Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Eucalypts
- Hi Norm,
A couple of people (Rajuji, Kumaraswamy +??) have been reporting that green gram (moong dal) can be used instead of white clover. Also there has been a suggestion that cow pea also can be used..But I think this research has to be done in more fields and a working system like Fukuoka's style of paddy has to come up.
Please read Fukuoka san's statement on white clover in the following interview..
"Hmmm... my climate is totally unlike his, so rather than use white
clover, I'll try this other ground cover." That line of reasoning could
well take you off the track and lead you down a lot of blind alleys!
Clover is necessary to keep the weeds back and replenish the soil.
--- On Sun, 12/5/10, greenie6666 <normbeee@...> wrote:
From: greenie6666 <normbeee@...>
Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Eucalypts
Date: Sunday, December 5, 2010, 4:44 AM
I have been wanting to write for some time, especially to our good friends in India, to just give a bit of warning to them, about our Australian Eucalyptus & Casuarinas. I'm an Australian & I spent one year in 2003/4 living in India & recently had another short visit in June this year & plan another trip at the end of February, I have gained a strong love of India & it's people & am very impressed with some of the guys ideas & thoughts on life & the earths problems we discuss here.
Then there was Anant's article on planting Eucalypt & Linda's & Jason's follow ups. I have known for a long time of other countries plantings of Eucalypt & read of some of the problems associated with these plantings. Being Australian I have grown up with a strong love of Eucalypts, but since moving to a larger farm 18 hectares [46 acres] 27 years ago I have become worried about some of their abilities, they are an incredible plant & for reforestation on difficult grown, they probably would be one of the best because of their ability to extract nutrients from the hardest of soils & in some places they certainly have a place, because certainly a Eucalypt is better than no tree at all. When I first started here with ideas of natural farming, I left my Eucalypts & inter planted then with other trees, fruit & nuts etc, but when the first drought hit this area, which is almost sub tropical, I noticed how they coped with it, first they extracted all available
moisture from the soil to the detriment of other plants, then they had a massive leaf drop, which covered the ground with a mulch of their leaves, which I guess is a good thing for the earth, but their leaves retard the growth of other species & even prevent most grasses from growing. The smooth bark varieties also shed their bark & we think plants can't plan or think, but it looked like they were to me planning the next fire, which most Eucalypts & Casuarinas have evolved to withstand. If they don't get a regular fire, other species may take over, it is their ability to survive fire that has made them the dominant species.
Unlike most Australians I had the idea that the best way to prevent our almost annual bushfires, was to improve the soil fertility & grow species that are less flammable. So I had started planting rainforest species here, which I felt grew more here in the past, than at the present day, but had been killed out, because mainly from the frequency of burn off's that are mostly been used as a fire prevention, which in my idea was creating the conditions for the next fire, as mainly only plants that can survive a burn end up becoming the main vegetation in such an area. I had kept fires out of my property for about 20 years, but one year there was a fire in the area & the bushfire brigade, which I was a member of, wanted to do a back burn to prevent spread of this fire, we started the burn at 1am in the morning & even with this really cool burn most of my rainforest species were scorched & died.
Here in Australia after just over 200 years of occupation of Europeans, some of us are beginning to see the damage we have done in this time & are now saying that we should look at how the original Aborigines managed the land, the Aborigines didn't have any form of agriculture, but it is said they used to manage the land by cool burns early in the dry season. As Jason mentions it is said that Australia has become so arid because of the continents move over time into a part of the earth which is drier, but as Fukuoka says he believes that deserts are caused from the ground up & I think he's right, maybe we have moved into a drier zone, but if over something like 60,000 to 40,000 years the people inhabiting this land have been practicing burn offs, I'm pretty sure this has had an effect on the land, vegetation, fertility of the soils. To me it's logic if you burn up the efforts of nature each year instead of letting it decompose back into the earth, which
is natures way, it will become denuded. I think with us being human we can't help but interfere with natures natural process, we are supposed to be intelligent beings, but I guess that depends on what idea we consider as being intelligent & if we decided that something is intelligent for what the person sees as his desire in the present, but is not in the good of natural processes, maybe it can't be called intelligent.
When I visited Sensei at his home in Japan in 1984 he did one of his famous paintings for me & my Japanese wife interpreted his explanation of it, he said as we create a problem with our technologies, we think the smart thing is to solve it with another technology & he said with each technology we bury ourselves deeper & deeper.
The warning I want to give to people in India is, I had seen plantings of Eucalypts & Casuarinas & noticed in some areas what appeared to be areas of these plants that appear to be spreading by natural seeding & it just worries me that if these plants are allowed to spread into your environments, in the future in your dry season you may begin to experience wild fires [bush fires] similar to what we experience here in Australia & which just a few year ago killed more than 200 people. Maybe because of how people use resources, it may not come to that state, but it's something you should be aware of. I think in lots of cases these trees are used for firewood or in other ways that maybe they don't reach maturity, so the problem may not be the same as here.
Also I would like to make some comment on leguminous plants used in tropical areas such as in India. Fukuoka used White Clover which I don't think grows well in tropical areas & I haven't seen a similar plant that could be used in India, as most of the legumes I have seen & know in tropical places seem to be large bean like plants similar to "Pueraria Javanica" mentioned by Vishu, which might be ok with his coffee plants, but still I think would have to be watched in the early stages as they are so vigorous & rampant that they could over come them before they got large enough. In June I visited a natural farm in Auroville, in the area that they grew rice & millet, they were growing a large bean type legume & also some weeds that were said to be beneficial & I wasn't there to see the rice or millet planted, but such plants would not be able to be just cut & have the rice or millet sown into them, as before the grain would have a chance to get away they
would be smothered. It seems that each plant would have to be removed by pulling out to give the grain crop a chance to get away, granted these plants would supply large amounts of humus & nitrogen, but their management would seem to be a big problem in natural farming. Are there other plants that are used that could be controlled easier in a similar way to Fukuoka's clover. Mr. Raju Titus's plant Subabul [Leucaena Luecocephla] is a shrub like plant that would I guess, have to be cut & used as mulch...regards...Norm...from Oz [Australia].
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