Biochar is a solid charcoal-like material which is made by heating organic materials (biomass) in a low oxygen environment, through a process called pyrolysis.

The ‘feedstock’ organic materials used to make biochar can include agricultural wastes (crop residues, manures and food wastes), woody wastes (hard or soft wood) and biosolids or organic industrial wastes.

Interest is growing around biochar as both a soil amendment and to increase carbon sequestration to soil. It can be used to build soil organic carbon, improve nutrient and water retention, and improve soil structure.

This fact sheet explores what biochar is, how it can be used in vegetable production, what to consider if using biochar, and where you can get it.