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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Synergistic Veggie Patch about start !

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  • Steve Walpole
    Thanks Jamie. ... From: jamie To: Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2003 1:47 AM Subject: RE: [fukuoka_farming]
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 22, 2003
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      Thanks Jamie.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "jamie" <jamie@...>
      To: <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2003 1:47 AM
      Subject: RE: [fukuoka_farming] Synergistic Veggie Patch about start !


      > Hello Steve, no frustration from me regarding your questions, I know from
      my
      > experience how many questions there are when you finally come to start.
      I'll
      > add my comments between your questions for clarity.
      >
      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Steve Walpole [mailto:stevewalpole@...]
      > Sent: samedi 22 février 2003 13:18
      > To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Synergistic Veggie Patch about start !
      >
      > Greetings fellow gardeners,
      >
      > I know this might frustrate a few but I am still a little nervous before I
      > embark on setting up my new Synergistic Veggie Patch and I have a few more
      > questions.
      >
      > I have finally got to the point of obtaining some space at our community
      > permaculture garden over here in Sydney Australia. I have decided after
      > reading articles, contemplation and observation that Emelia's Synergistic
      > Agriculture is the method that I am going to put into practise. I am very
      > new to any form of agriculture, but it is high time I mulch the theory
      into
      > practise.
      >
      > I was wondering if I could bounce a couple of questions off you all,
      > regarding the setup of the Raised Beds / Crop Rotation etc? If you see I
      > have strayed too far away from the fundamentals or from your experience
      can
      > you please alert me.
      >
      > The raised beds:
      >
      > Question 1. It is the final month of Summer over here in Sydney being
      > February, but it is hot until April atleast. Average day around 30
      degree's
      > Celsius. Should I wait to get started on the project in late Autumn when
      > true Autumn is here or start preparing the beds now??
      > Whatever season, it's always a good time to begin. There's always
      something
      > to do, especially in a warm climate like Sydney.
      >
      > Question 2. I intended when suitable to start the process in this order.
      > Because Emelia started the Crop rotation in April for the Northern
      > Hemisphere for her example, I was concerned that Spring was the order that
      > she wanted us to follow??
      > Getting in the autumn before is very useful for establishing plants in the
      > newly built raised beds, you might want to plant simply green manures for
      > now, beginning with daikon or other long root vegetables, then mustard and
      > then finally winter rye (I advise this cycle of planting to get as much
      > physical growth for above and below ground before the main growing
      season -
      > I'm in a USDA Hardiness Zone 8b/9a, though it may be that in your climate
      > there is no real end to the growing season). If each of these will grow in
      > your 'warm' temperate climate then you should be well placed for the
      coming
      > spring to plant out the usual 'European diet' vegetables. All of these
      > plants are to be left in the ground or cut and mulched on the surface of
      the
      > beds. But perhaps pavle might give you some insight into how they grow
      > vegetables in the South of Italy and Sicily, where crops are grown year
      > round. Though don't forget that you will need to concentrate on feeding
      the
      > soil to begin with on newly created beds.
      >
      >
      > Step 1. There is currently grass were I am going dig up the site of the
      > raised beds (which gets all day sun). Therefore, firstly I am going to dig
      > the grass up. Did Emelia tend to cover the base of the new bed with
      > Newspaper etc as layer to protect against weeds before raising the bed ? I
      > am also going to use the basic three bed rotation approach Emelia
      suggested.
      > I had patches of quite dense grass and found that during digging the beds
      I
      > was able to remove most of the grass; roots, stolons and all. It's worth
      > taking the effort at this stage to remove as many of the volunteers as
      > possible as there'll be quite enough to deal with that sprout from the
      many
      > seeds in the soil - for this reason don't forget to cover the soil
      > immediately you've dug the beds to try and stop these seeds germinating.
      > Emilia was very happy to use newspaper of all descriptions and cardboard
      but
      > for a surface mulch, especially when planting potatoes to 'clean', through
      > allelopathy, new ground. She would cut a hole into the paper mulch, put in
      > the potato and then cover with a mulch of straw and then just harvest the
      > potatoes by lifting the straw. This is an old trick of Ruth Stout's I
      > believe.
      >
      >
      > Step 2. Secondly, my understanding next, is to only make the raised beds
      as
      > high approx, as the dirt dug from the trench. So I am going to dig the
      > trenches around 20cm? deep, hence the raised bed would be around 30 cm
      high
      > because I will add some mulch from the worm farm and a layer of wheat hay
      to
      > protect the soil from drying out while the new seeds are establishing.
      Then
      > add some Wood Chip? to the trench for a pathway.
      > Recently, Emilia changed her mind on the depth necessary for the beds. She
      > used to believe that the beds should be as deep as the soil would allow,
      but
      > after researching this question she realised that the feeder roots of most
      > plants sought to feed close to the surface and only those roots necessary
      > for anchoring the plant need go deeper (after Faulkener). Your height
      would
      > certainly seem deep enough. Worm casts are excellent and so is wheat
      straw.
      > Hay can be used but it does decompose rapidly in comparison to straw so
      more
      > will need to be added sooner and it can also contain many volunteer seeds,
      > so make sure you're happy with the source. Wood chips for the pathways
      > sounds good, if they are mixed conifer/deciduous fine, but if only
      > coniferous remember this has the effect of acidifying the soil and
      breaking
      > down into unstable phenol compounds rather than humus - this is, after
      all,
      > the way conifer forests have maintained their integrity across millions of
      > years, poisoning the soil so other plants find it difficult to compete.
      >
      >
      > Step 3. Next the irrigation system of a slow drip? Any favourites ? Does
      > this piping go under the soil? If so how deep?
      > The preferred method of irrigation is by black plastic pipe, two pipes
      > placed 10cm (4 inches) from the edges of the top of the raised bed, the
      > water emitting from holes punched every 30cm (12 inches) by a hot nail.
      > Using professional standard drip irrigation is not only more expensive but
      > always becomes clogged and must be regularly cleaned using toxic
      chemicals.
      > Porous tubing will likewise quickly become clogged, especially in areas of
      > hard water. The pipe lies on the soil and is buried beneath the mulch
      > surface to keep the water cool and to reduce evaporation from the soil
      > surface.
      >
      >
      > Step 4. I presume I need to wait till Autumn most likely to start sowing?
      So
      > in Autumn start planting the companion planting seeds as per the
      > instructions on Emelia's article courtesy of the Fukuoka website.
      > Plant during the period advised on the packets of seeds you buy. Don't try
      > to follow Emilia's instructions regarding spring planting until September.
      > However, it may be you can be a little adventurous in your planting and
      > plant whatever seeds you can get hold of that will grow in your climate
      now
      > and across your winter. If you follow the simple concept of getting as
      many
      > different plants in the soil, you will quickly increase the fertility and
      > balance of your soil. If you find a happy combination then write back and
      > let us all know what worked - write back even if something doesn't work as
      > it all helps.
      >
      >
      > From the info I have gleaned this appears to be some of the basics?
      >
      > Any further suggestions would be most welcome!
      > Hope this helps, if not ask more questions. If you've done some reading
      I'm
      > sure others will be pleased to fill in the details you couldn't find.
      >
      >
      > Kind regards,
      >
      > Steve.
      >
      > Jamie
      > Souscayrous
      >
      >
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