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pigs as weed control

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  • daniel_herps
    Hi, Im just moved to a tiny piece of land (half acre) where I plan to do NF. However, the land is full of kikuyu grass, who has been a real problem to control.
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 5, 2010
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      Hi,
      Im just moved to a tiny piece of land (half acre) where I plan to do NF. However, the land is full of kikuyu grass, who has been a real problem to control. Im thinking about getting some pigglets to do the dirty work, while they plough the soil and fertilize it. After the weeds are gone or weak, I plan to use seed balls with Arachis pintoi, radish and pigeon pea plant to grow the soil fertility. Do you think the pigglets are a good idea, or anyone has tried this?

      Daniel
      Cundinamarca, Colombia (South America)
    • Jason
      Dear friend Daniel, I have massive -20 acres of it- Kikuyu (Penisetum clandestinum) problems in a cleared wet-Eucalypt-forest/rainforest environment (1000m
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 6, 2010
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        Dear friend Daniel,

        I have massive -20 acres of it- Kikuyu (Penisetum clandestinum) problems in a cleared wet-Eucalypt-forest/rainforest environment (1000m rainfall), my nature-farm.
        In ecological science this low grass or short plant vegetation persisting for decades is termed a *disclimax* vegetation-assemblage in environments that naturally and can easily support very tall thick forest (here up to 100m high actually) at the maximum -which would get the term the climax vegetation community- ie. at one extreme, disclimax vegetation-assemblage, very short and not fully utilising the environment in three dimensions, and at the other extreme climax vegetation-assemblage tallest and thickest possible -maximum-biomass- utilising the environment to the full potential of it's soil, rainfall & climate, hydrology, and sunlight, etc.

        I've not tried piglets and would love to know your results, so if the advice you get here and elsewhere continues to advise piglets for you then please let us all know the result if you do then try it, at least as an experiment. I don't have the opportunity at the moment to try piglets (nor geese -see later below).

        I've controlled the Kikuyu really well experimentally in some parts -about 1.5 acres- using 15 or so re-used waste plastic sheets 15m x 7.5m UV stabilized & very-heavy-duty thick plastic, left to me by some neighbouring dairy cattle farmers. They are purchased for $100+ each sheet by some dairy farmer neighbours as silage-windrow mass-wrap plastic. Each year the silage hay bails may get stacked 3 wide at the bottom, 2 wide on top, and 1 wide on top of that, and up to about 100m long sometimes, so many sheets of 15x7.5m are used each year to wholly wrap these windrows with an airtight seal. Each year there are many wasted because using a tractor forklift to remove the plastic and bails makes it very difficult to avoid putting holes in the plastic sheet. Erecting the windrow and sheeting is easy to do without hole-ing the plastic.
        So each year they have a large sheet plastic waste problem, and i offered to take some off their hands for free - they have to pay to send it for disposal in legal ways, with me they can give it to me for different uses legally for free. I get these each-huge sheets that never seem to break down -9 years now- with perhaps a few small holes in them, originally worth $100+ each which i could never afford for plastic.
        The plastic solarises the heavy Kikuyu 'thicket' in summer time into 'silage' like brown or 'mummified' Kikuyu mulch mat flat on the soil surface, sometimes very thick. The plastic surface in the sun can get to 100 degrees centigrade on a hot 35-45 degrees centigrade summer day, so i only leave the plastic there in that heat for 3 weeks to three months depending on the site specific heaviness of Kikuyu, sun exposure amount and with checking varying results.
        This mummified-Kikuyu mulch environment make excellent growing habitat for new, direct-seeded nature-farming. It's important to not leave the plastic sheeting there too long for really not damaging the soil.
        I give great importance to not killing beneficial plants like forest species or good 'weeds', and not killing soil organisms as much as possible (even walking on soil kills some of course).

        Friends of mine (thanks to Dean, Annette & Jye for info) proved the use of geese fenced into a much smaller area of Kikuyu mixed within native grassland of matrix species Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra) as a complete control method. Geese seemingly love to graze Kikuyu to the point of eradicating it, while not eating their Kangaroo Grass, nor seemingly the many native wild-flowers variously spread amongst it. This may provide the better option for your situation.

        I can send you a link to private photos of my Kikuyu experiments and nature farm results if you wish.
        Please let us know your results.
        Kikuyu dominates extremely strongly in no-chemicals (no herbicides) farms or nature areas -and officially recognised as a serious, extremely-invasive environmental weed here in Oz-, where no grazers eat it out;
        Like in Africa where kikuyu comes from and gets eaten down very vigourously & powerfully by huge animals and huge populations of animals that it is adapted to, such as Elephants, Rhino, Zebra, Buffalo and the many more, and is the name, Kikuyu people, of a tribe of people there also.
        There's another strictly-ecological-succession approach with grazing-adapted spreading grass species like this;
        To exclude all grazing of any large animals for 5 or more years, to age the grass until it becomes senescent and then dies out. This approach only amounts to theory in some patches because Kikuyu some places has no problem growing massively over the top of itself every year. In my farm however, in some places one mat of it does hold it's own ground and slowly senesce over years until different plant species take it over, like our Oz bracken (Pteridium escluentum).
        Kikuyu grows in summer here, S.E. Oz winters are too cold (& frosty) for this tropical & subtropical grass species to actively grow -frosts kill off the top foliage of it leaving a thick dead flattened down thatch which in turn insulates the kikuyu parts underneath, which then surge back through it in spring warmth like a mass thicket, and then up to a metre high thickly on top of itself. In botany science C4 photosynthetic pathway is the term for Kikuyu's photosynthetic bio-chemistry as well as many more tropical & subtropical grass species and some saltbushes or succulent plant species, C4 photosynthetic energy-pathway bio-chemistry more efficiently captures sun energy into plant food-energy in warmer subtropical & tropical weather, contrasted with the different photosynthetic bio-chemistry termed C3 - a photosynthetic energy-pathway bio-chemistry which more efficiently captures sun energy into plant food-energy in cooler temperate and colder weather, as in many other species of plants.
        I'm also continuing to experiment and learn the way to the primary method of weed control (not weeding attempting eradication, just control and then succession to better species) of Fukuoka Masanobu sensei by using this winter limitation of Kikuyu grass here in my warm-temperate climate (frosts & no C3 growing energy) with sowing very much taller and potentially thicker species of the same family as Kikuyu - grasses (Poaceae family)- trailing old-variety, potentially 6-8 foot tall Triticale grain grass according to Fukuoka sensei's methods of hand cutting the kikuyu at ground level on top of the recently sown Triticale seed or seedballs, to weaken the kikuyu, perhaps a second or third cutting too, just at the time when the Triticale seeds germinate and seedlings establish and grow above the kikuyu with shoots and hopefully below the kikuyu with roots. We will see if it can overcome the sometimes metre thick kikuyu or frosted kikuyu thatch really.
        I'll let you know more of any significant results - so called successes or failures to grow beyond kikuyu both benefit in their value for informing me & us.


        Best wishes,

        Jason
        S.E. Australia

        --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "daniel_herps" <pyrrhura@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi,
        > Im just moved to a tiny piece of land (half acre) where I plan to do NF. However, the land is full of kikuyu grass, who has been a real problem to control. Im thinking about getting some pigglets to do the dirty work, while they plough the soil and fertilize it. After the weeds are gone or weak, I plan to use seed balls with Arachis pintoi, radish and pigeon pea plant to grow the soil fertility. Do you think the pigglets are a good idea, or anyone has tried this?
        >
        > Daniel
        > Cundinamarca, Colombia (South America)
        >
      • Sumant Joshi
        Congrats Daniel, for starting NF. Big things start like this, small farm or big, doesn t matter Sent from my BSNL landline B-fone Warm regards, Sumant Joshi
        Message 3 of 6 , Aug 6, 2010
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          Congrats Daniel, for starting NF. Big things start like this, small farm or big, doesn't matter

          Sent from my BSNL landline B-fone

          Warm regards,

          Sumant Joshi
          Tel - 09370010424, 0253-2361161

          --- On Fri, 6/8/10, daniel_herps <pyrrhura@...> wrote:

          From: daniel_herps <pyrrhura@...>
          Subject: [fukuoka_farming] pigs as weed control
          To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Friday, 6 August, 2010, 11:02 AM
















           









          Hi,

          Im just moved to a tiny piece of land (half acre) where I plan to do NF. However, the land is full of kikuyu grass, who has been a real problem to control. Im thinking about getting some pigglets to do the dirty work, while they plough the soil and fertilize it. After the weeds are gone or weak, I plan to use seed balls with Arachis pintoi, radish and pigeon pea plant to grow the soil fertility. Do you think the pigglets are a good idea, or anyone has tried this?



          Daniel

          Cundinamarca, Colombia (South America)



























          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Sara Mandal-Joy
          Hi Daniel, my Amish friends have a regular farm, growing hay and feed for their cows and horses - they prefer organic, but don t do so religiously. They do
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 7, 2010
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            Hi Daniel, my Amish friends have a regular farm, growing hay and feed
            for their cows and horses - they prefer organic, but don't do so
            religiously. They do in general plow, so its not natural. However,
            they also market garden. And they have found that they get the best
            market crops by rotating garden plots, having the sheep on a plot one year,
            next year the pigs go in that plot, third year it is planted. I'm not
            sure what the reason is for roating the sheep and pigs as well. I guess
            the sheep eat down the taller stuff - they don't do "bush" or roots
            well, but pigs do. Oh, if there is not a winter cover crop planted at
            the end of "pig" season in a plot, then chickens are sometimes
            overwintered in there (have a moveable shelter) to get remaining egg and
            weed seed. When a winter cover crop is planted in last summer's pig
            plot, then the chickens go into the hoop house overwinter instead (to
            clean it up), till its time to get new seedlings started in the early
            spring. Kind of an ingenious system. So they are only doing market
            gardening on one given plot every three years. Provides all their
            fertilizer needs, and keeps weeds (even those with big deep root
            systems) pretty much eradicated. Oh, in the "pig year" the pigs are
            also fed all the farm slops, including any milk they didn't have
            another need for. The milk is great with our hard clay soil, and adds
            calcium, which is lacking in our clay soil. So its not natural
            farming/gardening, but thought I'd mention it since you asked about
            pigs. Sara
          • Raju Titus
            Dear friend, Fukuoka farming require weeds cover tilling by any means is harmful. Raju Titus ... -- Raju Titus. Hoshangabad.India. +919179738049.
            Message 5 of 6 , Aug 7, 2010
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              Dear friend,
              Fukuoka farming require weeds cover tilling by any means is harmful.
              Raju Titus

              On Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 10:32 PM, daniel_herps <pyrrhura@...> wrote:

              >
              >
              > Hi,
              > Im just moved to a tiny piece of land (half acre) where I plan to do NF.
              > However, the land is full of kikuyu grass, who has been a real problem to
              > control. Im thinking about getting some pigglets to do the dirty work, while
              > they plough the soil and fertilize it. After the weeds are gone or weak, I
              > plan to use seed balls with Arachis pintoi, radish and pigeon pea plant to
              > grow the soil fertility. Do you think the pigglets are a good idea, or
              > anyone has tried this?
              >
              > Daniel
              > Cundinamarca, Colombia (South America)
              >
              >
              >



              --
              Raju Titus. Hoshangabad.India.
              +919179738049.
              http://picasaweb.google.com/rajuktitus


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Vargan
              Sepp Holzer (Krameterhof, Austria, http://www.krameterhof.at/) scatters peas or corn in the places where he wants to weaken the weeds. Pigs in the search of
              Message 6 of 6 , Aug 7, 2010
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                Sepp Holzer (Krameterhof, Austria, http://www.krameterhof.at/) scatters peas or corn in the places where he wants to weaken the weeds. Pigs in the search of the tasty pea plow the ground. Then Sepp sow his seeds.



                --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "daniel_herps" <pyrrhura@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hi,
                > Im just moved to a tiny piece of land (half acre) where I plan to do NF. However, the land is full of kikuyu grass, who has been a real problem to control. Im thinking about getting some pigglets to do the dirty work, while they plough the soil and fertilize it. After the weeds are gone or weak, I plan to use seed balls with Arachis pintoi, radish and pigeon pea plant to grow the soil fertility. Do you think the pigglets are a good idea, or anyone has tried this?
                >
                > Daniel
                > Cundinamarca, Colombia (South America)
                >
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