REPLY: Hello, this is Bob Monie from New Orleans, LA, below sea level and in Mississippi Delta soil--a long way from your high, dry elevation. I have no idea if any of my gardening experience might apply to your situation, but here goes anyway.
My limited experience with seedballs is that they take a long time before they show results. Also, the two commercial sources of seedballs or earthseeds limit themselves to nonedible plants rather than the vast array of vegetables and fruits favored by the Japanese master.
The dilemma that you note--namely that the Earth wants to grow species that you don't want--is not necessarily a problem. I look at my garden as a two-tiered or double-level system. On the ground I have about 30 species of well-habituated Louisiana plants such as cast iron plant, Christmans fern, Perilla, lemon balm, pineapple sage, four o'clocks, and so on. These give me good protection against harmful insects because they attract benefical insects and they provide a food supply that I don't want to consume; I let the insects consume them instead! This lower tier of native or native-acclimated plants also gives me some bio-material for composting, of course.
On the upper tier of my garden, I grow everything in containers. Why not? This is a
very ancient method of food cultivation that gives the gardener the kind of control she can't easily get growing in the raw earth. For instance, I can select exactly the kind of soil, compost material, and soil ammendments I want in my containers. If I want soil made entirely of composted mustard, cabbage leafs, grape seeds, and rice husks, then that is what I put and nothing more. If I want to experiment with kelp fertilizer or buckwheat hulls in the soil, this is much easier to do than directly on the ground. My containers, by the way, are not on shelves; they are resting on the ground.
And I don;t have to "double-dig" the way Jeavons advises because I use containers with plastic mulch covers covering the soil. When the rain comes it doesn't pack down the mud, because the mulch covers absorb the impact. In your part of the country you probably don;t have to worry about the rain compacting the soil, but the rain down here will undo hours of double digging effort.
If you want to try this system, I can recommend the containers from the "Earthbox" company--web address www.earthbox.com.
These units have a water tank that you fill and then you don;t have to water your plants. You just check to see that the tank is filled. In other words, they are "self-watering."
Unlike true hydroponic systems that are good mainly for vegetables like tomatoes and lettuce but not so good for plants with long roots systems, these Earthbox containers can grow almost anything including carrots, grains, beans, peans, lentils, and even small fruit trees. The mulch covers that come with them lose their elasticity quickly but that is a small flaw in an otherwise productive system.
You didn't say anything about insect problems. Down here we have a terrible time with catepillars especially. I won;t use anything stronger than wax and pepper spray, BT (Dipel) or limolene citrus spray from citrus skins. I have found that allowing the South Lousiana plants to have their way and using mulch covers on the ground (I swear by mulch covers, even plastic ones!) eliminates the need for insect spray except in a few nasty isolated cases (where I zap the bad guys out with limolene citrus skin oil).
PS I haven't tried putting seedballs directly into my containers to see what happens. I wonder if the "self-watering" mechanism will be enough to get them to sprout? .
Over the long haul, 5 to 10 years--you see results with seedballs.If you want that lemon grass to come up in 3 months, I think you might want to plant it directly in the container like I did and leave the seedballs for longer time-spans to take care of.
You know there are some people experimenting with natural hydroponic solutions derived from compost. Peggy Bradley, a civil engineer from Oregon, for instance, has done some work with these systems in Africa. You can get to her web site through Google.com.--just type "Peggy Bradley--hydroponics."
Castillo Gallery <castilloga@...
> wrote: hi
this is my first involvement in an email group like this...thanks for your
1. after 11 years of "jeavons" style modified gardening (i irrigate with
ditch systems called "acequias" here in new mexico) i want to expand and
work with the principles expounded by fukuoka
2. i am at 7000 feet...semi-arid...old fertile pasture land adjoining a
river...huge cottonwoods to the south and east partially shading the
plot....about 1/3 acre i'm looking at working with for this project
3. water source availability is variable...either a lot or a little or none
4. after 11 years fallow, i turned it over with a plow this summer thinking
i would reseed it to regain its pasture value...funny how nature sent back
only the things i didn't want back! i listened to its message
5. at the end of october i want to enact a natural principle; perrenials and
annuals: vegetables, ornamentals, etc
a. any recommendations on types of seeds to plant this time of year?
b. i am worried about spreading undesirables to neighbors land...any
c. are seedballs worth the effort this time around? i feel pressed for time
to get some seed out there and i am not a full time gardener by any means
d. any tips for the uninitiated natural farmer?
thanks! i am curious to see how this email group works!
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