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Waterless Gardening and other ideas

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  • Sean Phelan
    Folks, I like the direction this group is taking, focus on some practical experiments would be useful for everyone. Keeping the original philosophy in mind, I
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 26, 2002
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      Folks,

      I like the direction this group is taking, focus on some practical experiments would be useful for everyone.

      Keeping the original philosophy in mind, I have a few ideas to share:
      1) Engineer Water conservation - In addition to the water-holding capacity of good soil, how about the water held in fruit crops, especially annuals (like tomato/cucumber/melon, etc..)?
      If you didn't harvest these fruits, but rather timed their drop, you could release that water back into the soil during the dry season.

      Here's what I was thinking:

      In Florida, we have HOT RAINY summers, tons of rain. The fall is cooler and not so rainy, as is winter/early spring.

      Then, April/May get very dry, and things start to heat up, so this is the worst drought period of the year.

      My thought is to find some fruit crop to grow in the spring, preferably a crawling crop like a melon/cuke (maybe Citron melon), time them to drop fruit in April/May, leave the fruit on the field, where they'd release their water back into the soil during the drought.

      It's an idea I'll eventually play with, once I get my gardens more established.

      2) Long-term food production on a lot - Veggies and annual crops take a lot more work on an ongoing basis than trees do, so an idea for a long-term bare lot would be:
      - Plant fruit/nut trees, from seed or young seedling.
      - Use the space in between for veggies and annual food crops (or even perennial, if you want)
      - As the trees grow/mature, they'll start producing food, but they'll also start shading the area, inhibiting the original crop production.
      - Eventually, you'll have a lot of trees, fully shaded.
      - THEN ... Plant shade-loving food crops and forage crops, and introduce some livestock to eat the grasses and forage. No more animals than the land can support, but you could have a few cows, or goats/sheep, or poultry. Recently, I've read about a dairy farmer who pastures his cows in a pasture with lots of trees, and the trees keep the cows from congregating. Instead of all 50 being in one place, they'll hang in groups of 2-3, because the trees prevent easy congregation.

      Anyway, those are just 2 ideas, the first one more "natural", the second more about minimizing long-term effort.

      I think what Fukuoka did so well on his farm was to identify the problems in the cycle and correct them:
      - Reintroducing the straw as mulch to protect the seed and limit weed competition
      - Using clay seedballs to protect the rice until it's time
      - Flooding the fields for the right week or two, to kill the weeds and loosen up the rice-bearing seedballs.

      These 3 basic things, coupled with harnessing the power of Nature, gave him a fabulous farm.

      Thanks,
      Sp
      -------------------------------------------
      Sean Phelan
      Sequoia Consulting - Internet solutions that make sense
      http://www.sqcn.com
      mailto:SPhelan@...
      http://www.TheSCIA.Org - Proud Member of the Space Coast Internet Alliance
      (321) 984-0211
    • Larry Haftl
      ... (like tomato/cucumber/melon, etc..)? If you didn t harvest these fruits, but rather timed their drop, you could release that water back into the soil
      Message 2 of 6 , Sep 30, 2002
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        Sean Phelan wrote:
        > ...how about the water held in fruit crops, especially annuals
        (like tomato/cucumber/melon, etc..)? If you didn't harvest these
        fruits, but rather timed their drop, you could release that water
        back into the soil during the dry season.

        I don't think so Sean. Better to keep the moisture in the soil under
        a thick layer of mulch than to let it evaporate as you waste perfectly
        good food.

        > ...an idea for a long-term bare lot would be:
        - Plant fruit/nut trees, from seed or young seedling.
        - Use the space in between for veggies and annual food crops (or
        even perennial, if you want)

        A few years ago I did a documentary on Japanese immigrants into the
        Hood River Valley in Oregon. That area had/has a long tradition of
        growing some of the best apples, pears and other fruit in the world.
        The Japanese planted trees like everyone else, but then they started
        to plant cash crop vegetables between the rows of trees and all of
        a sudden they are making a lot more money off their lands than the
        locals had been. Pissed the locals off a lot. Led to all sorts of
        nasty confrontations. The point is, your idea works really well.
        Been proven many times in many places. Don't know why it is not done
        a lot more often. If you are planning on planting some trees you
        might look into a relatively little used (I think) technique of planting
        several saplings in one larger hole. Talked to a nursery guy in Northern
        California about it. He has a website, but I'd have to hunt for it
        if you are interested. The theory is that a home gardener can plant
        trees closer together than the "standard" 10+ foot spacing commercial
        growers use because the home gardener doesn't have to drive a big
        tractor between the trees. Also, you can plant several varieties
        together to get a prolonged harvest period. And by using semi-dwarf
        trees you can get a lot of production in a very small space. Sort
        of the Biodynamic approach to orchards. Not very Fukuokaesque, but
        if anyone is interested in knowing more I'll hunt up the links again.
        There are several homeowners/small farmers doing this in the Northern
        California/Southern Oregon area.


        Larry Haftl
        larry@...
      • aus ma56
        yes, i m interested. mark ... concentrated nutrition,weight loss and cancer prevention www.myricebran.com
        Message 3 of 6 , Oct 1, 2002
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          yes, i'm interested.
          mark


          >From: Larry Haftl <larry@...>
          >Reply-To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
          >To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
          >Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Re:Waterless Gardening and other ideas
          >Date: Mon, 30 Sep 2002 23:08:34 -0700
          >
          >Sean Phelan wrote:
          > > ...how about the water held in fruit crops, especially annuals
          >(like tomato/cucumber/melon, etc..)? If you didn't harvest these
          >fruits, but rather timed their drop, you could release that water
          >back into the soil during the dry season.
          >
          >I don't think so Sean. Better to keep the moisture in the soil under
          >a thick layer of mulch than to let it evaporate as you waste perfectly
          >good food.
          >
          > > ...an idea for a long-term bare lot would be:
          >- Plant fruit/nut trees, from seed or young seedling.
          >- Use the space in between for veggies and annual food crops (or
          >even perennial, if you want)
          >
          >A few years ago I did a documentary on Japanese immigrants into the
          >Hood River Valley in Oregon. That area had/has a long tradition of
          >growing some of the best apples, pears and other fruit in the world.
          >The Japanese planted trees like everyone else, but then they started
          >to plant cash crop vegetables between the rows of trees and all of
          >a sudden they are making a lot more money off their lands than the
          >locals had been. Pissed the locals off a lot. Led to all sorts of
          >nasty confrontations. The point is, your idea works really well.
          >Been proven many times in many places. Don't know why it is not done
          >a lot more often. If you are planning on planting some trees you
          >might look into a relatively little used (I think) technique of planting
          >several saplings in one larger hole. Talked to a nursery guy in Northern
          >California about it. He has a website, but I'd have to hunt for it
          >if you are interested. The theory is that a home gardener can plant
          >trees closer together than the "standard" 10+ foot spacing commercial
          >growers use because the home gardener doesn't have to drive a big
          >tractor between the trees. Also, you can plant several varieties
          >together to get a prolonged harvest period. And by using semi-dwarf
          >trees you can get a lot of production in a very small space. Sort
          >of the Biodynamic approach to orchards. Not very Fukuokaesque, but
          >if anyone is interested in knowing more I'll hunt up the links again.
          >There are several homeowners/small farmers doing this in the Northern
          >California/Southern Oregon area.
          >
          >
          >Larry Haftl
          >larry@...
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >




          concentrated nutrition,weight loss
          and cancer prevention
          www.myricebran.com


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        • Larry Haftl
          ... The best source I found for info on dense planting of fruit trees was at the Dave Wilson Nursery page http://www.davewilson.com from the homepage click
          Message 4 of 6 , Oct 1, 2002
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            At Tuesday, 01 October 2002, you wrote:

            >yes, i'm interested.
            >mark

            The best source I found for info on dense planting of fruit trees
            was at the Dave Wilson Nursery page http://www.davewilson.com

            from the homepage click on "Resources for the home gardener"

            Then click on "Backyard Orchard Culture"
            that page has a bunch of info including a nice PDF format file that
            pretty much spells out the whole concept.

            Like I said, it's not very Fukuokaesque, but it seems to work.

            Larry Haftl
            larry@...
          • aus ma56
            thank you ! i dont stick to just one system. i use the best of all the systems. the better one can adapt the better the survival. ... concentrated
            Message 5 of 6 , Oct 1, 2002
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              thank you !
              i dont stick to just one system. i use the best of all the systems.
              the better one can adapt the better the survival.


              >From: Larry Haftl <larry@...>
              >Reply-To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
              >To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
              >Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re:Waterless Gardening and other ideas
              >Date: Tue, 1 Oct 2002 16:45:42 -0700
              >
              >At Tuesday, 01 October 2002, you wrote:
              >
              > >yes, i'm interested.
              > >mark
              >
              >The best source I found for info on dense planting of fruit trees
              >was at the Dave Wilson Nursery page http://www.davewilson.com
              >
              >from the homepage click on "Resources for the home gardener"
              >
              >Then click on "Backyard Orchard Culture"
              >that page has a bunch of info including a nice PDF format file that
              >pretty much spells out the whole concept.
              >
              >Like I said, it's not very Fukuokaesque, but it seems to work.
              >
              >Larry Haftl
              >larry@...
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >




              concentrated nutrition,weight loss
              and cancer prevention
              www.myricebran.com


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              Join the world�s largest e-mail service with MSN Hotmail.
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            • jamie
              Thanks for the link Larry. I ve a passing interest in high density planting since I noticed my sunflowers flourishing in stands of up to four. Anne had planted
              Message 6 of 6 , Oct 2, 2002
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                Thanks for the link Larry. I've a passing interest in high density planting
                since I noticed my sunflowers flourishing in stands of up to four. Anne had
                planted four seeds in each hole and with good germination there were places
                with 3 and 4 sunflowers per 4 inch square, I thought of thinning them but
                being a complete and utter beginner I thought again and decided it would be
                instructive to see how they fared across the summer. Considering they got to
                2 metres and more without watering I was amazed. I started looking around
                for similar natural high density stands and found many, I especially
                remember sitting on the banks of the Aude river and seeing clumps of trees
                in clumps of 5 or 6. Not saplings but large, mature trees. Obviously they
                had all the water they wanted there, but it helped liberate me from the idea
                of regular equalised plantings - or at least for certain plants. Does anyone
                have more information on this high density companionality (is this a word?)
                and species that favour such planting.

                My only concern about planting fruit trees in such high densities is that
                each tree will not be able to achieve full canopy development and thus
                fruit quality. For the sunflowers such concerns weren't apparent as their
                leafing is tight to their stems and as they grew they naturally fell away
                from one another, minimising shade. But it can only be healthy to question
                the accepted wisdom of conventional agriculture, an agriculture that has had
                several millennia in which to evolve away from nature with ever greater
                intervention and additions from humankind. There's just so much more for us
                to discover, that's been forgotten or was perhaps never perceived in the
                first place. If we accept Fukuoka's concerns about scientific agriculture
                then it might be that instead of several thousand years of progress, these
                years have been regressive. It is in light of this possibility that the work
                we are each developing has its intrinsic worth.

                Jamie
                Souscayrous


                ----- Original Message -----
                From: Larry Haftl <larry@...>
                To: <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2002 1:45 AM
                Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re:Waterless Gardening and other ideas


                > At Tuesday, 01 October 2002, you wrote:
                >
                > >yes, i'm interested.
                > >mark
                >
                > The best source I found for info on dense planting of fruit trees
                > was at the Dave Wilson Nursery page http://www.davewilson.com
                >
                > from the homepage click on "Resources for the home gardener"
                >
                > Then click on "Backyard Orchard Culture"
                > that page has a bunch of info including a nice PDF format file that
                > pretty much spells out the whole concept.
                >
                > Like I said, it's not very Fukuokaesque, but it seems to work.
                >
                > Larry Haftl
                > larry@...
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                > fukuoka_farming-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
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