Second Lecture about Soil Biology

I gave this lecture on soil biology  at CoLab in Paris in November 2015.


1st Lecture on Soil Biology

Here is a short introduction to soil biology and how we will be working with nature to grow coffee.

I did this talk during the Nordic Roaster Forum in 2015. Being the first I have done on soil biology, I am sure there is a lot of details that needs further correction and explenations, but at least it will give you an idea of what we want to achieve with the project.


Methods We’ve Tried

Planting shade trees - Helps us recover soil nutrients with their deep roots and leguminous species capture much needed Nitrogen and convert it into nitrates which are used by the coffee plant to grow

Making compost - our compost pile is typically 30-40% pasture, 50-60% woody material such as brown straw, brown leaves and wood shavings and 10% cow manure.

Seed balls / seed bombs - inspired by Mr Fukuoka and his philosophy. We are mixing clay with compost and a bit of dirt. Then we add water and seeds. The mix of the day is Clover, Alfalfa and Oats. The balls are rolled by hand and will be distributed by scattering them on the top of the soil in our farm before we cut all the weeds to make a mulch/ cover. This will help the seeds sprout and make it easier for the plants to establish themselves. Our farm is still in desperate need of good cover crops to prevent the soil from drying out and eroding. A good cover crop will also suppress weeds and fix nitrogen as both Alfalfa and Clover are legumes.

Organic pest control - Gualanday Nim seeds are used as an ant killer as we have a lot of ants that eat the coffee trees on the farm. We also pour compost tea with Beauveria Bessaina fungal spores into ant nests.

Compost extract - to boost the micro organism population in the soil and a bit of organic seaweed as food for the micro-organisms so that they can continue growing in population.



The Soil Food Web