To Robin, Maya, and Napi: I had hoped the pink purslane would work for you (see archive 906) when you said you would try it as an "experiment...among shady podzols, ...cafeteria water...on Cupressus lane." Pink purslane is a true "understory" plant that likes to linger in dark places under vegetative arches and bowers--the sort of plant Wordsworth loved, small, but making its presence known under the bigger, more imposing overgrowth.
To Justin: Yes, Fukuoka is nothing if not practical. He wants us not to contemplate our navels, but to become immersed in the lives of the plants that have co-evolved with us. In tending to their needs, ours are served as well. It is hard for "industrial man" (or woman) to connect with nature in this non-analytical, non-conceptural way. Fukuoka says to trust him, jump in, and you will see the way. I suspect that the Way has many entry points, and some may need to start with a more mechanistic approach, such as the "guilds" in agroforestry that Toby Hemenway introduces in his "Gaia's Garden." The "guilds" are attempts to engineer one's way into nature by laying down patterns suggested by "complexity theory," in the hope that nature will then "self-organize" the patterns as her own. Sometimes, at least, this works! So, mechanical man (or "Gutenburg man" as Marshall McLuhan used to say) does companion planting, with root crops--like daikon--and deep accumulator plants--like dandelion--at the bottom. Over these are planted nitrogen fixing plants, like clover. Over these are creeping vines--like strawberry and winter squash. Over these are nitrogen-fixing shrubs and trees. With luck, a synergistic balance occurs and each plant group takes care of the other, supplying shade, opening root pathways, forming symbiotic relations with microbes, retaining moisture, repelling insect predators, and so forth.
To Larry: More categories would focus and clarify the website. One category for Fukuoka interviews and writing, another for our own experiments, extensions and adaptations of Fukuoka, another for books recommended or reviewed. You might also have a bulletin board to keep up with conferences concerning natural farming, such as the one at Shiva's school that occurred the first two week of October this year. (The silence following this event is deafening. Did any anyone on this list actually attend? Did Fukuoka get the tree seeds, were transcripts or videos made?)
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