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Re: [fukuoka_farming] fukuoka's agronomical reform

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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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