More on our way to sustainability at Frog Hollow Farm

•  As soon as the rains stop and the ground dries, we will start filling the 700 tree holes that will be replanted with new trees with thermophilic compost. This is part of our program to start concentrating on re-plant areas and on problem trees. The biology and the chemical composition (in terms of nutrients available to tree roots in the rhizosphere) of the compost will be analyzed before application. The thermophilic compost will be overlaid with worms (Eisenia fetida) and vermicompost enclosed in a “sock” that is made of a synthetic mesh-like porous material that drains well but at the same time retains proper moisture and can be exposed to the elements. Small molecules such as sugars, nitrogen etc…, microbes and immature worms and microarthopods can cross the mesh but adult worms cannot. Since the sock is porous, it can treated with compost teas. These socks will provide an almost continuous supply of worms next to the trees and also a continuous supply of nutrients which will be present in the compost teas and also made by the worms. The compost teas will be tailored to the soil based on periodic biological and chemical analyses of the soil. Since the socks will be short in length, the initial inoculum of worms inside the sock will be small and this will limit expenses. We have tested the socks in preliminary experiments. We will use the following controls: some trees will receive only thermophilic compost, some trees will receive only vermicompost socks. Because we have already established that our thermophilic compost is beneficial, we will forego a control with no composts.

•  Last March, Frog Hollow Marketing director, Pearl Driver, organized Frog Hollow Farm’s participation in the “This way to sustainability conference” organized by Chico State University (CSU, Chico is in an elite group of schools across the country singled out for their exemplary environmental programs and policies). Farmer Al presented a very well-attended slide show on sustainable farming at Frog Hollow and was assisted in the question and answer period by Monique and Christophe. We attended a seminar on carbon footprints and we learned about the Climate Registry. The mission of the registry is to provide collaboration between various North American governments, educational institutions and business entities to set consistent standards to calculate green house gas emissions and publicly report them. Members receive access to specialized software and training. Members not only publicly report their green house gas emissions but also identify and manage their strong points and weak points in terms of green house gas emissions. Monique and Al will be joining the registry and will be analyzing the green house gas emissions at Frog Hollow.

Author: Christophe Kreis  MLF Soil Consulting PhD, Molecular Biology/Developmental Biology, University of British Columbia, Canada. Christophe is co-founder of MLF Soil Consulting with his wife Monique. He started his career in basic medical research and after various positions in academia and industry Christophe slowly returned to his first passion Soil Ecology and Microbiology. It is his belief that human health is tied intimately to soil health through the production of healthy food. For this reason MLF Soil Consulting is committed to help farmers improve the management of their soil through composting, vermicomposting and biological analysis of microbial soil life.

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