Soil Products

Bone-char | Bio-char | Outdoor Garden Mix | Potting Soil

Ranch Foods Direct owner Mike Callicrate first got the idea of turning bones into biochar while learning about regenerative agricultural practices from Australian consultant Darren Doherty. He then tracked down Scott Bagley, of Athens, Ohio, who has an exclusive license to sell the Exeter Biochar Retort, the most state-of-the-art technology available for turning wood into biochar. Would the same method work on bones? They tried it and liked the results.

“Bonechar is biochar made from bones. With 35 percent phosphorus and 33 percent calcium I suspect bonechar not only has the benefits of wood-based biochar, but will greatly enhance any vegetable or flower bed amended by it.” -Scott Wilson, Master Gardener, Galileo Gardens Project


The Exeter Biochar Retort is a large round oven that uses a high-heat process called pyrolysis to charcoal materials in an energy efficient, clean-burning way. As the wood or bone is charred, instead of the carbon burning off and releasing into the atmosphere, it becomes “fixed” in the charred material, which can then be finely ground and added to compost. Bone-char enhances soil by creating a more porous structure that helps retain water, improve soil aeration and encourage healthy micro-organisms. But bone-char is also a natural fertilizer, rich in calcium and phosphorous. “There’s only a limited amount of phosphorous left in the world and it is all under the control of four big mining companies,” Mike says. With reserves dwindling, demand is expected to outstrip supply as early as 2030. “Charcoal is a valuable ingredient in rebuilding healthy soils,” Mike concludes. “Blended with composted manure and other nutrient-rich organic materials from our meat processing operation, it will make a great natural fertilizer.”

Why is soil considered a living thing – Karin Lindquist

Did you know that in just one handful of healthy soil can contain as many, if not more soil organisms than there are people on Earth?

The thing is, most soil ecosystem processes, soil organisms and the whole act of turning organic matter into food for plants occurs in the top 2 to 3 inches of the soil. This layer is the most sensitive and important part of an entire ecosystem—all ecosystems—for all life to thrive, let alone exist. Click here to continue.

In Cities Around the Country, New Action on Commercial Affordability by Olivia Lavecchia,
In many U.S. cities, finding and keeping an affordable location has become a major challenge for independent businesses. Two years ago, we took an in-depth look at the issue in our report, Affordable Space: How Rising Commercial Rents Are Threatening Independent Businesses, and What Cities Are Doing About It. We examined what’s causing the problem — from real estate financing that compels developers to exclude independent businesses, to the declining supply of small spaces — and also outlined six strategies that cities were beginning to use to address it.

Click here to continue.

Including biochar in dairy feed mixes has led to a marked increase in milk yield during trial work on the Fleurieu Peninsula, and its effects are set to be investigated in beef herds. In research conducted by Climate and Agricultural Support Group’s Melissa Rebbeck and funded by the Dairy Industry Fund, a hardwood-based biochar was added to a dairy herd’s feed mix at a rate of 150 grams a head per day. Click here to read more.

How to Use BioChar in Your Garden -Scott Wilson, Master Gardener, Galileo Gardens Project