I have spent far too much time this fall/winter looking into gardening, and in my searching stumbled upon Terra preta and biochar. I'm intrigued, bordering on obsessed, with the idea of a soil amendment that will do such long term wonders. I'm disinclined to buy charcoal for this purpose, considering the availability of waste wood heading to landfills and my DIY preference towards things in general. I've checked the laws in my area, and it might be something I can do myself if I'm careful and my neighbors don't complain, but doing it myself involves either constructing some sort of gizmo or buying a premade gizmo (pretty pricey). My metal working and masonry skills are nonexistent, or I'd make something (I don't mind learning, but I don't have the money for welding equipment). I'm not shelling out thousands. I've found a few DIY plans that are small in scale but require too high a percentage of the wood consumed to be burned and too many hours of open flames to make a very small amount of charcoal. I have been researching my local burning laws, but I'm going to end up calling the fire department anyway. So, to my questions: Do any of you make your own charcoal? Any plans/methods I might take a look at? Do any of you buy charcoal for this purpose? What should I look for? Anything I'm missing?