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The Natural Way of Farming

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  • SpyderGrl
    Found this on the web:http://csf.colorado.edu/perma/natural_way.txt The Natural Way of Farming When we create a garden and are mindful of the plants growing in
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 2 12:24 PM
      Found this on the web:http://csf.colorado.edu/perma/natural_way.txt

      The Natural Way of Farming

      When we create a garden and are mindful of the plants growing in it, we
      ourselves grow from being in closer contact with the same natural cycles
      affecting the plants. The budding flower unfurls its spring banner before
      us, the heavy fruit heralds the end of a growing season and the withered
      stalk whispers of seasons past and yet to come. The synchronicity between
      seasons and plants is a vibrant illustration of the natural patterns which
      affect all life. Recognizing that we too are an expression of these
      patterns is the very heart and soul of farming naturally.

      Natural farming is a simple notion really, it embraces the philosophy of,
      "do as little as possible." It is a realm where Nature is the master
      gardener and human decision making plays a minor role. It acknowledges
      Nature to be the whole from which we were created and the whole which has
      sustained us since that creation. Instead of asking what extra activities
      we can do to "improve" upon Nature, to grow better food, we should be
      asking what don't we need to do. It is as simple as that and as profound
      as a new understanding of self and Nature.

      If someone proved to us that digging, weeding, fertilizing, pest control
      and pruning were not necessary to grow food would we continue to do so? A
      Japanese farmer, Masanobu Fukuoka, has indeed demonstrated to agronomists
      around the world that these activities are not necessary. For over fifty
      years he has achieved surplus yields of rice, barley, plums, citrus fruits
      and vegetables by means of natural farming. Fukuoka is the author of,
      _The One Straw Revolution_, _The Natural Way of Farming_, and _The Road
      Back to Nature_. During the 1970's and 1980's he taught his methods of
      natural farming across the United States, Europe and Africa and is living
      today on his farm in Japan. Throughout his travels and in his writings he
      cautions that the true and persisting cause of desertification and blights
      is man's perceived separation from Nature. This perception has most
      strongly manifested itself in the form of agriculture resulting in the
      steady erosion of biological diversity and soils. The remedy to what ails
      us will not be found through scientific discovery nor a return to
      traditional agriculture, but lies waiting to be discovered within
      ourselves and in our relationship with Nature.

      Fukuoka cannot praise home gardeners enough, which is music any
      permaculturalist's ears. To begin gardening naturally, however, we must
      take a step back and ask what Nature has in mind for the site instead of
      focusing only on what we have in mind. One way to ask what belongs in
      your garden is to cast as many different types of seeds as possible during
      all of the planting windows with no particular aim in sight. Be careful
      to find seeds which canstill open pollinate themselves, otherwise you
      may be buying a seed that will not produce viable off-spring. Now find an
      area in your garden to experiment with that you may be willing to subject
      to some "disorder," any size will do and no special bed preparation is
      necessary.

      Mid spring and summer are as good a time as any to begin natural gardening
      by manually broadcasting seeds just before a thunderstorm. We should
      choose seeds which germinate easily such as cucumbers, melons, and
      squashes, but it is truly a free for all and there are no constraints. It
      is also most helpful to broadcast an equal amount of green manure crops -
      beans and peas in the spring and summer, and clovers, vetches and
      medicagos in the fall. These green manure crops will ensure the fertility
      of your garden and eliminate the need for fertilizers. All of the seeds
      should be mixed up and scattered completely at random. Other seeds to
      begin with are fast growing radishes and turnips which may grow well any
      time of the year. The Japanese daikon radish is well known for being
      extremely deep rooted and serving as a biological aerator and source of
      carbon. During the fall, kale, collard greens, carrots, dill, parsley and
      cilantro may also do well when seeded directly into the garden by hand.
      What we are doing by broadcasting so many seeds is providing materials for
      Nature to pick and choose from, and though it may seem wasteful initially,
      when you find a plant that is well suited for your garden you have
      returned that part of your garden and a part of yourself to Nature.

      I recently noticed in our two and a half acre field kale coming back from
      its roots where we had cast its seed two years ago. It is pleasing to see
      such a nutritious food plant doing well without any attention from us. It
      is also amusing because only a few days before we had spent much time and
      effort germinating and transplanting cabbages from our greenhouse into our
      garden. Two days after the transplanting we had our last hard freeze and
      maybe half of the transplanted cabbages survived. We certainly could have
      prevented the mistake if we had been more patient, but the lesson here is,
      if we can direct seed kale and have it do well completely on its own, then
      why not rely more on kale instead of cabbage for a cool season green? I
      find kale just as delicious as cabbage and have been told that it is
      extremely rich in nutrients as well. This is a good start for a natural
      gardener.

      Another example of natural farming is one of Fukuoka's methods of growing
      rice and barley on his farm in Japan. This method begins in the fall with
      the manual broadcasting of barley, clover and rice sometime between
      October and the New Year. On his two or three acres of rice paddy he does
      not till in preparation for sowing seed as tillage greatly disrupts the
      soil's rich ecosystem. Since the barley and clover are cool season crops
      they will have a chance to germinate and grow as many of the warm season
      plants are dying back. The rice grain is mixed into a clay slurry and
      mashed through a screen to create impregnated clay pellets - preferably
      one grain of rice per pellet. These pellets serve as a capsule which will
      protect the rice grain from rodent and insect predation until the spring.
      By the time the clay has worn off, it is spring and the rice is in the
      field at exactly the time it ought to be.

      As spring waxes and the clover grows thick and dark green, the barley
      begins to mature on the stalk. When the barley is ripe, sometime in late
      May, it is harvested by hand with a sickle. Quite likely the rice has
      already germinated and is trodden-on underfoot somewhat by the harvesters
      but this does not damage it at such a young pliable stage. The residual
      straw from the barley will be haphazardly strewn back over the paddies.
      There has been much concern about insect pests thriving in the straw
      mulch, but without the use of any pesticides at all, Fukuoka's fields are
      heavily populated with spiders which generously help themselves to the
      leaf-hoppers and other insect pests. Most importantly, the straw mulch
      rejuvenates the soil's organic horizon and the clover fixes enough
      nitrogen so that no synthetic fertilizers are needed. Though all human,
      plant and animal wastes are composted, the application of composts and
      manures is not relied upon in natural farming.

      Wetland rice, such as that grown in Fukuoka's municipality in Japan, is
      grown in flooded paddies in order to reduce the competition of other
      plants. This, however, weakens even the rice plant's stalk and exposes it
      to many water loving fungi and viruses. Consequently, wetland rice
      varieties are selected to tolerate these conditions rather than selected
      for their nutritious properties. To avoid the artificially wet and
      stressful conditions of paddies which stay flooded throughout the growing
      season, Fukuoka floods his paddies for only a short duration (after barley
      harvest) while the clover is still very thick and the rice is just getting
      started. This weakens the clover and other weeds but does not slow the
      rice down. When asked what else he does for the weeds, he laughed and
      simply replied, "I don't do anything for the weeds, they do just fine by
      themselves." The rice is harvested after the summer and its straw too is
      returned whole to the land. Thus the cycle is completed and begins anew
      in the fall.

      Fukuoka reveals to us how food plants and all other plants will grow
      naturally and vigorously with little or no human effort. It does not
      matter if we grow rice or vegetables, if we are at home or in Japan, nor
      if we nurture a small garden or an expansive farm. Natural farming goes
      beyond simply casting seeds or picking fruits to acknowledge our union
      with Nature and the very abundance which created us. Fortunately, home
      gardeners are among those most likely to discover the virtue of natural
      farming. This is because they are motivated by the desire to create food,
      not profit, and because they sincerely enjoy toiling in the garden. When
      we no longer distinguish our selves from the garden, our toils and
      discoveries become like light-hearted steps along the road back to Nature.

      Kirby Fry
      Program Coordinator
      Cross Timbers Permaculture Institute
    • flylo@txcyber.com
      The Natural Way of Farming (kirby Fry) (I m sorry I don t have the web site that this came from. There were several good articles specifically about Fukuoka
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 13, 2001
        The Natural Way of Farming (kirby Fry)

        (I'm sorry I don't have the web site that this came from. There were
        several good articles specifically about Fukuoka methods as well as
        some interviews.)

        When we create a garden and are mindful of the plants growing in it, we
        ourselves grow from being in closer contact with the same natural cycles
        affecting the plants. The budding flower unfurls its spring banner before
        us, the heavy fruit heralds the end of a growing season and the withered
        stalk whispers of seasons past and yet to come. The synchronicity
        between seasons and plants is a vibrant illustration of the natural
        patterns which affect all life. Recognizing that we too are an expression
        of these patterns is the very heart and soul of farming naturally. Natural
        farming is a simple notion really, it embraces the philosophy of, "do as
        little as possible." It is a realm where Nature is the master gardener and
        human decision making plays a minor role. It acknowledges Nature to be
        the whole from which we were created and the whole which has
        sustained us since that creation. Instead of asking what extra activities
        we can do to "improve" upon Nature, to grow better food, we should be
        asking what don't we need to do. It is as simple as that and as profound
        as a new understanding of self and Nature. If someone proved to us that
        digging, weeding, fertilizing, pest control and pruning were not
        necessary to grow food would we continue to do so? A Japanese farmer,
        Masanobu Fukuoka, has indeed demonstrated to agronomists around
        the world that these activities are not necessary. For over fifty years he
        has achieved surplus yields of rice, barley, plums, citrus fruits and
        vegetables by means of natural farming. Fukuoka is the author of, _The
        One Straw Revolution_, _The Natural Way of Farming_, and _The Road
        Back to Nature_. During the 1970's and 1980's he taught his methods of
        natural farming across the United States, Europe and Africa and is living
        today on his farm in Japan. Throughout his travels and in his writings he
        cautions that the true and persisting cause of desertification and blights
        is man's perceived separation from Nature. This perception has most
        strongly manifested itself in the form of agriculture resulting in the
        steady erosion of biological diversity and soils. The remedy to what ails
        us will not be found through scientific discovery nor a return to
        traditional agriculture, but lies waiting to be discovered within ourselves
        and in our relationship with Nature. Fukuoka cannot praise home
        gardeners enough, which is music any permaculturalist's ears. To begin
        gardening naturally, however, we must take a step back and ask what
        Nature has in mind for the site instead of focusing only on what we have
        in mind. One way to ask what belongs in your garden is to cast as many
        different types of seeds as possible during all of the planting windows
        with no particular aim in sight. Be careful to find seeds which canstill
        open pollinate themselves, otherwise you may be buying a seed that will
        not produce viable off-spring. Now find an area in your garden to
        experiment with that you may be willing to subject to some "disorder,"
        any size will do and no special bed preparation is necessary. Mid spring
        and summer are as good a time as any to begin natural gardening by
        manually broadcasting seeds just before a thunderstorm. We should
        choose seeds which germinate easily such as cucumbers, melons, and
        squashes, but it is truly a free for all and there are no constraints. It is
        also most helpful to broadcast an equal amount of green manure crops -
        beans and peas in the spring and summer, and clovers, vetches and
        medicagos in the fall. These green manure crops will ensure the fertility
        of your garden and eliminate the need for fertilizers. All of the seeds
        should be mixed up and scattered completely at random. Other seeds to
        begin with are fast growing radishes and turnips which may grow well
        any time of the year. The Japanese daikon radish is well known for being
        extremely deep rooted and serving as a biological aerator and source of
        carbon. During the fall, kale, collard greens, carrots, dill, parsley and
        cilantro may also do well when seeded directly into the garden by hand.
        What we are doing by broadcasting so many seeds is providing
        materials for Nature to pick and choose from, and though it may seem
        wasteful initially, when you find a plant that is well suited for your
        garden you have returned that part of your garden and a part of yourself
        to Nature. I recently noticed in our two and a half acre field kale coming
        back from its roots where we had cast its seed two years ago. It is
        pleasing to see such a nutritious food plant doing well without any
        attention from us. It is also amusing because only a few days before we
        had spent much time and effort germinating and transplanting cabbages
        from our greenhouse into our garden. Two days after the transplanting
        we had our last hard freeze and maybe half of the transplanted cabbages
        survived. We certainly could have prevented the mistake if we had been
        more patient, but the lesson here is, if we can direct seed kale and have it
        do well completely on its own, then why not rely more on kale instead of
        cabbage for a cool season green? I find kale just as delicious as cabbage
        and have been told that it is extremely rich in nutrients as well. This is a
        good start for a natural gardener. Another example of natural farming is
        one of Fukuoka's methods of growing rice and barley on his farm in
        Japan. This method begins in the fall with the manual broadcasting of
        barley, clover and rice sometime between October and the New Year. On
        his two or three acres of rice paddy he does not till in preparation for
        sowing seed as tillage greatly disrupts the soil's rich ecosystem. Since
        the barley and clover are cool season crops they will have a chance to
        germinate and grow as many of the warm season plants are dying back.
        The rice grain is mixed into a clay slurry and mashed through a screen to
        create impregnated clay pellets - preferably one grain of rice per pellet.
        These pellets serve as a capsule which will protect the rice grain from
        rodent and insect predation until the spring. By the time the clay has
        worn off, it is spring and the rice is in the field at exactly the time it ought
        to be. As spring waxes and the clover grows thick and dark green, the
        barley begins to mature on the stalk. When the barley is ripe, sometime in
        late May, it is harvested by hand with a sickle. Quite likely the rice has
        already germinated and is trodden-on underfoot somewhat by the
        harvesters but this does not damage it at such a young pliable stage.
        The residual straw from the barley will be haphazardly strewn back over
        the paddies. There has been much concern about insect pests thriving in
        the straw mulch, but without the use of any pesticides at all, Fukuoka's
        fields are heavily populated with spiders which generously help
        themselves to the leaf-hoppers and other insect pests. Most importantly,
        the straw mulch rejuvenates the soil's organic horizon and the clover
        fixes enough nitrogen so that no synthetic fertilizers are needed. Though
        all human, plant and animal wastes are composted, the application of
        composts and manures is not relied upon in natural farming. Wetland
        rice, such as that grown in Fukuoka's municipality in Japan, is grown in
        flooded paddies in order to reduce the competition of other plants. This,
        however, weakens even the rice plant's stalk and exposes it to many
        water loving fungi and viruses. Consequently, wetland rice varieties are
        selected to tolerate these conditions rather than selected for their
        nutritious properties. To avoid the artificially wet and stressful
        conditions of paddies which stay flooded throughout the growing
        season, Fukuoka floods his paddies for only a short duration (after
        barley harvest) while the clover is still very thick and the rice is just
        getting started. This weakens the clover and other weeds but does not
        slow the rice down. When asked what else he does for the weeds, he
        laughed and simply replied, "I don't do anything for the weeds, they do
        just fine by themselves." The rice is harvested after the summer and its
        straw too is returned whole to the land. Thus the cycle is completed and
        begins anew in the fall. Fukuoka reveals to us how food plants and all
        other plants will grow naturally and vigorously with little or no human
        effort. It does not matter if we grow rice or vegetables, if we are at home
        or in Japan, nor if we nurture a small garden or an expansive farm. Natural
        farming goes beyond simply casting seeds or picking fruits to
        acknowledge our union with Nature and the very abundance which
        created us. Fortunately, home gardeners are among those most likely to
        discover the virtue of natural farming. This is because they are motivated
        by the desire to create food, not profit, and because they sincerely enjoy
        toiling in the garden. When we no longer distinguish our selves from the
        garden, our toils and discoveries become like light-hearted steps along
        the road back to Nature. Kirby Fry Program Coordinator Cross Timbers
        Permaculture Institute
      • Robert Monie
        REPLY (Bob Monie): Try http://www.crosswinds.net/~essenes/fry.html ... === message truncated === __________________________________________________ Do You
        Message 3 of 4 , Dec 13, 2001
          REPLY (Bob Monie):

          Try http://www.crosswinds.net/~essenes/fry.html


          --- flylo@... wrote:
          > The Natural Way of Farming (kirby Fry)
          >
          > (I'm sorry I don't have the web site that this came
          > from. There were
          > several good articles specifically about Fukuoka
          > methods as well as
          > some interviews.)
          >
          > When we create a garden and are mindful of the
          > plants growing in it, we
          > ourselves grow from being in closer contact with the
          > same natural cycles
          > affecting the plants. The budding flower unfurls its
          > spring banner before
          > us, the heavy fruit heralds the end of a growing
          > season and the withered
          > stalk whispers of seasons past and yet to come. The
          > synchronicity
          > between seasons and plants is a vibrant illustration
          > of the natural
          > patterns which affect all life. Recognizing that we
          > too are an expression
          > of these patterns is the very heart and soul of
          > farming naturally. Natural
          > farming is a simple notion really, it embraces the
          > philosophy of, "do as
          > little as possible." It is a realm where Nature is
          > the master gardener and
          > human decision making plays a minor role. It
          > acknowledges Nature to be
          > the whole from which we were created and the whole
          > which has
          > sustained us since that creation. Instead of asking
          > what extra activities
          > we can do to "improve" upon Nature, to grow better
          > food, we should be
          > asking what don't we need to do. It is as simple as
          > that and as profound
          > as a new understanding of self and Nature. If
          > someone proved to us that
          > digging, weeding, fertilizing, pest control and
          > pruning were not
          > necessary to grow food would we continue to do so? A
          > Japanese farmer,
          > Masanobu Fukuoka, has indeed demonstrated to
          > agronomists around
          > the world that these activities are not necessary.
          > For over fifty years he
          > has achieved surplus yields of rice, barley, plums,
          > citrus fruits and
          > vegetables by means of natural farming. Fukuoka is
          > the author of, _The
          > One Straw Revolution_, _The Natural Way of Farming_,
          > and _The Road
          > Back to Nature_. During the 1970's and 1980's he
          > taught his methods of
          > natural farming across the United States, Europe and
          > Africa and is living
          > today on his farm in Japan. Throughout his travels
          > and in his writings he
          > cautions that the true and persisting cause of
          > desertification and blights
          > is man's perceived separation from Nature. This
          > perception has most
          > strongly manifested itself in the form of
          > agriculture resulting in the
          > steady erosion of biological diversity and soils.
          > The remedy to what ails
          > us will not be found through scientific discovery
          > nor a return to
          > traditional agriculture, but lies waiting to be
          > discovered within ourselves
          > and in our relationship with Nature. Fukuoka cannot
          > praise home
          > gardeners enough, which is music any
          > permaculturalist's ears. To begin
          > gardening naturally, however, we must take a step
          > back and ask what
          > Nature has in mind for the site instead of focusing
          > only on what we have
          > in mind. One way to ask what belongs in your garden
          > is to cast as many
          > different types of seeds as possible during all of
          > the planting windows
          > with no particular aim in sight. Be careful to find
          > seeds which canstill
          > open pollinate themselves, otherwise you may be
          > buying a seed that will
          > not produce viable off-spring. Now find an area in
          > your garden to
          > experiment with that you may be willing to subject
          > to some "disorder,"
          > any size will do and no special bed preparation is
          > necessary. Mid spring
          > and summer are as good a time as any to begin
          > natural gardening by
          > manually broadcasting seeds just before a
          > thunderstorm. We should
          > choose seeds which germinate easily such as
          > cucumbers, melons, and
          > squashes, but it is truly a free for all and there
          > are no constraints. It is
          > also most helpful to broadcast an equal amount of
          > green manure crops -
          > beans and peas in the spring and summer, and
          > clovers, vetches and
          > medicagos in the fall. These green manure crops will
          > ensure the fertility
          > of your garden and eliminate the need for
          > fertilizers. All of the seeds
          > should be mixed up and scattered completely at
          > random. Other seeds to
          > begin with are fast growing radishes and turnips
          > which may grow well
          > any time of the year. The Japanese daikon radish is
          > well known for being
          > extremely deep rooted and serving as a biological
          > aerator and source of
          > carbon. During the fall, kale, collard greens,
          > carrots, dill, parsley and
          > cilantro may also do well when seeded directly into
          > the garden by hand.
          > What we are doing by broadcasting so many seeds is
          > providing
          > materials for Nature to pick and choose from, and
          > though it may seem
          > wasteful initially, when you find a plant that is
          > well suited for your
          > garden you have returned that part of your garden
          > and a part of yourself
          > to Nature. I recently noticed in our two and a half
          > acre field kale coming
          > back from its roots where we had cast its seed two
          > years ago. It is
          > pleasing to see such a nutritious food plant doing
          > well without any
          > attention from us. It is also amusing because only a
          > few days before we
          > had spent much time and effort germinating and
          > transplanting cabbages
          > from our greenhouse into our garden. Two days after
          > the transplanting
          > we had our last hard freeze and maybe half of the
          > transplanted cabbages
          > survived. We certainly could have prevented the
          > mistake if we had been
          > more patient, but the lesson here is, if we can
          > direct seed kale and have it
          > do well completely on its own, then why not rely
          > more on kale instead of
          > cabbage for a cool season green? I find kale just as
          > delicious as cabbage
          > and have been told that it is extremely rich in
          > nutrients as well. This is a
          > good start for a natural gardener. Another example
          > of natural farming is
          > one of Fukuoka's methods of growing rice and barley
          > on his farm in
          > Japan. This method begins in the fall with the
          > manual broadcasting of
          > barley, clover and rice sometime between October and
          > the New Year. On
          > his two or three acres of rice paddy he does not
          > till in preparation for
          > sowing seed as tillage greatly disrupts the soil's
          > rich ecosystem. Since
          > the barley and clover are cool season crops they
          > will have a chance to
          > germinate and grow as many of the warm season plants
          > are dying back.
          > The rice grain is mixed into a clay slurry and
          > mashed through a screen to
          > create impregnated clay pellets - preferably one
          > grain of rice per pellet.
          > These pellets serve as a capsule which will protect
          > the rice grain from
          > rodent and insect predation until the spring. By the
          > time the clay has
          > worn off, it is spring and the rice is in the field
          > at exactly the time it ought
          > to be. As spring waxes and the clover grows thick
          > and dark green, the
          > barley begins to mature on the stalk. When the
          > barley is ripe, sometime in
          > late May, it is harvested by hand with a sickle.
          > Quite likely the rice has
          > already germinated and is trodden-on underfoot
          > somewhat by the
          > harvesters but this does not damage it at such a
          > young pliable stage.
          > The residual straw from the barley will be
          > haphazardly strewn back over
          > the paddies. There has been much concern about
          > insect pests thriving in
          > the straw mulch, but without the use of any
          > pesticides at all, Fukuoka's
          > fields are heavily populated with spiders which
          > generously help
          > themselves to the leaf-hoppers and other insect
          > pests. Most importantly,
          > the straw mulch rejuvenates the soil's organic
          > horizon
          === message truncated ===


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        • Bargyla Rateaver
          Could you not use paragraphs to make it easier on the eyes? ... -- Bargyla Rateaver http://home.earthlink.net/~brateaver
          Message 4 of 4 , Dec 13, 2001
            Could you not use paragraphs to make it easier on the eyes?

            flylo@... wrote:

            > The Natural Way of Farming (kirby Fry)
            >
            > (I'm sorry I don't have the web site that this came from. There were
            > several good articles specifically about Fukuoka methods as well as
            > some interviews.)
            >
            > When we create a garden and are mindful of the plants growing in it, we
            > ourselves grow from being in closer contact with the same natural cycles
            > affecting the plants. The budding flower unfurls its spring banner before
            > us, the heavy fruit heralds the end of a growing season and the withered
            > stalk whispers of seasons past and yet to come. The synchronicity
            > between seasons and plants is a vibrant illustration of the natural
            > patterns which affect all life. Recognizing that we too are an expression
            > of these patterns is the very heart and soul of farming naturally. Natural
            > farming is a simple notion really, it embraces the philosophy of, "do as
            > little as possible." It is a realm where Nature is the master gardener and
            > human decision making plays a minor role. It acknowledges Nature to be
            > the whole from which we were created and the whole which has
            > sustained us since that creation. Instead of asking what extra activities
            > we can do to "improve" upon Nature, to grow better food, we should be
            > asking what don't we need to do. It is as simple as that and as profound
            > as a new understanding of self and Nature. If someone proved to us that
            > digging, weeding, fertilizing, pest control and pruning were not
            > necessary to grow food would we continue to do so? A Japanese farmer,
            > Masanobu Fukuoka, has indeed demonstrated to agronomists around
            > the world that these activities are not necessary. For over fifty years he
            > has achieved surplus yields of rice, barley, plums, citrus fruits and
            > vegetables by means of natural farming. Fukuoka is the author of, _The
            > One Straw Revolution_, _The Natural Way of Farming_, and _The Road
            > Back to Nature_. During the 1970's and 1980's he taught his methods of
            > natural farming across the United States, Europe and Africa and is living
            > today on his farm in Japan. Throughout his travels and in his writings he
            > cautions that the true and persisting cause of desertification and blights
            > is man's perceived separation from Nature. This perception has most
            > strongly manifested itself in the form of agriculture resulting in the
            > steady erosion of biological diversity and soils. The remedy to what ails
            > us will not be found through scientific discovery nor a return to
            > traditional agriculture, but lies waiting to be discovered within ourselves
            > and in our relationship with Nature. Fukuoka cannot praise home
            > gardeners enough, which is music any permaculturalist's ears. To begin
            > gardening naturally, however, we must take a step back and ask what
            > Nature has in mind for the site instead of focusing only on what we have
            > in mind. One way to ask what belongs in your garden is to cast as many
            > different types of seeds as possible during all of the planting windows
            > with no particular aim in sight. Be careful to find seeds which canstill
            > open pollinate themselves, otherwise you may be buying a seed that will
            > not produce viable off-spring. Now find an area in your garden to
            > experiment with that you may be willing to subject to some "disorder,"
            > any size will do and no special bed preparation is necessary. Mid spring
            > and summer are as good a time as any to begin natural gardening by
            > manually broadcasting seeds just before a thunderstorm. We should
            > choose seeds which germinate easily such as cucumbers, melons, and
            > squashes, but it is truly a free for all and there are no constraints. It is
            > also most helpful to broadcast an equal amount of green manure crops -
            > beans and peas in the spring and summer, and clovers, vetches and
            > medicagos in the fall. These green manure crops will ensure the fertility
            > of your garden and eliminate the need for fertilizers. All of the seeds
            > should be mixed up and scattered completely at random. Other seeds to
            > begin with are fast growing radishes and turnips which may grow well
            > any time of the year. The Japanese daikon radish is well known for being
            > extremely deep rooted and serving as a biological aerator and source of
            > carbon. During the fall, kale, collard greens, carrots, dill, parsley and
            > cilantro may also do well when seeded directly into the garden by hand.
            > What we are doing by broadcasting so many seeds is providing
            > materials for Nature to pick and choose from, and though it may seem
            > wasteful initially, when you find a plant that is well suited for your
            > garden you have returned that part of your garden and a part of yourself
            > to Nature. I recently noticed in our two and a half acre field kale coming
            > back from its roots where we had cast its seed two years ago. It is
            > pleasing to see such a nutritious food plant doing well without any
            > attention from us. It is also amusing because only a few days before we
            > had spent much time and effort germinating and transplanting cabbages
            > from our greenhouse into our garden. Two days after the transplanting
            > we had our last hard freeze and maybe half of the transplanted cabbages
            > survived. We certainly could have prevented the mistake if we had been
            > more patient, but the lesson here is, if we can direct seed kale and have it
            > do well completely on its own, then why not rely more on kale instead of
            > cabbage for a cool season green? I find kale just as delicious as cabbage
            > and have been told that it is extremely rich in nutrients as well. This is a
            > good start for a natural gardener. Another example of natural farming is
            > one of Fukuoka's methods of growing rice and barley on his farm in
            > Japan. This method begins in the fall with the manual broadcasting of
            > barley, clover and rice sometime between October and the New Year. On
            > his two or three acres of rice paddy he does not till in preparation for
            > sowing seed as tillage greatly disrupts the soil's rich ecosystem. Since
            > the barley and clover are cool season crops they will have a chance to
            > germinate and grow as many of the warm season plants are dying back.
            > The rice grain is mixed into a clay slurry and mashed through a screen to
            > create impregnated clay pellets - preferably one grain of rice per pellet.
            > These pellets serve as a capsule which will protect the rice grain from
            > rodent and insect predation until the spring. By the time the clay has
            > worn off, it is spring and the rice is in the field at exactly the time it ought
            > to be. As spring waxes and the clover grows thick and dark green, the
            > barley begins to mature on the stalk. When the barley is ripe, sometime in
            > late May, it is harvested by hand with a sickle. Quite likely the rice has
            > already germinated and is trodden-on underfoot somewhat by the
            > harvesters but this does not damage it at such a young pliable stage.
            > The residual straw from the barley will be haphazardly strewn back over
            > the paddies. There has been much concern about insect pests thriving in
            > the straw mulch, but without the use of any pesticides at all, Fukuoka's
            > fields are heavily populated with spiders which generously help
            > themselves to the leaf-hoppers and other insect pests. Most importantly,
            > the straw mulch rejuvenates the soil's organic horizon and the clover
            > fixes enough nitrogen so that no synthetic fertilizers are needed. Though
            > all human, plant and animal wastes are composted, the application of
            > composts and manures is not relied upon in natural farming. Wetland
            > rice, such as that grown in Fukuoka's municipality in Japan, is grown in
            > flooded paddies in order to reduce the competition of other plants. This,
            > however, weakens even the rice plant's stalk and exposes it to many
            > water loving fungi and viruses. Consequently, wetland rice varieties are
            > selected to tolerate these conditions rather than selected for their
            > nutritious properties. To avoid the artificially wet and stressful
            > conditions of paddies which stay flooded throughout the growing
            > season, Fukuoka floods his paddies for only a short duration (after
            > barley harvest) while the clover is still very thick and the rice is just
            > getting started. This weakens the clover and other weeds but does not
            > slow the rice down. When asked what else he does for the weeds, he
            > laughed and simply replied, "I don't do anything for the weeds, they do
            > just fine by themselves." The rice is harvested after the summer and its
            > straw too is returned whole to the land. Thus the cycle is completed and
            > begins anew in the fall. Fukuoka reveals to us how food plants and all
            > other plants will grow naturally and vigorously with little or no human
            > effort. It does not matter if we grow rice or vegetables, if we are at home
            > or in Japan, nor if we nurture a small garden or an expansive farm. Natural
            > farming goes beyond simply casting seeds or picking fruits to
            > acknowledge our union with Nature and the very abundance which
            > created us. Fortunately, home gardeners are among those most likely to
            > discover the virtue of natural farming. This is because they are motivated
            > by the desire to create food, not profit, and because they sincerely enjoy
            > toiling in the garden. When we no longer distinguish our selves from the
            > garden, our toils and discoveries become like light-hearted steps along
            > the road back to Nature. Kirby Fry Program Coordinator Cross Timbers
            > Permaculture Institute
            >
            >
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            >
            >
            >
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            --

            Bargyla Rateaver
            http://home.earthlink.net/~brateaver
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