Research Results for CHARGROW


Effects of CharGrow Original Concentrate on Yield of Irish Potato, Sweet Corn and Tomato


  • 10% increase in Sweet Corn yield (2006-07)
  • 30 lb. / acre savings in nitrogen for Irish Potatoes (2006) 
  • 22% increase in Tomato yield (2007)
  • 51% increase in Tomato yield  at first pick ( average over 4 years)

Yield of tomatoes was achieved by adding 2 CUPS OF CharGrow PER 5 GALLONS OF THE TRANSPLANT POTTING MEDIA  ( a rate 4 cups per 5 gallons of transplant mix was used in 2010 trials - resulting in even higher yields)


Research Plans

Project Description:  While numerous organizations around the world have been researching the effects of biochar on soils (Lehmann, Johannes, John Gaunt, Marco Rondon, 2006), very few have focused on the combined effects of biochar with inoculation of beneficial organisms (Nilsson, J, 2008, Hawkins et. al 2007).  Carbon will be closing this information gap by providing real-world demonstrations of crop production systems that utilize biochar. It is expected that biocarbon practices will soon be able to be adopted across a wide range of crop systems. Evidence of acceptance of carbon-based practices has been shown by their recent inclusion in the 2008 Farm Bill (H.R.2419 - Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008) and their recommendation by NASA and USDA scientists James Hansen (Hansen, et. al. 2008), and David Laird (Laird, 2008).

Progress to date:  Using combined experience in soil science, microbiology and engineering, has achieved success in the development of carbon based soil amendments that reduce the amount of nitrogen required to grow various crops. Beginning with on farm trials (2002-2005), and continuing with research conducted by Virginia Polytechnic Institute (2005-2011), a set of best management practices has evolved which reduce input costs for commercial crop production (Morse, R and P. Stevens, 2006, 2007). The first commercial crop grown with this technology is a black-oil sunflower seed from a partnership with the NJ Audubon Society (with funds from USDA Conservation Innovation program). It is part of a carbon-based program for wild bird seed. In 2009, we expanded this research to container grown media in Florida.  In these trials, we saw better water water and nitrogen retention. This is significant, because commonly used fertigation systems can result in excessive nutrient leaching to groundwater.  More information will be available soon on our Carbon Char News blog. 

Literature Cited

Hansen, James, Makiko Sato, Pushker Kharecha, David Beerling, Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Mark Pagani, Maureen Raymo, Dana L. Royer, James C. Zachos, 2008. "Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?", In press. [Supporting materials ].

Hawkins, R, Nilsson, J , Ogelsby, R. and Day, D. et a Utilization of Biomass Pyrolysis for Energy production, Soil fertility and Carbon Sequestration. Summary of information presented May 7, 2007 at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development Partnerships Fair - Partnership in New Technologies for Small Island Developing States (unpublished).

Lehmann, Johannes, John Gaunt, Marco Rondon, 2006. Bio-Char Sequestration in Terrestrial Ecosystems. Mititagtion and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change 11: 403-427.

Laird, D.A. ,2008. The Charcoal Vision: A Win–Win–Win Scenario for Simultaneously Producing Bioenergy, Permanently Sequestering Carbon, while Improving Soil and Water Quality. Agronomy Journal: 100(1): 178-181.

Morse, R and P. Stevens, 2006, 2007. Effects of Carbon-Based Soil Amendment (CSA) on Crop Yield of
Irish Potato, Sweet Corn, Tomato and Bell Pepper (unpublished).

Nichols, K. 2002. Glomalin: Hiding Place for a Third of the World's Stored Soil Carbon. Agricultural Research: 50(9): 4-7

Nichols, K.A. 2008. Indirect Contributions of AM Fungi and Soil Aggregation to Plant Growth and Protection. IN: Siddiqui, Z.A., Akhtar, M.S., Futai, K. (eds.) Mycorrhizae: Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry. Spinger Science. pp. 177-194.

Nichols, K.A. 2008. Microbial engineering to enhance your bottom line. Meeting Proceedings for the 12th Annual No-Till on the Plains Winter Workshop, Salina, KS, Jan. 29-30. pp. 138-139.

Nilsson, Jon, 2008. Agricultural Applications for Biomass Pyrolysis.  Powerpoint presentation at the 2008 UN Commission on Sustainable Development Partnerships Fair - Partnership in New Technologies for Small Island Developing States