Re: [fukuoka_farming] Establishing Cover Crops (Was Allan Savory: How to green the world's deserts)
From what I understand from Fukuoka's books, he did not start from the grass field, but from a field that was used for growing rice before as well. I think that was the case because I remember him describing the train of thoughts: what else can I do without. He was saying that in agriculture the official approach often is: what else can we do? And his approach was: what else can I do without? That tells me that his starting point was his family farm, worked in the same way as everybody else in the neighbourhood worked theirs (ploughed and weeded and flooded) and not virgin land which he turned into a rice paddy and barley field simply by scattering seeds.
That's my understanding ...
--- On Fri, 3/22/13, trenthillsmike <trenthillsca@...> wrote:
From: trenthillsmike <trenthillsca@...>
Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Establishing Cover Crops (Was Allan Savory: How to green the world's deserts)
Date: Friday, March 22, 2013, 10:24 AM
I think one's approach has to be tailored to one's conditions. We're working with an old farmer's field which has had the topsoil scraped off for landscaping. When we first started growing vegetables a number of years ago, we rototilled and discovered thistles and quackgrass. The vegetables did not survive. So then we decided to go to raised beds which solved the problem. However, we're not entirely happy with raised beds because of the input costs of the wood used. This past summer we had a severe drought and to protect some of our new nut tress I add a 6 inch mulch layer, five feet in diameter around the trees. In the fall, I pulled back the mulch to find the soil a bit moist. More significantly, the weeds were rotted with barely traces left on the soil surface. Working with that observation, I have heavily mulched an area that I want to bring into food production. In the spring, after the snow is gone, I will add a thin layer of well aged
compost and plant peas. Before they go to flower, I will scythe them down to capture the nitrogen in the roots. Then I will add another thing layer of aged compost and plant buckwheat. I'll let it go to flower for my bees and then scythe it down. I'll then add a thing layer of aged compost into which I'll seed Daikon radish. This will winter kill and next spring I'll seed Dutch clover.
I'll also do a separate area where I don't plant the peas, buckwheat and radishes but rather go straight to Dutch clover.
For me, I think the key is to suppress the weed first by smothering them. I hoping that the Dutch clover will establish itself before the weeds return. If it does, they won't be able to return.
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, Daniel Camolês <bigatojj@...> wrote:
Establishing a cover crop has been my challenge also. After experimentation and observation, I'm leaning towards the conclusion that there's no way that any leguminous cover crop we have here will establish itself on it's own and win over the grasses.
So far what I'm doing that is working is more or less conventional organic method while I sow clover on every opportunity together with the rest of crop seeds. I weed out by hand letting only the white clover grow together with the cultures. Where it's establishing I still need to actively weed out the grass all the time. The clover doesn't help much in this regard, you need to watch out for the grasses sprouting among it or very soon they will overcome the clover.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Not only does it retain moisture but the mulch rots down into compost and improves fertility. I think that feeding the soil is a much better idea than feeding the plants. We've been adding plants that mine minerals (lambsquarter, pigweed, yarrow, stinging nettle, red clover, Dutch white clover, etc), attract pollinators all through the growing season, attract predatory insects, confuse pests. Our preference is for perennials or self-seeding annuals and biennials. And we've stopped mowing the orchard although I do selective scything to suppress plants that we don't want. We're very early in the process but we can see some results - https://picasaweb.google.com/PortagePerennials/HolisticOrchard#5888913239729330466
--- In email@example.com, Nandan Palaparambil <p_k_nandanan@...> wrote:
> Adding 6 inch mulch layer around young trees to make them survive summer is an interesting thing. Planning to try this for the mango trees. Last summer was very severe and lost some of the trees.Â