June 29, 2016

A year in the life of Inga

Inga can transform your plot into a food garden that’s fertile for a lifetime.

There are just four steps to follow.

The Inga CycleStep one is planting the Inga saplings in lines, four to six feet apart. The Inga saplings grow quickly and the ‘alley’ develops. The Inga tree canopy closes over the alley.

Inga process in Awajun 1

Step two is pruning. The small branches and leaves which are pruned from the tree are then scattered and left as mulch in the alley. This protects the soil, keeps the soil temperature lower, retains moisture and prevents weeds from taking over.

The mulch rots down over time, acting as a natural fertiliser releasing nutrients (including Phosphorus) into the soil. Larger branches pruned from the Inga can be used for firewood.

Inga Alley cropping Cool Earth

Step three is planting crops. Crops will grow up through the mulch created by the rotting leaves.

The plants will take up nutrients such as Phosphorus that have been returned to the soil by the mulch. Inga regrows after pruning (also taking in spare nutrients from the soil through the Mycorrhizal fungi within its roots) and starts to provide vital shade cover for the crops once they have started to grow.

Close up Inga trees

Step four is harvesting. Inga continues to grow after the crops have been harvested, and the shaded canopy over the alley keeps control of weeds until the next planting season. Then you return to step two and repeat the cycle.

Inga traning ground Honduras Col Earth

find out more about Inga

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