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8467Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: soil science part 3: microbes

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  • Dieter Brand
    Dec 19, 2008
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      >>PS: Anders, in Natural Farming, roots stay in the soil, they should
      >>never be on the compost heap.
      > Because you shouldn't do any weeding right?

      Wrong! The principal reason is to avoid soil disturbance. What's the
      use of pulling roots from the ground (destroying billions of microbes,
      fungi and the natural soil fertility in the process) then
      heap-composting the roots (in the process of which a lot is lost into
      the atmosphere) and then returning the meager remains back to the same
      soil? That is crazy!

      >Do you live up to that yourself?

      Yes! Except for a few weeds with deep taproots that have the tendency
      to keep on producing seeds, all roots (weeds, food crops, trees,
      bushes, everything) stay in the garden soil. From the fields I don't
      remove any roots at all. When weeds start to crowd out food crops, I
      either cut them above the ground and spread the remains on the soil
      surface or I trample them down and put on some mulch.

      >And is it your opinion that this is always practicable on the way to NF?

      There is a learning curve that teaches you what is and what is not
      possible under local conditions.

      >My opinion is that NF is an interesting concept.

      Perhaps that is why we don't understand each other. NF is a practice
      and not a concept. This is not a mere game of words.

      >but in practice it has not turned out to be a directly workable
      >route for me in my northern cold and fairly humid climate,
      >with my fairly poorly drained clay soil.

      I have said it before and I will say it again, poor drainage in clay
      soil is almost always a sign of low organic content. A soil with high
      organic content can store huge amounts of water without getting
      water-logged. You need to return OM to the soil, a lot of it, not
      just a few microbes.

      Anders, I don't blame you if you think that Natural Farming is a fake
      or just an idea without reality. So many people have talked about it
      and so few have ever really tried. Fukuoka deserves our greatest
      respect for having demonstrated that it is possible and for having
      made his methods known outside Japan. Unfortunately, his methods are
      not very practical and his singular way of spreading the message has
      led to some serious misinterpretations. But Natural Farming is not
      Fukuoka. There are many others, notably in Japan, who follow their
      own way of Natural Farming. Some are content to grow their own food,
      others run what could be termed commercial market gardening
      operations, most even grow the staple rice.

      >Interesting that NF is so full of people who only want to think
      >inside of a narrowly defined NF box. I can't help wonder if this has
      >…
      >You rarely fall trap to this, Dieter, but sometimes even you, it seems.

      What nonsense is this? I would have thought that applies most of all
      to BD. I have said time and again to forget all about Fukuoka (that
      is also what he himself told us) and to find the way that works best
      in your place. But you need to understand that NF does work, not any
      fancy idea of it, but the reality of NF which is (stripped it to its
      very basics) _to grow food without fertilizers_. And in fertilizers
      here I include: synthetic fertilizers, manure, compost and even
      external inputs such as mulch, rock dust or a million other soil
      amendments.

      After the harvest, Kawaguchi will return the straw to the field, he
      will also return the rice hulls and the rice bran (kome nuka: the
      stuff that remains after the whole grains are processed into white
      rice) from the plants that have grown on that field _only_. Nothing
      more! And yet he continues to get two harvests a year (rice and
      wheat) year after year. There was a thread on a Japanese ML only
      yesterday discussing the yields of Natural Farmers. According to this
      discussion Natural Farmers in Japan have a yield of 6 to 8.2 Hyou (360
      to 500 kg) of rice for one Tan (0.245 acre). I have no idea about
      typical rice yields, but those figures seem far from bad, considering
      that no external inputs and no plowing are required.

      The last time I received a load of manure from a neighboring cattle
      farmer is already 6 years ago. Since then I had no external inputs.
      I still use mulching materials from our own meadows and hillsides to
      enrich the garden soil, but I think in a few years time I will be able
      to stop that too. I used to make enormous amounts of compost;
      windrows of almost 50 meters every year. Now I use most of it for
      mulching. It is much more effective that way.

      Seeing is believing: the soil will continue to produce food year after
      year without compost and without manure only through its
      self-fertility. It has been difficult at times to get there but it is
      worth it. Just put a plant or a seed into the soil and it will grow,
      no more composting and certainly no bother with beastly big animals.

      >>composting are widely known facts
      >got any reference?

      You sure have a way of keeping me busy. You still didn't comment on
      the references I provided last time and you are already asking for
      more.

      Dieter Brand
      Portugal
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