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intro and some philosophy

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  • Anders Skarlind
    Hi folks This is my first post to this list after lurking two years. I have a household garden and I am doing much seed growing of veggies. I also now and
    Message 1 of 15 , Aug 13, 2005
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      Hi folks
      This is my first post to this list after lurking two years. I have a
      household garden and I am doing much seed growing of veggies. I also now
      and then grow grains in my garden. I live in Sweden, at 59 deg north. I
      have tried to apply Fukuokas methods here but not been successful, and
      reverted to more traditional methods. However I prefer to leave friendly
      weeds when I weed and I use self-sowing of veggies sometimes. I till the
      soil when I think I need to. I have clay soil that need autumn digging to
      loosen it and improve winter freezing sometimes. Underlying problem is
      insufficient drainage, that make humus and nutrients leach and soil pack.
      With good drainage I would need to work the soil less. I am improving
      drainage gradually but outlet possibilities are poor and natural drainage
      almost nil.
      One basic fact is that almost all vegetables and grains we grow have
      developed far away from here, in warmer and also in most cases less humid
      climate. But our weeds are well adapted and easily outgrows the cultivated
      plants. What is really well adapted here is pasture and meadow and foraging
      animals. Pasture plants are more or less domestic here and animals are well
      adapted, especially if you keep landraces. I have no animals (except one
      cat) but my interest in keeping animals is growing.

      My impression of this list is that it is difficult to follow Fukuoka. Takes
      one local genius in every region to find methods in accordance with his
      philosophy and even when and if this is done it will be difficult. My
      impression is that the majority on this list are in reality followers of
      Ruth Stout more than Masanobu Fukuoka, as you emphasise heavy mulching to
      such a degree. I think it is more Fukuokan philosophy to use intelligent
      and fairly mild methods to direct the weeds into playing constructive roles
      in the garden, rather than choking them to death.

      However I think Fukuokas philosophy is a great contribution to us and it
      will continue to inspire and challenge. The implementations of it will pop
      up here and there. What impresses me most in Fukuokas philosophy is that it
      is so universal and holistic. The no-till aspect may have been
      overemphasised a bit. But low-till is coming more and more and this is very
      good, fore energy saving, soil, climate, mycorrhiza etc. If we reach
      no-till we will se. We have to be able to adapt and be practical and
      philosophical rather than ideological. Such is the way of Fukuoka.

      Cheers
      Anders Skarlind, Sweden
    • Gloria C. Baikauskas
      Welcome Anders! I think it is true that we are less Fukuokan than we would like to be in many cases. Adapting his philosophies isn t easy depending on the
      Message 2 of 15 , Aug 13, 2005
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        Welcome Anders!

        I think it is true that we are less Fukuokan than we would like to be
        in many cases. Adapting his philosophies isn't easy depending on the
        climate. He lives in an area where it is far easier I believe.

        And yet....no matter how much I experiment with different things I
        still think he is right in his teachings. The problem is to come to
        the same place he is within our climates. We find impediments and
        try to use methods that make fixing those problems easier just as you
        are doing.

        I suspect when we finally "get it" we will discover how easy it was
        all along. It is the journey we are travelling for now to find that
        point.

        Another thing that makes it more difficult is the climate changes and
        oddities going on at the moment because of <probably> both global
        warming and/or the magnetic pole reversal of the Earth. I don't know
        if we have ever really had "normal" climate in our lifetimes since
        the changes have been going on for far longer than we suspected.

        I am going to try growing cover crops again here. I have had
        problems with them because they, for the most part, won't grow in the
        warm months of the year here in NorthCentral Texas. The only one I
        have had any success with so far is hairy vetch...and it dies out in
        the summer's heat eventually.

        The one thing I do know is that plants here do better if they have
        access to at least part shade from trees, or shrubs. Plants,
        particularly veggie, do far better out near the driplines of my trees
        than in the open.

        I still think that over history man has made plants adapt to where we
        want them to grow....and that that is why there is so much disease
        and insect problems.

        Gloria, Texas

        --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Anders Skarlind
        <Anders.Skalman@t...> wrote:
        > Hi folks
        > This is my first post to this list after lurking two years. I have
        a
        > household garden and I am doing much seed growing of veggies. I
        also now
        > and then grow grains in my garden. I live in Sweden, at 59 deg
        north. I
        > have tried to apply Fukuokas methods here but not been successful,
        and
        > reverted to more traditional methods. However I prefer to leave
        friendly
        > weeds when I weed and I use self-sowing of veggies sometimes. I
        till the
        > soil when I think I need to. I have clay soil that need autumn
        digging to
        > loosen it and improve winter freezing sometimes. Underlying problem
        is
        > insufficient drainage, that make humus and nutrients leach and soil
        pack.
        > With good drainage I would need to work the soil less. I am
        improving
        > drainage gradually but outlet possibilities are poor and natural
        drainage
        > almost nil.
        > One basic fact is that almost all vegetables and grains we grow
        have
        > developed far away from here, in warmer and also in most cases less
        humid
        > climate. But our weeds are well adapted and easily outgrows the
        cultivated
        > plants. What is really well adapted here is pasture and meadow and
        foraging
        > animals. Pasture plants are more or less domestic here and animals
        are well
        > adapted, especially if you keep landraces. I have no animals
        (except one
        > cat) but my interest in keeping animals is growing.
        >
        > My impression of this list is that it is difficult to follow
        Fukuoka. Takes
        > one local genius in every region to find methods in accordance with
        his
        > philosophy and even when and if this is done it will be difficult.
        My
        > impression is that the majority on this list are in reality
        followers of
        > Ruth Stout more than Masanobu Fukuoka, as you emphasise heavy
        mulching to
        > such a degree. I think it is more Fukuokan philosophy to use
        intelligent
        > and fairly mild methods to direct the weeds into playing
        constructive roles
        > in the garden, rather than choking them to death.
        >
        > However I think Fukuokas philosophy is a great contribution to us
        and it
        > will continue to inspire and challenge. The implementations of it
        will pop
        > up here and there. What impresses me most in Fukuokas philosophy is
        that it
        > is so universal and holistic. The no-till aspect may have been
        > overemphasised a bit. But low-till is coming more and more and this
        is very
        > good, fore energy saving, soil, climate, mycorrhiza etc. If we
        reach
        > no-till we will se. We have to be able to adapt and be practical
        and
        > philosophical rather than ideological. Such is the way of Fukuoka.
        >
        > Cheers
        > Anders Skarlind, Sweden
      • Anders Skarlind
        Hello Gloria I don t think there is one single solution to get, how to apply Fukuokas methods where you live, or where I live. I think Fukuoka s methods for
        Message 3 of 15 , Aug 14, 2005
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          Hello Gloria

          I don't think there is one single solution to get, how to apply Fukuokas
          methods where you live, or where I live. I think Fukuoka's methods for
          southern Japan also seem rather sketchy, or fragrant or whatever. He has
          given some examples. It can be like this, or like that, kind of. He has an
          attitude, how to be in relation to the ever changing nature. This attitude
          can be achieved I think. By not trying to achieve it? -which is not very
          helpful. Maybe I think I am starting to get it myself. But I have not found
          any good no-till method for where I live. Rather I have given this up, but
          might revive parts of this dream later. It could be that when that part of
          natural world which is my growing system is thriving, because I do things
          right, and think/feel/communicate right, then I need to till less and less.

          Then of course we need good examples how this is worked out locally. And I
          don't very much think in terms of Fukuoka farming here. Maybe in Japan this
          is relevant but not where I live, because to little is developed here. But
          good ideas can come from many sources.


          One of my 'problems' is that I have too many trees and to much shade. Or
          rather that my veggies and apple trees think so. Conditions are different.

          In fact wild carrots, beets, celery grow in parts of Sweden. I forgot that,
          because they don't grow here. They grow in soil and climate more suitable
          for vegetable growing than what I have got here. Where evaporation is only
          slightly smaller than precipitation, while here it is much smaller, which
          makes nutrients leach and soil structure impede (at least on clay). Where
          there is more lime in the soil. Etc.
          But to grow adapted vegetable species here, I need to develop cultivars of
          ... for instance dandelion. There are cultivated leafy dandelions but I
          don't mind the leaves of the wild ones. I would like bigger and less bitter
          roots. But dandelions are difficult to breed because of their apomictical
          breeding. Seeds are formed without pollination-fertilisation. Just to name
          one example.
          Carrots grow well when they have developed a few proper leaves. Germination
          and early plant stages are difficult because they compete very poorly with
          the weeds. Just to name one example again.

          Good Wishes
          Anders


          At 18:28 2005-08-13, you wrote:
          >Welcome Anders!
          >
          >I think it is true that we are less Fukuokan than we would like to be
          >in many cases. Adapting his philosophies isn't easy depending on the
          >climate. He lives in an area where it is far easier I believe.
          >
          >And yet....no matter how much I experiment with different things I
          >still think he is right in his teachings. The problem is to come to
          >the same place he is within our climates. We find impediments and
          >try to use methods that make fixing those problems easier just as you
          >are doing.
          >
          >I suspect when we finally "get it" we will discover how easy it was
          >all along. It is the journey we are travelling for now to find that
          >point.
          >
          >Another thing that makes it more difficult is the climate changes and
          >oddities going on at the moment because of <probably> both global
          >warming and/or the magnetic pole reversal of the Earth. I don't know
          >if we have ever really had "normal" climate in our lifetimes since
          >the changes have been going on for far longer than we suspected.
          >
          >I am going to try growing cover crops again here. I have had
          >problems with them because they, for the most part, won't grow in the
          >warm months of the year here in NorthCentral Texas. The only one I
          >have had any success with so far is hairy vetch...and it dies out in
          >the summer's heat eventually.
          >
          >The one thing I do know is that plants here do better if they have
          >access to at least part shade from trees, or shrubs. Plants,
          >particularly veggie, do far better out near the driplines of my trees
          >than in the open.
          >
          >I still think that over history man has made plants adapt to where we
          >want them to grow....and that that is why there is so much disease
          >and insect problems.
          >
          >Gloria, Texas
        • Gloria C. Baikauskas
          Has the land you are growing on been tilled/farmed for many years? Gloria, Texas ... Fukuokas ... for ... He has ... has an ... attitude ... very ... not found
          Message 4 of 15 , Aug 14, 2005
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            Has the land you are growing on been tilled/farmed for many years?

            Gloria, Texas

            --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Anders Skarlind
            <Anders.Skalman@t...> wrote:
            > Hello Gloria
            >
            > I don't think there is one single solution to get, how to apply
            Fukuokas
            > methods where you live, or where I live. I think Fukuoka's methods
            for
            > southern Japan also seem rather sketchy, or fragrant or whatever.
            He has
            > given some examples. It can be like this, or like that, kind of. He
            has an
            > attitude, how to be in relation to the ever changing nature. This
            attitude
            > can be achieved I think. By not trying to achieve it? -which is not
            very
            > helpful. Maybe I think I am starting to get it myself. But I have
            not found
            > any good no-till method for where I live. Rather I have given this
            up, but
            > might revive parts of this dream later. It could be that when that
            part of
            > natural world which is my growing system is thriving, because I do
            things
            > right, and think/feel/communicate right, then I need to till less
            and less.
            >
            > Then of course we need good examples how this is worked out
            locally. And I
            > don't very much think in terms of Fukuoka farming here. Maybe in
            Japan this
            > is relevant but not where I live, because to little is developed
            here. But
            > good ideas can come from many sources.
            >
            >
            > One of my 'problems' is that I have too many trees and to much
            shade. Or
            > rather that my veggies and apple trees think so. Conditions are
            different.
            >
            > In fact wild carrots, beets, celery grow in parts of Sweden. I
            forgot that,
            > because they don't grow here. They grow in soil and climate more
            suitable
            > for vegetable growing than what I have got here. Where evaporation
            is only
            > slightly smaller than precipitation, while here it is much smaller,
            which
            > makes nutrients leach and soil structure impede (at least on clay).
            Where
            > there is more lime in the soil. Etc.
            > But to grow adapted vegetable species here, I need to develop
            cultivars of
            > ... for instance dandelion. There are cultivated leafy dandelions
            but I
            > don't mind the leaves of the wild ones. I would like bigger and
            less bitter
            > roots. But dandelions are difficult to breed because of their
            apomictical
            > breeding. Seeds are formed without pollination-fertilisation. Just
            to name
            > one example.
            > Carrots grow well when they have developed a few proper leaves.
            Germination
            > and early plant stages are difficult because they compete very
            poorly with
            > the weeds. Just to name one example again.
            >
            > Good Wishes
            > Anders
            >
            >
            > At 18:28 2005-08-13, you wrote:
            > >Welcome Anders!
            > >
            > >I think it is true that we are less Fukuokan than we would like to
            be
            > >in many cases. Adapting his philosophies isn't easy depending on
            the
            > >climate. He lives in an area where it is far easier I believe.
            > >
            > >And yet....no matter how much I experiment with different things I
            > >still think he is right in his teachings. The problem is to come
            to
            > >the same place he is within our climates. We find impediments and
            > >try to use methods that make fixing those problems easier just as
            you
            > >are doing.
            > >
            > >I suspect when we finally "get it" we will discover how easy it was
            > >all along. It is the journey we are travelling for now to find
            that
            > >point.
            > >
            > >Another thing that makes it more difficult is the climate changes
            and
            > >oddities going on at the moment because of <probably> both global
            > >warming and/or the magnetic pole reversal of the Earth. I don't
            know
            > >if we have ever really had "normal" climate in our lifetimes since
            > >the changes have been going on for far longer than we suspected.
            > >
            > >I am going to try growing cover crops again here. I have had
            > >problems with them because they, for the most part, won't grow in
            the
            > >warm months of the year here in NorthCentral Texas. The only one I
            > >have had any success with so far is hairy vetch...and it dies out
            in
            > >the summer's heat eventually.
            > >
            > >The one thing I do know is that plants here do better if they have
            > >access to at least part shade from trees, or shrubs. Plants,
            > >particularly veggie, do far better out near the driplines of my
            trees
            > >than in the open.
            > >
            > >I still think that over history man has made plants adapt to where
            we
            > >want them to grow....and that that is why there is so much disease
            > >and insect problems.
            > >
            > >Gloria, Texas
          • Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry
            The no-till aspect may have been ... no till is the sine qua non of natural farming . that is the absolute necessary condition to practice natural way of
            Message 5 of 15 , Aug 16, 2005
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              The no-till aspect may have been
              > overemphasised a bit.

              no till is the sine qua non of natural farming . that is the absolute
              necessary condition to practice natural way of farming .by tilling we
              create sooner ar later more problems to ourselves than we resolve .
              tilling effectivelly give a short term advantage that masks the long term
              consequences

              it is especially true in heavy water logged soils .
              today i walked thru the possibly future site of our ecovillage ( see
              www.islandseeds.org) . i went thru a marsh that is at this season dry enough
              to walk thru . the vegetation is dense of sedges , skunk cabbages and mana
              grass, cattails is also present sparselly . the soil is remarcably spongy
              and well aerated once the water recede.many trunc of trees are half buried
              .bushes grow on them contribuating to drain the soil with their roots etc...
              what makes it so, is the abondant biomass fabricated by marshes in general
              . In a garden situation the drastic reduction in 1- biomass and so humus ,2-
              the dispearance of the thick untangle of roots and worse 3- the possible
              mechanical intervention on the soil itself will unavoidably lead to a
              situation similar to what you seems to deal with.
              you did remarked that pastures will do well in your garden. it is not so
              much because they are made of wild plants but because of the 3 reasons
              exposed above grasses produce abondant biomass have thick untangle of roots
              and dead grasses and the soil is left alone .

              < My
              impression is that the majority on this list are in reality followers of
              Ruth Stout more than Masanobu Fukuoka, as you emphasise heavy mulching to
              such a degree>

              that is not the case here , i don't add mulch other than what is grown on
              the spot and cut back .and yes i am sad that our list is filling with
              deceived comment about natural farming
              jean-claude
            • Anders Skarlind
              Jean-Claude I have my vegetable patch on a wet meadow, not in a marsh. It is wet enough to create problems. The underlying problem is that it was and is my
              Message 6 of 15 , Aug 17, 2005
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                Jean-Claude
                I have my vegetable patch on a wet meadow, not in a marsh. It is wet enough
                to create problems. The underlying problem is that it was and is my best
                place to have my veggie patch in this place.
                I can agree with you that working the soil under these conditions easily
                gives problems. But the weeds compete strongly here. I have made attempts
                to garden with no and minimal working of the soil but not been successful.
                However the first few years after breaking the sod I was fairly successful,
                and weeds where not so strong.
                I think that I have two options. One is two rotate with long periods of
                grassland: 2-3 years vegetables, 3-5 years grassland, then veggies again.
                This takes heavy tilling to break the grass sod up every 5th-8th year. The
                alternative would be heavy mulching, but this creates an unhealthy
                environment because of poor drainage in the soil.
                I am doing this in parts now. I have let the greater part of this plot go
                back to ley now. I didn't till, just spread some ley plant seeds (grasses,
                clovers, etc). Now I will mowe it with scythe a few times per year till it
                improves. Hopefully one sign of this will be that the strongest weeds give
                in and it will be easy to break the soil up enough to sow vegetables and
                grains. I will see.
                The other option is fairly deep drainage, around one meter or preferably
                more, changing the conditions radically. I am on my way now. I have about
                0.5-0.8 meters drainage. Then I can build a more stable environment for
                veggies where I can probably weed and till less and less.
                So I am following both of these paths. You may say this is not natural
                farming -no problem with me. I learn from nature, not from ideology. If you
                have any constructive suggestions, I am interested.
                Anders


                At 08:53 2005-08-17, you wrote:

                > The no-till aspect may have been
                > > overemphasised a bit.
                >
                >no till is the sine qua non of natural farming . that is the absolute
                >necessary condition to practice natural way of farming .by tilling we
                >create sooner ar later more problems to ourselves than we resolve .
                >tilling effectivelly give a short term advantage that masks the long term
                >consequences
                >
                >it is especially true in heavy water logged soils .
                > today i walked thru the possibly future site of our ecovillage ( see
                >www.islandseeds.org) . i went thru a marsh that is at this season dry enough
                >to walk thru . the vegetation is dense of sedges , skunk cabbages and mana
                >grass, cattails is also present sparselly . the soil is remarcably spongy
                >and well aerated once the water recede.many trunc of trees are half buried
                >.bushes grow on them contribuating to drain the soil with their roots etc...
                >what makes it so, is the abondant biomass fabricated by marshes in general
                >. In a garden situation the drastic reduction in 1- biomass and so humus ,2-
                >the dispearance of the thick untangle of roots and worse 3- the possible
                >mechanical intervention on the soil itself will unavoidably lead to a
                >situation similar to what you seems to deal with.
                >you did remarked that pastures will do well in your garden. it is not so
                >much because they are made of wild plants but because of the 3 reasons
                >exposed above grasses produce abondant biomass have thick untangle of roots
                >and dead grasses and the soil is left alone .
                >
                >< My
                >impression is that the majority on this list are in reality followers of
                >Ruth Stout more than Masanobu Fukuoka, as you emphasise heavy mulching to
                >such a degree>
                >
                >that is not the case here , i don't add mulch other than what is grown on
                >the spot and cut back .and yes i am sad that our list is filling with
                >deceived comment about natural farming
                >jean-claude
              • Gloria C. Baikauskas
                I still don t see why you see the weeds as your enemies. Why must they be removed? I think you miss the point entirely of Natural Farming/Gardening. Gloria,
                Message 7 of 15 , Aug 17, 2005
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                  I still don't see why you see the weeds as your enemies. Why must they
                  be removed? I think you miss the point entirely of Natural
                  Farming/Gardening.

                  Gloria, Texas
                • Herman
                  One possibility in this situation may be permanent raised beds, made as high as necessary to gain an adequate depth of drained soil. Wider beds are
                  Message 8 of 15 , Aug 17, 2005
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                    One possibility in this situation may be permanent raised beds, made as
                    high as necessary to gain an adequate depth of drained soil. Wider beds
                    are advantageous in that they incrase the growing area, but width may be
                    restricted by drainage requirements. The paths or furrows between the
                    beds would then serve as drainage ditches. It would probably be
                    beneficial to plant the furrows and banks of the beds with a perennial
                    cover, such as clover and sod-forming grasses, to stabilize the soil,
                    improve drainage and provide organic matter. If there is compaction, an
                    initial deep ripping before forming the raised beds could be helpful.
                    Poor drainage often causes, and is caused by, a soil mineral balance
                    that is unfavorable to vegetable crops, so having a soil test done and
                    adding the appropriate amendments (such as gypsum) could be beneficial.

                    A ley rotation has the effect of improving soil structure, including
                    infiltration/drainage, mineral balance, etc, thus allowing a vegetable
                    crop to be grown where continuous vegetable production may be
                    impossible. It may however be preferrable to maintain at least some of
                    the sod continuously, for instance by tilling up strips to plant the
                    vegetables in. Tilling the soil when wet tends to destroy soil
                    structure, so it has to be timed right, which may be difficult in a
                    poorly drained soil. Excessive tillage, such as rototiling, should
                    probably be avoided altogether.

                    A natural farming system which includes vegetables under these
                    circumstances may not be possible unless the lay of the land itself is
                    modified by raised beds, grading, ditching and the like. Doing these
                    sorts of things is very much in line with the spirit of Fukuoka farming
                    - after all, rice paddies are hardly naturally occuring structures in
                    the mountains of Japan.


                    Herman



                    Anders Skarlind wrote:
                    > Jean-Claude
                    > I have my vegetable patch on a wet meadow, not in a marsh. It is wet enough
                    > to create problems. The underlying problem is that it was and is my best
                    > place to have my veggie patch in this place.
                    > I can agree with you that working the soil under these conditions easily
                    > gives problems. But the weeds compete strongly here. I have made attempts
                    > to garden with no and minimal working of the soil but not been successful.
                    > However the first few years after breaking the sod I was fairly successful,
                    > and weeds where not so strong.
                    > I think that I have two options. One is two rotate with long periods of
                    > grassland: 2-3 years vegetables, 3-5 years grassland, then veggies again.
                    > This takes heavy tilling to break the grass sod up every 5th-8th year. The
                    > alternative would be heavy mulching, but this creates an unhealthy
                    > environment because of poor drainage in the soil.
                    > I am doing this in parts now. I have let the greater part of this plot go
                    > back to ley now. I didn't till, just spread some ley plant seeds (grasses,
                    > clovers, etc). Now I will mowe it with scythe a few times per year till it
                    > improves. Hopefully one sign of this will be that the strongest weeds give
                    > in and it will be easy to break the soil up enough to sow vegetables and
                    > grains. I will see.
                    > The other option is fairly deep drainage, around one meter or preferably
                    > more, changing the conditions radically. I am on my way now. I have about
                    > 0.5-0.8 meters drainage. Then I can build a more stable environment for
                    > veggies where I can probably weed and till less and less.
                    > So I am following both of these paths. You may say this is not natural
                    > farming -no problem with me. I learn from nature, not from ideology. If you
                    > have any constructive suggestions, I am interested.
                    > Anders
                    >
                    >
                    > At 08:53 2005-08-17, you wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >> The no-till aspect may have been
                    >>
                    >>>overemphasised a bit.
                    >>
                    >>no till is the sine qua non of natural farming . that is the absolute
                    >>necessary condition to practice natural way of farming .by tilling we
                    >>create sooner ar later more problems to ourselves than we resolve .
                    >>tilling effectivelly give a short term advantage that masks the long term
                    >>consequences
                    >>
                    >>it is especially true in heavy water logged soils .
                    >> today i walked thru the possibly future site of our ecovillage ( see
                    >>www.islandseeds.org) . i went thru a marsh that is at this season dry enough
                    >>to walk thru . the vegetation is dense of sedges , skunk cabbages and mana
                    >>grass, cattails is also present sparselly . the soil is remarcably spongy
                    >>and well aerated once the water recede.many trunc of trees are half buried
                    >>.bushes grow on them contribuating to drain the soil with their roots etc...
                    >>what makes it so, is the abondant biomass fabricated by marshes in general
                    >>. In a garden situation the drastic reduction in 1- biomass and so humus ,2-
                    >>the dispearance of the thick untangle of roots and worse 3- the possible
                    >>mechanical intervention on the soil itself will unavoidably lead to a
                    >>situation similar to what you seems to deal with.
                    >>you did remarked that pastures will do well in your garden. it is not so
                    >>much because they are made of wild plants but because of the 3 reasons
                    >>exposed above grasses produce abondant biomass have thick untangle of roots
                    >>and dead grasses and the soil is left alone .
                    >>
                    >>< My
                    >>impression is that the majority on this list are in reality followers of
                    >>Ruth Stout more than Masanobu Fukuoka, as you emphasise heavy mulching to
                    >>such a degree>
                    >>
                    >>that is not the case here , i don't add mulch other than what is grown on
                    >>the spot and cut back .and yes i am sad that our list is filling with
                    >>deceived comment about natural farming
                    >>jean-claude
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                  • aefister
                    Hello Everyone, I just joined this group today. I live and fsrm in south central Kentucky, U.S. I was first exposed to Fukuoka s methods and philosophy in 1979
                    Message 9 of 15 , Aug 18, 2005
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                      Hello Everyone,

                      I just joined this group today. I live and fsrm in south central
                      Kentucky, U.S. I was first exposed to Fukuoka's methods and
                      philosophy in 1979 when I purchased "The One Straw Revolution." In
                      the 26 years that have passed I was married, raised two sons,
                      divorced, retired from a lucrative position as a corporate director
                      and have now returned to my native and childhood roots of playing in
                      the fields of a 33 acre farm.

                      When I came here I had every intention of growing food in a way that
                      would be vitually harmless to the land and ecosystems. I studied
                      permaculture, interned on an established organic farm for awhile,
                      studied the biointensive method and then ... I read Fukuoka again and
                      then again and many other publications related to his methods and
                      philosophy. I then realized his "Do Nothing" farming was what I
                      wanted to do. It made the most sense to me "holistically" ie. Natural
                      farming is not just a "technique," or an ideology, it is a living
                      path, a return to our authentic human origins.

                      In reading the string of messages from the past few days I have to
                      agree with you Gloria...weeds are not our enemies. They are our
                      teachers. If anything, I have learned that my old feelings of
                      intolerance, frustration and discrimination toward certain weeds are
                      a reflection of the degree of my disconnection with the nature of my
                      place, and/or the evidence of how polluted my mind and spirit have
                      become after many years of living in a confused, destructive and
                      greedy culture.

                      Somehow I think it is almost pointless to discuss specifics (problems
                      and solutions) with regard to what each of us may be doing if we are
                      farming naturally. Unless you are my neighbor and I could walk over
                      and get the feel of the nature you are in, I could no more understand
                      the path you are on with your garden than I could grow a palm tree in
                      the snow. However, I do think it is important to discuss what Nature
                      has taught us. The only mistakes I have made, occured from my
                      attempts to force Nature to do what i wanted her to do...I learned it
                      was not for me to control, I could only help if the land had been
                      damaged by misuse and even then, I found not much was required if I
                      had patience and trust.

                      Sorry for the length of this message, but I guess this is my intro
                      and a lttle philosopy.

                      It's a stormy day on the farm,

                      Drew
                    • Gloria C. Baikauskas
                      Great intro, Drew! Much more on topic to this methodology, too. Nice to have you among us. Gloria, Texas ... in ... that ... and ... Natural ... are ... my
                      Message 10 of 15 , Aug 18, 2005
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                        Great intro, Drew! Much more on topic to this methodology, too.
                        Nice to have you among us.

                        Gloria, Texas

                        --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "aefister" <aefister@j...>
                        wrote:
                        > Hello Everyone,
                        >
                        > I just joined this group today. I live and fsrm in south central
                        > Kentucky, U.S. I was first exposed to Fukuoka's methods and
                        > philosophy in 1979 when I purchased "The One Straw Revolution." In
                        > the 26 years that have passed I was married, raised two sons,
                        > divorced, retired from a lucrative position as a corporate director
                        > and have now returned to my native and childhood roots of playing
                        in
                        > the fields of a 33 acre farm.
                        >
                        > When I came here I had every intention of growing food in a way
                        that
                        > would be vitually harmless to the land and ecosystems. I studied
                        > permaculture, interned on an established organic farm for awhile,
                        > studied the biointensive method and then ... I read Fukuoka again
                        and
                        > then again and many other publications related to his methods and
                        > philosophy. I then realized his "Do Nothing" farming was what I
                        > wanted to do. It made the most sense to me "holistically" ie.
                        Natural
                        > farming is not just a "technique," or an ideology, it is a living
                        > path, a return to our authentic human origins.
                        >
                        > In reading the string of messages from the past few days I have to
                        > agree with you Gloria...weeds are not our enemies. They are our
                        > teachers. If anything, I have learned that my old feelings of
                        > intolerance, frustration and discrimination toward certain weeds
                        are
                        > a reflection of the degree of my disconnection with the nature of
                        my
                        > place, and/or the evidence of how polluted my mind and spirit have
                        > become after many years of living in a confused, destructive and
                        > greedy culture.
                        >
                        > Somehow I think it is almost pointless to discuss specifics
                        (problems
                        > and solutions) with regard to what each of us may be doing if we
                        are
                        > farming naturally. Unless you are my neighbor and I could walk over
                        > and get the feel of the nature you are in, I could no more
                        understand
                        > the path you are on with your garden than I could grow a palm tree
                        in
                        > the snow. However, I do think it is important to discuss what
                        Nature
                        > has taught us. The only mistakes I have made, occured from my
                        > attempts to force Nature to do what i wanted her to do...I learned
                        it
                        > was not for me to control, I could only help if the land had been
                        > damaged by misuse and even then, I found not much was required if I
                        > had patience and trust.
                        >
                        > Sorry for the length of this message, but I guess this is my intro
                        > and a lttle philosopy.
                        >
                        > It's a stormy day on the farm,
                        >
                        > Drew
                      • Andrew E Fister
                        Thanks Gloria, I m happy to have found the group. Drew, KY [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        Message 11 of 15 , Aug 18, 2005
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                          Thanks Gloria, I'm happy to have found the group.

                          Drew, KY

                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Anders Skarlind
                          Herman, I agree, and most of your thoughts are not new to me. Some comments: To make ditches deep enough (around 1 meter here where there is virtually no
                          Message 12 of 15 , Aug 19, 2005
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                            Herman,
                            I agree, and most of your thoughts are not new to me. Some comments:
                            To make ditches deep enough (around 1 meter here where there is virtually
                            no natural drainage) they must be some distance apart (around 10 meters on
                            clay soil). On the sides of the ditches I let grass and weeds grow. No need
                            to plant them here. Just mow them sometimes, a few times per year. The soil
                            between the ditches can be arranged in different ways. In my kitchen
                            garden, it forms loaves that are about 8 metersd wide and almost flat on
                            top. As the ditches take quite some part of the garden, about 20%, it is
                            tempting to cultivate all soil between ditches (with a minor strip of grass
                            close to the ditches, else it will not be stable). However beds, maybe
                            around 1 meter wide, with grass strips in between are certainly an
                            alternative that I consider. Raised beds can become too dry at dry spells
                            and I have limited watering facilities here, so I avoid that.
                            I especially liked what you wrote about keeping at least parts of sod,
                            timing and and way of working the soil, and the need to modify the lay of
                            the land -in the spirit of Fukuoka.

                            I will also tell a little more about my experiences with natural farming
                            here, to clarify things:
                            I and a friend of mine, Paul Teepen, have been inspired by Fukuoka since
                            some 25 years, and we have tried natural farming as good as we can, mostly
                            in the early 90's. We have had no success with no-till, and my conclusion
                            is that this must be modified, but may be achieved gradually, after
                            learning more. Paul had some success with a partial no-till or low-till
                            approach when he farmed a lighter soil with good natural drainage in a
                            slope. Then he moved to a situation similar to mine and then this approach
                            didn't work out for him. He has now returned to traditional tilling and
                            weeding. I know of noone who have succeeded with no-till natural farming in
                            the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Finland or Denmark). There are few
                            Ruth Stout type of growers who apply heavy mulch not produced on spot but
                            that doesn't count. I could do that too if I had better drainage but
                            consider it unsound and unnatural.

                            Finally, this is a cool climate where firn breaks down slowly. It can
                            easily stagnate in a half-decomposed state. In that situation tilling has
                            its good sides, to facilitate decomposition. How do you handle or prevent
                            that stagnating firn? I can give a few hints. Drainage is criticial. Wise
                            and sparse use of fire in early spring when ground is still frozen and
                            grass from last year is dry is possible. Trimming down grass in summer so
                            it can decompose before the cold season. The whole management of the land
                            is involved. But still, you easily find that you need some tilling.

                            Good Wishes
                            Anders


                            At 23:59 2005-08-17, you wrote:
                            >One possibility in this situation may be permanent raised beds, made as
                            >high as necessary to gain an adequate depth of drained soil. Wider beds
                            >are advantageous in that they incrase the growing area, but width may be
                            >restricted by drainage requirements. The paths or furrows between the
                            >beds would then serve as drainage ditches. It would probably be
                            >beneficial to plant the furrows and banks of the beds with a perennial
                            >cover, such as clover and sod-forming grasses, to stabilize the soil,
                            >improve drainage and provide organic matter. If there is compaction, an
                            >initial deep ripping before forming the raised beds could be helpful.
                            >Poor drainage often causes, and is caused by, a soil mineral balance
                            >that is unfavorable to vegetable crops, so having a soil test done and
                            >adding the appropriate amendments (such as gypsum) could be beneficial.
                            >
                            >A ley rotation has the effect of improving soil structure, including
                            >infiltration/drainage, mineral balance, etc, thus allowing a vegetable
                            >crop to be grown where continuous vegetable production may be
                            >impossible. It may however be preferrable to maintain at least some of
                            >the sod continuously, for instance by tilling up strips to plant the
                            >vegetables in. Tilling the soil when wet tends to destroy soil
                            >structure, so it has to be timed right, which may be difficult in a
                            >poorly drained soil. Excessive tillage, such as rototiling, should
                            >probably be avoided altogether.
                            >
                            >A natural farming system which includes vegetables under these
                            >circumstances may not be possible unless the lay of the land itself is
                            >modified by raised beds, grading, ditching and the like. Doing these
                            >sorts of things is very much in line with the spirit of Fukuoka farming
                            >- after all, rice paddies are hardly naturally occuring structures in
                            >the mountains of Japan.
                            >
                            >
                            >Herman
                          • Anders Skarlind
                            Where did I say that the weeds are my enemies Gloria? Are you chasing windmills like Don Quijote? Basically I like weeds, but they can create problems. Most of
                            Message 13 of 15 , Aug 19, 2005
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                              Where did I say that the weeds are my enemies Gloria? Are you chasing
                              windmills like Don Quijote?
                              Basically I like weeds, but they can create problems. Most of all they
                              often compete too strongly and must then at least be weakened. Fukuoka did
                              this too, by mulching. And sometimes they must be removed, at least in
                              parts and under my growing conditions, as far as I can see -sofar! But I
                              really try to find a system where I don't have to do remove weeds. I look
                              forward to constructive proposals to that end. (Also see my reply to Herman
                              where I detail some more on the difficulties to do no-till natural farming
                              here.)
                              Anders

                              At 23:22 2005-08-17, you wrote:
                              >I still don't see why you see the weeds as your enemies. Why must they
                              >be removed? I think you miss the point entirely of Natural
                              >Farming/Gardening.
                              >
                              >Gloria, Texas
                            • Anders Skarlind
                              Drew, I have some comments below. ... Agreed ... and not agreed. There is a pitfall in always discussing general principles. Where should they be applied? In
                              Message 14 of 15 , Aug 19, 2005
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                                Drew,
                                I have some comments below.

                                At 23:56 2005-08-18, you wrote:
                                >Hello Everyone,
                                >(snip)
                                >Somehow I think it is almost pointless to discuss specifics (problems
                                >and solutions) with regard to what each of us may be doing if we are
                                >farming naturally. Unless you are my neighbor and I could walk over
                                >and get the feel of the nature you are in, I could no more understand
                                >the path you are on with your garden than I could grow a palm tree in
                                >the snow.


                                Agreed ... and not agreed. There is a pitfall in always discussing general
                                principles. Where should they be applied? In "the general ecosystem"? Where
                                can you find it?
                                So in discussing what nature have taught us, we need to be specific too,
                                don't we?
                                But again you are rigt that there is a problem that we will often not
                                understand each others conditions well enough to really tell. A few people
                                on this list are so sure ... based on what? Certainly not knowledge of my
                                growing conditions, that's obvious to me.


                                >However, I do think it is important to discuss what Nature
                                >has taught us. The only mistakes I have made, occured from my
                                >attempts to force Nature to do what i wanted her to do...I learned it
                                >was not for me to control, I could only help if the land had been
                                >damaged by misuse and even then, I found not much was required if I
                                >had patience and trust.


                                If you have time, I would be interested to hear a few examples on this, to
                                make it more concrete.
                                Good Wishes
                                Anders



                                >Sorry for the length of this message, but I guess this is my intro
                                >and a lttle philosopy.
                                >
                                >It's a stormy day on the farm,
                                >
                                >Drew
                              • Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry
                                hello drew i very much enjoyed your intro, i have few questions for you. when you read masanobu in 79 , what effect ,did his message have on you ? how did
                                Message 15 of 15 , Aug 22, 2005
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                                  hello drew
                                  i very much enjoyed your intro, i have few questions for you.

                                  when you read masanobu in 79 , what effect ,did his message have on you ?
                                  how did you feel? did you integrate some of the principles in other aera of
                                  your life than farming ( i assume you didn't farm those last 26 years ).
                                  i have been disapointed my self by the focus given to technics and
                                  analytical thinking on this list latelly , and at the same time am enjoying
                                  very much when principles are aplied and demonstrated in a very concrete way
                                  .
                                  i will be curious to hear little more about your farm and its present
                                  condition and your intention with it .
                                  thank you
                                  jean-claude
                                  > Hello Everyone,
                                  >
                                  > I just joined this group today. I live and fsrm in south central
                                  > Kentucky, U.S. I was first exposed to Fukuoka's methods and
                                  > philosophy in 1979 when I purchased "The One Straw Revolution." In
                                  > the 26 years that have passed I was married, raised two sons,
                                  > divorced, retired from a lucrative position as a corporate director
                                  > and have now returned to my native and childhood roots of playing in
                                  > the fields of a 33 acre farm.
                                  >
                                  > When I came here I had every intention of growing food in a way that
                                  > would be vitually harmless to the land and ecosystems. I studied
                                  > permaculture, interned on an established organic farm for awhile,
                                  > studied the biointensive method and then ... I read Fukuoka again and
                                  > then again and many other publications related to his methods and
                                  > philosophy. I then realized his "Do Nothing" farming was what I
                                  > wanted to do. It made the most sense to me "holistically" ie. Natural
                                  > farming is not just a "technique," or an ideology, it is a living
                                  > path, a return to our authentic human origins.
                                  >
                                  > In reading the string of messages from the past few days I have to
                                  > agree with you Gloria...weeds are not our enemies. They are our
                                  > teachers. If anything, I have learned that my old feelings of
                                  > intolerance, frustration and discrimination toward certain weeds are
                                  > a reflection of the degree of my disconnection with the nature of my
                                  > place, and/or the evidence of how polluted my mind and spirit have
                                  > become after many years of living in a confused, destructive and
                                  > greedy culture.
                                  >
                                  > Somehow I think it is almost pointless to discuss specifics (problems
                                  > and solutions) with regard to what each of us may be doing if we are
                                  > farming naturally. Unless you are my neighbor and I could walk over
                                  > and get the feel of the nature you are in, I could no more understand
                                  > the path you are on with your garden than I could grow a palm tree in
                                  > the snow. However, I do think it is important to discuss what Nature
                                  > has taught us. The only mistakes I have made, occured from my
                                  > attempts to force Nature to do what i wanted her to do...I learned it
                                  > was not for me to control, I could only help if the land had been
                                  > damaged by misuse and even then, I found not much was required if I
                                  > had patience and trust.
                                  >
                                  > Sorry for the length of this message, but I guess this is my intro
                                  > and a lttle philosopy.
                                  >
                                  > It's a stormy day on the farm,
                                  >
                                  > Drew
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
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