R-Urban London





38 years ago Newham resident CHARLIE SEBER adopted an overlooked piece of land in the Lee Valley. Ever since, he has used it to cultivate masses of comfrey. Charlie will give us a guided tour of his field, talk about comfrey' s unique qualities and his many different experiments with the plant.

The walk will set off from the Lee Valley Riding Centre car park, where a workshop will be set up within Wick On Wheels – our mobile project space made from a specially re-purposed milk float. The workshop will feature various experiments from Charlie’s home laboratory, ranging from plant regulated growing systems using recycled bath tubs to a cure for blight using garlic pulp.

WHEN: Sunday 2nd December 2012, from 1 - 3pm
WHERE: Car park outside the Lee Valley Riding Centre, 71 Lea Bridge Rd., London, E10 7QL
RSVP: Places are limited, so please book in advance: mail@household-knowledge.net

East London Inventors Club

I was a little hesitent to take a picture inside the room partly due to the non disclosure agreement I had just signed. Charlie is a regular at the East London Inventors Club which meets on a monthly basis at the University of East London. Quite a useful resource if you need help developing some of your ideas or just want to meet like minded inventors to exchange tips and tricks.

Carbonised everything

The image shows carbonised oranges, before they will eventually be charged with comfrey liquid. Once charged they will be dug into the soil to slowly release the nutrients to the plant roots. Sounds simple enough but if not charged successfully the carbon can have the opposite effect and pull nutrients out of the ground. It is fair to say that experiments are still ongoing.

The phenomena has been observed in the Amazon - Terra preta - literally "black soil" inPortuguese, is a type of very dark, fertile anthropogenic soil found in the Amazon Basin. Terra preta owes its name to its very high charcoal content, and was made by adding a mixture of charcoal, bone, and manure to the otherwise relatively infertile Amazonian soil. It is very stable and remains in the soil for thousands of years.
(source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terra_preta)

Biochar is a name for charcoal when it is used for particular purposes, especially as a soil amendment. Like all charcoal, biochar is created by pyrolysis of biomass. Biochar is under investigation as an approach to carbon sequestration to produce negative carbon dioxide emissions. Biochar thus has the potential to help mitigate climate change, via carbon sequestration. Independently, biochar can increase soil fertility, increase agricultural productivity and provide protection against some foliar and soil-borne diseases. Furthermore, biochar reduce pressure onforests, though the degree to which results offer long term carbon sequestration in practice has been challenged. Biochar is a stable solid, rich in carbon and can endure in soil for thousands of years.
(source - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biochar)

If you are still interested also check the website of the international Biochar initiative as pointed out by Hamish (thanks) http://www.biochar-international.org