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Wood Vinegar


Let’s dive into the fascinating world of wood vinegar – what it is, how it’s made, and the cool benefits it brings to a small homestead setting:

What is Wood Vinegar?

Wood vinegar, also known as pyroligneous acid or liquid smoke, is a natural liquid produced during the process of making charcoal or biochar from wood. It’s made by heating wood in a special way, which releases a bunch of helpful substances into the liquid.

How is Wood Vinegar Made?

Here’s a simple way to make wood vinegar on a small homestead:

  1. Collect Wood Scraps: Gather leftover wood scraps or small branches from your property or nearby woods.
  2. Make a Kiln: Build a small kiln using bricks or stones. This is like a mini oven where you’ll heat the wood.
  3. Stack the Wood: Place the wood scraps inside the kiln, stacking them in a way that leaves gaps for air to flow through.
  4. Start the Fire: Light a fire at the bottom of the kiln and let it burn slowly. The heat will cause the wood to release gases.
  5. Capture the Vapor: As the wood burns, the gases rise and condense into liquid form above the fire. You can collect this liquid in a container.

Benefits of Wood Vinegar:

  1. Natural Pesticide: Wood vinegar acts as a natural pesticide, keeping pesky insects and pests away from your plants. It’s like having a guardian to protect your garden!
  2. Plant Growth Booster: When you dilute wood vinegar with water and use it to water your plants, it works as a plant growth booster. Your plants will grow faster and stronger, like little champions!
  3. Soil Conditioner: Wood vinegar helps improve the quality of your soil by making it more fertile. Healthy soil means happy plants and better harvests!
  4. Compost Enhancer: Adding wood vinegar to your compost pile helps speed up the composting process. It’s like giving your compost superpowers!
  5. Deodorizer: You can use wood vinegar as a natural deodorizer around your homestead. It masks unpleasant smells and leaves a fresh, woody scent.
  6. Natural Cleaning Agent: Wood vinegar is also useful for cleaning. Mix it with water and use it to clean surfaces around your home. Say goodbye to chemical cleaners!

So, with wood vinegar, you’re making the most out of wood scraps, helping your plants grow strong, and creating a cleaner and greener homestead. It’s like having a magic potion that keeps everything in harmony! Have fun experimenting with wood vinegar and seeing the wonderful results it brings to your small homestead setting. Happy farming!

Here’s it all in more detail

Wood Vinegar, also known as pyroligneous acid or liquid smoke – is a powerful liquid obtained from condensation of gases from the carbonization of plant biomass.

It brings multiple benefits in areas such as crop and livestock farming, it presents farmers with an opportunity to make the switch from conventional agrochemicals.
Unlike conventional agrochemicals made from synthetic and petroleum-based materials which can cause problems like soil degradation and environmental pollution, Wood Vinegar is biodegradeable and plant-based, staying friendly to the environment, plants and animals.

from: http://wood-vinegar.com/about-wood-vinegar/

Foto: CAON Facebook page

Users of the NOA group comment as follows: “

Like all living organisms, agricultural plants tend to be quite conservative in their use of resources. Their evolutionary objective isn’t to create as much foliage, fruit and vegetables for us as possible, but rather to produce enough seeds to ensure the next generation. They don’t know a farmer is taking care of their every need, but rather genetically assume there will be tough times ahead. Photosynthesis requires water and minerals, and the more cells you have as a plant, the more water and minerals you will need to obtain to support them all.

Wood vinegar, also known as pyroligneous acid, contains over 200 organic compounds, extracted from biomass using a moderate amount of heat in the absence of oxygen. Wood vinegar upregulates photosynthesis to a signficant degree, kicking it into a higher gear, which has a cascade of effects on plant health and productivity. First, the rate of foliage growth is signficantly increased, which further increases a plant’s overall photosynthetic capacity because of the increase in leaf area. Energy providing carbohydrates produced during photosysthesis flood the plant, and during the night these are excreted into the soil to nourish the microorganisms surrounding the roots, and their populations explode.

The microbes that surround a plant’s root system are in a symbiotic relationship. They dissolve the minerals they need and in the process make them plant available. Some microbes, such as mycorrhizal fungi, transport them into the plant root hairs in a direct exchange for carbohydrates. Others, such as bacteria, have a very short lifespan and release dissolved minerals into the soil solution as they die. Multi-celled organisms excrete dissolved minerals into the soil solution as their waste product.

In sum, when wood vinegar upregulates photosynthesis, the increased microbial activity surrounding a plant’s root system rapidly provides both higher levels and a greater diversity of plant available, dissolved minerals. And this allows our plant to support a much higher level of productivity. The philosopy behind regenerative agriculture is to “feed the soil”, specifically to feed the soil microbes, and let the soil microbes feed the plant. This is exactly what wood vinegar does.

As a result of this cascade of effects, the plant will produce more flowers, vegetables and fruits. The produce from these plants will not only have higher amounts of nutritious minerals, but also a wider variety of minerals compared to vegetables produced using chemical fertilizers. And they will have richer, sweeter, more appetizing flavors.”

Benefits of wood vinegar for charcoal producers in Namibia

Here’s an article from the Allgemeine Zeitung of December 2022. It’s translated using Google Translate. For the original please go to:


“By Elvira Hattingh, Grootfontein

(Edited by Frank Steffen)

In an interview in September 2022 on the Namibian tourism program, the managing director of the Charcoal Association of Namibia (CAoN), Michael Degé, showed the AZ samples of so-called wood vinegar for the first time. Now, CAoN is already talking about the charcoal industry developing the wood vinegar manufacturing industry to the point where it could be marketed as a standalone. Studies abroad prove that the local product is good.

In this way, the penetrating smoke that arises during the production of charcoal can be removed in a worthwhile way. In the coming year, CAoN will therefore offer local courses to train the manufacturers, while a distillation plant is planned in the Otjiwarongo area, Degé said.

Wood vinegar has been proven around the world to be an excellent soil fertiliser, pest repellent, plant growth stimulant (including in vegetable and fruit production) and an aid to people with stomach disorders. It is also considered to be very environmentally friendly as it can be used as a substitute for chemical products such as pesticides that could have adverse effects on people and nature.

“The wood vinegar industry is still in its infancy in Namibia,” said Degé. CAoN is the local leader in the development of this product. It is now necessary to create an incentive for producers to let the smoke out of charcoal stoves. “We want to urge the industry to do this more – after all, this is for the benefit of the producers themselves,” said Degé.

The association would constantly work on the development of devices that can bleed the smoke from stoves, i.e. smoke condensers. After the first tests and the positive assessment of the product, the domestic market is now in the development stage: “The news is spreading quickly and people have already started using the product.”

Degé wants to keep interested parties informed about CAoN and so it should be known where the products are available.

Meanwhile, CAoN continues to work on the smoke condenser development – the second model can be connected to traditional kilns. The device, the design of which is available to CAoN members, condenses the smoke into a wood acid mixture that can be further processed into valuable by-products such as humic acid and wood vinegar.”

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