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Is biochar a good soil amendment for home gardens?

To answer this question, University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners and Iowa State Master Gardeners are testing the productivity of vegetable and flower gardens amended with biochar at four Minnesota sites and three sites in Iowa from 2012-2015.

Demonstration gardens are planted each year with typical garden plants such as tomatoes, peppers and zinnias in beds that were applied with biochar prior to the first planting in year-one on the project.  No further biochar was, or will, be added during the duration of this project. These gardens are planted and maintained each season by Extension Master Gardeners and youth volunteers.  Growth and yield measurements are taken on plants at designated times of the season and compared across the sites to help determine any positive or negative effects of biochar on the garden plots.

To learn more about this project click 


  • Julie Weisenhorn, University of Minnesota
  • Lynne Hagen, University of Minnesota
  • Yvonne McCormick, Iowa State University
  • Cindy Hayes, Iowa State University
  • Denny Schrock, Iowa State University


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