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SEC: UNCLASSIFIED:-[fukuoka_farming] Re: Our place in nature

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  • howard.petts@defence.gov.au
    Thanks Gloria for the information. I ve recently moved back to an mound approach too - I m in Australia in a mild temperate area, and find the mounds easily
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 29, 2003
      Thanks Gloria for the information. I've recently moved back to an mound
      approach too - I'm in Australia in a mild temperate area, and find the
      mounds easily accessable and easy to rotate. They do look a bit messy
      initially (not neat rows), but once the flowers and veges grow they are
      delightful. Much better for companion planting, and also weeding. Before
      that I was trying rows, but found planting things in rows completely
      artificial, and had trouble with watering (sprinklers) and weeding. The
      mounds are also convenient for composting - put down a bit of newspaper in
      an area you want to mound, and then just pile the stuff up on the paper (a
      bit of no dig gardening style). The mounds have the advantage of being
      ready made! I've taken to planting mint (common, spear and peppermint)
      between the mounds, and also to mixing in some cottage garden type flowers
      for looks and to draw beneficial insects. I like the added fact that
      mounds can be put anywhere in an existing garden, whereas the rows needed a
      designated area to really work and look proper, and so next spring I'm
      setting up a few in various spots around the lawn in which to plant
      watermelon and pumpkin, and then let the thing ramble all over the grass as
      opposed to my vege garden!

      I loved that website www.foodnotlawns.com and would love to see that kind
      of thing happening in my part of the world - I tried emailing them but had
      no luck raising a response. Anyone else been successful?

      Howie +

      "Gloria C. Baikauskas" <gcb49@...> on 30/04/2003 04:06:31

      Please respond to fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com

      To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com

      Subject: [fukuoka_farming] 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.

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