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Re: COVER CROP

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  • torskel87
    Hello everyone This is Miguel from Ecuador,I am very interested in letting my plants to reseed by themselfs, and now my doughts are how to let this occur
    Message 1 of 15 , May 10, 2006
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      Hello everyone
      This is Miguel from Ecuador,I am very interested in letting my
      plants to reseed by themselfs, and now my doughts are how to let
      this occur naturally, because here there are not harsh winters
      (there is not snow) and when the plants go to seed most of it will
      be eaten by birds,so might it be better to make seedballs.??
      Other question is how to do to obtain daikon seeds, I sow lots of
      Daikon in the winter, in some places I put a clover crop, in others
      not but I had the same results, I had a really good harvest, some
      daikons weighted more than 2 kl, I let some daikon and they went to
      seed, but close to them there were lots of mustard, wild radish, and
      other wild brassicas, most of the in flower and with lots bees,
      ladybugs,, pollinating them,so I thought that it was something
      completly natural, in this way new species will born, but I want to
      eat daikon not a mix of everything,how would be a way to get not
      mixed seed in a natural way .???
      Other thing that I´ve been wondering about is how to cultivate in
      hilly land in a natural way, I am starting my natural farm in a
      really hilly land, so I was thinking in making terraces, but to do
      them I will need to move a lot of soil,to make earthen banks,
      walls,and level the ground, might it be naturally to do this ???
      allthough I don´t see other way to controll erosion, and retain
      humidity, somebody has experience with this.???
      Any advice will be helpfull
      Thanks
      --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "poojyum" <poojyum@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > Hello Steve,
      >
      > Thank you for suggestions.
      >
      > > If you put your seedlings in a row, they are prone to all
      suffering
      > > from the same fate.
      >
      > I dont put seedlings in a row. I sow seed at random - here and
      there.
      >
      > >If you put your seedlings in an area with no other
      > > growing plants, they will be targeted by pests. If you plant
      just
      > >what
      > > you need, that's not sharing with nature.
      >
      > >
      > > If you put your seedlings in a mixed growing environment with
      other
      > > plants they are partially hidden. If you grow many more than you
      > >need there will be some left for you.
      >
      > My plot is full of so called 'weeds'. There was 1 area where I had
      dug
      > due to pressure from a fellow plot holder. I regret doing that. And
      > that area doesnt have too many plants. Unfortunately in that area
      my
      > seedlings are thriving!
      >
      > I'm not planting only what I need. I dont even count how many
      seeds I
      > sow. I sow a lot. For example I sowed probably 50 broadbeans seeds
      > here and there. Of them about 10 have come up and 3 are standing
      > today. The 3 are eaten up here and there. I am happy for the 3 yes
      but
      > it seems they are there only because they have not been found by
      the
      > 'pests' yet!
      >
      > >If you plant from seedballs they will
      > > be protected until they get started.
      >
      > With seedballs I have had very poor result. Probably its not the
      right
      > clay I dont know. I picked up clay from a molehill along the
      tracks I
      > cycle thru. It seemed soft, natural & local. I had 1 spinach, a
      couple
      > lettuce from seedballs.
      >
      > >If you plant into a standing crop
      > > and cut the crop after yours gets started they will take off
      from the
      > > increase in light and space. If you put the litter from that
      cut crop
      > > back over your plants as mulch they will be additionally
      protected.
      >
      > When I sow a seed, I cut back on the grasses/'weeds' a bit & sow.
      If I
      > was transplanting a seedling, I cut back and as you suggest put it
      > back as mulch to hide them and to save some moisture.
      >
      > >
      > > The trick is to plant the right plants at the right time
      following the
      > > right crop and cutting the overgrowth at the right time. Don't
      expect
      > > success every time and be prepared to have little success at
      first and
      > > more as you figure out what works for you. OK, this is hard
      when you
      > > have to wait a year between experiments and you are hoping to
      eat your
      > > plants after all that work.
      > >
      > > Fukuoka had a kitchen garden as well as the farming fields. I
      suspect
      > > he had the same problems.
      > >
      > > Steve
      >
      > Thank you for writing. I will keep experimenting.
      >
    • Niels Corfield
      ... * Seed Saving and varietal purity* A method for saving pure seeds from the Daikon is probably to grow a few of them in one place, doesn t matter where but
      Message 2 of 15 , Jun 9, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        torskel87 wrote:

        > Hello everyone
        > This is Miguel from Ecuador,I am very interested in letting my
        > plants to reseed by themselfs, and now my doughts are how to let
        > this occur naturally, because here there are not harsh winters
        > (there is not snow) and when the plants go to seed most of it will
        > be eaten by birds,so might it be better to make seedballs.??
        > Other question is how to do to obtain daikon seeds, I sow lots of
        > Daikon in the winter, in some places I put a clover crop, in others
        > not but I had the same results, I had a really good harvest, some
        > daikons weighted more than 2 kl, I let some daikon and they went to
        > seed, but close to them there were lots of mustard, wild radish, and
        > other wild brassicas, most of the in flower and with lots bees,
        > ladybugs,, pollinating them,so I thought that it was something
        > completly natural, in this way new species will born, but I want to
        > eat daikon not a mix of everything,how would be a way to get not
        > mixed seed in a natural way .???

        *"Seed Saving" and varietal purity*
        A method for saving pure seeds from the Daikon is probably to grow a few
        of them in one place, doesn't matter where but a few plants together
        with no other brassicas around them. Then you will need to net off these
        plants, and now the tricky bit. I will say at this point that I have not
        done this my self but have seen examples at The Heritage Seeds Library
        (HSL), UK and in a book from Kokkopelli.
        At the HSL they use dedicated pollinating insects which spend their
        whole lives inside small plastic tunnels, _all other insects are
        excluded_. This last point is key.
        This example however they buy insect eggs. So maybe not suitable for our
        needs.
        _HSL website:_
        http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/hsl/whos_who.php


        Another method is to hand-pollinate.
        Again you will need to net-off the radish from other brassica, though
        other plants are fine. Then at a time when the plants are in flower you
        can use a small paint brush to transfer pollen from one plant to another.
        At this point I will ask a question of the group.
        Are monoescious? By this I mean are there male and female flowers on the
        same plant? If this is the case then you can get away with transfering
        pollen from male to female flowers on _the same plant._ However I think
        it would probably better to do it from another plant. Not essential.
        Do remember _no insects can enter your net when you are hand-pollinating
        _or at any time during flowering. Net must remain _until seed is set.

        __
        _

        > Other thing that I´ve been wondering about is how to cultivate in
        > hilly land in a natural way, I am starting my natural farm in a
        > really hilly land, so I was thinking in making terraces, but to do
        > them I will need to move a lot of soil,to make earthen banks,
        > walls,and level the ground, might it be naturally to do this ???
        > allthough I don´t see other way to controll erosion, and retain
        > humidity, somebody has experience with this.???

        *Upland cultivation and Soil Erosion
        *First of all, I think that you should _not _make terraces. Again, I
        have no experience personally but it is clear they are extremely
        labour-intensive to build and will always need your attention.
        Secondly if you are sticking with Fukuoka's advice and not digging
        (tilling, cultivating or removing vegitative cover) you will not have a
        major soil "retention" issue. I use this term so that we can stay, in
        language, in the positive. We are "keeping soil"/"retaining soil" rather
        than preventing /soil erosion/.
        "doing" options include:
        -Swales: ditches laid, or dug "along
        contour" (across the slope). i.e. the opposite of down slope.
        -Contour hedges: dense vegetation planted at regular
        intervals along contour. e.g. Vetiver grass (non-invasive, infertile,
        lots of biomass) or Sweet clover.
        -Contour planting: trees or shrubs planted as above. Can
        be called "alley cropping".
        -Mulching/Cover crops: the use of vigorous cover crops to produce
        mulch (e.g. _Maize-mucuna_) or be a companion to your crops.

        _
        Links_
        Vetiver
        http://www.vetiver.com/TVN_greenEng.pdf (500KB download) Vetiver Hedge
        www.vetiver.com

        Alleycropping
        http://images.google.co.uk/images?svnum=10&hl=en&lr=&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-GB%3Aofficial_s&q=alleycropping&btnG=Search
        http://del.icio.us/entrailer/Alley-Cropping

        Maize-Mucuna
        http://del.icio.us/entrailer/Maize-Mucuna
        http://www.tropag-fieldtrip.cornell.edu/Thurston_TA/pslashmulch.html

        Agroforestry (Agrofloresta)
        http://www.fazendasaoluiz.com/agrofloresta.htm (Portuguese)
        *Contours: MArking and Measurement*
        It is very important to accurately survey the field to find out where
        the contours are.
        For this a number of simple tools can be constructed. They are standard
        permaculture tools: an "a-frame" is perhaps the simplest.
        It is not important where exactly your contours are measured from and
        to. Only that they _are the same height all the way along_.
        You can decide on the spacing for yourself, probably narrower than you
        might build a terrace.

        Anyone know any other good resrouces for swales and surveying?
        Particularly from the permaculture list.

        *Strips, Contours, Plants and Combining Them*
        Once you have marked your contours then you can decide what to do on
        them: swales, hedges, tree etc or combination of all of these at
        different intervals.
        It is no problem to have trees and hedge plants in the same contour
        "strip" and plant them into a swale.
        _Greening the Desert
        http://www.permaculture.org.au/_ (click on the image in the right hand
        side with the above title)
        _
        _You might have trees planted every other contour strip, so they shade
        the slope and the in-between swale/hedge.
        Like tree-hedge-tree-hedge. With each one having a swale in it as well.
        Or combinations there of.
        Perhaps put in a _small pond _every few swales, at different places
        along the length.

        There are so many variables. This is where it gets really exciting.
        But starting small, you could dig just one or two swales and plant them
        with fast growing cover crops like vetiver or sweet clover and just a
        few trees, or tree seeds, along the length. Then next winter take
        cuttings from the trees and start to spread them out along the contour.

        *Uses, Outputs and Produce and _Questions_*
        It would be useful to talk about what plants and seeds you have
        available and what is native in your local area.
        Upland production of trees will be for: fuel, fodder and food etc.
        And hedges will provide: mulch, fodder.
        _CLimate
        _What is your regional climate?
        Average rainfall? Do you have heavy rains? Then periods of drought? How
        frequent is rainfall?
        _Vegetation_
        What is the vegetation like on these slopes?
        Are there many trees already? What kind of cover exists? Seasonally and
        perrenially.
        _Condition of Land and Previous Uses_
        Is the land degraded? Has it been used for agriculture before?
        Has there been grazing? Will you wish to graze it? If yes: then will it
        be Seasonally, in rotation or permanent? And with what animals?
        _Trees and Fertility_
        What are your native nitrogen-fixing trees and shrubs? Is there seeds
        freely available? To buy or gather?
        These trees will provide the back-bone of any long-term productivity,
        especially in an upland situation.
        Some examples are: Inga, Leucana, Wattles. But natives or local species
        are better. And hopefully more available
        _Resources_
        How many people can you count on to work on your project?
        What is the usual minimum people you work with day-to-day? What tasks
        can you do that will contribute to the "upland project" when your large
        labour-force is not available, or needed?
        For example, it will be perfectly possible to do the contour marking
        with just 2 people.
        How much seeds can you get your hands on? How long will it take to
        gather/buy? How much space do I have for storage? Do you, or a
        neighbour, have experience with handling tree seeds or cuttings?



        *Some things to Remember*

        _Mulch = (fertile) soil_
        So you can never have enough of it. But remember you have to grow it in
        the field.

        _Marking Swales/Contours_
        Remember to mark your contours well. If you are not going to dig your
        swale/plant contour hedges on the same day.
        If the markers get blown away or eaten it is some time wasted.
        I will ask Geoff Lawton the question of how many and what spacing and
        placement is appropriate in the first phase.
        Though I should have thought one complete and planted-up swale half up
        the slope would be better than none.

        When you reply This mail will be passed on to other internation networks
        for further advice.

        All the best,
        Niels
        http://del.icio.us/entrailer
        http://nocompost.blogspot.com/
        http://www.flickr.com/photos/65387153@N00/



        > Any advice will be helpfull
        > Thanks
        > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "poojyum" <poojyum@...>
        > wrote:
        > >
        > > Hello Steve,
        > >
        > > Thank you for suggestions.
        > >
        > > > If you put your seedlings in a row, they are prone to all
        > suffering
        > > > from the same fate.
        > >
        > > I dont put seedlings in a row. I sow seed at random - here and
        > there.
        > >
        > > >If you put your seedlings in an area with no other
        > > > growing plants, they will be targeted by pests. If you plant
        > just
        > > >what
        > > > you need, that's not sharing with nature.
        > >
        > > >
        > > > If you put your seedlings in a mixed growing environment with
        > other
        > > > plants they are partially hidden. If you grow many more than you
        > > >need there will be some left for you.
        > >
        > > My plot is full of so called 'weeds'. There was 1 area where I had
        > dug
        > > due to pressure from a fellow plot holder. I regret doing that. And
        > > that area doesnt have too many plants. Unfortunately in that area
        > my
        > > seedlings are thriving!
        > >
        > > I'm not planting only what I need. I dont even count how many
        > seeds I
        > > sow. I sow a lot. For example I sowed probably 50 broadbeans seeds
        > > here and there. Of them about 10 have come up and 3 are standing
        > > today. The 3 are eaten up here and there. I am happy for the 3 yes
        > but
        > > it seems they are there only because they have not been found by
        > the
        > > 'pests' yet!
        > >
        > > >If you plant from seedballs they will
        > > > be protected until they get started.
        > >
        > > With seedballs I have had very poor result. Probably its not the
        > right
        > > clay I dont know. I picked up clay from a molehill along the
        > tracks I
        > > cycle thru. It seemed soft, natural & local. I had 1 spinach, a
        > couple
        > > lettuce from seedballs.
        > >
        > > >If you plant into a standing crop
        > > > and cut the crop after yours gets started they will take off
        > from the
        > > > increase in light and space. If you put the litter from that
        > cut crop
        > > > back over your plants as mulch they will be additionally
        > protected.
        > >
        > > When I sow a seed, I cut back on the grasses/'weeds' a bit & sow.
        > If I
        > > was transplanting a seedling, I cut back and as you suggest put it
        > > back as mulch to hide them and to save some moisture.
        > >
        > > >
        > > > The trick is to plant the right plants at the right time
        > following the
        > > > right crop and cutting the overgrowth at the right time. Don't
        > expect
        > > > success every time and be prepared to have little success at
        > first and
        > > > more as you figure out what works for you. OK, this is hard
        > when you
        > > > have to wait a year between experiments and you are hoping to
        > eat your
        > > > plants after all that work.
        > > >
        > > > Fukuoka had a kitchen garden as well as the farming fields. I
        > suspect
        > > > he had the same problems.
        > > >
        > > > Steve
        > >
        > > Thank you for writing. I will keep experimenting.
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > SPONSORED LINKS
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        > <http://groups.yahoo.com/gads?t=ms&k=Organic+vegetable+gardening&w1=Organic+gardening&w2=Organic+gardening+pest+control&w3=Organic+gardening+supply&w4=Organic+vegetable+gardening&w5=Organic+seed&w6=Masanobu+fukuoka&c=6&s=162&.sig=qzydEBxdFvveJXr9hAbldw>
        > Organic seed
        > <http://groups.yahoo.com/gads?t=ms&k=Organic+seed&w1=Organic+gardening&w2=Organic+gardening+pest+control&w3=Organic+gardening+supply&w4=Organic+vegetable+gardening&w5=Organic+seed&w6=Masanobu+fukuoka&c=6&s=162&.sig=D_Tbyi65sWutvj-7sWT97A>
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      • Niels Corfield
        Hi Torskel, See if any of this info helps. All the best, Niels http://del.icio.us/entrailer http://nocompost.blogspot.com/
        Message 3 of 15 , Jun 13, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          Hi Torskel,

          See if any of this info helps.

          All the best,
          Niels
          http://del.icio.us/entrailer
          http://nocompost.blogspot.com/
          http://www.flickr.com/photos/65387153@N00/



          torskel87 wrote:

          > Hello everyone
          > This is Miguel from Ecuador,I am very interested in letting my
          > plants to reseed by themselfs, and now my doughts are how to let
          > this occur naturally, because here there are not harsh winters
          > (there is not snow) and when the plants go to seed most of it will
          > be eaten by birds,so might it be better to make seedballs.??
          > Other question is how to do to obtain daikon seeds, I sow lots of
          > Daikon in the winter, in some places I put a clover crop, in others
          > not but I had the same results, I had a really good harvest, some
          > daikons weighted more than 2 kl, I let some daikon and they went to
          > seed, but close to them there were lots of mustard, wild radish, and
          > other wild brassicas, most of the in flower and with lots bees,
          > ladybugs,, pollinating them,so I thought that it was something
          > completly natural, in this way new species will born, but I want to
          > eat daikon not a mix of everything,how would be a way to get not
          > mixed seed in a natural way .???

          *"Seed Saving" and varietal purity*
          A method for saving pure seeds from the Daikon is probably to grow a few
          of them in one place, doesn't matter where but a few plants together
          with no other brassicas around them. Then you will need to net off these
          plants, and now the tricky bit. I will say at this point that I have not
          done this my self but have seen examples at The Heritage Seeds Library
          (HSL), UK and in a book from Kokkopelli.
          At the HSL they use dedicated pollinating insects which spend their
          whole lives inside small plastic tunnels, _all other insects are
          excluded_. This last point is key.
          This example however they buy insect eggs. So maybe not suitable for our
          needs.
          _HSL website:_
          http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/hsl/whos_who.php
          Another method is to hand-pollinate.
          Again you will need to net-off the radish from other brassica, though
          other plants are fine. Then at a time when the plants are in flower you
          can use a small paint brush to transfer pollen from one plant to another.
          At this point I will ask a question of the group.
          Are monoescious? By this I mean are there male and female flowers on the
          same plant? If this is the case then you can get away with transferring
          pollen from male to female flowers on _the same plant._ However I think
          it would probably better to do it from another plant. Not essential.
          Do remember _no insects can enter your net when you are hand-pollinating
          _or at any time during flowering. Net must remain _until seed is set.


          _Or you could just have a garden bed near the house specifically for
          seed saving, then just add these seeds to seed balls for next season.
          _
          _

          > Other thing that I´ve been wondering about is how to cultivate in
          > hilly land in a natural way, I am starting my natural farm in a
          > really hilly land, so I was thinking in making terraces, but to do
          > them I will need to move a lot of soil,to make earthen banks,
          > walls,and level the ground, might it be naturally to do this ???
          > allthough I don´t see other way to controll erosion, and retain
          > humidity, somebody has experience with this.???

          *Upland cultivation and Soil Erosion
          *First of all, I think that you should _not _make terraces. Again, I
          have no experience personally but it is clear they are extremely
          labour-intensive to build and will always need your attention.
          Secondly if you are sticking with Fukuoka's advice and not digging
          (tilling, cultivating or removing vegetative cover) you will not have a
          major soil "retention" issue. I use this term so that we can stay, in
          language, in the positive. We are "keeping soil"/"retaining soil" rather
          than preventing /soil erosion/.
          "doing" options include:
          -Swales: ditches laid, or dug "along
          contour" (across the slope). i.e. the opposite of down slope.
          -Contour hedges: dense vegetation planted at regular
          intervals along contour. e.g. Vetiver grass (non-invasive, infertile,
          lots of biomass) or Sweet clover.
          -Contour planting: trees or shrubs planted as above. Can
          be called "alley cropping".
          -Mulching/Cover crops: the use of vigorous cover crops to produce
          mulch (e.g. _Maize-mucuna_) or be a companion to your crops.

          _
          Links_
          Vetiver
          http://www.vetiver.com/TVN_greenEng.pdf (500KB download) Vetiver Hedge
          www.vetiver.com

          Alleycropping
          http://images.google.co.uk/images?svnum=10&hl=en&lr=&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-GB%3Aofficial_s&q=alleycropping&btnG=Search
          http://del.icio.us/entrailer/Alley-Cropping

          Maize-Mucuna
          http://del.icio.us/entrailer/Maize-Mucuna
          http://www.tropag-fieldtrip.cornell.edu/Thurston_TA/pslashmulch.html

          Agroforestry (Agrofloresta)
          http://www.fazendasaoluiz.com/agrofloresta.htm (Portuguese)
          *Contours: MArking and Measurement*
          It is very important to accurately survey the field to find out where
          the contours are.
          For this a number of simple tools can be constructed. They are standard
          permaculture tools: an "a-frame" is perhaps the simplest.
          It is not important where exactly your contours are measured from and
          to. Only that they _are the same height all the way along_.
          You can decide on the spacing for yourself, probably narrower than you
          might build a terrace.

          Anyone know any other good resources for swales and surveying?
          Particularly from the permaculture list.

          *Strips, Contours, Plants and Combining Them*
          Once you have marked your contours then you can decide what to do on
          them: swales, hedges, tree etc or combination of all of these at
          different intervals.
          It is no problem to have trees and hedge plants in the same contour
          "strip" and plant them into a swale.
          _Greening the Desert
          http://www.permaculture.org.au/_ (click on the image in the right hand
          side with the above title)
          _
          _You might have trees planted every other contour strip, so they shade
          the slope and the in-between swale/hedge.
          Like tree-hedge-tree-hedge. With each one having a swale in it as well.
          Or combinations there of.
          Perhaps put in a _small pond _every few swales, at different places
          along the length.

          There are so many variables. This is where it gets really exciting.
          But starting small, you could dig just one or two swales and plant them
          with fast growing cover crops like vetiver or sweet clover and just a
          few trees, or tree seeds, along the length. Then next winter take
          cuttings from the trees and start to spread them out along the contour.

          *Uses, Outputs and Produce and _Questions_*
          It would be useful to talk about what plants and seeds you have
          available and what is native in your local area.
          Upland production of trees will be for: fuel, fodder and food etc.
          And hedges will provide: mulch, fodder.
          _Climate
          _What is your regional climate?
          Average rainfall? Do you have heavy rains? Then periods of drought? How
          frequent is rainfall?
          _Vegetation_
          What is the vegetation like on these slopes?
          Are there many trees already? What kind of cover exists? Seasonally and
          perrenially.
          _Condition of Land and Previous Uses_
          Is the land degraded? Has it been used for agriculture before?
          Has there been grazing? Will you wish to graze it? If yes: then will it
          be Seasonally, in rotation or permanent? And with what animals?
          _Trees and Fertility_
          What are your native nitrogen-fixing trees and shrubs? Is there seeds
          freely available? To buy or gather?
          These trees will provide the back-bone of any long-term productivity,
          especially in an upland situation.
          Some examples are: Inga, Leucana, Wattles. But natives or local species
          are better. And hopefully more available
          _Resources_
          How many people can you count on to work on your project?
          What is the usual minimum people you work with day-to-day? What tasks
          can you do that will contribute to the "upland project" when your large
          labour-force is not available, or needed?
          For example, it will be perfectly possible to do the contour marking
          with just 2 people.
          How much seeds can you get your hands on? How long will it take to
          gather/buy? How much space do I have for storage? Do you, or a
          neighbour, have experience with handling tree seeds or cuttings?



          *Some things to Remember*

          _Mulch = (fertile) soil_
          So you can never have enough of it. But remember you have to grow it in
          the field.

          _Marking Swales/Contours_
          Remember to mark your contours well. If you are not going to dig your
          swale/plant contour hedges on the same day.
          If the markers get blown away or eaten it is some time wasted.
          I will ask Geoff Lawton the question of how many and what spacing and
          placement is appropriate in the first phase.
          Though I should have thought one complete and planted-up swale half up
          the slope would be better than none.

          When you reply This mail will be passed on to other internation networks
          for further advice.

          All the best,
          Niels
          http://del.icio.us/entrailer
          http://nocompost.blogspot.com/
          http://www.flickr.com/photos/65387153@N00/



          > Any advice will be helpfull
          > Thanks
          > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "poojyum" <poojyum@...>
          > wrote:
          > >
          > > Hello Steve,
          > >
          > > Thank you for suggestions.
          > >
          > > > If you put your seedlings in a row, they are prone to all
          > suffering
          > > > from the same fate.
          > >
          > > I dont put seedlings in a row. I sow seed at random - here and
          > there.
          > >
          > > >If you put your seedlings in an area with no other
          > > > growing plants, they will be targeted by pests. If you plant
          > just
          > > >what
          > > > you need, that's not sharing with nature.
          > >
          > > >
          > > > If you put your seedlings in a mixed growing environment with
          > other
          > > > plants they are partially hidden. If you grow many more than you
          > > >need there will be some left for you.
          > >
          > > My plot is full of so called 'weeds'. There was 1 area where I had
          > dug
          > > due to pressure from a fellow plot holder. I regret doing that. And
          > > that area doesnt have too many plants. Unfortunately in that area
          > my
          > > seedlings are thriving!
          > >
          > > I'm not planting only what I need. I dont even count how many
          > seeds I
          > > sow. I sow a lot. For example I sowed probably 50 broadbeans seeds
          > > here and there. Of them about 10 have come up and 3 are standing
          > > today. The 3 are eaten up here and there. I am happy for the 3 yes
          > but
          > > it seems they are there only because they have not been found by
          > the
          > > 'pests' yet!
          > >
          > > >If you plant from seedballs they will
          > > > be protected until they get started.
          > >
          > > With seedballs I have had very poor result. Probably its not the
          > right
          > > clay I dont know. I picked up clay from a molehill along the
          > tracks I
          > > cycle thru. It seemed soft, natural & local. I had 1 spinach, a
          > couple
          > > lettuce from seedballs.
          > >
          > > >If you plant into a standing crop
          > > > and cut the crop after yours gets started they will take off
          > from the
          > > > increase in light and space. If you put the litter from that
          > cut crop
          > > > back over your plants as mulch they will be additionally
          > protected.
          > >
          > > When I sow a seed, I cut back on the grasses/'weeds' a bit & sow.
          > If I
          > > was transplanting a seedling, I cut back and as you suggest put it
          > > back as mulch to hide them and to save some moisture.
          > >
          > > >
          > > > The trick is to plant the right plants at the right time
          > following the
          > > > right crop and cutting the overgrowth at the right time. Don't
          > expect
          > > > success every time and be prepared to have little success at
          > first and
          > > > more as you figure out what works for you. OK, this is hard
          > when you
          > > > have to wait a year between experiments and you are hoping to
          > eat your
          > > > plants after all that work.
          > > >
          > > > Fukuoka had a kitchen garden as well as the farming fields. I
          > suspect
          > > > he had the same problems.
          > > >
          > > > Steve
          > >
          > > Thank you for writing. I will keep experimenting.
          > >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > SPONSORED LINKS
          > Organic gardening
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        • torskel87
          Hi Niels thanks for your advice. A simple method that I´ve find to get pure daikon seed, it´s sowing daikon after the blooming of the wild radishes and
          Message 4 of 15 , Jul 3, 2006
          • 0 Attachment
            Hi Niels
            thanks for your advice.
            A simple method that I´ve find to get pure daikon seed, it´s sowing
            daikon after the blooming of the wild radishes and brassicas.So when
            daikon blooms it will be pollinated only by other daikon .

            In relation to the terraces I think that as you said, it´s to much
            labor, and the first years the soil of the place where the terraces
            were builded gets very poor and won´t produce a good harvest because
            the intensive movement of soil from one place to other.
            So the option might be build terraces of slow formation with
            vegetation at the contours, the problem with this is that until you
            get a terrace, is very difficult to have crops in that place because
            the inclination of the land and the poor absortion of water unables
            good yields.The advantage of making a terrace with an earthen wall is
            the possibility of sowing that place inmediatly, but I will have to
            use compost to improve soil, what represents to much labor.

            So I will try both ways and see wich works better.
            The conditions of the place are:
            Very high in altitude 9200 ft, very humid and cloudy, the surruondings
            are cloud forest and highlands. The land has never been used for
            agriculture, just for grazing, it used to be forest, but was cleared
            40 years ago, the soil is really good, 180 cm of top soil.There are
            periods of heavy rain fall, and periods of drought(6 months of rain, 6
            months of drought)

            The seed is not difficult to find, there are lots of seed in the
            surrounding forest.The forest in this slopes is very dense, humid, and
            by the afternoons it gets full of fog.

            There are many native species that are nitrogen fixing, and other
            species that help to water retention.

            What I Would like to know is how to make contours, do you make them
            following the level curves, using a level.With what spacing do you
            plant in the contours???? Do you plant trees also? Don´t the trees
            create to much shade for the plants???What spacing do you use between
            contours???

            In ralation to the grazing I think that I will have some llamas
            because they don´t damage the land as cattle, sheep and goats.As I am
            in the middle of the Andes, llamas also are the only efficient animals
            at this altitude, they can provide wool, excellent manure, and they
            help to regenarate dgradeted lands.

            All your advice will be helpfull
            Thanks
            Miguel

            > torskel87 wrote:
            >
            > > Hello everyone
            > > This is Miguel from Ecuador,I am very interested in letting my
            > > plants to reseed by themselfs, and now my doughts are how to let
            > > this occur naturally, because here there are not harsh winters
            > > (there is not snow) and when the plants go to seed most of it will
            > > be eaten by birds,so might it be better to make seedballs.??
            > > Other question is how to do to obtain daikon seeds, I sow lots of
            > > Daikon in the winter, in some places I put a clover crop, in others
            > > not but I had the same results, I had a really good harvest, some
            > > daikons weighted more than 2 kl, I let some daikon and they went to
            > > seed, but close to them there were lots of mustard, wild radish, and
            > > other wild brassicas, most of the in flower and with lots bees,
            > > ladybugs,, pollinating them,so I thought that it was something
            > > completly natural, in this way new species will born, but I want to
            > > eat daikon not a mix of everything,how would be a way to get not
            > > mixed seed in a natural way .???
            >
            > *"Seed Saving" and varietal purity*
            > A method for saving pure seeds from the Daikon is probably to grow a
            few
            > of them in one place, doesn't matter where but a few plants together
            > with no other brassicas around them. Then you will need to net off
            these
            > plants, and now the tricky bit. I will say at this point that I have
            not
            > done this my self but have seen examples at The Heritage Seeds Library
            > (HSL), UK and in a book from Kokkopelli.
            > At the HSL they use dedicated pollinating insects which spend their
            > whole lives inside small plastic tunnels, _all other insects are
            > excluded_. This last point is key.
            > This example however they buy insect eggs. So maybe not suitable for
            our
            > needs.
            > _HSL website:_
            > http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/hsl/whos_who.php
            >
            >
            > Another method is to hand-pollinate.
            > Again you will need to net-off the radish from other brassica, though
            > other plants are fine. Then at a time when the plants are in flower you
            > can use a small paint brush to transfer pollen from one plant to
            another.
            > At this point I will ask a question of the group.
            > Are monoescious? By this I mean are there male and female flowers on
            the
            > same plant? If this is the case then you can get away with transfering
            > pollen from male to female flowers on _the same plant._ However I think
            > it would probably better to do it from another plant. Not essential.
            > Do remember _no insects can enter your net when you are
            hand-pollinating
            > _or at any time during flowering. Net must remain _until seed is set.
            >
            > __
            > _
            >
            > > Other thing that I´ve been wondering about is how to cultivate in
            > > hilly land in a natural way, I am starting my natural farm in a
            > > really hilly land, so I was thinking in making terraces, but to do
            > > them I will need to move a lot of soil,to make earthen banks,
            > > walls,and level the ground, might it be naturally to do this ???
            > > allthough I don´t see other way to controll erosion, and retain
            > > humidity, somebody has experience with this.???
            >
            > *Upland cultivation and Soil Erosion
            > *First of all, I think that you should _not _make terraces. Again, I
            > have no experience personally but it is clear they are extremely
            > labour-intensive to build and will always need your attention.
            > Secondly if you are sticking with Fukuoka's advice and not digging
            > (tilling, cultivating or removing vegitative cover) you will not have a
            > major soil "retention" issue. I use this term so that we can stay, in
            > language, in the positive. We are "keeping soil"/"retaining soil"
            rather
            > than preventing /soil erosion/.
            > "doing" options include:
            > -Swales: ditches laid, or dug "along
            > contour" (across the slope). i.e. the opposite of down slope.
            > -Contour hedges: dense vegetation planted at regular
            > intervals along contour. e.g. Vetiver grass (non-invasive, infertile,
            > lots of biomass) or Sweet clover.
            > -Contour planting: trees or shrubs planted as above. Can
            > be called "alley cropping".
            > -Mulching/Cover crops: the use of vigorous cover crops to produce
            > mulch (e.g. _Maize-mucuna_) or be a companion to your crops.
            >
            > _
            > Links_
            > Vetiver
            > http://www.vetiver.com/TVN_greenEng.pdf (500KB download) Vetiver Hedge
            > www.vetiver.com
            >
            > Alleycropping
            >
            http://images.google.co.uk/images?svnum=10&hl=en&lr=&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-GB%3Aofficial_s&q=alleycropping&btnG=Search
            > http://del.icio.us/entrailer/Alley-Cropping
            >
            > Maize-Mucuna
            > http://del.icio.us/entrailer/Maize-Mucuna
            > http://www.tropag-fieldtrip.cornell.edu/Thurston_TA/pslashmulch.html
            >
            > Agroforestry (Agrofloresta)
            > http://www.fazendasaoluiz.com/agrofloresta.htm (Portuguese)
            > *Contours: MArking and Measurement*
            > It is very important to accurately survey the field to find out where
            > the contours are.
            > For this a number of simple tools can be constructed. They are standard
            > permaculture tools: an "a-frame" is perhaps the simplest.
            > It is not important where exactly your contours are measured from and
            > to. Only that they _are the same height all the way along_.
            > You can decide on the spacing for yourself, probably narrower than you
            > might build a terrace.
            >
            > Anyone know any other good resrouces for swales and surveying?
            > Particularly from the permaculture list.
            >
            > *Strips, Contours, Plants and Combining Them*
            > Once you have marked your contours then you can decide what to do on
            > them: swales, hedges, tree etc or combination of all of these at
            > different intervals.
            > It is no problem to have trees and hedge plants in the same contour
            > "strip" and plant them into a swale.
            > _Greening the Desert
            > http://www.permaculture.org.au/_ (click on the image in the right hand
            > side with the above title)
            > _
            > _You might have trees planted every other contour strip, so they shade
            > the slope and the in-between swale/hedge.
            > Like tree-hedge-tree-hedge. With each one having a swale in it as well.
            > Or combinations there of.
            > Perhaps put in a _small pond _every few swales, at different places
            > along the length.
            >
            > There are so many variables. This is where it gets really exciting.
            > But starting small, you could dig just one or two swales and plant them
            > with fast growing cover crops like vetiver or sweet clover and just a
            > few trees, or tree seeds, along the length. Then next winter take
            > cuttings from the trees and start to spread them out along the contour.
            >
            > *Uses, Outputs and Produce and _Questions_*
            > It would be useful to talk about what plants and seeds you have
            > available and what is native in your local area.
            > Upland production of trees will be for: fuel, fodder and food etc.
            > And hedges will provide: mulch, fodder.
            > _CLimate
            > _What is your regional climate?
            > Average rainfall? Do you have heavy rains? Then periods of drought? How
            > frequent is rainfall?
            > _Vegetation_
            > What is the vegetation like on these slopes?
            > Are there many trees already? What kind of cover exists? Seasonally and
            > perrenially.
            > _Condition of Land and Previous Uses_
            > Is the land degraded? Has it been used for agriculture before?
            > Has there been grazing? Will you wish to graze it? If yes: then will it
            > be Seasonally, in rotation or permanent? And with what animals?
            > _Trees and Fertility_
            > What are your native nitrogen-fixing trees and shrubs? Is there seeds
            > freely available? To buy or gather?
            > These trees will provide the back-bone of any long-term productivity,
            > especially in an upland situation.
            > Some examples are: Inga, Leucana, Wattles. But natives or local species
            > are better. And hopefully more available
            > _Resources_
            > How many people can you count on to work on your project?
            > What is the usual minimum people you work with day-to-day? What tasks
            > can you do that will contribute to the "upland project" when your large
            > labour-force is not available, or needed?
            > For example, it will be perfectly possible to do the contour marking
            > with just 2 people.
            > How much seeds can you get your hands on? How long will it take to
            > gather/buy? How much space do I have for storage? Do you, or a
            > neighbour, have experience with handling tree seeds or cuttings?
            >
            >
            >
            > *Some things to Remember*
            >
            > _Mulch = (fertile) soil_
            > So you can never have enough of it. But remember you have to grow it in
            > the field.
            >
            > _Marking Swales/Contours_
            > Remember to mark your contours well. If you are not going to dig your
            > swale/plant contour hedges on the same day.
            > If the markers get blown away or eaten it is some time wasted.
            > I will ask Geoff Lawton the question of how many and what spacing and
            > placement is appropriate in the first phase.
            > Though I should have thought one complete and planted-up swale half up
            > the slope would be better than none.
            >
            > When you reply This mail will be passed on to other internation
            networks
            > for further advice.
            >
            > All the best,
            > Niels
            > http://del.icio.us/entrailer
            > http://nocompost.blogspot.com/
            > http://www.flickr.com/photos/65387153@N00/
            >
            >
            >
            > > Any advice will be helpfull
            > > Thanks
            > > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "poojyum" <poojyum@>
            > > wrote:
            > > >
            > > > Hello Steve,
            > > >
            > > > Thank you for suggestions.
            > > >
            > > > > If you put your seedlings in a row, they are prone to all
            > > suffering
            > > > > from the same fate.
            > > >
            > > > I dont put seedlings in a row. I sow seed at random - here and
            > > there.
            > > >
            > > > >If you put your seedlings in an area with no other
            > > > > growing plants, they will be targeted by pests. If you plant
            > > just
            > > > >what
            > > > > you need, that's not sharing with nature.
            > > >
            > > > >
            > > > > If you put your seedlings in a mixed growing environment with
            > > other
            > > > > plants they are partially hidden. If you grow many more than you
            > > > >need there will be some left for you.
            > > >
            > > > My plot is full of so called 'weeds'. There was 1 area where I had
            > > dug
            > > > due to pressure from a fellow plot holder. I regret doing that. And
            > > > that area doesnt have too many plants. Unfortunately in that area
            > > my
            > > > seedlings are thriving!
            > > >
            > > > I'm not planting only what I need. I dont even count how many
            > > seeds I
            > > > sow. I sow a lot. For example I sowed probably 50 broadbeans seeds
            > > > here and there. Of them about 10 have come up and 3 are standing
            > > > today. The 3 are eaten up here and there. I am happy for the 3 yes
            > > but
            > > > it seems they are there only because they have not been found by
            > > the
            > > > 'pests' yet!
            > > >
            > > > >If you plant from seedballs they will
            > > > > be protected until they get started.
            > > >
            > > > With seedballs I have had very poor result. Probably its not the
            > > right
            > > > clay I dont know. I picked up clay from a molehill along the
            > > tracks I
            > > > cycle thru. It seemed soft, natural & local. I had 1 spinach, a
            > > couple
            > > > lettuce from seedballs.
            > > >
            > > > >If you plant into a standing crop
            > > > > and cut the crop after yours gets started they will take off
            > > from the
            > > > > increase in light and space. If you put the litter from that
            > > cut crop
            > > > > back over your plants as mulch they will be additionally
            > > protected.
            > > >
            > > > When I sow a seed, I cut back on the grasses/'weeds' a bit & sow.
            > > If I
            > > > was transplanting a seedling, I cut back and as you suggest put it
            > > > back as mulch to hide them and to save some moisture.
            > > >
            > > > >
            > > > > The trick is to plant the right plants at the right time
            > > following the
            > > > > right crop and cutting the overgrowth at the right time. Don't
            > > expect
            > > > > success every time and be prepared to have little success at
            > > first and
            > > > > more as you figure out what works for you. OK, this is hard
            > > when you
            > > > > have to wait a year between experiments and you are hoping to
            > > eat your
            > > > > plants after all that work.
            > > > >
            > > > > Fukuoka had a kitchen garden as well as the farming fields. I
            > > suspect
            > > > > he had the same problems.
            > > > >
            > > > > Steve
            > > >
            > > > Thank you for writing. I will keep experimenting.
            > > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > SPONSORED LINKS
            > > Organic gardening
            > >
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          • Niels Corfield
            Miguel, Please see below for replies to specific questions. Cheers, Niels Hi Niels thanks for your advice. A simple method that I´ve find to get pure daikon
            Message 5 of 15 , Jul 10, 2006
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              Miguel,

              Please see below for replies to specific questions.

              Cheers,
              Niels

              Hi Niels
              thanks for your advice.
              A simple method that I´ve find to get pure daikon seed, it´s sowing
              daikon after the blooming of the wild radishes and brassicas.So when
              daikon blooms it will be pollinated only by other daikon .

              In relation to the terraces I think that as you said, it´s to much
              labor, and the first years the soil of the place where the terraces
              were builded gets very poor and won´t produce a good harvest because
              the intensive movement of soil from one place to other.
              So the option might be build terraces of slow formation with
              vegetation at the contours, the problem with this is that until you
              get a terrace, is very difficult to have crops in that place because
              the inclination of the land and the poor absortion of water unables
              good yields.The advantage of making a terrace with an earthen wall is
              the possibility of sowing that place inmediatly, but I will have to
              use compost to improve soil, what represents to much labor.

              Perhaps it is worth accepting lower yields and longer time-frames along
              with reduced labour-issues.
              Cover crops, seeds, mulching.
              What state are the fields in now? Weeds etc.
              Mucuna handles most weeds pretty well.
              No probs with erosion with mucuna mulch.

              So I will try both ways and see wich works better.
              The conditions of the place are:
              Very high in altitude 9200 ft, very humid and cloudy, the surruondings
              are cloud forest and highlands. The land has never been used for
              agriculture, just for grazing, it used to be forest, but was cleared
              40 years ago, the soil is really good, 180 cm of top soil.There are
              periods of heavy rain fall, and periods of drought(6 months of rain, 6
              months of drought)

              How about mucuna or lupin as cover crops?
              Lupin is good for your altitude and mucnua-maize production is done on
              mega-slopes.
              Link: http://del.icio.us/entrailer/Maize-Mucuna
              http://www.tropag-fieldtrip.cornell.edu/Thurston_TA/pslashmulch.html

              The seed is not difficult to find, there are lots of seed in the
              surrounding forest.The forest in this slopes is very dense, humid, and
              by the afternoons it gets full of fog.

              Not all seed is equal, try to select seed from trees growing in a
              similar space to the one you will using, and look for the healthiest
              specimens. Probably worth getting someone into trees to come with you.
              Some seed will need preparing before it will germinate.
              If in doubt ask about this one.
              Scarifying, stratifying etc.

              There are many native species that are nitrogen fixing, and other
              species that help to water retention.

              Get them all. Check out Ernst Gotsch's seed collections. We are looking
              for big plastic coke bottles full of one variety of seed.
              And clay to make seedballs.
              http://del.icio.us/entrailer/Seed-Balls

              What I Would like to know is how to make contours, do you make them
              following the level curves, using a level.
              Surveying can be done with either an a-frame or the liquid filled-level
              device, I forget what it's called.
              Link:
              http://images.google.co.uk/images?svnum=10&hs=QsJ&hl=en&lr=&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-GB%3Aofficial_s&q=a-frame+permaculture&btnG=Search

              With what spacing do you plant in the contours????
              ---Not sure why not email Geoff Lawton?
              http://permaculture-swicki.eurekster.com/Geoff+Lawton/ or
              http://www.permaculture.org.au/

              Though I think it not nearly as critical as getting a good level.
              Am chatting with him on this topic, though he busy, so will be a while.
              Watch his video "Greening the Desert", very informative.

              Do you plant trees also?
              Yes, see Ernst Gotsch's model.
              http://del.icio.us/entrailer/Ernst-G%C3%B6tsch
              Pics English Translate
              http://www.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.agrofloresta.net%2Ffotos%2Findex.htm&langpair=pt%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF8
              Portuguese
              http://www.agrofloresta.net/fotos/index.htm

              Related Project -Same Methods
              http://del.icio.us/entrailer/agrofloresta

              Don´t the trees create to much shade for the plants???
              Yes they do but not for a few years, this is a resource to work with,
              that you can use shape the landscape.
              Also there are many shade-tolerant plants. The system can grow, develop.
              Trees can be pruned, for mulch and firewood or forage.
              Trees give fruits also.

              What spacing do you use between contours???
              Not sure. Think depends on resources.
              I would go for vegetation as the main regen tool.
              Is rain catchment a big issue?
              How long is dry season?

              In ralation to the grazing I think that I will have some llamas
              because they don´t damage the land as cattle, sheep and goats.As I am
              in the middle of the Andes, llamas also are the only efficient animals
              at this altitude, they can provide wool, excellent manure, and they
              help to regenarate dgradeted lands.

              All your advice will be helpfull
              Thanks
              Miguel


              Agroforestry Links:
              http://www.google.co.uk/search?hs=uAz&hl=en&safe=off&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-GB%3Aofficial_s&q=regenerative+analog+forestry+in+brazil&btnG=Search&meta=
              http://www.agroforestry.net/pubs/seeing_forest.html
            • Raju Titus
              Cover crops in no-till hedge against drought Grant Tribune Sentinel Not only can cover crops planted in no-till fields fix nitrogen in the short term, they can
              Message 6 of 15 , Aug 13, 2009
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                Cover crops in no-till hedge against drought
                Grant Tribune Sentinel
                Not only can cover crops planted in no-till fields fix nitrogen in the
                short term, they can also reduce soil erosion and mitigate the effects of
                drought in ...
                <http://www.granttribune.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1392:cover-crops-in-no-till-hedge-against-drought&catid=35:ag-news&Itemid=55>
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