Stewarding Your Soil (Elaine Ingham's 'stuff') - one place due to cancellation 18-20 April

Notice several threads here which are exploring the SFI (Soil Food Web) approach with compost, compost teas, etc. We've just run one course in Somerset with Zach Wright, who is one of the three SFI soil consultants and it went very well. We've got another scheduled for 18-20 April. Short notice I know (was full but cancellations) - there's one place available on it at the moment. Details below or at:

Stewarding Your Soil

How to Manage the Beneficial Organisms In and For Your Soil

This course is an very unusual opportunity to cover the basics of The Soil Food Web, in a condensed and practical format, building the compost pile, making compost tea and having a go at microscope work ourselves, all under the guidance of Zach Wright, one of only three Soil Life Consultants certified by Dr Elaine Ingham.

Since Zach will be returning to the US in May, the course has had to be arranged at short notice, and participant numbers are strictly limited (to 12 in order to ensure that there is enough personal attention, especially during the microscope sessions).

Provisional Schedule


Arrival from 1 pm

2:00 pm - 2:30 pm - Introduction

2:45 pm – 6:00 pm – Aerobic Thermal Compost building

Learn the Dr. Elaine Ingham aerobic thermal Composting technique by building 1or more piles from materials found on site. We will go over the recipe prior to our pile(s) construction and collectively assemble piles based on what biology that we want to foster growing. I will demonstrate proper monitoring and care, which is paramount to successfully composting with this method. Each participant will come away with the practical techniques of building an aerobic thermal Compost pile on any scale based on the ingredients that are available. Each participant will also come away with monitoring data templates as well as numerous documents that will aid in their own Composting efforts.

6:30 pm – Dinner

8-9pm - Q/A : Trouble-shooting YOUR Growing System

Participants are encouraged to fill in the questions with the course registration prior to the inception of the course. This will enable Zach to consider how best to approach the discussion.


7:30 am – 8:30 am: Breakfast for those taking it (please register if you wish to; additional £5 charge)

9:00 – 9:30 – Compost Pile Monitoring

9:45 – 11:00; 11:30 – 12:30 – Introduction to Aerobic Compost Tea and Compost Extract Brewing

Practical hands on demonstration as well as lecture into the difference between Tea vs. Extract and how and when to appropriately use each. We will also discuss other brewing techniques to enhance beneficial biological life for your soil or crops.

1 pm: Lunch

2pm – 3:30 pm; 4 pm – 5:30 pm - Introduction to Soil Microscopy

Who are the organisms in our soil?

What do they look like?

What do they mean?

What does our specific plant need(in terms of organisms)?

How can I know the biological component of my soil?

Just to name a few of the highlights, this section of the course will be highly beneficial to any of you who are wondering what the life in your soil looks like. Even better, the course participant will quickly learn that assessing the main organisms of the soil is very easy and can be achieved with a simple light microscope.

6:30 pm: Dinner

7:30 pm – 9 pm – Introduction to Soil Microscopy with open Q/A


7:30 am – 8:30 am: Breakfast for those taking it (please register if you wish to)

8:45 – 9:45 am – Compost/Compost Tea/Extract Wrap up

We will wrap up the Compost section of our course. If necessary we will turn the pile however if the thermal process hasn’t reached sufficient enough temperatures by this time, there will be a visual demonstration on proper pile turning methods.

9:45 – 10:30; 10:45 – 12:45 - Microscopy and Closing Q/A

Review over key food web organisms, sampling, dilutions and how to interpret the general organisms that we are seeing.

12:45 – Clear up 1pm – Lunch 2pm - Departure


Course, including refreshments, Lunch and Dinner: £365 (Concessions £255)

Accommodation (shared single-sex dorm): £20 per night inc breakfast

What people say about this course:

"Small numbers allowing good interaction in both class and field situations... I would give unqualified approval"

"Really interesting and a great base to start from. It’s about going away and practising what was learnt now. It’s very good that we made a compost pile on the course and there is this follow up being given and that there is a google group...very useful to actually see a compost pile being made and to get some time on a microscope"

"It was a mind blowing course... I guarantee it will be well worth the effort"

"Learnt a whole lot about how to make perfect compost which is usable for making compost tea"

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