Don’t Burn Your Brush, Make Biochar

Turn your bonfire into black gold!

Did you know there is a way to turn your burn pile into a usable resource which can increase your vegetable garden yields and locks carbon and vital plant nutrients into your soil. The answer is Charcoal!

Charcoal has an extremely high porosity (air/empty spaces within the material), this allows it to absorb and hold onto a high percentage of water, nutrients, and biological matter; at a much more concentrated rate than any other material found in our soil.

‘Biochar’ is a name you have probably heard of thrown around, but there is a stark difference between Charcoal and Biochar.

Biochar is simply charcoal, but has been inoculated with biological material; hence ‘Bio’ char. You can turn charcoal into its activated biochar version by simply soaking it in worm tea, compost tea or animal manure tea. It will absorb, and lock in any nutrients which are within the soaking solution. The other option is to incorporate into a compost heap, which over time will inoculate the charcoal naturally.

How to make it?

There are many methods out there to make charcoal, today we will give you the easiest, simplest way.

1: create a circular burn pile with clean wood, leaves and sticks (no nails, chemically treated or painted)

2: Set alight from the top, in the middle and enjoy it as it burns down

3: Push brush from the outside with a rake, to the middle as it burns, until you have a clean burn (no flames, mostly coals which break apart easy)

4: Once you see white ash forming on top, extinguish with a hose. You may need to do this repeatedly, depending on the size of the pile.

5: What you should be left with is Charcoal! You can break this up by hand into smaller size particles or use a woodchipper/mulcher. As above, soak in a biological tea for 3 days or longer. Incorporate into your garden bed soil or compost.

Please note biochar is not a fertiliser, but a soil amendment. You can expect an increase in yield/performance over several years, this increase is long-lasting due to the locking action of charcoal.

Guest Speaker: Vermicomposting with Davo’s Worm Farms

Davos Worm Farms_3

The Invermay Landcare Group will be hosting David from ‘Davo’s Worm Farms’ to talk all things vermicomposting (Composting with worms). David has been involved with commercial vermicomposting for over 10 years, his philosophy is a no waste approach. Turning what would be a waste product into a useable and sustainable resource.

(To find out more visit:

We invite anyone interested to come along.

A BBQ will be provided at 7pm the presentation will follow   from 7.30 – 8.15 pm.

The UMEC Landcare Network general meeting will run after this.

Contact Joel to RSVP or more information.

Email: or Mob: 0457 008 895


Free Trees 2018

TO APPLY: Please fill in the relevant form for your area below.

For inquiries contact Joel:

Mobile: 0457 008 895



Invermay, Miners Rest, Cardigan and Windermere —-> Click Here

Beckworth, Bolton, Burrumbeet and Lexton —-> Click Here

Beaufort, Lake Goldsmith, Snake Valley, Stoneleigh  —-> Click Here


Note: Current membership is required to claim your allocation of trees

UMEC Membership: —-> 2018 Membership Application Form


Mullawallah Wetlands Tour

An excellent turnout was seen at last nights ‘Walk and Talk’ at the Mullahwallah Wetlands, Hosted by the Cardigan-Windermere group and UMEC Landcare Network. The group was guided by Rodger Thomas, a local expert on the wetlands. As Rodger explained this wetland was a significant resource for the aboriginal people who used the wetland to collect valuable food and materials. The Wetland is also home to many birds species, some of which are inter-continental breeders and highly endangered.

We later ventured down the walking track, which is maintained by the C-W landcare group. it was great to see the newly installed information signs as well as seeing the successful work in rehabilitating the edge of the wetland with  native grasses.

Thanks to all those who came along!


Climate/seasonal outlook for November 2017 to January 2018

Summary for the Ballarat region and surrounds:

-There is no shift towards it being wetter or drier than usual from November to January (Between 100-150mm is forecast over the next 3 months)

– 50% chance of it being wetter than average, however it is most likely to be drier than usual over these coming months

– Streamflows are forecast to be median to lower than average

– Temperatures are likely to be higher than average



Resourced from: Bureau of Meteorology, 2017. For further information visit

South West Landcare Gathering

The South West Landcare Gathering is being held in Portland on Thursday 8th June.

This is a fantastic chance to hear some Landcare success stories from our region!

TO REGISTER: Call Tony or Dion as on the flyer. There will be a FREE bus leaving from Ballarat in the morning, call Tony or Dion for more information.


Free Trees 2017

Please fill in the relevant form for your area below to apply.

For inquiries contact Joel – Mobile: 0457 008 895 or Email:

Free Trees: Beckworth, Bolton, Burrumbeet and Lexton —-> [Click here]

Free Trees: Invermay, Miners Rest, Cardigan and Windermere  —->  [Click Here]

Free Trees: Beaufort, Lake Goldsmith, Snake Valley, Stoneleigh  —-> [Click Here]


Note: Current membership is required to claim your allocation of trees

UMEC Membership: —-> Membership Application Form