One of our biochar studies, involving corn no prescription viagra and sunflowers, is moving along quite well. We have managed to keep the deer and other critters out of the plot. As always, we are very careful about bias.
In statistical terms, bias can easily create false results. For example, I truly want to believe that biochar does all of the wonderful things as a soil amendment that it’s so often advertised to be. So, it is very easy to, without necessarily recognizing it, make my biochar test plots look better than the plots without biochar. How easy? Here are some common possibilities:
- Watering the biochar plot more often, or with more water than the non-biochar plant.
- Taking the largest yielding biochar sample and comparing it against a poor-yielding non-biochar plant.
- Planting with biochar and compost on one sample but not planting the other plants with the compost.
There are more biases but I’m sure you get the point.
Doing comparison testing is tedious. Not many entities selling biochar even do these tests. For me, I have to know for myself. Our business is on the line. Sure, we could quote other “biochar experts” about the benefits of biochar, but there is more to any subject than what we read in a text book. We don’t owe it just to ourselves; we owe it to you, our reader or customer!
The pictures below describe very graphically how the entire experiment is going. One picture shows me standing in corn that has an average height of about my waist. This corn was planted without biochar. The other picture shows me standing in corn that has an average height of almost shoulder-high. This corn was planted with biochar. Both plots are separated by only about eight feet.
The picture below shows sunflower plants that were planted with biochar. The ruler I am holding is 2 feet long.
Next year, it will be a different story, as far as this garden area is concerned. Another study that has been underway all summer long will conclude with a large area, which includes our corn and sunflower plots, being inoculated with biochar and compost. 2012 will prove to be a very exciting year for this sample area. We look forward to sharing our studies at that time!
And yes, it’s the end of July and the corn is not very large at all with both plots. The same is true for the sunflower plants, also shown below. What gives? Your guarantee of no bias! The entire area was newly broken ground back in 2010. The soil is void of many nutrients. After tilling it up in 2010, we did add a significant amount of compost. This was the first time for nearly a century that this ground was broken for any type of crop.