ has been participating in the
Big Biochar Experiment.
The Big Biochar Experiment is the first large-scale experiment on the use of biochar in allotments and gardens. A joint venture funded by Oxford Biochar - A local company set up by ECI researchers Dr Cecile Girardin and Dr Russell Layberry - and led by researchers at the ECI and Earthwatch, the Big Biochar Experiment aims to gather quantitative data on above-and below-ground productivity, and qualitative data on plant and soil health of widely used fruit and vegetable varieties.
Among the hundreds of individuals taking part in the Big Biochar Experiment, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage HQ in Dorset has been taking part in the trail this year. The Oxford Biochar team visited the River Cottage Autumn fair last week where they gathered photos from their trails (see photos to right: top shows a chilli plant grown with biochar at the River Cottage HQ and the bottom is without). Plans are underway to set up larger scale plots with River Cottage next year.
Preliminary results from the Big Biochar Experiment indicate a significant improvement in yield, root production and leaf colour for radishes, garlic, onions, lettuces and pack choi when grown with a biochar soil enhancer. Full analysis is ongoing to confirm these early outcomes.