Re: Our place in nature
- 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.