Making Biochar on the Cheap

I decided to write this article because I was getting a lot of interest and questions regarding my biochar experiments on nostr.

Biochar has many amazing properties that bring many benefits to your homestead. This article isn’t about all the good things biochar can do for you, there are plenty of those already on the net. Rather this article is about how you can make your own biochar on your property for very little out of pocket expenses.

More accurately this article is about how I have made biochar on my own.

Resources I highly recommend watching before making your first batch of biochar.

Youtube – Biochar. Best method for producing charcoal for biochar.

Youtube Playlist – Biochar Workshop: What, Why and How?

Youtube – Top Reason Why Biochar Doesn’t Increase Crop Yields & 5 Ways to Fix it

Method #1 – The Conical Hole in the Ground.

For this method all you need is a shovel. I learned about this by watching the video Youtube – Biochar. Best method for producing charcoal for biochar.

Dig a hole in the shape of a cone.

Separate your wood into piles based on thickness, small (kindling), medium, large.

Build a fire in the hole with your kindling wood. As the kindling burns place medium sized wood on top of the burning kindling. Lay the wood horizontally. As it starts to burn lay larger pieces.

As the wood burns carefully smash the fire down with your shovel. This effectively smothers the wood below due to lack of oxygen (O2). This lack of O2 coupled with the high heat of the burning wood above initiates pyrolysis turning the wood into biochar.

When you bash the pile down the fire will start to die, revitalize it by adding more kindling, then medium sized wood then large and repeat the bashing process. do this until your hole is completely filled.

Once you are happy with your results quickly douse the fire with water. Dousing has the effect of shattering the biochar into smaller fragments creating more surface area for all the good critters to thrive.

Method #2 – The 55 Gallon Drum Biochar Retort

I learned this method by watching Youtube Playlist – Biochar Workshop: What, Why and How? and trying to recreate what I saw in the video.

For this method you will need:

  • 55 gallon drum with a lid
  • 4 – 6 inch diameter Stove pipe at least 24 inches long
  • A coupling to attach pipe to lid (I don’t know what they’re called)
  • Angle grinder with cut off disc or something that will cut metal
  • Drill with metal bits
  • Sheet metal screws

Important: None of these measurements are critical, this is just what I did. There’s room for improvement.

The Barrel

Drill 8 1/2″ holes 3″ from the top of the barrel

Drill 8 1/4″ holes below every other 1/2″ hole and 8 1/8″ hole above (see pic)

Cut 4 2-3″ equilateral(ish) triangular holes with angle grinder 1/2″ from the bottom of the barrel.

Cut the appropriate sized hole in the lid for your coupling

Affix your coupling to the lid with sheet metal screws.

Affix your chimney to the coupling.

The Retort – 35 gallon drum

In my case I couldn’t find a 35 gallon drum for my retort so I’m using a small garbage can with a lid.

Drill 5 1/2″ holes in the bottom of your retort (see pic)

Fill your retort with sticks and twigs and stuff. Make sure there’s a variety in the size of things and there’s breathing room. If you pack it too tightly you may not get a full pyrolysis.

Place the lid on your retort, pack the sides with wood vertically, and on top of the lid.

Light the fire. Once the fire is burning nicely place the lid with the chimney atop your barrel and let it burn.

It usually takes a couple of hours for the burn to complete.

Optionally when the fire is done burning and using good quality welding gloves, remove the lids to the barrel and retort then douse the biochar.

I don’t do this because I don’t like getting burned so I wait until the next day to see the results.

My next task is to figure out how to grind it up.

I have also used the biochar for grilling food. It works great! I’m never buying charcoal again.

Please if you have any questions or comments you can find me on nostr.

If you found value in this then please send some back value in the form of sats on the lightning network via nostr or my Alby address
My nostr public key is npub15z2javq62eh2xpms7yew0uzqsk4dr7t3q3dq4903uuxdyw2ca3kstx6q95

Notes an Other Stuff Transmitted by Relays (nostr)

If you’re not on nostr yet then get with the program. It’s way better than twitter, facebook, or any other social media platform you’ve ever used. It’s better because it’s not a platform but a protocol that is very censorship resistant. learn more at

LibreLeaf Acres, Kolomona’s Next Chapter

Here begins next chapter in my pursuit towards more liberty in my life. If you haven’t read the first chapter I recommend you check out where I document my Journey from Washington State to Fiddletown CA.
A lot has happened since my last post on Libresults. After Amador county started harassing me about living on my own land I decided that it wasn’t a good idea to post about it. I’ve been kind of laying low so to speak.

I will give a very brief overview of what has happened since my last post. Maybe someday in the future I’ll fill in the gaps.

In October of 2022, I received a bit of inheritance from my Grandparents on my father’s side. It wasn’t enough to live on for the rest of my life, but it was enough that I had some major life changing decisions to make. I could stay in CA and build a tiny home. If I did that it would consume every penny and I would still have a mortgage, plus I’d be in Amador county CA where liberty would be difficult at best. I could sell the property in CA and look across the country for as place that I could buy outright and have no mortgage at all. I chose the latter. It still consumed nearly every penny but I think I made the better decison.

I found a beautiful 11 acre property in Ozark county 5 miles North of Bull Shoals Lake. I flew down to look at it and fell in love with the place.

The property has a small 1 room log cabin that was built in the 70’s with a kitchen, bathroom and store room additions that were built later. It has power ๐Ÿ™‚. After living off grid for a year having power is super awesome. It has a well but no septic ๐Ÿ™ There are pits for grey water. Luckily there are no building codes here whatsoever so putting in a septic should be pretty straight forward.

The cabin, large, metal shed. The property came with a working small tractor and a “pond” that doesn’t hold water.

There are several out buildings, including a large metal building on a slab, a carport / garage, 2 large metal carports, a nice 8×12 shed, a small tool shed, and a wood shed. There are 2 RVs on the property. One of the RVs is pretty much junk while the other is nice and could easily be made livable.

The previous owner was an Ivy league graduate with a P.H.D. He was a bit of an eccentric and collected a bunch of interesting things. I bought the place with all his belongings as part of the deal. In future writings I’ll go through all the interesting things about this property and the things on it.

I closed on the property in November. I put in my notice at my job Cavana’s Pub and Grub in Sutter Creek. I highly recommend that you visit Cavana’s if you get the opportunity. Sean and Chelsea (the owners) are wonderful people. (even though as of this writing Sean is still a No Agenda db ๐Ÿ˜„)

I then purchased a 6ft x 12ft trailer and made my way back to WA to collect all my stuff, then back to CA to gather the rest, then finally I made the drive to MO. The trip was super scary as I was way too overloaded, but I made it around December 1st 2022.

I made it nearly 2000 miles without indecent until my cattle guard took out my trailer jack. That’s what happens when you’re tired and impatient.

Since my arrival I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning and organizing. It feels like I haven’t made a dent, there’s so much to do, but I don’t mind the work at all

I have a nice pasture, I hope to have hair sheep someday. There’s a seasonal stream that runs the entire length of my property๐Ÿ™‚

I call my property “LibreLeaf Acres”, Libre for liberty and freedom, Leaf for homesteading and farming, hence liberty from the land, more or less.

I have a whole lot more to add so please stay tuned. I have great plans for this property as well as this website.

As always if you would like to support me on my adventure please visit

Welcome to LibreLeaf Acres

My name is Kolomona Myer and this is the future site of my homestead, LibreLeaf Acres.

My journey began on On Sept 1st 2021 when I decided to go on a “walkabout” of sorts.

You can read all about it at

This site is dedicated to the next chapter of my life.

I recently purchased 11 Acres of land in Theodosia Missouri and am now in the process of moving from Fiddletown CA.

The move will take the better part of the next few weeks, but as soon as I arrive I will begin documenting my progress towards building a homestead and becoming more independent.

Stay tuned …