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Report on a lecture by Kawaguchi

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  • Michiyo Shibuya
    Yoshikazu Kawaguchi is an advocate of agrarian civilization. At first sight, you can know that he is a hardworking farmer. Kawaguchi is probably the second
    Message 1 of 16 , Jun 17 6:58 AM
      Yoshikazu Kawaguchi is an advocate of agrarian civilization.
      At first sight, you can know that he is a hardworking farmer.

      Kawaguchi is probably the second famous natural farmer in Japan,
      following M. Fukuoka, and so somewhat insensible comparison of them that we
      often make seems
      to be only a natural habit.

      Kawaguchi is a practitioner more than a philosopher, and also very social;
      in the two hour session of
      Q&A, many questions that have been raised here in the mailing list have been
      asked and answered in detail.
      "What should I do with rocky soil when starting?"
      "What should I do when my neighbor complain on my weeds and insects?"
      "Is clover as green manure good or do we need green manure at all?"
      "How do you feel when wild animal eat your vegetable completely?"...
      many more.

      He use rice bran, hull and straw from his own field when starting(I think
      that's what he said, I may be wrong),
      no green manure. If you have too much nitrogen fixer, the plants use that
      to grow themselves rather than
      making offspring. That sometimes causes plants to die before they complete
      their lifework when the next season comes.

      He grows vegetable and rice in rows with trough in between. Each row has
      2.5 meter in width. When the weeds
      become too overwhelming for the vegetable, he picks them out or cut them.
      It is important to remember
      you work on every other row--saving grass for insects, and work on the
      remaining rows when the first half is finished.

      His theory is based on 10 years of total failure, but now he is capable of
      growing vegetable for 150 people, and rice for 100 people,
      and the only electric equipment he uses are a flour mill and a rice mill.
      He and his followers have created a network with consumers who would send a
      certain price each month to buy vegetable,
      the price has no connection with the quality, quantity or the sort of
      vegetables, but a fixed price in exchange of whatever
      vegetable a farmer harvests. Kawaguchi thinks that this may be the only way
      a commercial natural farming can succeed.
      It is a network that supports and depends on each other.

      He has a very clear plant-specific methodology. This may be why his method
      is accepted and practiced by
      "wanna-be" natural farmers. He has been teaching since 1991, a student will
      be assigned a patch of rice paddy on a hill for the year,
      and farm with Kawaguchi every month on the second Sunday and the Saturday
      before.
      You could attend to your patch every weekend by yourself. Kawaguchi says
      one year of this experience will be enough
      to start your own farm. Accordingly he had converted many city dwellers to
      rural farmers.

      Any plan to translate his works into English?
      "There has been many attempts since the early years of Akame juku. At least
      7 translators gave up in the middle.
      They say, the work is like an elementary school student trying to write
      something down, there is nothing to translate."
      He seems like still waiting for the next challenger. His sentences are
      often very short, and allusion to God is everywhere.
      Maybe it should be done by a poet?

      One last interesting story is that he had visited around India with the same
      guide in the same route as Fukuoka, answering their
      request to teach practical natural farming where it did not succeed in
      Fukuoka method.
      According to Kawaguchi, most farms have gone back to the conventional
      farming leaving only a several organic farms.
      He concluded that he will not be any help unless he would stay there at
      least 2-3 years to see what is really going on,
      so he should refrain from giving advice to those farms.

      KAWAGUCHI YOSHIKAZU--born in 1939, now a father of three children.


      Michiyo reporting Kawaguchi lecture on June 14th.
    • jamie
      Hello Michiyo, I can understand the importance of learning by working with Kawaguchi (look at the confusion here on what to do or not to do to follow Fukuoka)
      Message 2 of 16 , Jun 17 10:38 AM
        Hello Michiyo, I can understand the importance of learning by working with
        Kawaguchi (look at the confusion here on what to do or not to do to follow
        Fukuoka) and that he had ten years of failure before beginning to get it
        right (this late spring/early summer has been a failure in a number of ways
        at Souscayrous - I'll write it up at the end of the summer as I did the
        waterless gardening thread last sept/oct).

        What I'm pleased you've included is the network of producers you mention
        that supply people with the veg that is available each week from the network
        of farms: in UK/US this is called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and
        I'd agree that it is an excellent way to support organic farmers -
        especially natural farmers. However, it does require a large enough
        population to provide the NF farmer with a living: possible in Japan, larger
        cities in Europe/US but beyond the tiny population of the Corbieres (the
        hilly region where I live).

        But thanks for taking the time to let us have a taste of the active NF
        movement in Japan.

        Jamie
        Souscayrous

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Michiyo Shibuya [mailto:michiyos@...]
        Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2003 1:59 PM
        To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Report on a lecture by Kawaguchi

        Yoshikazu Kawaguchi is an advocate of agrarian civilization.
        At first sight, you can know that he is a hardworking farmer.

        Kawaguchi is probably the second famous natural farmer in Japan,
        following M. Fukuoka, and so somewhat insensible comparison of them that we
        often make seems
        to be only a natural habit.

        Kawaguchi is a practitioner more than a philosopher, and also very social;
        in the two hour session of
        Q&A, many questions that have been raised here in the mailing list have been
        asked and answered in detail.
        "What should I do with rocky soil when starting?"
        "What should I do when my neighbor complain on my weeds and insects?"
        "Is clover as green manure good or do we need green manure at all?"
        "How do you feel when wild animal eat your vegetable completely?"...
        many more.

        He use rice bran, hull and straw from his own field when starting(I think
        that's what he said, I may be wrong),
        no green manure. If you have too much nitrogen fixer, the plants use that
        to grow themselves rather than
        making offspring. That sometimes causes plants to die before they complete
        their lifework when the next season comes.

        He grows vegetable and rice in rows with trough in between. Each row has
        2.5 meter in width. When the weeds
        become too overwhelming for the vegetable, he picks them out or cut them.
        It is important to remember
        you work on every other row--saving grass for insects, and work on the
        remaining rows when the first half is finished.

        His theory is based on 10 years of total failure, but now he is capable of
        growing vegetable for 150 people, and rice for 100 people,
        and the only electric equipment he uses are a flour mill and a rice mill.
        He and his followers have created a network with consumers who would send a
        certain price each month to buy vegetable,
        the price has no connection with the quality, quantity or the sort of
        vegetables, but a fixed price in exchange of whatever
        vegetable a farmer harvests. Kawaguchi thinks that this may be the only way
        a commercial natural farming can succeed.
        It is a network that supports and depends on each other.

        He has a very clear plant-specific methodology. This may be why his method
        is accepted and practiced by
        "wanna-be" natural farmers. He has been teaching since 1991, a student will
        be assigned a patch of rice paddy on a hill for the year,
        and farm with Kawaguchi every month on the second Sunday and the Saturday
        before.
        You could attend to your patch every weekend by yourself. Kawaguchi says
        one year of this experience will be enough
        to start your own farm. Accordingly he had converted many city dwellers to
        rural farmers.

        Any plan to translate his works into English?
        "There has been many attempts since the early years of Akame juku. At least
        7 translators gave up in the middle.
        They say, the work is like an elementary school student trying to write
        something down, there is nothing to translate."
        He seems like still waiting for the next challenger. His sentences are
        often very short, and allusion to God is everywhere.
        Maybe it should be done by a poet?

        One last interesting story is that he had visited around India with the same
        guide in the same route as Fukuoka, answering their
        request to teach practical natural farming where it did not succeed in
        Fukuoka method.
        According to Kawaguchi, most farms have gone back to the conventional
        farming leaving only a several organic farms.
        He concluded that he will not be any help unless he would stay there at
        least 2-3 years to see what is really going on,
        so he should refrain from giving advice to those farms.

        KAWAGUCHI YOSHIKAZU--born in 1939, now a father of three children.


        Michiyo reporting Kawaguchi lecture on June 14th.




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      • Michiyo Shibuya
        Thank you for your response, Jamie. I have forgotten to write this: In Kawaguchi s own field, the yield has now recovered to 70-80 percent of what it use to
        Message 3 of 16 , Jun 17 3:54 PM
          Thank you for your response, Jamie.

          I have forgotten to write this:

          In Kawaguchi's own field, the yield has now recovered to 70-80 percent of
          what it use to produce
          in conventional farming, both in rice and vegetable production.
          It depends on the richness of the soil, so may take many years to bring to
          that level.

          He has a paddy field on a hill where machine can never get in.
          He doesn't keep water all the time in the paddy, but adds water when there
          is no more water left.
          The area keeps switching between the state of wetland and marsh.
          (I think that he said this method apples to all of his paddy field, but I am
          not too sure).

          I am trying to find pictures of his field online, but have not hit any.
          This is his website, a wealth of useful information including a farming
          calendar(all in Japanese),
          and class schedule, etc.
          http://www.6348.co.jp/sizen/#book100

          A link to photo gallery of some of his students(I suppose) and their fields.
          http://www1.linkclub.or.jp/~amal/
          Look at the third category, starting with the date 2002/08/10, and these 6
          photos,
          and the three photos of the last category.

          Michiyo
        • Robert Monie
          Hi Michiyo, I m going to ask a million questions, but you need not try to answer them all. If you can answer any, I will be happy. Kawaguchi isn t the only
          Message 4 of 16 , Jun 17 6:01 PM
            Hi Michiyo,

            I'm going to ask a million questions, but you need not try to answer them all. If you can answer any, I will be happy.

            Kawaguchi isn't the only farmer who's tough to translate. Last year I set out, with lots of help from a friend who is a professional translator and interpreter with the Neaton company, to do an unpublished translation of Fukuoka's "Traveling with Seedballs." She was going to handle the Japanese, and I, the English. After a few days we both threw up our hands. Translating Fukuoka is nothing like translating corporate memos. It would take a virtuoso translator like Jay Rubin (who has translated the novelist Haruki Marukami) to do Fukuoka right and, from what you've said, Kawaguchi also.

            Evidently Kawaguchi has an aphoristic style that views farming though a mystical lens; every word is suffused with belief, rich in implication but too bare in literal meaning to be easily understood. With such a teacher, apprenticeship is everything. The apprentice learns more by watching and doing than by the actual words spoken.

            Have you seen the video that Toriyama Toshiko did in 1995 on Kawaguchi? Does it convey much of what he does in the field?

            His technique of "saving grass for insects" sounds like the traditional farming practice of leaving "hedge rows" where beneficial insects could live and some plants could grow that would be "sacrificed" to plant-eating insects. Certainly when hedgerows were eliminated in an effort to grow cash crops on every square foot of ground, the need for insecticide started spiraling up.

            Am I right to interpret that Kawaguchi's version of CSA appears to give the contracted farmers regular monthly payments such as a landlord might receive from leasing out a house? That way the farmers have a steady income not subject to fluctuation from changing weather conditions, crop failure, and so on? The assumption here seems to be that even if some crops fail, others will not, so there will be some value given in return for the monthly payment (or should it be called an "investment in naturally grown food"?) Has the system worked this way? Do the subscribers get enough food each month from these farms or do they sometimes come back empty-handed with nothing to eat? Also, how much food can each subscriber take? Does every subscriber pay the same monthy price or do they go by family size and appetite? Does it work like a "buffet" in a restuarant where the customers all pay one price but they can then have "all [the food] they can eat"?

            Do subscribers to Kawaguchi's farm pick their own vegetables fresh in the field, or does he pick the vegetables for them or sell them in a market (store)? Does he sell the rice and rice flour in a store after hulling it or does he hull it "on the spot" when a customer asks for a certain quantity of rice.

            (I can still recall the thrill I had picking my own pumpkins in a field not very far outside of Los Angeles around Halloween years ago. I had never seen so many pumpkins of such overwhelming size and assorted shapes).

            You know we have to ask the next question: do alternating rows of vegetables in Kawaguchi's system appear to be grown on flat beds or raised ones? (Please don't throw any rotten Yacons at us for asking).

            Is the rice Kawaguchi grows the regular kind that requires a wet environment or is it the high mountain kind that can be grown "dry," almost like wheat or a vegetable?

            His practice of starting a garden with "rice bran, hull, and straw" rather than green manure, and his cautions against "too much nitrogen fixer" are particularly interesting. It may be that in the "West" we tend to exaggerate the role of nitrogen in the nutrient mix, especially for vegetables. When all 15 or 16 essential nutrients are present in the right mix (which unfortunately varies from plant to plant) and are delivered with the help of the right microbial life, nitrogen, though necessary, may not be so all-important. Too much nitrogen can ruin carrots, greens, and many other popular vegetables. The best mulch I have ever used is rice hulls, and I've noticed that the main ingredient in the popular organic amendment, Earth Juice "Catalyst," is oat bran. So I wonder if brans from grains (rice, oats, buckwheat, wheat) might not have some special "balancing" effect in the distribution and uptake of nutrients. (Brans are extremely nutritious as human food, with a wide spectrum of
            oils, B-vitamins, multiple forms of Vitamin E, and minerals; their use as plant food deserves more study.)

            Kawaguchi seems to enjoy a friendly rivalry with Fukuoka. Do Fukuoka or Honma ever mention him?

            Finally, the most important question (forget the others if you like): You say, "[Kawaguchi] has a very clear plant-specific methodology" that makes him popular among beginners who are trying to grow something. Does this mean that Kawaguchi has figured out "sure-fire" methods of growing, say, cucumbers that differ from the methods for growing peas? Does he lay out the details of these methods?

            If you could illustrate his "plant-specific methodology" for just 2 or 3 different plants, that would be worth at least a box of Fukkoku-cha Gyokuro tea (which I should send you).

            Michiyo, I know that you do not speak "for Japan" or for natural farming in Japan, any more than I "speak for" Louisiana because I live there. You speak for yourself and should not assume any burden beyond that.

            What you have to say is important not because you live in Japan or are Japanese, or even because you have seen Fukuoka, but because you are interested in natural farming and you are you. Thanks so much for your contribution.

            Bob Monie, speaking only for himself, in south Louisiana





            Michiyo Shibuya <michiyos@...> wrote:
            Yoshikazu Kawaguchi is an advocate of agrarian civilization.
            At first sight, you can know that he is a hardworking farmer.

            Kawaguchi is probably the second famous natural farmer in Japan,
            following M. Fukuoka, and so somewhat insensible comparison of them that we
            often make seems
            to be only a natural habit.

            Kawaguchi is a practitioner more than a philosopher, and also very social;
            in the two hour session of
            Q&A, many questions that have been raised here in the mailing list have been
            asked and answered in detail.
            "What should I do with rocky soil when starting?"
            "What should I do when my neighbor complain on my weeds and insects?"
            "Is clover as green manure good or do we need green manure at all?"
            "How do you feel when wild animal eat your vegetable completely?"...
            many more.

            He use rice bran, hull and straw from his own field when starting(I think
            that's what he said, I may be wrong),
            no green manure. If you have too much nitrogen fixer, the plants use that
            to grow themselves rather than
            making offspring. That sometimes causes plants to die before they complete
            their lifework when the next season comes.

            He grows vegetable and rice in rows with trough in between. Each row has
            2.5 meter in width. When the weeds
            become too overwhelming for the vegetable, he picks them out or cut them.
            It is important to remember
            you work on every other row--saving grass for insects, and work on the
            remaining rows when the first half is finished.

            His theory is based on 10 years of total failure, but now he is capable of
            growing vegetable for 150 people, and rice for 100 people,
            and the only electric equipment he uses are a flour mill and a rice mill.
            He and his followers have created a network with consumers who would send a
            certain price each month to buy vegetable,
            the price has no connection with the quality, quantity or the sort of
            vegetables, but a fixed price in exchange of whatever
            vegetable a farmer harvests. Kawaguchi thinks that this may be the only way
            a commercial natural farming can succeed.
            It is a network that supports and depends on each other.

            He has a very clear plant-specific methodology. This may be why his method
            is accepted and practiced by
            "wanna-be" natural farmers. He has been teaching since 1991, a student will
            be assigned a patch of rice paddy on a hill for the year,
            and farm with Kawaguchi every month on the second Sunday and the Saturday
            before.
            You could attend to your patch every weekend by yourself. Kawaguchi says
            one year of this experience will be enough
            to start your own farm. Accordingly he had converted many city dwellers to
            rural farmers.

            Any plan to translate his works into English?
            "There has been many attempts since the early years of Akame juku. At least
            7 translators gave up in the middle.
            They say, the work is like an elementary school student trying to write
            something down, there is nothing to translate."
            He seems like still waiting for the next challenger. His sentences are
            often very short, and allusion to God is everywhere.
            Maybe it should be done by a poet?

            One last interesting story is that he had visited around India with the same
            guide in the same route as Fukuoka, answering their
            request to teach practical natural farming where it did not succeed in
            Fukuoka method.
            According to Kawaguchi, most farms have gone back to the conventional
            farming leaving only a several organic farms.
            He concluded that he will not be any help unless he would stay there at
            least 2-3 years to see what is really going on,
            so he should refrain from giving advice to those farms.

            KAWAGUCHI YOSHIKAZU--born in 1939, now a father of three children.


            Michiyo reporting Kawaguchi lecture on June 14th.



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          • Okinori Taniguchi
            About the question of Bob Monie ... There was held three days lectures and practicing to make seedballs by Fukuoka and Homa on Fri 23 Nov 2001 at a certain
            Message 5 of 16 , Jun 19 7:45 PM
              About the question of Bob Monie

              >Kawaguchi seems to enjoy a friendly rivalry with Fukuoka. Do Fukuoka or
              >Honma ever mention him?


              There was held three days lectures and practicing to make seedballs by
              Fukuoka and Homa on Fri 23 Nov 2001 at a certain room of Agriculture
              Department in Kyoto University.

              By my notes, at that time Fukuoka mentioned shortly Bill Morison and
              Kawaguchi by using the words ' the imitation of Natural Farming ' (if I
              translate the Japnese words 'Sizen Nohou Magai').
              I thought at that time from the context of words that Fukuoka is negative
              to their doing from his Natural Farming point of view because he added some
              words to mean that they explain their doing by selfish reasons.

              Of course this is only the slice of long talking, but I was interested in
              how Fukuoka evaluates Kawaguchi's farming. He writes that he knows Fukuoka
              and he modified it to fit to his own field.

              Now I reviewed my notes and found Fukuoka's saying;
              There is no secret to Nature and very clear or as clear as day so it's no
              use investigating Nature.
              If we say the power of life, then the word 'power' is a word of science
              or conception of science.


              Okinori Taniguchi (environmental designer-to-be)
              Daitoshi in Osaka
            • Robert Monie
              Hi Okinori, Do you think anybody other than Fukuoka himself can ever be Fukuokian ? If a native Japanese, like Kawaguchi, working on Japanese soil and
              Message 6 of 16 , Jun 20 10:27 AM
                Hi Okinori,

                Do you think anybody other than Fukuoka himself can ever be "Fukuokian"? If a native Japanese, like Kawaguchi, working on Japanese soil and apparently driven by intense religious conviction cannot, after more than ten years, produce a natural farm that meets with Fukuoka's approval, then who can? Who has?

                I am truely puzzled. If there are successful natural farmers in Japan who have won Fukuoka's approval, where are they. Are they sworn to secrecy? I don't understand why Fukuoka, if he wants to put farmers like Kawaguchi in the "imitation" category doesn't also just as vocally put
                others in the "real thing" category. Then we could look at the true natural farms and learn something from them. We could have a "don't do this; do this instead" model to go by.

                I do not doubt the veracity of Fukuoka's account of his own citrus and rice farm given in "One Straw Revolution" any more than I doubt the reports of scientists in the Cornell M.U.L.C.H. project concerning rice bean guilds that have been continuously producing for 100 years or more or other accounts of Durian tree guilds in southern Thailand that have been producing for 300 years or more. There are pockets of extraordinary self-sustaining food systems here and there in nature, just as there are pockets of extreme bleakness and aridity. Most of nature, however, falls somewhere inbetween.

                The question is, how to reproduce the pockets of extraordinary self-sustainance, like the one that Fukuoka had on his own farm. Are they reproducible, essentially one-time occurances, or unique to a certain micro-climate? Is it entirely unfair to say that Fukuoka himself never succeded in reproducing elsewhere the kind of fecundity he enjoyed on his own farm? Is it possible that the land Fukuoka was using, despite all the troubles he had starting up his farm there, was some sort of "charmed spot" with the deeply buried but still inherent capacity to be
                unusually fertile and self-sustaining? Or does Fukuoka just see what to do or not to do, and no one else does?

                I cannot believe that I would succeed in reproducing Fukuoka's truely natural farm where Kawaguchi has "failed." But then, neither can I put myself in the place of Fukuoka (becoming a Fukuoka-manque or Fukuoka, Jr.) and judge Kawaguchi to be a failure or an "imitation."
                If Kawaguchi can teach farmers to grow crops without tilling, spraying, or artifically fertilizing, and his farms can feed 150 people with a productivity
                of up to 80% that of converntional farms, I can only praise the man, not dismiss him.

                Okinori, can you tell us what you make of all this? In your own landscape practice have you done anything you believe would meet Fukuoka's appoval as natural or are you (like me and many others, I trust) doing your best in "imitation"?

                Bob Monie





                Okinori Taniguchi <o-tanig@...-sandai.ac.jp> wrote:

                About the question of Bob Monie

                >Kawaguchi seems to enjoy a friendly rivalry with Fukuoka. Do Fukuoka or
                >Honma ever mention him?


                There was held three days lectures and practicing to make seedballs by
                Fukuoka and Homa on Fri 23 Nov 2001 at a certain room of Agriculture
                Department in Kyoto University.

                By my notes, at that time Fukuoka mentioned shortly Bill Morison and
                Kawaguchi by using the words ' the imitation of Natural Farming ' (if I
                translate the Japnese words 'Sizen Nohou Magai').
                I thought at that time from the context of words that Fukuoka is negative
                to their doing from his Natural Farming point of view because he added some
                words to mean that they explain their doing by selfish reasons.

                Of course this is only the slice of long talking, but I was interested in
                how Fukuoka evaluates Kawaguchi's farming. He writes that he knows Fukuoka
                and he modified it to fit to his own field.

                Now I reviewed my notes and found Fukuoka's saying;
                There is no secret to Nature and very clear or as clear as day so it's no
                use investigating Nature.
                If we say the power of life, then the word 'power' is a word of science
                or conception of science.


                Okinori Taniguchi (environmental designer-to-be)
                Daitoshi in Osaka




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              • Michiyo Shibuya
                Hello, Sorry for the delay in replying. I am still leaving out many questions, I will report more when I find out. --Questions by Bob Monie on Kawaguchi-- ...
                Message 7 of 16 , Jul 16, 2003
                  Hello,
                  Sorry for the delay in replying. I am still leaving out many questions,
                  I will report more when I find out.

                  --Questions by Bob Monie on Kawaguchi--

                  > Have you seen the video that Toriyama Toshiko did in 1995 on
                  > Kawaguchi? Does it convey much of what he does in the field?


                  I haven't seen any of the videos or the movie. They were showing the movie
                  in the morning before the lecture but I missed that.
                  Toshiko Toriyama is the leader of this group, "Kenji no Gakko" who organized
                  the event.
                  They do this farming classes several times a year.
                  I think that all the movies and videos are on sale.

                  > Am I right to interpret that Kawaguchi's version of CSA appears
                  > to give the contracted farmers regular monthly payments such as a
                  > landlord might receive from leasing out a house?

                  I have tried to get some information on this from another mailing list but
                  somehow no one replied. I don't know if anyone is succeeding in having a
                  steady
                  income. Kawaguchi explained in the lecture using the example of "20,000 yen
                  per month
                  no matter what a farmer comes up with." I wonder if this amount is the
                  actual figure he uses
                  or just any number that came up in his head.
                  It sounds like this sort of network is not an organized one but a personal
                  network between one farmer
                  and people who want to support that person. I would think that both
                  Kawaguchi and Fukuoka's son are
                  successful in this with their name value. I also know of several
                  communities.
                  The most popular CSA in Tokyo is
                  "Daichi wo mamoru kai"(portectors of the earth), (do all members in Tokyo
                  agree on this?)
                  and many conscious consumers
                  subscribes to them, you pay certain amount of money for the season's
                  vegetables and they will
                  deliver to your door every week.


                  > Do subscribers to Kawaguchi's farm pick their own vegetables
                  > fresh in the field, or does he pick the vegetables for them or
                  > sell them in a market (store)? Does he sell the rice and rice
                  > flour in a store after hulling it or does he hull it "on the
                  > spot" when a customer asks for a certain quantity of rice.

                  I really don't know. I buy rice from an organization I mentioned before and
                  last year I paid
                  for the entire year in September. I had to choose an area of Japan where I
                  want the rice from, and
                  farmer's name if I knew, degree of polishing(0-brown rice,3,5,7,10-white
                  rice),
                  and how often I want delivery. They hull right before the shipping, so I
                  asked delivery every other month.
                  In November I received a letter that they could not harvest the amount they
                  had expected and I had an option
                  of getting back the money or have them deliver rice from different
                  area/farmers.
                  I have no idea how Kawaguchi does it, in his books, he talks about the
                  importance of keeping the rice in hull.
                  Usually in Japan, the rice is distributed to rice shop as brown rice and
                  those local shops will polish them
                  totally white to sell to individuals. This trend is changing with the
                  bigger, stronger supermarkets, and also with
                  the popularization(still not very popular yet) of home rice polisher.


                  >do alternating rows of vegetables in Kawaguchi's system appear to be grown
                  on flat beds
                  > or raised ones? (Please don't throw any rotten Yacons at us for
                  > asking).

                  The following is the summary of page 74-79 from Kawaguchi's book, "Tae naru
                  hatake ni tachite", published in 1990.


                  You make raised beds in order to make the drainage and the walkway.
                  Just like a house for human, you only need to shape it once and it will
                  function as permanent raised beds.
                  The size of the bed is determined by many factors, and you will learn from
                  your experience,
                  for example, rice likes to be in water but grows healthier without water,
                  sato-imo lilkes water but may grow on
                  a dryland.

                  Preparation for the field that grows rice and wheat alternatively in a year,
                  it is best to work right after the rice harvest...

                  to prepare the vegetable garden in the moist field, you shape the beds in
                  variety of sizes, the width between 1-4 meters,
                  in arched shapes leaving drainage paths of 30-50 cm wide. For
                  hakusai(chinese cabbage), you will make double raised
                  bed(bed on top a bed) and use that bed also for burdock.
                  If ever you need to change the shape of the bed or a bed is not needed any
                  more, you should put that back to a natural shape and always
                  mulch it with straws, weeds, or vegetable scraps.

                  As for a dryland, if the area is on a hill, the raised bed is almost
                  unnecessary, you will just need a drainage path for the natural and rain
                  water.
                  If you make the drainage path on both sides of your garden, the whole garden
                  will function as one big bed. Or you could dig
                  a drainage path in the middle of the garden, it will be your walkway.
                  When you make raised beds, you will make them into different height and
                  width. On a wider bed, you will make pumpkin, watermelon, melon...
                  on the medium width, eggplant, tomato, pepper, hot pepper,
                  on a narrow bed, sweet potato, chinese cabbage, burdock.

                  Carrot, daikon, spinach, leaf vegetable, beans, potato... grow on any beds.
                  Mitsuba, fuki, myouga, jinenjo don't need raised bed and grow in a shade.
                  Eggplant, pepper, hot pepper, satoimo, hatomugi dislikes dryland,
                  and tomato, corn, millet, potato dislikes wetland.


                  > Is the rice Kawaguchi grows the regular kind that requires a wet
                  > environment or is it the high mountain kind that can be grown
                  > "dry," almost like wheat or a vegetable?

                  I have not been able to get replies about this either from another list,
                  but from the way Kawaguchi and other farmers talked about the rice,
                  I assume they use regular rice.

                  >
                  > His practice of starting a garden with "rice bran, hull, and
                  > straw" rather than green manure, and his cautions against "too
                  > much nitrogen fixer" are particularly interesting.

                  >
                  > Kawaguchi seems to enjoy a friendly rivalry with Fukuoka. Do
                  > Fukuoka or Honma ever mention him?

                  Kawaguchi seems to respect Fukuoka as a natural farming pioneer.
                  I sort of felt bad to him because in the Q & A session, so many people
                  commented on Fukuoka(mainly a praise) and then asked questions
                  about natural farming as if they were practicing the same method.
                  Kawaguchi's theory and practice is clearly different from Fukuoka,
                  the former advocates farming, and the latter criticizes farming.
                  (I am prepared to receive all criticism on my way of seeing them,
                  please feel free to post different opinion on this!)

                  In Kawaguchi's book, he talks about Fukuoka with much respect,
                  he says that Fukuoka is in a position(class, etc) where he doesn't have to
                  be concerned about
                  productivity or failure, whereas Kawaguchi himself always needed to make a
                  living from farming.
                  >
                  Does this mean that Kawaguchi has
                  > figured out "sure-fire" methods of growing, say, cucumbers that
                  > differ from the methods for growing peas? Does he lay out the
                  > details of these methods?


                  I might have been too careless to write in that manner. You can see
                  different plants prefer different
                  beds from the information above.
                  He also discusses in his book, the combination and rotation of vegetable.
                  I thought he was telling the reader "you plant this and this after this
                  plant", but maybe he was just explaining
                  "I plant this and this after this plant and comes out great..."

                  I think that Kawaguchi sees natural farming as universal, and emphasizes
                  that his success
                  does not come from his knowledge or invention but from the natural order.

                  Michiyo Shibuya
                • Robert Monie
                  Hi Michiyo, Thanks for these reports on natural farming in Japan. From what you ve said, Fukuoka has become a symbol for the ideal state of humankind
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jul 17, 2003
                    Hi Michiyo,

                    Thanks for these reports on natural farming in Japan. From what you've said, Fukuoka has become a symbol for the ideal state of humankind coevolving with the rest of Nature. But many who try to follow Fukuoka ideas fail to even approximate this ideal (or to grow much). Kawaguchi, by contrast, represents an achievable goal, something the average gardener might hope to accomplish.

                    Fukuoka of late has been thinking on a very large scale, envisioning such things as the regreening of deserts with seedballs, for example. Kawaguchi takes more of the "postage stamp" or "victory garden" approach--just cultivate a sustainable patch and grow some grains and vegetables, do a little at a time, and become familiar with the land actually under you feet. Kawaguchi's seems to be the lapidary approach--lay just one stone at a time. And, unilke Fukuoka, Kawaguchi seems to be "Internet-friendly."

                    Do you plan to "take lesssons" from Kawaguchi each month out on that rice paddy? I think if I were nearby I would.

                    The lapidary, stone by stone, approach appeals to me. That's the way I got into solar energy. First, just "plant" little LED garden-path lamps and run a junk solar radio, then start up a solar fountain, then light a couple of Solaris solar lanterns, then run the laptop and the blender on Uni-Solar Cells, then put in some solar attic fans, then put the aeroponic spray on solar, then the lights... and before you know it, the whole house is solar! You start looking at the house in a totally different way. The purpose, design, contour, alignment of the house suddently becomes to mesh with solar cycles, to "fit" in ways formerly unseen with the rhythms of nature.

                    In the garden it is the same. The more diversity and self-fertility, the more the purpose of the garden seems to be a joint venture with nature rather than just selfish growing of food. This comes bit by bit, a little at a time. Nature "self-assembles" and tells you by emerging patterns what should come next, what you should do or not do. This seems to me (following Steven Kauffman's ideas) very different from Darwinian "natural selection"; in this kind of pattern-forming, humans have a role to play, sometimes by observing and sometimes by acting; they are in a conversation with Nature.

                    Please tell us more about Kawaguchi CSA's when you can. It will be interesting to compare them with American CSA's, for example, in the Oakland/Berkeley California area.

                    Would it be an exaggeration to say that all the "natural farms" you have found so far in Japan are more Kawaguchian than Fukuokian?

                    Bob Monie, zone 8


                    Michiyo Shibuya <michiyos@...> wrote:
                    Hello,
                    Sorry for the delay in replying. I am still leaving out many questions,
                    I will report more when I find out.

                    --Questions by Bob Monie on Kawaguchi--

                    > Have you seen the video that Toriyama Toshiko did in 1995 on
                    > Kawaguchi? Does it convey much of what he does in the field?


                    I haven't seen any of the videos or the movie. They were showing the movie
                    in the morning before the lecture but I missed that.
                    Toshiko Toriyama is the leader of this group, "Kenji no Gakko" who organized
                    the event.
                    They do this farming classes several times a year.
                    I think that all the movies and videos are on sale.

                    > Am I right to interpret that Kawaguchi's version of CSA appears
                    > to give the contracted farmers regular monthly payments such as a
                    > landlord might receive from leasing out a house?

                    I have tried to get some information on this from another mailing list but
                    somehow no one replied. I don't know if anyone is succeeding in having a
                    steady
                    income. Kawaguchi explained in the lecture using the example of "20,000 yen
                    per month
                    no matter what a farmer comes up with." I wonder if this amount is the
                    actual figure he uses
                    or just any number that came up in his head.
                    It sounds like this sort of network is not an organized one but a personal
                    network between one farmer
                    and people who want to support that person. I would think that both
                    Kawaguchi and Fukuoka's son are
                    successful in this with their name value. I also know of several
                    communities.
                    The most popular CSA in Tokyo is
                    "Daichi wo mamoru kai"(portectors of the earth), (do all members in Tokyo
                    agree on this?)
                    and many conscious consumers
                    subscribes to them, you pay certain amount of money for the season's
                    vegetables and they will
                    deliver to your door every week.


                    > Do subscribers to Kawaguchi's farm pick their own vegetables
                    > fresh in the field, or does he pick the vegetables for them or
                    > sell them in a market (store)? Does he sell the rice and rice
                    > flour in a store after hulling it or does he hull it "on the
                    > spot" when a customer asks for a certain quantity of rice.

                    I really don't know. I buy rice from an organization I mentioned before and
                    last year I paid
                    for the entire year in September. I had to choose an area of Japan where I
                    want the rice from, and
                    farmer's name if I knew, degree of polishing(0-brown rice,3,5,7,10-white
                    rice),
                    and how often I want delivery. They hull right before the shipping, so I
                    asked delivery every other month.
                    In November I received a letter that they could not harvest the amount they
                    had expected and I had an option
                    of getting back the money or have them deliver rice from different
                    area/farmers.
                    I have no idea how Kawaguchi does it, in his books, he talks about the
                    importance of keeping the rice in hull.
                    Usually in Japan, the rice is distributed to rice shop as brown rice and
                    those local shops will polish them
                    totally white to sell to individuals. This trend is changing with the
                    bigger, stronger supermarkets, and also with
                    the popularization(still not very popular yet) of home rice polisher.


                    >do alternating rows of vegetables in Kawaguchi's system appear to be grown
                    on flat beds
                    > or raised ones? (Please don't throw any rotten Yacons at us for
                    > asking).

                    The following is the summary of page 74-79 from Kawaguchi's book, "Tae naru
                    hatake ni tachite", published in 1990.


                    You make raised beds in order to make the drainage and the walkway.
                    Just like a house for human, you only need to shape it once and it will
                    function as permanent raised beds.
                    The size of the bed is determined by many factors, and you will learn from
                    your experience,
                    for example, rice likes to be in water but grows healthier without water,
                    sato-imo lilkes water but may grow on
                    a dryland.

                    Preparation for the field that grows rice and wheat alternatively in a year,
                    it is best to work right after the rice harvest...

                    to prepare the vegetable garden in the moist field, you shape the beds in
                    variety of sizes, the width between 1-4 meters,
                    in arched shapes leaving drainage paths of 30-50 cm wide. For
                    hakusai(chinese cabbage), you will make double raised
                    bed(bed on top a bed) and use that bed also for burdock.
                    If ever you need to change the shape of the bed or a bed is not needed any
                    more, you should put that back to a natural shape and always
                    mulch it with straws, weeds, or vegetable scraps.

                    As for a dryland, if the area is on a hill, the raised bed is almost
                    unnecessary, you will just need a drainage path for the natural and rain
                    water.
                    If you make the drainage path on both sides of your garden, the whole garden
                    will function as one big bed. Or you could dig
                    a drainage path in the middle of the garden, it will be your walkway.
                    When you make raised beds, you will make them into different height and
                    width. On a wider bed, you will make pumpkin, watermelon, melon...
                    on the medium width, eggplant, tomato, pepper, hot pepper,
                    on a narrow bed, sweet potato, chinese cabbage, burdock.

                    Carrot, daikon, spinach, leaf vegetable, beans, potato... grow on any beds.
                    Mitsuba, fuki, myouga, jinenjo don't need raised bed and grow in a shade.
                    Eggplant, pepper, hot pepper, satoimo, hatomugi dislikes dryland,
                    and tomato, corn, millet, potato dislikes wetland.


                    > Is the rice Kawaguchi grows the regular kind that requires a wet
                    > environment or is it the high mountain kind that can be grown
                    > "dry," almost like wheat or a vegetable?

                    I have not been able to get replies about this either from another list,
                    but from the way Kawaguchi and other farmers talked about the rice,
                    I assume they use regular rice.

                    >
                    > His practice of starting a garden with "rice bran, hull, and
                    > straw" rather than green manure, and his cautions against "too
                    > much nitrogen fixer" are particularly interesting.

                    >
                    > Kawaguchi seems to enjoy a friendly rivalry with Fukuoka. Do
                    > Fukuoka or Honma ever mention him?

                    Kawaguchi seems to respect Fukuoka as a natural farming pioneer.
                    I sort of felt bad to him because in the Q & A session, so many people
                    commented on Fukuoka(mainly a praise) and then asked questions
                    about natural farming as if they were practicing the same method.
                    Kawaguchi's theory and practice is clearly different from Fukuoka,
                    the former advocates farming, and the latter criticizes farming.
                    (I am prepared to receive all criticism on my way of seeing them,
                    please feel free to post different opinion on this!)

                    In Kawaguchi's book, he talks about Fukuoka with much respect,
                    he says that Fukuoka is in a position(class, etc) where he doesn't have to
                    be concerned about
                    productivity or failure, whereas Kawaguchi himself always needed to make a
                    living from farming.
                    >
                    Does this mean that Kawaguchi has
                    > figured out "sure-fire" methods of growing, say, cucumbers that
                    > differ from the methods for growing peas? Does he lay out the
                    > details of these methods?


                    I might have been too careless to write in that manner. You can see
                    different plants prefer different
                    beds from the information above.
                    He also discusses in his book, the combination and rotation of vegetable.
                    I thought he was telling the reader "you plant this and this after this
                    plant", but maybe he was just explaining
                    "I plant this and this after this plant and comes out great..."

                    I think that Kawaguchi sees natural farming as universal, and emphasizes
                    that his success
                    does not come from his knowledge or invention but from the natural order.

                    Michiyo Shibuya





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                  • Michiyo Shibuya
                    Hello Bob, ... Actually this place in West Tokyo is more than two hour drive from where I live. I will attend the autumn lecture/workshop when he comes, but
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jul 19, 2003
                      Hello Bob,

                      > Do you plan to "take lesssons" from Kawaguchi each month out on
                      > that rice paddy? I think if I were nearby I would.

                      Actually this place in West Tokyo is more than two hour drive from where I
                      live.
                      I will attend the autumn lecture/workshop when he comes,
                      but probably not the monthly course.


                      > The lapidary, stone by stone, approach appeals to me. That's the
                      > way I got into solar energy. First, just "plant" little LED
                      > garden-path lamps and run a junk solar radio, then start up a
                      > solar fountain, then light a couple of Solaris solar lanterns,
                      > then run the laptop and the blender on Uni-Solar Cells, then put
                      > in some solar attic fans, then put the aeroponic spray on solar,
                      > then the lights... and before you know it, the whole house is
                      > solar! You start looking at the house in a totally different
                      > way. The purpose, design, contour, alignment of the house
                      > suddently becomes to mesh with solar cycles, to "fit" in ways
                      > formerly unseen with the rhythms of nature.


                      I should start this in your way, too! Do you practice solar cooking, with
                      just some aluminum walls around a pan outside?
                      I heard it is sort of popular in the United States.

                      I cook many food in a ceramic pan with a gas for a very short period of
                      time(5 minutes
                      just till the pan gets hot) and then wrap the pan in a big towel, box and a
                      sheet.
                      It is kept warm for up to 8 hours. This is especially suitable for cooking
                      sweet potatoes, beans,
                      I think.

                      > Would it be an exaggeration to say that all the "natural farms"
                      > you have found so far in Japan are more Kawaguchian than Fukuokian?

                      You are right. I don't hear much stories about successful fukuokian farms.
                      Someone in the Japanese natural farming list is publishing a book on natural
                      farms this year,
                      (at least that's what he says),
                      I will report more when it is available.


                      Michiyo
                    • Robert Monie
                      Hi Michiyo, Please continue to update us on Fukuoka, Yukko, and Kawaguchi in Japan. When I am a little clearer on exactly what Kawaguchi is doing, I want to
                      Message 10 of 16 , Jul 20, 2003
                        Hi Michiyo,

                        Please continue to update us on Fukuoka, Yukko, and Kawaguchi in Japan. When I am a little clearer on exactly what Kawaguchi is doing, I want to try some of it for myself, especially his way of starting new gardens with rice hulls and rice bran.

                        Your method of cooking is sometimes called the "thermos" one and seems to have deep roots in Japanese history. It is, without question, one of the most energy-efficient methods known. The Nissan company has a modern version I use--an inner pot that is heated for a few minutes (with the food inside) and then placed into an well-insulated outer pot--so the food can go on cooking for hours, with no further expenditure of energy.

                        I believe this product (Nissan vacuum-insulated thermos cookware) was introduced into the US only a few years ago and I am aware of very few people who use it, but it certainly gets my vote. A Candaian distributor advertises it at http://www.northdoorway.com/kitchen/nissan.htm

                        Direct solar cookers (parabolic or box) are ok if you can stay around and watch them. My yard doesn't get a full supply of sun for many hours each day so the only place for the direct solar cooker would be on my roof, and I don't think the neighbors are ready for that.
                        (The photocells I use look like roof material and don't call attention to themselves).

                        In the near future, I'll be trying to figure out (with the help of some engineering friends) whether a magnetic induction cooker (pro chefs love them) tied directly to the phototovoltaic electrical system would be the most efficient way to give the thermos pots that 5-minute kick-start they need each day. For now (shame on me) I use electricity from the grid. When I now longer have to cook off the grid, it's "goodbye grid" for me. At the other extreme, I have sworn never to use propane or any of that other "back to the woods" "blow up in your face" stuff, either. Give me solar all the way--solar electric and passive, the most peaceful and sophisticated energy source known.

                        The more I think about that garden you are starting, the more I believe it is a waste of energy to try to shovel down below the compacted level. I have started gardens on very compacted soil that florished after just three years. I began by spreading paper over the ground, and loaded on a mixture of soybean meal, kudzu meal (or just ripped up kudzu if you can't find the meal) and spread some compost over this. The soybean meal, kudzu, and compost were laid on to a depth of about 2 inches straight across.

                        Then I bombarded this dead mulch with the seeds for living mulch (cover crops). In the late spring I put oats, soybeans, and buckwheat. I planted about 5 pounds of each, taking care to innoculate the soybean. The cover crops came up all scraggly, wirely, pinched, crooked, and scrappy--but they came up. A few weeks later, I bombarded the same area again. More cover crops came up, not quite so scraggly, and a little taller, but nothing to brag about.

                        In the winter, I bombarded the ground with rye grass seeds, hariy vetch, and New Zealand white clover, about 5 pounds of each, with seeds falling everywhere you could imagine, thickly bunched together, They also came up looking irregular, crowded, pinched, unruly--but they came up. A few weeks later, I planted more of the same and they came up. thick in some places, thin in others, but taller all over.

                        Then I threw in all-season daikon seeds and some spinach and swiss chard seeds in very large amounts--multi-ounce size packets of each, randomly spaced but very close together. I randomly threw out other ground covers and carbon-mass plants such as mangel seeds and Japanese "barnyard" millet. I did this like a wild man, with no rhyme or reason, just flinging large amounts of such seeds to the ground. I also got many lemon grass seedlings, and lemon balm too, and planted them all over the garden, because they seem to me to be nearly universal companion plants. I planted leeks from the nursery in the same way.

                        Wherever the garden looked thin, I added rice hulls; whereever I could still see the soil, I added rice hulls as dead mulch and I threw more cover-crop seeds into it.

                        After three years of such wildings I could not find the hard compacted ground. I suppose it was still there, deep down below. But the plants I was growing actually came up out of the thickly matted organic matter on top that now formed the basis of my garden.

                        The trick is to use many, many, many seeds. Keep throwing them in, week after week. Some of them will come up as cover crops, die and make organic mulch.

                        I used no artificial or external fertilizer of any kind (other than the initial 2-inch layer of soybean meal, kudzu meal or kudzu and the one-time composting). When some horrid bugs came, I cheated a little by spraying with d-limolene citrus extract (from orange skins) and BT, but never used anything stronger. Certainly never used any roundup or other herbicide.

                        In the third year I planted winged bean, gai lon, cow peas, and tomatoes, and had a very nice crop of each.

                        This should work for you. Yes I paid a lot for pounds and pounds of seeds but I got an organic (and possibly some would want to call it a "natural" or "imitation natural") garden in exchange. Using this method, something should grow for you. I do not want to patent this "damn the torpedoes, drop millions of seeds" approach as "Bob Monie Gardening" or anything, and certainly this way lacks subtlety and elegance, but it gave me something to eat and the satisfaction of growing it in my own backyard--on compacted soil.

                        Generally speaking, if you can get some kind of mulch to grow, you can get some other kinds of seeds to grow in that mulch. That is one of the secrets to natural gardening, and it doesn't matter a whole lot what is underneath the mulch (so long as it isn't radioactive or poisonous).

                        Bob Monie--zone 8, southeast, Louisiana




                        Michiyo Shibuya <michiyos@...> wrote:
                        Hello Bob,

                        > Do you plan to "take lesssons" from Kawaguchi each month out on
                        > that rice paddy? I think if I were nearby I would.

                        Actually this place in West Tokyo is more than two hour drive from where I
                        live.
                        I will attend the autumn lecture/workshop when he comes,
                        but probably not the monthly course.


                        > The lapidary, stone by stone, approach appeals to me. That's the
                        > way I got into solar energy. First, just "plant" little LED
                        > garden-path lamps and run a junk solar radio, then start up a
                        > solar fountain, then light a couple of Solaris solar lanterns,
                        > then run the laptop and the blender on Uni-Solar Cells, then put
                        > in some solar attic fans, then put the aeroponic spray on solar,
                        > then the lights... and before you know it, the whole house is
                        > solar! You start looking at the house in a totally different
                        > way. The purpose, design, contour, alignment of the house
                        > suddently becomes to mesh with solar cycles, to "fit" in ways
                        > formerly unseen with the rhythms of nature.


                        I should start this in your way, too! Do you practice solar cooking, with
                        just some aluminum walls around a pan outside?
                        I heard it is sort of popular in the United States.

                        I cook many food in a ceramic pan with a gas for a very short period of
                        time(5 minutes
                        just till the pan gets hot) and then wrap the pan in a big towel, box and a
                        sheet.
                        It is kept warm for up to 8 hours. This is especially suitable for cooking
                        sweet potatoes, beans,
                        I think.

                        > Would it be an exaggeration to say that all the "natural farms"
                        > you have found so far in Japan are more Kawaguchian than Fukuokian?

                        You are right. I don't hear much stories about successful fukuokian farms.
                        Someone in the Japanese natural farming list is publishing a book on natural
                        farms this year,
                        (at least that's what he says),
                        I will report more when it is available.


                        Michiyo



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                      • Michiyo Shibuya
                        Hello Bob, Yes, you are so right about me wasting my energy in digging! Actually I figured out the first time you told me, but at the same time I was simply
                        Message 11 of 16 , Jul 21, 2003
                          Hello Bob,
                          Yes, you are so right about me wasting my energy in digging!
                          Actually I figured out the first time you told me, but at the same time
                          I was simply too tired to dig any more after moving trees from the place
                          where now we have a new house.
                          Still I dig with a pick whenever I have to move a tree.
                          In the beginning I tried to dig as big a circle as I could so that I could
                          plant other
                          plants, but now I am saving my energy by digging as small as possible.

                          The area is looking good as far as I can tell. I made a path around a plum
                          tree with white clovers.
                          I just sprinkled around 100g of seeds after removing big stones and covered
                          with 100 liters of
                          weeds from weedmen.
                          In less than a week they came out, presently still babies, but looking
                          strong and great.
                          We are still in the rain season(we only have several days left),
                          so I have to hurry up a little to do the rest of transplanting and
                          seeding work.
                          I am thinking about lawn for a walkway and possibly a parking area,
                          does anyone have experience and advice to share?

                          Your garden sounds like so rich in variety and nutrition, both for us and
                          for itself.
                          It must be so nice to live with such environment.

                          Even my small apartment is changing with some plants I seeded.
                          I like going home and be back to them.

                          We visited Otomo-san's garden today.
                          It is in its third year of natural farming, and it has changed quite a bit
                          in one year.
                          It looked totally different even though we sow in the same manner every
                          season!
                          Last year the whole field was covered with true grasses, so unless we cut
                          them down
                          we would not have been able to enter. The grass was so thick and looked so
                          strong,
                          and my first impression was "this is so wild, no wonder city people cannot
                          appreciate it."
                          But now, there were very little true grasses. The entire area was covered
                          with smaller plants
                          of variety--many are edible and some were unfamiliar weeds(I mean wild
                          plants).
                          It was peaceful and great. I heard some noise from a bird nest. I wonder
                          if they are pheasants from
                          last year. I didn't think there would be pheasants in Tokyo!

                          > Your method of cooking is sometimes called the "thermos" one and
                          > seems to have deep roots in Japanese history. It is, without
                          > question, one of the most energy-efficient methods known. The
                          > Nissan company has a modern version I use--an inner pot that is
                          > heated for a few minutes (with the food inside) and then placed
                          > into an well-insulated outer pot--so the food can go on cooking
                          > for hours, with no further expenditure of energy.
                          >

                          I didn't know the name thermos, or the Nissan product but I have some
                          friends
                          who have the similar product.
                          The housing industry is promoting Induction Heat for cooking indirectly
                          linked to the solar
                          system on top of the roof, but I personally think that Induction Heat have a
                          serious effect on human
                          health. I think we already have the statistics to prove its negative effect
                          on pregnant women and
                          the newborn babies. Microwave oven is bad enough but for the stove a person
                          will have to
                          attend to it from a much closer position. I have seen a caricature of a
                          housewife with 1 meter chopsticks
                          for safety.
                          It looks great and has other merits of course, but
                          I hope we can come up with better ideas for cooking.

                          But for your five minutes...I don't know...maybe a good possibility.
                          I also hear that food cooked with IH doesn't taste as good as gas-cooked
                          food.
                          I am not particularly a fan of gas, but I like charcoal and direct fire.

                          I am looking forward for your future report.

                          Michiyo
                        • Robert Monie
                          Michiyo, Can you tell us more about those 100 litres of weeds from the weedman? Are you planting wild greens in your garden? One long-term research project
                          Message 12 of 16 , Jul 21, 2003
                            Michiyo,

                            Can you tell us more about those "100 litres of weeds from the weedman?"

                            Are you planting wild greens in your garden?

                            One long-term research project of mine concerns the wild greens of the Mediterranean, especially those used in traditional dishes of Greece, Crete, and Italy and the question of whether they can be domesticated in my garden.

                            It is a curious botanical fact that virtually the same wild plants sometimes appear in different parts of the world under (of course) completely different local names. Hence the usefulness of knowing the Latin botanical terms.

                            Some of the Mediterranean greens are gathered from the wild in Greece and Crete and used to make fresh "hortas" and pies. It is not impossible that a few of these same greens might turn up in the wilds of Japan under different names! Here are a few of the many dozens of Mediterranean wild and semi-wild greens and other plants I have been studying:

                            Pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus or Amaranthus virilis) "Vleeta" in Greek.

                            Prickly Asparagus (Asparagus acutifolius, A. aphyllus) "Ovries"

                            Bitter chicory (Cichorium intybus) "Radhiki."

                            Spiny chicory (Cichorium spinosum) "Radhiki tis Thalasas."

                            Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) "Marantho."

                            Common mallow (Malva sylvestris) "Molocha."

                            Corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas) "Paparouna."

                            Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) "Andrakla."

                            White mustard (Sinapis alba) "Vrouves"

                            Dandelion (Taraxus officinale) "Agrioradhiki"

                            Tordylium (Tordylium apulum) "Kafkalitra."

                            Some of these have been studied by food chemists for their antioxidant properties and as natural plant sources for Omerga 3 oils.

                            If you spread out from Greece and Crete and consider the entire Mediterranean, the list of wild greens (and other wild plants) broadens out to include the following:

                            Zuchetto rampicante or squash tendrils (a culinary delicacy)

                            Bladder campion (Silene vulgaris)


                            Butcher's broom (Ruscus aculeatus)

                            Chickweed (Stellaria media) used in Italian minestras

                            Clematis, Wild (Clematis vitalba) "old man's beard"

                            Common Calamint (Calamintha nepeta)

                            Eryngo (Eryngium creticum) odd-looking furry leaves and stalks

                            Goat's beard (Tragopogon pratensis)

                            Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea)

                            Horsemint (Mentha longifolia)

                            Kengar (Gundelia tournefortii) root of thorny plant, used in Bulgar salad.

                            Madimak, Turkish (Polygonum cognatum) used in pilafs

                            Mallow, Khobbeiza (Malva sylvestris)

                            Molokiah/Jew's mallow (Corchorus olitorius)

                            Oxtongue (Picris echioides)

                            Pimpernel, Roman (Tordylium apulum)

                            Plantain, Buck's Horn (Plantago coronopus)

                            Poppy, Corn (Papaver rhoeas)

                            Salat Burnet (Sanguisorba minor)

                            Salisfy, Spanish (Scolymus hispanicus)

                            Scorzonera, French (Reichardia picorides)

                            Shepherd's Needle (Scandix pecten-veneris)

                            Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)

                            Sorrel (Rumex acetosella)

                            Sorrel, Sheep (Rumex acetosella)

                            Thistle, Common Sow (Sonchus oleraceus)

                            Thistle, Sow-Field (Sonchus arvensis)

                            I would eventually like to have all these in my garden. All these are good "weeds" that the Mediterranean peoples have gathered and eaten for centuries. A far cry from iceberg lettuce!

                            Let us know if any of your edible wild plants and weeds are these dressed up in a Japanese name.

                            References: "Making a Garden on a Greek Hillside" by Mary Jaqueline Trywhitt
                            "Mediterranean Grains and Greens" by Paula Wolfert
                            "In Vitro Antioxidant Activity of Non-Cultivated Vegetables"
                            Phyto Res. 2002 Aug 16 (5) 467-73.


                            Bob Monie, thinking of the Louisiana mud as if it were the Greek countryside

                            Michiyo Shibuya <michiyos@...> wrote:
                            Hello Bob,
                            Yes, you are so right about me wasting my energy in digging!
                            Actually I figured out the first time you told me, but at the same time
                            I was simply too tired to dig any more after moving trees from the place
                            where now we have a new house.
                            Still I dig with a pick whenever I have to move a tree.
                            In the beginning I tried to dig as big a circle as I could so that I could
                            plant other
                            plants, but now I am saving my energy by digging as small as possible.

                            The area is looking good as far as I can tell. I made a path around a plum
                            tree with white clovers.
                            I just sprinkled around 100g of seeds after removing big stones and covered
                            with 100 liters of
                            weeds from weedmen.
                            In less than a week they came out, presently still babies, but looking
                            strong and great.
                            We are still in the rain season(we only have several days left),
                            so I have to hurry up a little to do the rest of transplanting and
                            seeding work.
                            I am thinking about lawn for a walkway and possibly a parking area,
                            does anyone have experience and advice to share?

                            Your garden sounds like so rich in variety and nutrition, both for us and
                            for itself.
                            It must be so nice to live with such environment.

                            Even my small apartment is changing with some plants I seeded.
                            I like going home and be back to them.

                            We visited Otomo-san's garden today.
                            It is in its third year of natural farming, and it has changed quite a bit
                            in one year.
                            It looked totally different even though we sow in the same manner every
                            season!
                            Last year the whole field was covered with true grasses, so unless we cut
                            them down
                            we would not have been able to enter. The grass was so thick and looked so
                            strong,
                            and my first impression was "this is so wild, no wonder city people cannot
                            appreciate it."
                            But now, there were very little true grasses. The entire area was covered
                            with smaller plants
                            of variety--many are edible and some were unfamiliar weeds(I mean wild
                            plants).
                            It was peaceful and great. I heard some noise from a bird nest. I wonder
                            if they are pheasants from
                            last year. I didn't think there would be pheasants in Tokyo!

                            > Your method of cooking is sometimes called the "thermos" one and
                            > seems to have deep roots in Japanese history. It is, without
                            > question, one of the most energy-efficient methods known. The
                            > Nissan company has a modern version I use--an inner pot that is
                            > heated for a few minutes (with the food inside) and then placed
                            > into an well-insulated outer pot--so the food can go on cooking
                            > for hours, with no further expenditure of energy.
                            >

                            I didn't know the name thermos, or the Nissan product but I have some
                            friends
                            who have the similar product.
                            The housing industry is promoting Induction Heat for cooking indirectly
                            linked to the solar
                            system on top of the roof, but I personally think that Induction Heat have a
                            serious effect on human
                            health. I think we already have the statistics to prove its negative effect
                            on pregnant women and
                            the newborn babies. Microwave oven is bad enough but for the stove a person
                            will have to
                            attend to it from a much closer position. I have seen a caricature of a
                            housewife with 1 meter chopsticks
                            for safety.
                            It looks great and has other merits of course, but
                            I hope we can come up with better ideas for cooking.

                            But for your five minutes...I don't know...maybe a good possibility.
                            I also hear that food cooked with IH doesn't taste as good as gas-cooked
                            food.
                            I am not particularly a fan of gas, but I like charcoal and direct fire.

                            I am looking forward for your future report.

                            Michiyo


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                          • Beatrice Gilboa
                            ... - So true !!! ... - Thanks a lot Bob for this usfull list. I would need a photograph to be sure to recognize almost all of them. A pity! knowing I m living
                            Message 13 of 16 , Jul 22, 2003
                              >> Hence the usefulness of knowing the Latin botanical terms.

                              - So true !!!


                              >> Here are a few of the many dozens of Mediterranean wild and semi-wild greens and other plants I have been studying

                              - Thanks a lot Bob for this usfull list. I would need a photograph to be sure to recognize almost all of them. A pity! knowing I'm living around the mediterranean since 2 years now... Anyway I'll be able to ask people (who are capable of answering or showing me on the land) with this list in my pocket now! ... then collect the seed. A patient process is starting thanks to you

                              Best wishes,
                              Beatrice
                              Udim, Israel

                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Michiyo Shibuya
                              Hello Bob, ... I don t know if weedman was a correct word here, but my family always hire people to clear out of the weed of the entire territory. I have been
                              Message 14 of 16 , Jul 23, 2003
                                Hello Bob,
                                >
                                > Can you tell us more about those "100 liter of weeds from the weedman?"
                                >
                                > Are you planting wild greens in your garden?

                                I don't know if weedman was a correct word here, but my family always hire
                                people to clear out of the weed of the entire territory. I have been making
                                an effort to stop this but no success yet.
                                Usually they are a group of 5 men and weed out all of the plants from the
                                surface including
                                my herbs, vegetables and flowers. I walk around all day if I have time to
                                tell them
                                not to bother my plants, but again this year, they "cleaned up" my most
                                hopeful natural
                                garden when I was not watching.
                                They had 30 bags full of weeds they collected, and each bag is 40 liters.
                                When they left, I open them all and use it as a mulch, if I don't become
                                too sentimental about the living plants being killed, this works as a good
                                mulch!
                                I have a big success with clover on the compacted rocky soil with this thick
                                layer of living
                                mulch, and some weeds stays alive in the new home, so hopefully in a month
                                or so,
                                I will have the whole green area where it used to be the dead gray.
                                The weeds are of many different plants. I will add the list of my garden
                                weed when I find
                                out the English or Latin names. The majority is Houttuynia cordata Thunb.
                                and Equisetnm arvense L.(field horsetail),
                                they are essential leaves for tea and medicine for many macrobiotic fans,
                                but I think that they
                                are also telling me how acid the soil is.
                                We used to have a variety of wild plants in the territory but not for these
                                ten years because they get weeded before I notice.
                                It is really sad.

                                Yesterday when I was enjoying myself with the natural farmed cucumber, my
                                neighbor vigorously stepped in to the garden
                                with a smile
                                and gave it a chemical fertilizer right in front of me to show his kindness!
                                I had to dig the fertilizer out after he left but not completely of course.
                                I started wondering if all my plants grew on them own or fed by my
                                neighbors.

                                We really need a big change as the whole region or the whole country or
                                whole world!
                                If I could spend my mornings with neighboring natural farmers(at this point
                                there is none),
                                my days will be a lot more fulfilling, and of course, I will not have to buy
                                food any more.
                                I really can't wait for the day.

                                Thank you for sharing the list.
                                I have not had much time to go over the all the names with an encyclopedia,
                                but I will do so when I get back from the trip.
                                So far I am only finding two plants, fennel and common mallow in Japan,
                                but not in my garden(I am sure they grow well if I seed.)

                                Do you know that Earthwatch Institute(http://www.earthwatch.org/) dispatch
                                expenditure teams to Italy
                                for reproducing "medicinal plants of antiquity"? Is that relate to what you
                                are interested in?

                                I will leave tomorrow for Kyoto for Fukuoka's lecture and spend several
                                weeks
                                in Southern Japan.

                                Is anyone attending the lecture? Let's get together for a tea or coffee
                                afterwards.

                                I will post again next month.
                                Michiyo
                              • Sharon Gordon
                                Bob that looks like a wonderful list. Another one you might like is Samphire -Crithmum maritimum It sort of looks like a cross between flat leafed italian
                                Message 15 of 16 , Jul 29, 2003
                                  Bob that looks like a wonderful list. Another one you might like is

                                  Samphire -Crithmum maritimum

                                  It sort of looks like a cross between flat leafed italian parsley and
                                  asparagus with lovage or dill like flowers. Here are some photos
                                  http://perso.wanadoo.fr/erick.dronnet/crithmum_maritimum1.htm
                                  http://www.suppertonight.co.je/samphire.htm
                                  http://www.azorenflora.de/crithmum_maritimum.html

                                  To me it tastes sort of like salty celery.

                                  Here's what Plants for a Future Says about it:
                                  http://www.scs.leeds.ac.uk/cgi-bin/pfaf/arr_html?Crithmum+maritimum

                                  Here are a few recipes from around the net that give an idea of what
                                  different people do with it.

                                  Warm Salad of Samphire, Asparagus, and Crab
                                  http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/warmsaladofsamphirea_3290.shtml

                                  Shrimp and Samphire Risotto
                                  http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/shrimpandsamphireris_3208.shtml

                                  Pickled
                                  http://www.riverhouse.com.au/factsheets/rock_samphire.html

                                  Crab and Samphire Soup
                                  http://www.salthouse.org.uk/samphire.shtml

                                  Barbecued Sea Bass stuffed with fennel on a bed of Samphire
                                  http://www.freediver.net/freedivelist/recipes/fish/BarbecuedSeaBassonSaphire
                                  .html

                                  Samphire and Tempeh Salad
                                  http://www.manna-veg.com/archiveSTS.html

                                  Sharon
                                  gordonse@...
                                • Robert Monie
                                  Hi Sharon, Thanks for the addition of that strange rock-hugging yet sea-salting plant, the samphire. In her book Mediterranean Grains and Greens, Paula
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Jul 29, 2003
                                    Hi Sharon,


                                    Thanks for the addition of that strange rock-hugging yet sea-salting plant, the samphire. In her book "Mediterranean Grains and Greens," Paula Wolfert suggests that samphire and purslane, two succulent greens, go together to make a tasy, tart salad. She notes that along the Turkish and Aegean Mediterranean coasts "samphire is boiled and served with a taratour sauce" (including walnuts, cloves, bread, lemon, and olive oil).

                                    Samphire I don't expect to grow in my garden, since it seems to prefer "salt marshes" and sea coasts; instead I have only the oil- and chemical-refinery-polluted Mississippi about a mile away to offer. (But I can try).

                                    Another wildish green that could wind up in horta, Crete pies, Italian and my garden is Cavolo nero, a dark lacinate Tuscan kale.

                                    People of the Mediterranean are much in debt to the wild mallow and nettles for keeping them alive during hard times. But, Wolfert points out, in better times, these humble plants are shunned as mere "survival food" that brings back unwanted memories of war and near-starvation.

                                    Bob Monie, zone 8




                                    Sharon Gordon <gordonse@...> wrote:
                                    Bob that looks like a wonderful list. Another one you might like is

                                    Samphire -Crithmum maritimum

                                    It sort of looks like a cross between flat leafed italian parsley and
                                    asparagus with lovage or dill like flowers. Here are some photos
                                    http://perso.wanadoo.fr/erick.dronnet/crithmum_maritimum1.htm
                                    http://www.suppertonight.co.je/samphire.htm
                                    http://www.azorenflora.de/crithmum_maritimum.html

                                    To me it tastes sort of like salty celery.

                                    Here's what Plants for a Future Says about it:
                                    http://www.scs.leeds.ac.uk/cgi-bin/pfaf/arr_html?Crithmum+maritimum

                                    Here are a few recipes from around the net that give an idea of what
                                    different people do with it.

                                    Warm Salad of Samphire, Asparagus, and Crab
                                    http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/warmsaladofsamphirea_3290.shtml

                                    Shrimp and Samphire Risotto
                                    http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/shrimpandsamphireris_3208.shtml

                                    Pickled
                                    http://www.riverhouse.com.au/factsheets/rock_samphire.html

                                    Crab and Samphire Soup
                                    http://www.salthouse.org.uk/samphire.shtml

                                    Barbecued Sea Bass stuffed with fennel on a bed of Samphire
                                    http://www.freediver.net/freedivelist/recipes/fish/BarbecuedSeaBassonSaphire
                                    .html

                                    Samphire and Tempeh Salad
                                    http://www.manna-veg.com/archiveSTS.html

                                    Sharon
                                    gordonse@...



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