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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: intro and some philosophy

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  • 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 1 of 15 , Aug 14, 2005
      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 2 of 15 , Aug 14, 2005
        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 3 of 15 , Aug 16, 2005
          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 4 of 15 , Aug 17, 2005
            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 5 of 15 , Aug 17, 2005
              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 6 of 15 , Aug 17, 2005
                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 7 of 15 , Aug 18, 2005
                  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 8 of 15 , Aug 18, 2005
                    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 9 of 15 , Aug 18, 2005
                      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 10 of 15 , Aug 19, 2005
                        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 11 of 15 , Aug 19, 2005
                          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 12 of 15 , Aug 19, 2005
                            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 13 of 15 , Aug 22, 2005
                              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
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
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                              > Yahoo! Groups Links
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