The intuitive appeal of compost is manifest: the organic movement has sought
the perfect compost as its holy grail for almost a century now. I suppose
the first thing we must realise is that Natural Farming is not Organic
Farming. This is how Fukuoka puts it in The One-Straw Revolution (page 13 of
the pdf version found in this groups files section);
"The second is NO CHEMICAL FERTILIZER OR PREPARED COMPOST People interfere
with nature and, try as they may, they cannot heal the resulting wounds.
Their careless farming practices drain the soil of essential nutrients and
the result is yearly depletion of the land. If left to itself, the soil
maintains its fertility naturally, in accordance with the orderly cycle of
plant and animal life."
And, again, on the following page (14), he goes on to illustrates the
confused thinking of modern agricultural practices (a mind-set that organic
"I have been known, in chatting with soil fertility experts, to ask, "If a
field is left to itself, will the soil's fertility increase or will it
become depleted? They usually pause and say something like, "Well, let's
see ... It'll become depleted. No, not when you remember that when rice is
grown for a long time in the same field without fertilizer, the harvest
settles at about 9 bushels (525 pounds) per quarter acre. The earth would
become neither enriched nor depleted."
These specialists are referring to a cultivated, flooded field; if nature
is left to itself, fertility increases. Organic remains of plants and
animals accumulate and are decomposed on the surface by bacteria and fungi.
With the movement of rainwater, the nutrients are taken deep into the soil
to become food for microorganisms, earthworms, and other small animals.
Plant roots reach to the lower soil strata and draw the nutrients back up to
Simple alternatives to compost for soil improvement are cover crops, green
manures, and mulching with whatever you have to hand. Check out the archive
section of this group for some previous discussion concerning soil
The essential difference would seem to be to not incorporate anything
directly into the soil but let it be drawn in by the action of earthworms,
rain, microbial breakdown etc: in other words to let the soil work on the
organic matter at its own natural rate, if not..."(such) practices drain the
soil of essential nutrients and the result is the yearly depletion of the
Souscayrous...enjoying the bountiful rainfall of Spring
From: Robin Fernández-Medina [mailto:flyingdebris1@...
Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2002 6:25 PM
Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Compost
In Mollisons books I read that a healthy soil tends to hover around a few
Ph points from Neutral. Natural action corrects Ph is what I understood. Do
Allan Balliett <igg@...
> wrote: >Any suggestions about the pH that I
should aim for in
>compost? What else could I use to layer with the
>root-bound sod that will hasten bacterial action?
I always try to get at least one third high quality animal manure
layered into my stacks. I would also work to get some finished
compost to use to innoculate the new pile, especially if you have
doubts about it.