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Natural Farming in a Mediterranean climate

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  • diebrand
    Jean-Claude, Sorry, if I misunderstood your previous message or if I did not comment on each and every one of your remarks. Right now I m more concerned with
    Message 1 of 25 , Nov 30, 2005
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      Jean-Claude,

      Sorry, if I misunderstood your previous message or if I did not
      comment on each and every one of your remarks. Right now I'm more
      concerned with finding practical solutions rather than with the
      general idea of it.

      > … so you have lot means of learning about how nature does to
      revegetate the land after the fire bruned the bushes …

      What can be learned here is that the ashes from the fire favoured
      the growth of shrubs (genista, ulex europaeus, cistus, etc.), which
      prevented the trees (oaks, etc.) to grow again and which will
      invariably prepare the ground for the next wildfire in a few years
      time by providing plenty of combustible material.

      > … what is the life cycle of the arbutus ? how old are they? …

      I have no idea. Some are as wide as 10 to 15 meters and must be
      very old.

      > … you don't have to go all or nothing , between the arbutus and
      the oak there is possibly something else in the succession that will
      take over the arbutus and prepare the ground for the oak. …

      We have a mixed culture of arbutus and oaks. Both are ideal for
      this climate since they survive the drought in the summer and grow
      during the wet season. The problem starts when the arbutus isn't
      cut back for a long time because a property has been abandoned.
      Then it will take over and suppress all other vegetation. And I
      don't believe it will prepare the ground for anything but more
      arbutus.

      > … replacement of arbutus ( by the way the fruit are very tasty and
      would like to know if they can reproduce by cutting, …

      Sorry never tried to reproduce them. I have got too many as it is.
      Local farmers use the berries to make a bootlegged brandy, which
      isn't exactly my taste. We make preserves out of it (try
      quince/medronho preserve, one of my very own creations). The wood
      is very dense and ideal for heating.

      > … what about pomegrenate, figs and other mediteranean edible
      plants ( i bet figs thicket don't burn easelly .) …

      Oh, but they do. Except that it is far to dry for figs to
      flourish. Unlike the South of France were I have seen big fig trees
      with a lot of fruits even without irrigation, here they will only
      grow in the most favoured locations were they can get enough water.
      This climate really is very hard to understand for anyone who hasn't
      experience it at first hand.

      Dieter
    • partha biswas,9830511359
      dear dieter, May I know that,which place you are doing natural farming? Regards Partha biswas from India.. ... Partha Biswas, National Park, PO-Naihati,
      Message 2 of 25 , Nov 30, 2005
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        dear dieter,

        May I know that,which place you are doing natural
        farming?

        Regards
        Partha biswas from India..

        --- diebrand <diebrand@...> wrote:

        > Paola,
        >
        > Sorry about my late reply. I live in a remote
        > location without
        > phone line and only access the Internet once a week.
        >
        > Many thanks for your advice. I will try to contact
        > the people you
        > mentioned.
        >
        > > … I doubt I can be good enough at making very hot
        > compost to be
        > sure I get rid of the risks of carrying the disease
        > into the next
        > season (I'm a beginner anyway). …
        >
        > Most germs are killed off at about 55 deg. C. I
        > usually get there
        > in less than a week. It's not that difficult to do,
        > all you need is
        > a thermometer. I build rows 1.50 m wide by 1.50 m
        > tall and as long
        > as I like. If you have old compost to use with the
        > new material you
        > can usually get usable material within 3 to 6
        > months. And if you
        > mix dry material with green stuff you don't need to
        > worry about the
        > exact C/N ratio. At first I worried about using
        > infected materials,
        > but now I use everything organic except crab grass,
        > which I soak in
        > water for a while. Right now I'm trying to find a
        > way between `heap
        > composting' and the `surface composting' used in
        > Natural Farming,
        > since I'm not sure the latter is suitable for local
        > climatic
        > conditions.
        >
        > > … I guess that if we take the natural philosophy
        > too strictly, we
        > have to come to the conclusion of letting the fungal
        > diseases wipe
        > out the vegetables they feed on, and themselves as a
        > consequence,
        > after many years the environment here will be clean
        > of both, and
        > then better we go on with local species and forget
        > about tomato and
        > potato. …
        >
        > Most of the problems (fungus, pests, etc.) on our
        > property are
        > because the land has been abandoned for many years.
        > I think we
        > should not let ourselves be made paranoid by the
        > idea that 'all that
        > goes wrong in the garden' is our own fault. It is
        > more a matter of
        > learning by and by how to take care of the problems
        > in an
        > intelligent way.
        >
        > > … We are in the process of getting a national park
        > established
        > here, … if you have texts (you quoted press
        > articles) pointing out
        > to these situations, send them to me, because I'm in
        > the phase of
        > giving feedback to the federal government here on
        > the proposed law,
        > and overall project. …
        >
        > We don't get too many newspapers in our nook of the
        > woods. I was
        > referring to reports on the radio. If I can find
        > something on the
        > net I will let you know. Off the cuff, I remember
        > that wildfires in
        > the Serra da Arrabida (one of Portugal's more
        > prestigious national
        > parks) stayed in the headlines during much of the
        > Summer. I believe
        > the Serra da Estrela was also affected. Last year
        > the Monchique,
        > much of which is under protection, was destroyed by
        > wildfires.
        >
        > Regards, Dieter
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >


        Partha Biswas, National Park, PO-Naihati, Dt.-N.24 Pargs,743165,Ph.-9830511359





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      • diebrand
        Partha, I live in the Alentejo region in the South of Portugal. It would be more correct to say that I m still trying to do Natural Farming, but haven t found
        Message 3 of 25 , Dec 2, 2005
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          Partha,

          I live in the Alentejo region in the South of Portugal. It would be
          more correct to say that I'm still trying to do Natural Farming, but
          haven't found a way of adapting Fukuoka's method to the local
          climate yet.

          Dieter

          --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "partha biswas,9830511359"
          <kothae@y...> wrote:
          >
          > dear dieter,
          >
          > May I know that,which place you are doing natural
          > farming?
          >
          > Regards
          > Partha biswas from India..
        • My Boy
          hi, Just wanted to make a quick point about a post you made last month. Phytophthora is the potato blight, originally, the one which caused the Irish famine.
          Message 4 of 25 , Dec 18, 2005
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            hi,

            Just wanted to make a quick point about a post you
            made last month.

            Phytophthora is the potato blight, originally, the one
            which caused the
            Irish famine. And potato, like tomato, is NOT original
            from Europe.

            that is to say that the potato blight was not possible
            for the Irish famine.

            that's all.
            very interesting information and I agree with the
            points that you're making.
            I guess the only thing I might add to that is that, I
            think, it is almost impossible to treat diseases
            individually nothing all you can do is work are on
            developing your soil.
            Which basically means green manuring and mulching till
            you're blue in the face.

            All the best,
            Niels

            --- Paola Lucchesi <paola.lucchesi@...>
            wrote:


            ---------------------------------
            Dieter, perhaps you could try to contact Richard Wade,
            who has a
            permaculture centre in Spain.

            wade@...

            He's often in Italy, though, he's mentoring most of
            our Italian
            permaculturalists and teaching courses there, so
            insist if he doesn't answer
            at once. I might have his cellphone number too,
            somewhere, or I can ask
            common friends. There are also some web pages for
            their place (Permacultura
            Montsant) at http://www.permacultura-montsant.org/

            Richard and Ines should be able to give you specific
            advice on arid climates
            situations.

            And I've just remembered that Fortunato and Anna, who
            are among Emilia
            Hazelip's disciples, have worked in several projects
            in Spain. You can reach
            them at the address:

            kanbio@...


            I know what you mean about the difference between
            theory and practice, I am
            not getting very far with my tomato blight enquiries
            ;-) Also, specific
            local conditions are veeeery important. Originally, I
            am from a
            water-problematic region, not only for its
            Mediterrenean climate but also
            because of the carsic structure of the soil and
            underground, so I was
            sensitive to the water-conservation, e.g. keeping the
            soil moist, part of
            the story. But it backfired having moved to a very
            humid place. We are
            blessed by abundance of water here, a major river,
            plenty of streams and
            sources, frequent rains, overnight humudity... And a
            completely opposite set
            of problems: fungal disease above all. So I did
            mistakes like planting
            tomatoes too close, and found out too late that I
            didn't need to worry about
            dry soil, rather about infection spreading. I'm
            currently researching the
            question of spores surviving the winter and I'm
            desperate about all the
            biomass laying around (falling leaves), which is
            infected by all sorts of
            fungi and moulds. Some I can identify, of others I'm
            not sure, and I doubt I
            can be good enough at making very hot compost to be
            sure I get rid of the
            risks of carrying the disease into the next season
            (I'm a beginner anyway).

            Now, very probably something is out of balance here,
            in the sense that there
            should not be so much of this type of disease. I
            observe the difference
            between the wild and the "domesticated" plants, the
            wild being usually
            healthy close to the infected domesticated. But now,
            the wild plants have
            taken it up too, and this is quite worrying. I
            mentioned the broadleaf dock
            and dandelion, but even some stinging nettle has been
            involved! It's sort of
            scary. To say nothing of all the trees around. There
            are some beautiful
            apples and peer trees around the garden here (planted
            by my landlords years
            ago), and they are all sick, and scattering around
            masses of sick leaves.
            Hmmm, even if I wanted to do something about it,
            there's no question of
            spraying any helping preparations (we have planty of
            horsetail around, which
            could help) on those giants, too tall, too many
            branches... And we are in a
            context of small houses with gardens, all around, so
            spores can easily
            travel from one patch to the other, it's really a
            community issue.

            Phytophthora is the potato blight, originally, the one
            which caused the
            Irish famine. And potato, like tomato, is NOT original
            from Europe. So I
            guess the true root of the problem is that we are
            dealing with imported
            species which were never really meant for this
            climate, nor is the
            environment here "programmed" to deal with their
            pathologies and reestablish
            a balance by itself, so the original imbalance is many
            centuries old, but it
            becomes apparent now, when these cultures have spread
            to wide extensions.

            I guess that if we take the natural philosophy too
            strictly, we have to come
            to the conclusion of letting the fungal diseases wipe
            out the vegetables
            they feed on, and themselves as a consequence, after
            many years the
            environment here will be clean of both, and then
            better we go on with local
            species and forget about tomato and potato.

            OR we stay aware that we are forcing Mother Nature's
            hand a little bit and
            try to find some acceptable and workable compromise.

            We are in the process of getting a national park
            established here, and I
            understand Dieter's point perfectly and have similar
            worries for a series of
            areas which are actually inhabited (or were before the
            war - we are in
            Bosnia), so there has been agriculture and cattle
            breeding there for
            centuries. The guys who did the feasibility study seem
            to have been very
            superficial on that, didn't really explore the area
            thoroughly, which is a
            returnee's area with people slowly going back to their
            villages. There are
            ideas of a "zero area" (total protection, everything
            forbidden) to be
            established were it really shouldn't be, since it's
            not total wilderness but
            a mixed ecosystem, of which humans have been a part
            for a long time.

            So please, Dieter, if you have texts (you quoted press
            articles) pointing
            out to these situations, send them to me, because I'm
            in the phase of giving
            feedback to the federal government here on the
            proposed law, and overall
            project.

            paola



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