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fukuoka's agronomical reform

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  • emhaz@free.fr
    greetings it has taken me a long time to be part of this work group, although my interest in fukuoka s work started when the 1 straw revolution book came out
    Message 1 of 10 , Dec 2, 2001
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      greetings
      it has taken me a long time to be part of this work group, although
      my interest in fukuoka's work started when the "1 straw revolution"
      book came out reinforcing the no-till possibility for vegetable
      growing that Ruth Stout had been already claiming.As i live in a
      mediterranean & (low)mountain region in the south of france, very
      quickly i had to find further strategies so as to get some edible
      results.
      fukuoka's agriculture is the first agronomical reform that has
      happened since agriculture was invented: he has proved that crop
      plants do not export any nutrients from the soil,(tilling does), &
      therefore compensating with composts,manures or any other fertilizer
      is not longer necessary.of course natural agriculture is organic but
      its principles are totally different. plants main source of food does
      not come from the soil but from the sky: light, sunshine feeds for
      95% the plants (watch out when you put tall red clover, as companion
      to crops!)the research adapting natural agriculture to vegetable
      growing for dry & cold climat made me reaalize that what was
      essential was to stablish a soil in which life would go on as if it
      was in the wild...letting soil's self-fertility dynamic take place,
      in spite of taking out crops! it has being now about 3O years that
      i've been into this practice & the results prouve that it is posible
      to grow food synergistically. any agriculture implies manipulation,
      what type one does is our choice but it is not possible to practice
      an agriculture (unleast a climate where rain happens regularly)

      without some insisting care(of course i'm only refering to vegetable
      growing,as i haven't tried any reforesting or land regreening).
      about producing seeds naturally would only be possible with self
      pollinating plants, or the species cross -pollinating would make it
      impossible to know what one is growing by those seeds until it could
      be too late...




      As far as natural seed production...it could only be possible with
    • Robert Monie
      REPLY: Your most interesting statement of the potential for natural farming unfortunately ended (at least on my computer ) with the sentence as far as
      Message 2 of 10 , Dec 2, 2001
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        REPLY: Your most interesting statement of the potential for natural farming unfortunately ended (at least on my computer ) with the sentence "as far as natural seed production . . . . . it could only be possible with..." Could you please resubmit your thoughts on natural seed production. The question seems of primary importance to me because many "heritage" farmers put such faith in protecting the diversity of the genetic seed pool that they refer to themselves as "seedsmen." One of the traditional markers of the quality of an agricultural system for such people is how much the system promotes the saving and trading of seeds. They take seeds as a fundamental measure of the fecundity, value, and worth of the agricultural approach used. A system that fails to produce an adundance and surplus of seeds they judge deficient. Is the natural system of farming so revolutionary that this seed-dispersion marker is no longer valid?
        emhaz@... wrote: greetings
        it has taken me a long time to be part of this work group, although
        my interest in fukuoka's work started when the "1 straw revolution"
        book came out reinforcing the no-till possibility for vegetable
        growing that Ruth Stout had been already claiming.As i live in a
        mediterranean & (low)mountain region in the south of france, very
        quickly i had to find further strategies so as to get some edible
        results.
        fukuoka's agriculture is the first agronomical reform that has
        happened since agriculture was invented: he has proved that crop
        plants do not export any nutrients from the soil,(tilling does), &
        therefore compensating with composts,manures or any other fertilizer
        is not longer necessary.of course natural agriculture is organic but
        its principles are totally different. plants main source of food does
        not come from the soil but from the sky: light, sunshine feeds for
        95% the plants (watch out when you put tall red clover, as companion
        to crops!)the research adapting natural agriculture to vegetable
        growing for dry & cold climat made me reaalize that what was
        essential was to stablish a soil in which life would go on as if it
        was in the wild...letting soil's self-fertility dynamic take place,
        in spite of taking out crops! it has being now about 3O years that
        i've been into this practice & the results prouve that it is posible
        to grow food synergistically. any agriculture implies manipulation,
        what type one does is our choice but it is not possible to practice
        an agriculture (unleast a climate where rain happens regularly)

        without some insisting care(of course i'm only refering to vegetable
        growing,as i haven't tried any reforesting or land regreening).
        about producing seeds naturally would only be possible with self
        pollinating plants, or the species cross -pollinating would make it
        impossible to know what one is growing by those seeds until it could
        be too late...




        As far as natural seed production...it could only be possible with


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      • GLORIA BAIKAUSKAS
        Your point about the reliability of the seeds grown this way is really valid. It brings to mind the apple. When our legendary Johnny Appleseed went about the
        Message 3 of 10 , Dec 2, 2001
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          Your point about the reliability of the seeds grown this way is really valid. It brings to mind the apple. When our legendary Johnny Appleseed went about the then West spreading his appleseed to provide pioneers with apple orchards he was really doing it to insure there would be plenty of "cider." Alcoholic cider which is what the inferior apples were used to produce at the time is all the apples from most of the trees would yield. From what I have read it takes a vast amount of luck to grow apple trees from seed because most of them will not be anything like the parent unless they are instead produced by grafting.

          So, seed grown in the Fukuoka fashion would thus be also questionable as to what would be produced from the seeds as nature would take its own course.

          Yet then I thought about purebred dogs. The breeders discard or neuter/spay the pups they feel are not up to quality. Yet aren't they instead shrinking the gene pool everytime they do this insuring diseases and other maladies in the species? Look what has happened to the tigers and other wild animals in danger of extinction. The gene pool is now so small that in the case of some of the animals the scientists must go outside the species to one close enough to insure what is left of the species will not have so many built in diseases and other problems. Even in bringing back the nearly extinct Irish Wolfhound the breeders had to use Irish Deerhounds.

          My point is this.......Would it be so bad to not be able to guarantee the viability and reliability of each seed created in Fukuoka's manner? In this way weak plants would not be a problem in the future because all those centuries of genetic makeup that helped these plants to survive would still be there to assist the strength of the future plants. Not every person can be a perfect, beautiful human being. We don't discard ugly imperfect babies. We know that by keeping the gene pool diverse we will survive. So why not with plants?

          Gloria
          Texas


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Robert Monie
          Bob Monie s reply: Yes, purebread seeds are the last thing we want! We want the genetic advantages of open pollination rather than the equivalent of the F1
          Message 4 of 10 , Dec 2, 2001
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            Bob Monie's reply: Yes, "purebread" seeds are the last thing we want! We want the genetic advantages of open pollination rather than the equivalent of the F1 varieties now dominating the market. The open pollinated seeds are in fact far more likely to "breed" true than the hybrids when you replant their seeds, as every organic farmer knows. Fukuoka methods should produce strong seeds of diverse genetic strains, something like the "wild" vegetables often featured in organic seed catalogs; for instance, the current Territorial Seed Company catalog (page 36) offers Wild Garden Kales in a "multitude of unique leaf shapes . . . . a visual feast of light green, purple, and red." Such richness of fractal patterns and tints is exactly the kind of thing nature produces when not narrowly hemmed in by human constraints.
            My main intended point, though, was that making naturally grown seeds available to the public would be a major step in promoting and testing Fukuoka's practical philosophy. If, as he once said in a Wes Jackson forum, it might be a good idea to drop seedballs all over the Earth to re-vegetate it, the seeds have to come from somewhere, and I don't believe Fukuoka wanted to order them from Burpee's.
            GLORIA BAIKAUSKAS <gcb49@...> wrote: Your point about the reliability of the seeds grown this way is really valid. It brings to mind the apple. When our legendary Johnny Appleseed went about the then West spreading his appleseed to provide pioneers with apple orchards he was really doing it to insure there would be plenty of "cider." Alcoholic cider which is what the inferior apples were used to produce at the time is all the apples from most of the trees would yield. From what I have read it takes a vast amount of luck to grow apple trees from seed because most of them will not be anything like the parent unless they are instead produced by grafting.

            So, seed grown in the Fukuoka fashion would thus be also questionable as to what would be produced from the seeds as nature would take its own course.

            Yet then I thought about purebred dogs. The breeders discard or neuter/spay the pups they feel are not up to quality. Yet aren't they instead shrinking the gene pool everytime they do this insuring diseases and other maladies in the species? Look what has happened to the tigers and other wild animals in danger of extinction. The gene pool is now so small that in the case of some of the animals the scientists must go outside the species to one close enough to insure what is left of the species will not have so many built in diseases and other problems. Even in bringing back the nearly extinct Irish Wolfhound the breeders had to use Irish Deerhounds.

            My point is this.......Would it be so bad to not be able to guarantee the viability and reliability of each seed created in Fukuoka's manner? In this way weak plants would not be a problem in the future because all those centuries of genetic makeup that helped these plants to survive would still be there to assist the strength of the future plants. Not every person can be a perfect, beautiful human being. We don't discard ugly imperfect babies. We know that by keeping the gene pool diverse we will survive. So why not with plants?

            Gloria
            Texas


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          • GLORIA BAIKAUSKAS
            Of course we (nor he) would want to order them from Burpee. My point is that some plants like the apple have difficulties. In the old days when an orchard
            Message 5 of 10 , Dec 2, 2001
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              Of course we (nor he) would want to order them from Burpee. My point is that some plants like the apple have difficulties. In the old days when an orchard was planted from seed the farmer knew that he would be lucky if he got even one tree that would produce apples of the right sugar content and taste for eating. The rest would be good only for cider which could then have its taste manipulated with things like sugar added to the mash to produce something drinkable. I don't know all the plant genetics involved in getting the "right" apple. My point is that in providing seeds in this fashion one could not depend perhaps on a quantity of edible plant production in some vegetable and fruit types. In this way agronomy would become a bit of an iffy proposition at least in the beginning. Perhaps in time we would see better vegetable and fruit production in these types of plants with a better fruit to boot. But if people were depending on us for their daily bread (sic), then they would possibly be sorely in need indeed. It would have to be factored in with hybrid plants and grafted trees for at least a time.

              I honestly believe that Nature would take over in time. I think we would regain strains we had possibly nearly lost with present agronomy methods in use. Think of what we have lost because man played with Nature to his own fancy! Remember carrots were not always orange. Man made them orange. Yet find a child today who would eat a white or yellow carrot. Maybe in doing all of this we would also regain the nutrition not present in today's food chain.

              I am not a scientist, so this is all rhetoric. I think we are all in charge of the research, though. Call us what you may.

              Gloria


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            • elisabeth denk
              Hi, I have followed the recent debate about naturally grown seed and in particular about growing apple trees from seed. On our 2 acre property there are
              Message 6 of 10 , Dec 3, 2001
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                Hi,
                I have followed the recent debate about naturally grown seed and in
                particular about growing apple trees from seed. On our 2 acre
                property there are several apple trees, none of which was planted
                deliberately, nor have they ever been pruned or grafted and they are
                all very beautiful trees and produce excellent fruit on a regular
                basis. Of course it is all a matter of attitude I guess whether you
                are in favour of those "wild" apples or not, because you can't
                compare wild fruit with the one you can buy in the supermarket. That
                brings me to the point of nutrition in relation to natural
                agriculture. Isn't it true that many people nowadays seem so frail
                and prone to so many kinds of diseases and then look at what what
                they put in their mouths and how unhealthy they are in appearance and
                you wonder, is there a hope for mankind. And how can the vastly
                increasing consumption of meat of a small part of the earth's
                population ever be sustainable.?Lizzi
              • GLORIA BAIKAUSKAS
                I think it is great, Lizzi, that you have those great apples. I read, though, that about 90% (don t quote me as I don t remember the exact percentage but it
                Message 7 of 10 , Dec 3, 2001
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                  I think it is great, Lizzi, that you have those great apples. I read, though, that about 90% (don't quote me as I don't remember the exact percentage but it is within that realm) of apples planted from seed are not of eating quality. Doesn't mean they aren't of value in other ways. The pioneer types used them for cider apparently of the alcoholic variety to warm their winter evenings. I, for one, think that by not having these 90 whatever % in the mix is a failure on man's part because whatever the reason they add something to the apples in the 10% range that we really enjoy and are marketable. Kind of like a nose that would be ugly on one face is delightful on another type of thing.

                  I agree with you on the meat production angle. We waste far too much of our arable land with cattle production that could be better used for fruits, nuts, and vegetables. And they increase the environmental problems in our atmosphere and water tables extensively. I don't think the Powers that be ever intended us to supplement our meat diet with vegetables. Science seems to agree with that assessment for a healthy diet since we are supposed to have at least 5 servings of fruit and veggies, and only enough meat in a day that will lay in the palm of our hands. Somewhere along the line it became skewed in our eating habits.

                  The answer? People like us and others with similar ideas who want to change things. The more farmers that change their growing habits the better. It will catch on with higher yields. So much farmland is dead these days only viable with heavy fertilization of the chemical variety unfortunately.

                  The government in the US is now encouraging the no till method of farming since the EPA figured out that the release from the earth in tilling was adding to the ozone problems every spring and fall. So there are advances. Won't help companies like Caterpillar, but they can learn to make other equipment I should think. Not too many buggy whip factories about anymore.

                  Everyone has made such valid points. Good discussion.

                  Gloria
                  Texas
                  USA


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                • souscayrous
                  Gloria, I doubt any of us are scientists on this list (lapsed, disabused, or just plain sick of technology s machines and contrivances, perhaps - as Fukuoka
                  Message 8 of 10 , Dec 3, 2001
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                    Gloria, I doubt any of us are scientists on this list (lapsed, disabused, or
                    just plain sick of technology's machines and contrivances, perhaps - as
                    Fukuoka himself) and, anyway, all communication is rhetoric; yes, even
                    science.
                    Open-pollination is a necessity for natural farming, it could hardly be
                    otherwise. I would buy my seed from Burpees if need be, but rather an
                    organic grower or non-profit seedbank. We must learn to begin with what we
                    have and then grow an alternative. If I could find another natural farmer
                    then I would know I was directly supporting this movement.
                    I would also like to do away with grafting trees onto rootstocks, however,
                    as this discussion is showing this is not necessarily as easy as scattering
                    apple seed (or any fruit or nut seed?). Any thoughts on how to establish a
                    viable and vital (economically and healthy - the fruit must be of a quality
                    to sell) diverse fruit and nut orchard without using F1 hybrids or
                    rootstocks?

                    Thanks

                    Souscayrous


                    -----Original Message-----
                    From: GLORIA BAIKAUSKAS [mailto:gcb49@...]
                    Sent: Monday, December 03, 2001 4:04 AM
                    To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] fukuoka's agronomical reform

                    Of course we (nor he) would want to order them from Burpee. My point is
                    that some plants like the apple have difficulties. In the old days when an
                    orchard was planted from seed the farmer knew that he would be lucky if he
                    got even one tree that would produce apples of the right sugar content and
                    taste for eating. The rest would be good only for cider which could then
                    have its taste manipulated with things like sugar added to the mash to
                    produce something drinkable. I don't know all the plant genetics involved
                    in getting the "right" apple. My point is that in providing seeds in this
                    fashion one could not depend perhaps on a quantity of edible plant
                    production in some vegetable and fruit types. In this way agronomy would
                    become a bit of an iffy proposition at least in the beginning. Perhaps in
                    time we would see better vegetable and fruit production in these types of
                    plants with a better fruit to boot. But if people were depending on us for
                    their daily bread (sic), then they wou
                    ld possibly be sorely in need indeed. It would have to be factored in with
                    hybrid plants and grafted trees for at least a time.

                    I honestly believe that Nature would take over in time. I think we would
                    regain strains we had possibly nearly lost with present agronomy methods in
                    use. Think of what we have lost because man played with Nature to his own
                    fancy! Remember carrots were not always orange. Man made them orange. Yet
                    find a child today who would eat a white or yellow carrot. Maybe in doing
                    all of this we would also regain the nutrition not present in today's food
                    chain.

                    I am not a scientist, so this is all rhetoric. I think we are all in charge
                    of the research, though. Call us what you may.

                    Gloria


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                  • Rex Teague
                    On 3 Dec 01, souscayrous wrote: --8
                    Message 9 of 10 , Dec 3, 2001
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                      On 3 Dec 01, souscayrous wrote:

                      --8<---

                      > I would also like to do away with grafting trees onto rootstocks,
                      > however, as this discussion is showing this is not necessarily as
                      > easy as scattering apple seed (or any fruit or nut seed?). Any
                      > thoughts on how to establish a viable and vital (economically and
                      > healthy - the fruit must be of a quality to sell) diverse fruit and
                      > nut orchard without using F1 hybrids or rootstocks?

                      Some clues at http://members.tripod.co.uk/orft. There was a
                      discussion of potential difficulties on the <alt.permaculture>
                      newsgroup... do a Google hunt, I can't remember the details. Phil
                      Corbett of the above website participates there and is an obliging
                      chap... contact him. 8<)

                      Cheers... Rex
                    • GLORIA BAIKAUSKAS
                      I have no idea re apples. From what I have read you get what you get by planting seeds.....or you go with grafting the varieties you wish on rootstocks. I
                      Message 10 of 10 , Dec 3, 2001
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                        I have no idea re apples. From what I have read you get what you get by planting seeds.....or you go with grafting the varieties you wish on rootstocks. I suppose one alternative would be as is done by Seeds of Change in New Mexico in trying to bring back old apples from even the 1700s......maybe one is from the 1600s in Europe. They sell out fast, and I have not been able to obtain one as of yet. I will keep trying. By bringing back the older varieties to larger numbers perhaps the genetic strains available for natural pollination would bring about more variety in the product trees of the seeds? I am guessing here. I wish I were more highly educated in apple genetics. I had only begun investigating this when all of this came up.

                        Growing apples in Texas is not an easy task. I try to stick to native varieties in most of my selections even hoping for volunteers to sprout on my 3 acres. It is I suppose why I used the apple as an example here.

                        When I compost I sheet compost directly from my kitchen. In this way I often (luckily) get volunteer plants of unknown genetics. Fukuoka says the best will survive.

                        I also go about different areas plucking seeds from the trees, etc., to use with seedballs on my land to see what I will get from it all. I am new at all of this. I joined this list to learn. I found out that what I was attempting on my own was similar to Mr. Fukuoka's principles. I had reported success with my experimental way of not arranging my newly reclaimed beds. By reclaimed I mean soil that I had to reclaim as it was basically dead. I had spent some years (about 4), allowing the soil to naturally come back after gross overchemicalization by farming for nearly 100 years, as well as composting, adding compost and natural amendments to a certain extent. Then I began planting things all together. As time went on the things in the wrong place, etc, died out, and the things that were happy were they were made amazing healthy spurts of growth. Native grasses are coming back in the back acre which is a slight hill now, as well as native plants that I did not plant. Probably birds, etc. did the deed. I had not planned anything for back there as yet. The land there has come back on its own totally. It is so exciting for me to watch it.

                        I will most likely try seedballs up there eventually. I am not sure right now. I kind of like the way it is progressing on its own......and with the birds' or other critters help.

                        My efforts at soil rebuilding have involved small areas at a time. Yet the land and Nature seem to have their own ideas, too. Mr. Fukuoka's ideas made sense to me immediately. I am learning now, but I know it will take time. I do not till. I just plant into what is there and see what happens as if it were all a great experiment.

                        So, I am not one to comment in any large way anymore than I already have re how to obtain viable marketable crops naturally other than to say that because plant genetics differ it will be necessary to amend the processes in some categories. I do believe that having more genetic stock that has had less tampering will benefit it all, though.

                        Gloria
                        Texas
                        USA


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