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5690Re: starting new no-till project in SE Kansas, USA

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  • Gloria C. Baikauskas
    Jun 22, 2006
      What a great new start for the two of you!

      One big thing with Fukuoka's wisdom was to do as little as possible
      to interfere with Nature. By double digging your raised beds you will
      be massively interfering. You will also be bringing up weed seeds
      from a place where they would not otherwise germinate making more
      work for you later. That said, we on this group do realize that
      weeds are beneficial.

      You would be better off using a lasagne style gardening bed to
      achieve your goal in this because it interferes far less. If you do
      it starting as soon as you take the property, you should have
      marvelous soil and raised bed to plant in for the spring. It is
      sheet composting at its best. Sheet composting in this way gives
      more immediate benefit to the place that it is done. Heavy use of
      wheat straw on the soil over wet newspaper, or cardboard along with
      other layers should do the job well...or even the straw without the
      newspaper, or cardboard. You can smother out things very well with
      the straw bales.

      Do remember that raised beds work best in a climate that is not dry.
      If that area of Kansas is rather dry in the growing season, you would
      be better off not raising the beds. The reason is that, even though
      it is not always apparent to the gardener, the top inches of soil dry
      out faster in the heat than on level garden beds. We can water in
      the morning, and by night the plants are in stress. If you don't
      have much heat in the daytime, and the air is mostly humid, this is
      not a problem. Stressed plants invite insects to invade, as well as

      If you take this advice, it would be a good idea to try to sow a
      winter cover crop on this bed. Choose the one best suited to your

      I noticed someone mentioned daikon radishes to help you break up the
      soil...haven't read the post, but I did see that much. They are a
      great tool.

      An alternative to wheat is the original wheat which does not contain
      the part of the wheat that you are allergic to. This is called
      Kamut. It is available in the US, though not as easy to find. The
      seed was brought to the US by a returning soldier to his father in
      Montana after WWII. It took a while to find a market here, but it is
      grown, though not in the numbers that wheat as we know it is. Do
      some research on it. You will find it is recommended for folksl with
      wheat allergies. There are many online recipe sources for kamut, so
      you could again enjoy things you thought you never would be able to

      Fast growing trees produce weak wood. So....do temper that idea with
      that knowledge....that in storms you will have much breakage.
      Growing trees in groups instead of in groups of one will help the
      trees to grow more quickly. Science has proven that trees grow
      better together than alone....and that they do talk to each other in
      what they have labelled 'W' waves. What you can do is to plant some
      faster growing trees along with some that take a bit slower approach
      to life. That way you will insure you will still have trees after a
      storm....and not so many branches to clear. My ash trees grow rather
      quickly, but the oaks are slower. Still it is best to go for
      diversity, so plant them both. I just read an article that in Iowa
      oak trees are growing scarce because of the impact of quick growing
      trees on Nature itself...not just because they are what people there
      are planting. We forget that what we plant also impacts Nature as
      the birds, squirrels, etc, spread the seed from them.

      Also research how much water the trees you choose will use from the
      water table. Native trees are always the very best choice. Research
      what trees are native to that area....though I know Kansas is a state
      in which prairie grasses once grew. There are trees destroying the
      water table of the area they grow in because they are not native, but
      adapted trees from areas that have far more water and humidity
      available than Kansas does. Once removed the water table returns to
      normal. That is so important today when so many areas no longer have
      safe, drinkable water available. Don't kid yourself, with the
      droughts going on in the US, and elsewhere, this is very important.

      I hope that helps you some.

      Gloria, Texas
      US zone 8a....

      --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Joy <smjlists@...> wrote:
      > Hi, I've been on the list for awhile - have been deeply inspired by
      > Fukuoka's books, and feel a sense of being "led" to this path of
      > farming/gardening. My friend, who owns the trailer in which we
      > has just bought land near Dennis Kansas, Zone 6 gardening I
      > Closing won't be till maybe a month from now, so will probably be
      > August before we are able to get the trailer moved onto the land -
      > utilities are there, set up for us to get connected. Gradually
      > next couple years Mike will be undergoing various building
      > sheds, animal shelters, and finally a bermed home, built with
      > temperature moderating properties. We're hoping to become
      > self-sufficient and be able to function "off the grid" in a couple
      > There are about 8 acres, one of which is at present a
      landscaped "yard"
      > on which the trailer will sit. Soon there will be no grass being
      > There is a built up pond behind the present homesite ( the home
      > builds will be in Northwest, back left corner of the property).
      > pond is part of an active watershed, water flowing across a path on
      > property, mostly in ditch, but if heavy rain opens a little onto
      > surrounding earth. Water doesn't stand on the property at
      > but we're considering putting in
      > several different heighth drain pipes in the pond, which can be
      > or opened at will, allowing us to temporarily flood part of the
      > behind the pond at will. I'm thinking of doing a fairly
      > twice dug raised bed kitchen garden. I won't actually use boxes to
      > raise the beds, but dig ditches down into clay which underlies all
      > earth here, build up raised beds with good soil dug out of the
      > paths/water canals.
      > Once built I won't be turning this soil further - will use mulch
      > cover crops, but want to have producing veggie garden next year,
      and its
      > going to take time to get this land in good growing condition.
      > Plus, I like very much the idea of having paths through my herbs
      > veggie beds, of never actually
      > walking on the growing bed, and having double use of the path for
      > channel, letting water soak into
      > good soil and roots, rather than watering from top. Thinking of
      > building a side ditch off the main drainage system, with a water
      > so I can make direct use of the watershed, directing some of it
      into my
      > garden path/water channels. The big portion of the land is
      west/left of
      > the pond. Probably 5-6 acres total, presently in hay, with
      > ditch bisecting it - ditch comes in at back northeast corner, heads
      > through front southwest corner into neighbor's property. The hay
      > just been harvested. I'm trying to decide what if anything to do
      > the land this year, and am so unsure about timing and what I can
      > due this year yet. We're likely past the best of our spring rains
      > here. I could toss some seed before our closing, but if anything
      > happens, I'd hate to have lost the upfront cost of the seed. Soil
      > been heavily used, and fertilized, and doesn't go deep, is clay
      > much of it, and big stone slabs down about 4 feet throughout the
      > property. There are good but fairly young trees in place around
      > spaced out directly behind the pond. Hay area wide open. I do
      want to
      > get some trees growing in there - any ideas of good
      > trees, fast growing, deep roots, that would grow well in this
      > I won't be using tractor or tilling or mowing at all. Will do
      > I do by hand and on foot, with scythe as needed. Wondering if
      there is
      > any advice about good cover crop for this area? One I could start
      > late August or early September, over winter, to help stabalize and
      > the soil. May do nothing but cover crops and trees for a couple
      > on the west field area (back of which will have the new house in a
      > years). May do some grain production there - thinking of amaranth
      > and/or quinoa, plus possibly rice. My son and I can't eat wheat,
      > use wheat as a cover crop, but not for harvest. Veggie garden in
      > protected area on back of property, east of pond and trees, just
      > of the drainage ditch. Any suggestions are more than welcome.
      Thanks, Joy
      > >
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