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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Our place in nature

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  • Robert Monie
    Hi Everybody, Tim--you re an experienced plant breeder and farmer with a successful seed business. Can you tell us a little about your own experiments moving
    Message 1 of 14 , Apr 28, 2003
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      Hi Everybody, Tim--you're an experienced plant breeder and farmer with a successful seed business. Can you tell us a little about your own experiments moving from organic-compost farming into the natural farming advocated by Fukuoka? Do you feel that Fukuoka's methods work best for rice and citrus farms like the one he had, or do can they be modified for vegetables and other plants? Do you see his approach as compatable with the kind of plant breeding you do and the seed business you have or are their other approaches that work better for you? Have you tried seedballs, and do you think they are best for landscape reclamation or promising for vegetables, grains, and other staple human food plants as well? Bob Monie--watching six Roma plants grow among the buckwheat, cowpeas, wild onions, and lemon grass in a quasi-Fukuoka "jungle."
      Tim Peters <psr@...> wrote:...hmmm... I think Sergio is right, this site and discussion group is best
      left to a review of what Fukuoda presented, and our experience most directly
      with that . I am definitely one for all this discussion, but we will use up
      the next 2000 years discussing that, end up more polarized, and far away
      from Fukuoda, his life, his experiences and making the wisdom that he
      gathered practical to our own life.

      The question below is a good one assuming it is honest, and it would be
      begging an answer if it were mine. ...perhaps when a question like that
      comes up we could quote Fukuoda, or if that galls us, we could answer the
      person in private at their private email address shown ? what does the
      group or moderator think.

      Tim Peters


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <AaronBrachfeld@...>
      To: <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, April 28, 2003 10:06 AM
      Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Our place in nature


      > How can man be "above" nature when his nature seeks to be one with
      nature's?
      >
      >
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    • Robert Monie
      Hi Michiyo, As always, we are grateful to you for trying to bring us together with Fukuoka and Honma. As we Americans say, Keep up the good work, Michiyo!
      Message 2 of 14 , Apr 28, 2003
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        Hi Michiyo, As always, we are grateful to you for trying to bring us together with Fukuoka and Honma. As we Americans say, "Keep up the good work, Michiyo!" Bob Monie--Southeast Louisiana (And, yes, the kudzu mulch does seem to improve the tomato plants; maybe that's what kudzu is "for"). PS Do you plan to videotape Fukuoka's appearance?

        Michiyo Shibuya <michiyos@...> wrote:Hello,
        Mr. Fukuoka will be on TV on May 18th from 11:00-11:30 p.m.on TV Asahi
        (channel 10) in the programme called "Sutekina Uchusen Chikyugo".

        This is their website and the thirty second preview will be available from
        the May 14th.
        http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/earth/

        This is a series that focus on "keepers of the earth",
        and this time, I believe, it is a documentary of Fukuoka's activity in
        Greece.
        I will announce again when you can see the preview.

        I have written here about a month ago that I would attempt to make a
        connection between
        this Fukuoka-farming group and Mr. Fukuoka and Ms. Honma.
        I wrote to Ms. Honma right away with the print out of the homepage
        and later talked on the phone, so at least at this point they are aware of
        this group,
        I will let you know when we can finally set up something.

        I am being behind with the translation of this website. I would like to do
        it but
        if anyone is interested in doing it I appreciate it, too.

        Michiyo


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      • Tim Peters
        Hi Robert, ...there have been endless experiments... One of the things that I have noted in re. to Fukuoka is this, he observed nature with the ear so to
        Message 3 of 14 , Apr 29, 2003
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          Hi Robert,
          ...there have been endless experiments... One of the things that I have
          noted in re. to Fukuoka is this, he observed nature with the 'ear' so to
          speak and the heart of a great conductor conducting a symphony. ....quite
          frankly I think it takes more skill to farm successfully the way he does
          than by more traditional methods. Timing of activities is very important to
          success, that is my experience. You can not afford to be sloppy about your
          timing or your methods, but whether Fukuoka's methods work best for rice and
          citrus, or rye and apples depends on many many factors. Plant varieties are
          like job applicants, some are sure doom - total misfits for the particular
          scenario. Choose wisely. Know what you are asking a plant to do.

          Nature to, the enviroment we face, is nearly as varied as the people we are.

          Some are frigid, begrudging of nutients, don't give one much time to grow,
          and offer a bewildering array of devourers if your growing does succeed in
          any degree.

          On the other extreme there are those that are hot, nutrient rich to the
          point of being lethal, so dry that even though you could grow all year the
          lack of water forbids it, ...

          There is like I said at first, a seemingly endless stream of variables and
          complexes of them. Quite frankly, you can not take Fukuoka's rice and
          citrus etc. natural farming wisdom bring it to Southern Oregon, and make it
          work. What is wisdom there where he works is foolishness here. Both the
          crops and the methods, simply because of what nature puts you up against.
          ...sometimes nature offers you no recourse but brutality. ...sometimes
          nature would rather kill you than feed you. ...and it is left with you to
          decide what gives. What I see Fukuoka as doing, is providing us with
          evidence that nature can be worked with in a gentler manner to provide us
          with our needs. We should try to understand the place where we find
          ourselves growing, much like we should try to understand each other.

          I breed using many ag cultivation methods. I have tried seed balls, as well
          as just plain seed (more natural) and I do it with hundreds of lbs of seed
          every year, mainly in disrupted enviroments (natural and human caused).
          Breeding edible plants Fukuokian style or (even more natural like) is,for
          the plants out here, almost as brutal as a Nazi death camp. GET THIS
          STRAIGHT. OUT IN NATURE, IT IS NOT SURVIVAL OF THE SWEETEST, BEST FOR YOUR
          DIGESTIVE TRACT, MOST PLEASANT TO YOUR TONGUE, etc. Out in a natural
          enviroment it is survival of the meanest, nastiest, ugliest, toughest, and
          in that sense, the fittest. Bon appetit ! ...but give me something better
          please. ...after over 30 years of natural breeding I can assure you that
          nature is not the breeder you want in charge of your breeding projects.
          Parsnip strains will go from sweet and tender, to, many strong and fiberous
          variants. and that is with NO wild ones to cross with, only the forces of
          natural selection. The same is true of nearly everything I can think of at
          the moment. I am talking about thousands of acres scattered over many types
          of enviroment. I know this natural breeding stuff perhaps like no one else.
          I have yet to meet my companion in this... but would love to.

          Believe me, modern agriculture is not all bad. ...but I just hope to make it
          easier to grow food naturally, develope some of the varieties, perfect some
          of the methods. Fukuoka is sensitive to nature... we need to become aware
          of our world, and if possible less brutal in our relationship to it.... so
          much more to be said ...but words and time ...they are lacking. If we would
          just experiment, like Fukuoka, just think ! ....

          Tim Peters






          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Robert Monie" <bobm20001@...>
          To: <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Monday, April 28, 2003 3:52 PM
          Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Our place in nature


          > Hi Everybody, Tim--you're an experienced plant breeder and farmer with a
          successful seed business. Can you tell us a little about your own
          experiments moving from organic-compost farming into the natural farming
          advocated by Fukuoka? Do you feel that Fukuoka's methods work best for rice
          and citrus farms like the one he had, or do can they be modified for
          vegetables and other plants? Do you see his approach as compatable with the
          kind of plant breeding you do and the seed business you have or are their
          other approaches that work better for you? Have you tried seedballs, and do
          you think they are best for landscape reclamation or promising for
          vegetables, grains, and other staple human food plants as well? Bob
          Monie--watching six Roma plants grow among the buckwheat, cowpeas, wild
          onions, and lemon grass in a quasi-Fukuoka "jungle."
          > Tim Peters <psr@...> wrote:...hmmm... I think Sergio is right,
          this site and discussion group is best
          > left to a review of what Fukuoda presented, and our experience most
          directly
          > with that . I am definitely one for all this discussion, but we will use
          up
          > the next 2000 years discussing that, end up more polarized, and far away
          > from Fukuoda, his life, his experiences and making the wisdom that he
          > gathered practical to our own life.
          >
          > The question below is a good one assuming it is honest, and it would be
          > begging an answer if it were mine. ...perhaps when a question like that
          > comes up we could quote Fukuoda, or if that galls us, we could answer the
          > person in private at their private email address shown ? what does the
          > group or moderator think.
          >
          > Tim Peters
          >
          >
          > ----- Original Message -----
          > From: <AaronBrachfeld@...>
          > To: <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
          > Sent: Monday, April 28, 2003 10:06 AM
          > Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Our place in nature
          >
          >
          > > How can man be "above" nature when his nature seeks to be one with
          > nature's?
          > >
          > >
          > > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          > > fukuoka_farming-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
          http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          > >
          >
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
          > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          > fukuoka_farming-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of Service.
          >
          >
          > ---------------------------------
          > Do you Yahoo!?
          > The New Yahoo! Search - Faster. Easier. Bingo.
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          > fukuoka_farming-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >
          >
          > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
          >
        • Gloria C. Baikauskas
          You know, Tim, I suspect it is the when that causes so many problems when trying to adapt Fukuoka s methods the most, followed by the what, here meaning
          Message 4 of 14 , Apr 29, 2003
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            You know, Tim, I suspect it is the 'when' that causes so many
            problems when trying to adapt Fukuoka's methods the most, followed by
            the 'what,' here meaning what is planted. There has been so much
            discussion of whether his methods apply outside of rice, barley, rye,
            apples, etc. Consider thinking about what he grew/grows as his
            adaption of his methods if they had been developed outside of Japan.
            Would he then be asking this same question?

            You are very right in saying that it is the timing that is so basic
            to this style of gardening/farming. Something I have been sensing as
            I have been observing Nature a bit more carefully is that the 'when'
            varies. One can't just pick an arbitrary date on the calendar for
            the 'when.' That is because there are so many variables in
            the 'when,' particularly right now as we are in this magnetic polar
            reversal which won't end most likely until all of this discussion has
            been very long over. It's affect on climates and weather further
            blurs that 'when' almost assuring some defeat in this style...and
            others, too...of gardening/farming.

            Someone on this list sent a post about the Australians using mint as
            a cover crop/green mulch with success in their drought seasons for
            growing vegetables. I would like to know more about that myself, if
            whoever it was has anymore information to share. Mint will grow in
            so many places, and it can include all things within the mint family,
            including Greek oregano. This idea really intrigues me as one which
            might make natural farming succeed even better outside of Japan. It
            also might appeal more to folks thinking about a dual crop of
            vegetables and herbs. I did just read something on one of my other
            gardening lists re viola crowding out and killing the mint that they
            were growing to try just such an idea. I am also wondering if mint
            has any other simbiotic uses in this kind of gardening/farming. Does
            it only take from the soil, or is there something that it also adds
            to the process? I know it attracts harmful insects.

            I am not one who normally plants in rows, nor even in blocks, but
            rather helter-skelter, as I discovered before joining this group that
            in doing so I had healthier plants with no disease, nor insect
            problems at all....not even in the grasshopper plague that was
            devouring and destroying my neighbors' yards and properties/crops.
            My experiments were done from my own thoughts at the time, and on a
            very small scale. What it was able to tell me, though, by not
            including a large area was that it did work as the other areas around
            it were affected by both disease and insect infestation.

            I am trying this year the idea (again on a small scale because of
            both my own physical limitations and for comparison purposes) using
            round mounds and swales....along with the idea of using mint as a
            cover crop/green mulch. The problem is that I am working with
            basically dead soil. Most of the time I must take care in developing
            small areas at a time to bring the fertiity/life up in the soil to a
            point I can use it for any purpose. I am seeing the error of my
            ways/thoughts now in this as the soil is supporting only the mint
            right now for the most part. Mint is supposed to need rich soil.
            This is not rich soil except that I simply took the soil from the
            swales to make the mounds leaving the plant material within it to
            decompose on its own. At first I used the rye grass as a mulch until
            I discovered all about allelopathic properties and removed it. Am I
            now seeing the afteraffects of it still after a few months of its
            being gone from the mounds? Seeds are not germinating as they
            should. I did not use seedballs for this purpose because the mounds
            are really small. Instead I scattered them by hand helter-skelter
            which has worked well for me in the past. Somehow the seeds always
            seem to find themselves in the right order and grow. The mint was
            planted from purchased plants....and it is peppermint. I have some
            Greek oregano on another area which has not yet taken enough hold to
            spread and thrive.

            Do I need to instead fertilize and therefore muddy the results?
            Should I totally rethink the project? Should I cover these mounds
            with the native cedar mulch as I have always done in the past? These
            are questions I am dealing with in a large way right now. I am not
            used to failure in gardening. Did I choose the wrong seed/plant
            groups to plant? I used in the 4 mounds dotted mint, sunflowers (2
            varieties), the heirloom marigolds that reach heights of up to 5 or 6
            feet, peach (variety) tomatoes, a variety of green bush type beans,
            lemon cucumbers, nicotiana (I forget which variety right now), and I
            believe some lemon basil, nardello peppers, some of the greens like
            mustard....I am most likely forgetting some here, but it gives you an
            idea. Inbetween the mounds is a Korean lilac, rosemary, and a tea
            form rose, and a climbing rose. It is in the area just outside of my
            orchard for the purpose of not just trying to conserve/build up
            water, but also to stop erosion further down the hill. It has a
            fenceline behind it.

            Got any suggestions that might turn this failure into a success? By
            the way...I do have access to chicken manure as I do raise chickens.
            Gloria
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