|Better Farming Series 23. Coffee (FAO Better Farming series, 1977, 36 p.)|
|Choosing a site and preparing the plantation|
You have now cut down the weeds and the smaller trees, and you have traced the rows where you will plant the coffee trees.
22. But the soil is bare If you leave the soil bare, the rain will spoil the soil and destroy its good structure.
Water washes away the mineral salts, and the sun very quickly decomposes humus.
The soil becomes poorer and does not feed the coffee trees well enough.
So the coffee trees will not yield many berries.
23. You must cover the soil to protect It against erosion
You can cover the soil
· either by mulching
You can leave on the ground the vegetation you have cut, or you can put down palm fronds.
In this way the soil is protected against sun and rain.
The rotting leaves give the soil organic matter.
· or by a cover crop
Between the rows of coffee trees, you can sow legumes.
They also protect the soil.
Legumes give nitrogen to the soil.