Monday, September 19, 2016


Please join UBET - Umpqua Biochar Education Team - at our annual Biochar Expo on October 15 from 10 am to 3 pm on the Umpqua Community College Campus. The Biochar Expo is a fun-filled day of learning and hands-on experience in making and using biochar for soil improvement.

Biochar is simply charcoal, that when properly made and combined with compost, manure and other nutrients, produces a superior amendment for building soil structure, retaining soil water, and supporting the soil food web of life.

UBET has held the annual expo every year since 2011 at the Discovery Garden at Forks State Park, but this year, UBET wanted to feature the work of the Umpqua Community College Welding Department on the UCC campus.

UCC has fabricated a number of biochar kilns for use in UBET's Biochar Farms and Compost project. UBET envisions a new industry in our region fabricating biochar kilns for farmers and gardeners at all scales. Abundant waste wood with no other use can be transformed into biochar with very little smoke pollution using these "flame cap kilns" designed by UBET volunteers.

The Expo will start with a morning of presentations and short films on biochar science. After a lunch break, UBET volunteers will show you how to make biochar in several kinds of simple devices. We will also demonstrate different ways of processing biochar to prepare it for application to soil.

Please note that the UCC Harvest Festival will be taking place at the same time on campus, and we encourage you explore those activities as well:

Biochar Expo Schedule
10 am to 12 noon - Classroom presentations and short films on the science of biochar and soils
12 to 12:30 - Lunch Break - bring your own or check out the food vendors at the concurrent Harvest Festival
12:30 to 3 pm - Outdoor demonstrations of biochar technologies

For more information, check the UBET website:

Making biochar at the 2015 Biochar Expo

Friday, September 9, 2016

David Yarrow at USBI 2016

Those of us who were able to attend USBI 2016 last month were very impressed with the workshop by David Yarrow (See David's 2-hour workshop was an epic journey "down the wormhole" of biochar. Wish you could have been there. However, the next best thing might be this article from the August 2016 issue of Acres Magazine:

Down the Wormhole: Customizing Biological Methods for Large-Scale Farming. By David Yarrow

Monday, September 5, 2016

UBET Presentations from USBI 2016

Here is a pdf file of the presentation that Don Morrison gave at USBI 2016 on the Drew Veg Biochar project that will use simple kilns to make biochar in the forest:

Download File

Here is a pdf file of the presentation that Kelpie Wilson gave at USBI 2016 on the UBET Conservation Innovation Grant project:

Download File

Here is the pdf file for our Poster, Pot trial to determine application rates of urea with biochar or boiler ash in an acidic pasture soil. By Don Morrison, Kelpie Wilson, Claire Phillips, Kristin Trippe, Viola Manning.

Bokashi Biochar at Willow Witt

Soils are on the alkaline side at Willow Witt Ranch, so we cultured the biochar we made with bokashi - a lactic acid bacteria fermentation. This reduced the pH of the biochar from about 8 to about 6.  Next stop for this bokashi-biochar after 3 weeks of fermentation will be the floor of the goat barn where it will soak up goat excretions, reducing odors and preventing the loss of valuable nitrogen. Barn sweepings then end up in the big compost pile for eventual application to the veggie garden.

Thank you to Southern Oregon Bokashi for donating bokashi bran for this project!
Barrels of biochar fermenting with bokashi
The recipe 
You can see white fuzz on the top of this fermented biochar - it is a beneficial soil bacteria called actinomycetes

Saturday, September 3, 2016