Re: Seed Ball sowing
- Dear friend David,
Buckwheat (Soba in Japanese, _Fagopyrum_esculentum_ scientific name) seems one of the very few plant species i know of which has special adaptations better suited to sowing naked seed directly by broadcasting rather than in seed balls. I learned this from::
-reading all of late Fukuoka-sensei general plant sowing recommendations closely,
-reading closely all the Buckwheat wikipedia page -> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckwheat and
-reading closely many more web pages, Buckwheat science literature available freely on the web, and some relevant farming literature i have from my late organic farmer Dad, and
-speaking with the nearby farmer, who very kindly gave me the sack of seed, who has grown Buckwheat commercially for the Japanese Soba noodle market until recent years when the Chinese came to dominate the whole market, after the market was changed from a hectarage (acreage) basis to a tonnage basis.
Pretty much all plant species grow & establish better from seedballs IMHO, this makes great logical sense, because seed balls protect each seed from predators, unsuitable growing conditions, eg. brief rain events which stimulate naked seeds to germinate followed by very dry conditions which kill the new germinants, and mechanical damage when trampled or driven over or seed balls dropped from aeroplanes, or extreme drought/heat in deserts, and so on, etc.
Hence, i don't know of any lists of seed balls' suitable plant species. I think this is because all plant species are suitable for seed balls.
Buckwheat suits seed balls too!, - if you want to sow it out of season long before you want it to grow in order that it is delayed until heavy rains' weathering or other delayed-natural-weathering which breaks down the clay ball, or in very harsh conditions like deserts where you want the seed to wait to germinate for more-than-heavy flooding-rains, etc.
I sowed Buckwheat when it normally grows immediately, in mid spring after the last frost, here in a warm temperate climate, with average rainfall of 40 inches (1000 mm) coming mainly in winter, spring & summer-thunderstorms, with dry autumns. I will try it in seed balls as well as naked in further experiments next year. This years seeds' sack given to me where the last seeds in Australia available for purchase by the farmer who gave them to me of this high quality Australia-suited variety, because the Buckwheat has stopped being grown commercially due to this tonnage-basis Chinese domination.
In natural farming you will, as every follower of nature does, need to follow nature's dictates in your local seasons for determining when to sow Buckwheat (and any plants).
I note, that in some milder & warmer &/or wetter climates in the planet, one can choose to sow Buckwheat as an early spring crop, a spring crop, a late spring-early summer crop, a summer crop, a late-summer crop, or an autumn crop, eg. like late Fukuoka-sensei's in Ehime prefecture, Shikoku island, Japan, where the climate is considerably wetter than mine here, and at lower latitude, and with a maritime (nearer the sea hence milder & warmer) climate, and with less of a period of the year with frost-days or no frost-days at all? also eg. like some examples in literature on the web about sowing it in different climates at different seasonal timings.
In Australian terms i estimate late Fukuoka-sensei's farm climate & local conditions most closely are resembled by around Kempsey region, NSW, Australia.
--- In email@example.com, David Douglas <earthworks2@...> wrote:
> Thank you very much Jase for taking the time to send this information.
> I will definitely save it and try several of the techniques that you
> Would you know if their exists a list somewhere of vegetable and grain seeds
> that are best to sow in seed balls?
> On 1/13/10, Jason <macropneuma@...> wrote:
> > Dear friend David,
> > here in mid summer now in Australia, some buckwheat crops are growing
> > successfully, now coming into seed, in my nature farm.
> > Buckwheat is best direct broadcast sown IMHO immediately before scything or
> > cutting down the weeds on top of the sown seed.
> > Buckwheat IMHO seems one of the few plant species which germinates &
> > establishes better direct-broadcast-sown rather than inside seed balls.
> > Seems, each seed germinates only after substantial moisture has collected
> > around the seed, eg. from rain or day-after-day of dew, so it may have
> > special adaptations to surviving & not geminating after
> > too-brief-rain-events.
> > Also I recommend sowing its seeds in or just before a rain storm as heavy
> > rain pushes the seeds down within the weeds closer towards the soil surface.
> > Then immediately scythe after the rain has done that job.
> > Buckwheat here germinates with moisture after only 1-3 days or sometimes up
> > to max. of about 6-8 days, so you can't risk delaying scything down the
> > weeds because the buckwheat seedlings would be scythed down too!
> > Seedlings here have immediately sprouted their cotyledons (first leaves
> > from seed) up to max. 6 inches (15 cm) above the ground (range: 2 - 6
> > inches, 5 - 15 cm, seems depending on moisture & soil fertility)
> > Buckwheat here was sowed in spring after the last frost -said to be not
> > frost tolerant at all.
> > And sowed many times -staged- as experiments to learn how it grows in
> > different seasonal conditions & weather. The first sowings where on the 9th
> > of November (mid-late Spring in our climate) and again every major rain
> > event till late December.
> > As said, I sowed it usually only during or just before major rain events.
> > Also, experiments include:
> > -sowing in weeds growing in full sun, mostly grasses,
> > -sowing in areas with Kikuyu grass as well as other grasses and weeds in
> > full sun,
> > -sowing in areas with grasses and other weeds but without any Kikuyu in
> > full sun,
> > -sowing as above combinations in areas of partial shade,
> > -sowing in full sun in soil solarised just prior, solarised using re-used
> > silage windrow black plastic, this solarisation-bared soil was immediately
> > heavily mulched with much straw when the plastic was moved off it,
> > -sowing in the shade of the orchard trees, amongst the weeds, mainly
> > grasses, of the orchard,
> > -sowing in the shade of the orchard trees, in bare soil where natural
> > Apricot seedlings had just prior been dug out for transplanting to
> > neighbours, where there was very few grasses or other weeds.
> > The very strongest & fastest growing plants are in the solarised bared &
> > then mulched soil, it was heavily mulched with much straw
> > immediately-after-being-bared, perhaps because i sowed it still a bit later
> > in the season than i could of -afraid of a rogue late frost-, or perhaps
> > because Buckwheat is also peculiar in being a more or less wild (non-hybrid
> > & not really domesticated) plant that naturally has adapted to naturally
> > disturbed bared soils.
> > I would love to know more of people's experience's Buckwheat growing around
> > the world? And any knowledge of Buckwheat's natural occurrence & habitats? -
> > Science papers, Wikipedia & google links have basic info on Buckwheat's
> > natural habitats in China & elsewhere, but local empirical knowledge would
> > inform much more... .
> > Sri Raju Titus, i would love to know how Buckwheat grows in your farm - if
> > you have ever sown it and had it growing there?
> > If you would like to view photos, i will be happy to send them to you
> > privately, so please feel free to email me privately.
> > Kind Cheers,
> > Jase from Oz.
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