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6547Re: [fukuoka_farming] Hay is enough!

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  • Dieter Brand
    Oct 8, 2007
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      Nandan,

      I started burying logs in trenches two years ago after somebody
      mentioned this method as good way of conserving water. Fukuoka
      also talks about a similar technique.

      I have since stopped doing this because the results proved to be entirely
      negative in my case. The problem is that:
      - digging trenches involves massive earthworks, which is the very thing
      you want to avoid when converting to no-till,
      - however careful you try to separate topsoil from subsoil, if there is only
      a thin layer of black soil at the top, it will invariably get lost,
      - the capillaries, which transport humidity from the subsoil to the topsoil
      are cut off by the logs and the layer of soil covering the logs will dry out
      rapidly, this may not be so bad if you have plenty of rain all the time,
      in my case it is a pure catastrophe,
      - the logs and other organic matter buried underground under anaerobic
      conditions (i.e., without air) cannot decompose by aerobic decomposition
      (i.e., in the presence of air) as they normally would, in the worst case this
      may even result in the production of harmful substances.

      I still use logs, branches etc. for planting trees on the hills. I place the
      logs along the contour of a hillside, plant the tree with some loose soil
      behind the logs (if there is clay soil, I make sure it goes in at the bottom),
      then sprinkle everything with a little black soil (mostly half decomposed
      organic matter) from the wooded part of our land so as to introduce fungi
      for accelerating decomposition and top the whole with a layer of leaves.

      Dieter Brand
      Portugal

      Nandan Palaparambil <p_k_nandanan@...> wrote:
      Dieter,

      Forgot to mention one item concerned to the same
      topic.

      I remember reading about, digging trenches and and
      filling it with organic materials like logs,leafs etc
      as part of starting a natural farm. Probably this will
      give you a starting point where there is enough humus
      formation to a depth needed for the plants.

      Are you doing this, when you convert a land to natural
      farm? Also what is the typical depth of the trenches
      and at what distance these trenches are dug?

      Regards,
      Nandan

      --- Dieter Brand <diebrand@...> wrote:

      > Nandan,
      >
      > Unfortunately, I cannot view slides because my
      > Internet connection
      > is too slow. I live in a remote region without
      > phone line and without
      > regular Internet access. I'm lucky if I can
      > receive and send text
      > messages.
      >
      > It is of course correct that the upper soil layers
      > where the bulk of
      > the root mass develops are the most important for
      > feeding a plant.
      > 9 inches is only a very rough figure, the actual
      > depth will depend
      > on the type of plant and on how "deep" your soil
      > is. Different plants
      > have very different root systems. The tap root
      > provides support,
      > especially in the case of trees, but that doesn't
      > mean that it can't
      > also have fine feeder roots that pull up nutrients
      > from the subsoil.
      > The growing tips of the root (the white roots) go
      > where they find
      > nutrients. In fact, there are plants that are
      > especially good at
      > pulling up nutrients from the lower soil layers.
      >
      > Another interesting question is: what do plants
      > eat? Since Justus
      > von Liebig, agriculture believes that plant cells
      > feed on chemical
      > substances (NPK + trace minerals) and that if a
      > soil is fed by
      > organic materials these living organisms first
      > have to be broken
      > down into minerals (mineralization) before plants
      > can absorb them
      > by ion exchange through the cell wall. There is
      > also the minority
      > view according to which plants can consume organic
      > substances
      > directly by transport of living organisms through
      > the cell wall
      > (endocytosis). The first view suits the
      > agrochemical industry,
      > the second could provide a basis and theoretical
      > framework
      > organic farming lacks at present.
      >
      > Dieter Brand
      > Portugal
      >
      > Nandan Palaparambil <p_k_nandanan@...> wrote:
      > Dieter,
      >
      > Please see the link
      > http://www.prayogpariwar.net/pubs_middle.htm and go
      > to
      > the slide show and slide number 45. Here it is
      > mentioned
      >
      > "In a plant, the absorption of nutrients is carried
      > out only by the active white roots. These grow only
      > in
      > the top nine inches. The rest of the root structure
      > primarily provides the support for the plant".
      >
      > Just wanted to validate this statement.
      >
      > Regards,
      > Nandan
      >
      > --- Dieter Brand <diebrand@...> wrote:
      >
      > > Nandan,
      > >
      > > I have no idea whether there are any commercial
      > > farmers in
      > > India using NF techniques and what kind of yield
      > > they obtain.
      > >
      > > Regarding the second part of your question. What
      > > happened
      > > in Fukuoka's case or in the case of the Norwegian
      > > gardener I
      > > quoted is that a new layer of organic matter was
      > > added to the
      > > soil surface every year, which adds up to a layer
      > > of humus-rich
      > > dark soil that becomes thicker and richer every
      > > year. It will
      > > take several years to obtain a layer of one or two
      > > inches
      > > because the volume of the mulch you apply will be
      > > much reduced
      > > after decomposition. If you start with very
      > > depleted soil you may
      > > want to apply one or two inches of compost covered
      > > by mulch
      > > as an initial soilbuilding means.
      > >
      > > Roots, even those of annuals, go of course much
      > > deeper than
      > > that. I don't have any exact figures at hand, but
      > > I seem to
      > > remember that the roots of some annuals can go as
      > > deep as
      > > 6 feet or more. The layer of humus-rich dark soil
      > > you are building
      > > will never become as thick as that even after 30
      > > years. But
      > > that doesn't matter, because the newly created
      > > topsoil will
      > > protect and enrich the soil beneath and enable
      > > roots to penetrate
      > > deep into the subsoil to scavenge for minerals.
      > >
      > > Dieter Brand
      > > Portugal
      > >
      > > Nandan Palaparambil <p_k_nandanan@...>
      > wrote:
      > >
      > > Dear Dieter,
      > >
      > > Fukuoka-san used to get 22 bushels to 29 bushels
      > of
      > > paddy from 0.25 acres which is 1760Kg to 2320Kg
      > per
      > > acre. This is achieved just using straw mulching
      > and
      > > crop rotation. Any one has information on the
      > yield
      > > using NF in Indian condition?
      > >
      > > I read in www.prayogpariwar.net that the roots
      > which
      > > looks for nutrition elements go upto 9 inches of
      > > soil. That indicates till the mulching happens
      > till
      > > this level we won't get the maximum productivity.
      > > Would like to know your valuable inputs on this.
      > >
      > > Regards,
      > > Nandan
      > >
      > > > Dear all,
      > > >
      > > > A little while ago somebody, I believe it was
      > > > Nandan from
      > > > India, asked about straw and whether it is
      > > > sufficient for feeding
      > > > the soil; some farmers had told him that straw
      > > > doesn’t contain
      > > > any nutrients, whatever that is supposed to
      > mean.
      > > > I think
      > > > I answered in a general way about the importance
      > > > of returning
      > > > organic matter to the soil.
      > > >
      > > > Today - it was raining in Portugal - I sat
      > indoors
      > > > devouring
      > > > some of the treasures on my bookshelf, when I
      > > > happened on
      > > > some more specific information regarding this
      > > > subject. I’m
      > > > reading Herwig Pommeresche’s “Humussphaere”
      > which
      > > > is
      > > > unfortunately not available in translation.
      > Herwig
      > > > Pommeresche
      > > > is in the tradition of H.P. Rusch, cofounder of
      > > > the bio-organic
      > > > school which, like Fukuoka, stresses the
      > > > importance of not
      > > > disturbing the soil. Rusch considers that the
      > > > aerobic and
      > > > anaerobic layers of the soil should not be
      > turned
      > > > upside down
      > > > as happens when a field is ploughed.
      > > >
      > > > Herwig Pommeresche claims that to feed the soil,
      > > > or the
      > > > edaphon part of it, it is better to return all
      > > > organic “waste”
      > > > directly to the soil surface rather than to
      > first
      > > > compost it.
      > > > He also states that straw is better than woody
      > > > mulch
      > > > and that green grass or hay is better than
      > straw,
      > > > which has
      > > > already passed some of its energy to the grain
      > it
      >
      === message truncated ===

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