I was replying to a post over at Patricks Bifurcated Carrots blog about his response to my Terra Preta blogs and decided I should probably post part of the relevant text here for others with an interest in this ancient technology to see:
Basically my new idea is; why bring the worms to the charcoal when you can bring the charcoal to the worms. In other words I will create my charcoal, soak it in a nutrient solution and then apply it to my worm bins in the new and improved worm house I recently blogged about. In this way the charcoal (which will be buried in the 36″ deep bins) will be able to absorb nutrients from the worm castings/compost and will also be inoculated by the beneficial soil microbes. Of course this will be applied in a two layer hill system as described in my original blog and will still entice the local endemic earthworm populations as well as the local endemic soil micro-organisms to come check things out but then there will be less waiting as the majority of the nutrients will be laying in wait for use by plants, as the nutrients escape the worm castings they will be caught up by the charcoal (which is slowly releasing the nutrient it was soaked in as well as the worm casting/raw compost nutrients), In such a way I will have created a time released version of worm castings/compost and implemented a very simplified form of Terra Preta on my farm.
I genuinely think I might be onto something with this. After all the heating of "the Wyrm" house will produce the needed bi-product of charcoal to place in the bins making it a one stop process in the digestive section of the new worm house!