The old mine site, heavily compacted over acid producing material, capped with 3 mts of compacted clay and 500mm of very poor soil
Paul Taylor was in Laos in January, working on regenerating a mine site by focusing on soil improvement and planting a food forest. Here you will find his photo diary of the steps they went through to achieve this.
Management negotiating the use of the grader to rip and mound the site
Mounding the soil on contour, dry and rocky, very low organic matter and no structure.
Hydro-seeding immediately after earthworks for improved germination, bio-fertiliser and soil pro-biotics (compost tea) added to hydro-seeder.
The crew were keen to learn and I had 2 good translators. Most training sessions were practical at the nursery site, but there were also 5 classroom teaching sessions.
Teaching at the nursery site making soil pro-biotic with aeration, and also how to make products at home using low tech systems.
Soil pro-biotic (specialist compost tea). Here they call it ‘jungle juice’.
We burn bones and crush them into fine powder, then we burn again with rice husk added to make ‘physical’ soluble Ca, Si, and P.
Bone dust crushed and sieved ready to be burned again with rice husk.
Bone burning with rice husk to make soluble foliar fertiliser.
Smoldering for 15 hours
As mixing materials for the planting on site, we used dry cow manure, rice husk, forest soil and compost, which was then wetted with compost tea and bio-fertiliser.
Earlier we had made a pile of “Bio-Vital Compost”, which has now reached the desired temperature.
We only had limited species for planting the demonstration site.
Soaking cassava in compost tea and bio-fertiliser before planting.
Rough and dry conditions with poor soils, but good for a demonstration site and typical of mine sites.
Willing workers add compost before planting.
End of day 2 planting using wood chip and rice straw for mulch.
3 Weeks later we have a green scape using natural products, local waste and natural systems: ‘trust nature’.
Willing workers and keen learners make this all possible, and long hours give great results!
Paul is teaching Sustainable Soil Management courses here at PRI Sunshine Coast on the following dates: 1 – 5 April, 3 – 7 June and 26 – 30 August. If you are interested in learning the techniques described in this photo diary, please go to our Sustainable Soil Management page for more information. You can find Paul Taylor’s website at www.trustnature.com.au.
Zaia is a musician, homesteader, permaculturist, holistic health and wellness coach and sustainability advocate. She and husband Tom run permaculture designed farm "Kendall Permaculture Farm" on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia and the not for profit organisation PermEco Inc. and teach permaculture and self reliance. Zaia loves cooking and always comes up with new and different recipes to prepare the food she grows. She is a percussionist and is involved in various musical projects, including community music projects. She writes about life on the farm and tries to post regular photos and articles.
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