By S. K. Mangal
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Additional resources for Coffee : planting, production and processing
Place soil in a clean bucket. Sample from a minimum of 20 sites across a block of two to four hectares. - Thoroughly mix each soil sample collected and then sub-sample to reduce volume for sample bags. Properly label all samples and laboratory sheets. Clean the auger or spade after sampling each of the sites. Do not sample after fertilizer application. Scrape away any fertilizer/lime residue from previous applications before taking a sample. Do not sample next to shade trees. Coffee 54 Areas of different tree size, age, soil types, fertilizer or other major differences should be treated as separate samples.
The crown region of the plant is exposed to the sun and care is taken to see that carbohydrates and photosynthates go towards bearing woods. Summer months are ideal for irrigation. For Robusta, the ideal time is February 20th to March 15th. For Arabica irrigation is generally delayed up to April end. The soil moisture should be minimum. After the 15 day rest period, the plant should undergo a period of STRESS. Stress is clearly visible by the physical appearance of the plant. The leaves start drooping and from a distance it looks as if the whole bush is wilting.
Legumes used as shade trees contribute substantially to soil health by providing organic matter and nutrients from leaf fall and prunings, and fix nitrogen from the air to restore soil fertility and structure. Shade trees also reduce the incidence of frost. Numerous species can be used as shade trees-the preferred types incl ude: Erythrina subllmbrans (Tton Tong or Dadap). Used as coffee shade and for pepper supports in many areas of S-SE Asia. It is fast growing and easily propagated from cuttings.