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FAQ | Kalanso

What does Kalanso mean?

Kalanso is a Bambara word that means "learning house." Bambara is spoken in Mali, and that's where Kalanso's founder, Pat, spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer working in water and sanitation.

What is soil?

Think of it as the uppermost layer of the earth; it's where all the plants grow. Plants grow in soil because it has a mixture of minerals, gases, liquids, and microorganisms that work together to support life.

Are Kalanso biochar-based soil amendments organic?

Yes, our biochar-based soil amendments are organic. We are currently seeking both OMRI and Organic certification for all of our products. All of our suppliers are OMRI Listed.

Why do you have three sizes of the same soil amendment?

Each size has its purpose in different circumstances: 

  • 1 quart is ideal for low volume containers in home
  • 1/2 gallon is good for larger volume containers outside
  • 1 gallon is what your looking for if you want to prepare your soil for planting several weeks or months in the future

How will Kalanso biochar-based soil amendments affect the size and quantity of my plants?

Biochar is like a health food store for your plants. When your plants are hungry or thirsty, they can find the water and food they need stored in the biochar.

Our biochar-based soil amendments  can increase the size and quantity of your plants' yield because more water and nutrients are available for plants to consume.

The general rule of thumb is if you're starting off with poor soil, you can expect significant gains. If you're starting off with high quality soil with lots of soil microorganisms, you could see low to moderate gains in yield. 

How will Kalanso biochar-based soil amendments affect how much I have to water my plants?

Often with container plants you need to water them every day. With our biochar-based soil amendments, you might only need to water your plants once or twice a week.

Why are you using plastic containers?

Since our containers have an Easy Grip, it’s easier to pour out the amount of soil amendment you need. Our containers are BPA free, FDA approved, and 100% recyclable.

There's condensation build-up inside my Kalanso Biochar container. Is that ok?

Yes, it's totally fine. We put the biochar through a "charging" process where we mixed it with compost and a compost tea to load it up with water, nutrients, and organic matter. If we didn't do that, the biochar would compete with your plants for water and nutrients, which would cause your plants growth to stunt or slow down. 

How long will it take for me to see results?

You'll likely see results within the first few months. The biggest thing you should notice is that you won't need to water as much.

Since biochar is a permanent soil amendment, these benefits compound year after year. In fact, adding more biochar to your soil every year is a great way to consistently grow beautiful, healthy plants.

How should the containers be stored when I'm not using them?

The containers should be stored out of the sunlight when not in use.

How much area will I be able to cover with a single container?

Our Easy Grip Containers suited for use in a small backyard garden or with container plants.

However, the general recommendation for outdoor gardens is to build a soil where the top 6 inches is made up of 5-10% biochar. We've even seen positive results with as little as 2% biochar.

You don’t need to achieve these proportions right away, they can be achieved over a period of a couple years.

How do I apply Natural Garden Biochar to my garden?

Since our Easy Grip Containers are best suited for container plants, feel free to mix in the Natural Garden Biochar by hand.

Other methods include “top dressing,” where you sprinkle Natural Garden Biochar on top of the soil and then wet it down with water, and “tilling,” where you use a tiller to mix Natural Garden Biochar into the soil.

How is biochar different from charcoal?

Not all charcoals are the same.

The charcoal that you use to grill has chemicals and tars inside it that make it a good fuel source. Biochar cannot be used as a fuel. In fact, when we make biochar, the starting material undergoes several physical and chemical changes that optimize the carbon for holding onto water and nutrients.

How is biochar different from activated carbon?

Biochar is a derivative of activated carbon, intended to be used in soil.

Do I need to add anything to my Natural Garden Soil Amendment?

Nope. Go ahead and add it directly to your soil. 🙂

My soil is sandy. Is biochar right for me?

Yes! Sandy soil is porous and doesn’t do a good job at retaining moisture. In this situation, the porosity of biochar helps to build structure in the soil so that it can retain water.

My soil has a lot of clay. Is biochar right for me?

Yes! Clay soil has the opposite problem that sandy soil has: it holds onto too much water! What biochar does with clay soil is it helps improve aeration and sorption so water can pass through into the root zone of the soil.

Will biochar absorb the chemicals I use to kill off harmful garden pests?

One of the properties of raw biochar that makes it so exciting is that it is incredibly absorbent. That’s why it can retain water and nutrients so well. However, it can absorb certain chemicals, too, and render them inert.

If you’ve spent a lot of money and effort putting down those chemicals, we can see how this might be a turn off.

The flip side is that by building a healthy soil, plants will be able to naturally resist many garden pests.