15 March 2010

The Charcoal Burners

A number of trees in the garden had mealy bug

so R and K came and cut them down
and made a coal pit.
After fencing it in with fig stalks and galvanise
they then lit it, covered it with earth and left
it to smolder for a few days.
They checked it every day to make sure it did not burst
and when deemed ready, they opened it and raked out the coals,
only using a little water and mostly earth to out the fire, in order
that the coals would 'ring' .......
...... the tinkling sound that tells you that the coals are nice and dry and will burn well.
Making coals is really hard work, T and I did it once after Ivan but this time we just supplied the wood and got some free coals and good company in exchange. A bucket of local coals at today's price will cost you $15 E.C.


  1. It's this drought that's causing the mealy bugs, isn't it?

    I read this wonderful concept of breeding certain garden insects to eat the bad ones, instead of using pesticides. People sell them...the good insects, that is.

    Coconut shell...the hard, dry, brown shell...burns well and some folks here use it instead of coals. I don't know if people in the islands know this...mostly, only the older, East Indian folks here know it.

  2. Hi GG, interesting, dry coconuts are still a bit scarce in our village since Ivan, but I'll give it a go if we find any.....yes, the drought is definitely making the mealy bugs worse, I met a 'man from the ministry' who told me about using predators instead of pesticides but am not sure about that either, think we'll just let nature take it's course....
    since I posted this the Charcoal Burners have got work elsewhere so looks as though it will be me and T 'picking over the coals' after all...

  3. A couple years ago at the height of the mealy bug infestation Ladybirds were imported into Trinidad. They seem to have worked in my area at least as I haven't seen any mealy bugs for the past 3 years. Very cool info and pictures about making charcoal.

  4. oooh yes.... was just reading yesterday about growing plants to encourage ladybirds, thanks Wizzy.

  5. Ladybirds!

    Thank you Wizzy, thank you.

    I will try suggesting this all over the place!

    See why I like blogging?

  6. So that is how you make charcoal! Thanks for the description and pictures. It looks like quite a lot of work, I have often just poured charcoal into the BBQ without ever thinking where it came from or how it was made.

  7. yes, me too Glennis, we just finished picking over some more coals today, but it is very satisfying and makes me feel safe knowing that we have an alternative fuel supply, if and when we need it.

  8. What an interesting blog, I loved the descriptions of the making of charcoal.


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