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Hi from Australia:

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  • Norm
    Hi…just a comment on something I have noticed. I am fairly new to this forum, I just wanted to comment on something I have noticed or felt, from some of the
    Message 1 of 12 , Oct 11, 2006
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      Hi…just a comment on something I have noticed. I am fairly new to this
      forum, I just wanted to comment on something I have noticed or felt,
      from some of the suggestions some have made. We are all humans & for
      better or worse we think… LOL…we must always use our mind to do what
      we think is best in any situation, but I'm suggesting to watch, what
      is the best to do in any situation or whether we are interfering "too
      much"… one of Fukuoka's sayings was "when SMART becomes foolish"…
      I visited Fukuoka in 1984, his farm on the hill wasn't being used much
      at that time [he was already over 70 years old] one thing he said to
      me, was about technology…Humans always think what more can I
      do…instead of am I doing too much "interfering" he said we always try
      to solve a problem with technology…when maybe technology has probably
      created the problem in the first place, he said with our technology,
      we are digging a hole, with each solution we dig the hole deeper, by
      solving the problem, which technology created in the first place with
      more technology…the hole gets bigger all the time & eventually we will
      bury ourselves in "THAT HOLE".
      So I'm just suggesting to watch when we think, that it really is
      something SMART & not something FOOLISH in the long run…often as he
      suggested it's smarter to do nothing. I know that is difficult for us
      "thinking beings".

      I live in Australia & I'm interested to hear from anyone, especially
      people in Australia in similar situations to me, on some of their
      experiences. The soils here are poor & impoverished…they were poor I
      think, even in the first place & then with mans efforts, they have
      been damaged even more. Australian Aborigines were mainly hunter
      gathers, maybe because they were smart & realised that this land is
      difficult to farm. But even they used some technology; they used to
      burn in the dry season. I live on 46 acres [18 hectares] mainly
      forest, with a small area cleared to attempt to produce food. The soil
      is poor & we have extended periods of dry. Growing any "improved
      grasses" is even difficult; anything improved "a bit juicy" is quickly
      devoured by native animals, possums, wallabies, bowerbirds & some
      parrots. All I have been able to do, using Fukuoka's ideas, in the 23
      years I have been here, is more like permaculture [Bill Mollison]…I
      think it's impossible here to grow any type of grain crop, as
      everything of that nature & the vegetable garden must be enclosed in a
      sort of aviary, to keep everything out. Plus annual crops are prone to
      drought or dry periods. So mostly I have only had success with TREE
      crops. My main crop of success is the native Australian Macadamia nut,
      things like peaches, nectarines etc have the fruit eaten by Kings
      parrots or flying foxes & then if they didn't eat them the fruit fly
      is a big problem anyway, so I have mostly given up on them. If anyone
      has suggestions of other trees they have been successful with I'd be
      happy. I have found that keeping a horse that doesn't damage my trees
      & removes unwanted vegetable matter [grass etc] & adds them as manure
      & prevents build up of combustible material of danger with bushfires
      has been a good idea. Apart from that I keep bees that provide honey &
      a small cash flow. So if anyone else would like to share their
      experiences I'd be happy to hear them…Norm.
    • linda
      Thank you for your post. I enjoyed it very much. I think in the end, or in the beginning if we were free from the brain washing we have all had, we would
      Message 2 of 12 , Oct 11, 2006
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        Thank you for your post. I enjoyed it very much. I think in the end, or in
        the beginning if we were free from the brain washing we have all had, we
        would understand that nature will have its way in the end no matter what we
        do so it would behoove us to learn its ways and meld ourselves into it
        rather than trying to force our ways upon nature. And if we paid attention
        enough we would also see that nature is always right, it is the wisest. So
        much of the western world is of the opinion that we, humans, should be the
        dominators and bring everything into line with the way we think it should
        be.
        linda
        Updated linda's Garden of Eden: http://photos.yahoo.com/womyn47

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Norm" <greenie6666@...>
        To: <fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2006 1:44 PM
        Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Hi from Australia:


        Hi.just a comment on something I have noticed. I am fairly new to this
        forum, I just wanted to comment on something I have noticed or felt,
        from some of the suggestions some have made. We are all humans & for
        better or worse we think. LOL.we must always use our mind to do what
        we think is best in any situation, but I'm suggesting to watch, what
        is the best to do in any situation or whether we are interfering "too
        much". one of Fukuoka's sayings was "when SMART becomes foolish".
        I visited Fukuoka in 1984, his farm on the hill wasn't being used much
        at that time [he was already over 70 years old] one thing he said to
        me, was about technology.Humans always think what more can I
        do.instead of am I doing too much "interfering" he said we always try
        to solve a problem with technology.when maybe technology has probably
        created the problem in the first place, he said with our technology,
        we are digging a hole, with each solution we dig the hole deeper, by
        solving the problem, which technology created in the first place with
        more technology.the hole gets bigger all the time & eventually we will
        bury ourselves in "THAT HOLE".
        So I'm just suggesting to watch when we think, that it really is
        something SMART & not something FOOLISH in the long run.often as he
        suggested it's smarter to do nothing. I know that is difficult for us
        "thinking beings".

        I live in Australia & I'm interested to hear from anyone, especially
        people in Australia in similar situations to me, on some of their
        experiences. The soils here are poor & impoverished.they were poor I
        think, even in the first place & then with mans efforts, they have
        been damaged even more. Australian Aborigines were mainly hunter
        gathers, maybe because they were smart & realised that this land is
        difficult to farm. But even they used some technology; they used to
        burn in the dry season. I live on 46 acres [18 hectares] mainly
        forest, with a small area cleared to attempt to produce food. The soil
        is poor & we have extended periods of dry. Growing any "improved
        grasses" is even difficult; anything improved "a bit juicy" is quickly
        devoured by native animals, possums, wallabies, bowerbirds & some
        parrots. All I have been able to do, using Fukuoka's ideas, in the 23
        years I have been here, is more like permaculture [Bill Mollison].I
        think it's impossible here to grow any type of grain crop, as
        everything of that nature & the vegetable garden must be enclosed in a
        sort of aviary, to keep everything out. Plus annual crops are prone to
        drought or dry periods. So mostly I have only had success with TREE
        crops. My main crop of success is the native Australian Macadamia nut,
        things like peaches, nectarines etc have the fruit eaten by Kings
        parrots or flying foxes & then if they didn't eat them the fruit fly
        is a big problem anyway, so I have mostly given up on them. If anyone
        has suggestions of other trees they have been successful with I'd be
        happy. I have found that keeping a horse that doesn't damage my trees
        & removes unwanted vegetable matter [grass etc] & adds them as manure
        & prevents build up of combustible material of danger with bushfires
        has been a good idea. Apart from that I keep bees that provide honey &
        a small cash flow. So if anyone else would like to share their
        experiences I'd be happy to hear them.Norm.






        Yahoo! Groups Links
      • Gloria C. Baikauskas
        I think it is the tendency of most modern humans to try to do things better with technology. Wrong, but true. Well, wrong in many cases. I was just thinking
        Message 3 of 12 , Oct 11, 2006
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          I think it is the tendency of most modern humans to try to do things
          better with technology. Wrong, but true. Well, wrong in many
          cases.

          I was just thinking how interesting that the soils there in Australia
          are poor, as they are in the Amazon. Are they poor because we try to
          grow crops that are not native to the area? Or are they poor just
          because of abuse? We don't know the total answers to that question
          because we are still learning about more ancient culture..and we may
          not know about those which may have flourished before those...what
          damage they may have done.

          It seems that when we move to a different part of the world we must
          need to adapt our diet to what is locally native...not try to adapt
          what grows to satisfy the diet we brought with us. Maybe that makes
          the difference?

          Gloria, Texas

          --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Norm" <greenie6666@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > Hi…just a comment on something I have noticed. I am fairly new to
          this
          > forum, I just wanted to comment on something I have noticed or felt,
          > from some of the suggestions some have made. We are all humans & for
          > better or worse we think… LOL…we must always use our mind to do what
          > we think is best in any situation, but I'm suggesting to watch, what
          > is the best to do in any situation or whether we are
          interfering "too
          > much"… one of Fukuoka's sayings was "when SMART becomes foolish"…
          > I visited Fukuoka in 1984, his farm on the hill wasn't being used
          much
          > at that time [he was already over 70 years old] one thing he said to
          > me, was about technology…Humans always think what more can I
          > do…instead of am I doing too much "interfering" he said we always
          try
          > to solve a problem with technology…when maybe technology has
          probably
          > created the problem in the first place, he said with our technology,
          > we are digging a hole, with each solution we dig the hole deeper, by
          > solving the problem, which technology created in the first place
          with
          > more technology…the hole gets bigger all the time & eventually we
          will
          > bury ourselves in "THAT HOLE".
          > So I'm just suggesting to watch when we think, that it really is
          > something SMART & not something FOOLISH in the long run…often as he
          > suggested it's smarter to do nothing. I know that is difficult for
          us
          > "thinking beings".
          >
          > I live in Australia & I'm interested to hear from anyone, especially
          > people in Australia in similar situations to me, on some of their
          > experiences. The soils here are poor & impoverished…they were poor I
          > think, even in the first place & then with mans efforts, they have
          > been damaged even more. Australian Aborigines were mainly hunter
          > gathers, maybe because they were smart & realised that this land is
          > difficult to farm. But even they used some technology; they used to
          > burn in the dry season. I live on 46 acres [18 hectares] mainly
          > forest, with a small area cleared to attempt to produce food. The
          soil
          > is poor & we have extended periods of dry. Growing any "improved
          > grasses" is even difficult; anything improved "a bit juicy" is
          quickly
          > devoured by native animals, possums, wallabies, bowerbirds & some
          > parrots. All I have been able to do, using Fukuoka's ideas, in the
          23
          > years I have been here, is more like permaculture [Bill Mollison]…I
          > think it's impossible here to grow any type of grain crop, as
          > everything of that nature & the vegetable garden must be enclosed
          in a
          > sort of aviary, to keep everything out. Plus annual crops are prone
          to
          > drought or dry periods. So mostly I have only had success with TREE
          > crops. My main crop of success is the native Australian Macadamia
          nut,
          > things like peaches, nectarines etc have the fruit eaten by Kings
          > parrots or flying foxes & then if they didn't eat them the fruit fly
          > is a big problem anyway, so I have mostly given up on them. If
          anyone
          > has suggestions of other trees they have been successful with I'd be
          > happy. I have found that keeping a horse that doesn't damage my
          trees
          > & removes unwanted vegetable matter [grass etc] & adds them as
          manure
          > & prevents build up of combustible material of danger with bushfires
          > has been a good idea. Apart from that I keep bees that provide
          honey &
          > a small cash flow. So if anyone else would like to share their
          > experiences I'd be happy to hear them…Norm.
          >
        • Jeff
          Hi again, This is Jeff in North Dakota, I would like to comment scientifically about the nature of soils in various areas and their suitability for crops. Just
          Message 4 of 12 , Oct 12, 2006
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            Hi again,

            This is Jeff in North Dakota, I would like to comment scientifically
            about the nature of soils in various areas and their suitability for
            crops. Just to let you all know I do have a BS in environmental science
            and passed the exam to become a certified soils professional.

            Soils have two primary components: the first is the mineral base, the
            second is the organic and biological aspects.
            The fertility of the mineral base is based on two different factors.
            The first one is parent material. That is to say what kind of rock was
            eroded to form the base. The parent material can be relatively poor
            fertility (pure sand) or relatively high in fertility (certain volcanic
            ashes). However, much more important to the mineral base is its
            relative age. The older a soil is the more leached it will be. Leaching
            is a natural process in which the mineral fertility is removed from the
            soil by water and erosion processes. Second, the older a soil is, the
            more fine grained it will become. Old soils are always clay. Clay is
            not the best for growing plants because it is heavy and likes to bind
            whater more tightly than plants can withdraw it. The best soils for
            holding water are in the middle called loams (neither sand nor clay).

            The biological aspect is much like a buffer for the mineral base. And
            in general the biological aspect is much more important for the things
            we care about in a soil. This is why industrial farming is so adept at
            mining the soils. It neglects or destroys the biological aspects.

            First ants and worms and other crawly things lossen the soil and make
            it easier for roots to grow. In healthy soils bacteria and fungi also
            play an important roll in enhancing root function.

            Secondly organic matter (humus) helps the soil store both nutrients and
            water. Organic matter can and often does hold more nutrients than the
            mineral part of even the most productive soils. Humus makes the soil
            more loam like by providing a varied pore structure thus avoiding clods.

            On young soils like the midwestern part of the US, the mineral portioin
            is so rich it takes a generation or more for this soil to be degraded
            to the point of causing problems for plants. THis is because as the
            soil is leached it is being renewed by the erosion of new material. The
            midwest also intially had high levels soil organic matter, which has
            fallen rapidly in the last several decades.

            As to Austrailia and Amazonia (and Africa) and (tropical India). The
            soils are among the oldest on the plant, this means they're very
            fragile and not very fertile on the mineral part.
            All of the fertility in a tropic soil is in its organic portion.
            and most of the fertility is usually in the growing portion. not the
            humus.

            Plowing increases the decay rate of humus and destroys the organic base
            very rapidly. And removal of the living vegetation removes most of the
            fertility in any soil.
            Instead of burning or clearing the land, most of it should be left to
            compost.

            So the answer is that the soil was poor to begin with, and we made it
            alot worse.
            That being said, our crops are adapted to high nutrient situations and
            dont tolorate poor soils, where as naitve vegetation is adapted for
            this situation and has a support structure of bacteria and fungi that
            helps maintain adequate fertility.

            When abandoned the land will naturally restore to the old system, but
            it will be much more vulnerable because of the loss of any fertility in
            the initial organic material, loss due to clearing and burning, and
            loss of the support structrue of crawlies and fungi/bacteria.

            In these systems they can more rapidly be restored by adding soil from
            a naitive non-destrurbed sight into the partially restored site to
            hopefully restore the soil microbe associations.

            Work is just starting on ways to raise these microbes for this sort of
            restoration.

            Many tropical pacific islands have a young volcanic base so they are
            more resistant than the previously mentioned areas.
          • maihki neary
            hi jef i found your email on soil very confusing i have a red clay soil in the south of france and plants grow great in it, of cause i am building up the
            Message 5 of 12 , Oct 14, 2006
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              hi jef i found your email on soil very confusing i have a red clay soil in the south of france and plants grow great in it, of cause i am building up the levels of organic mater but i would think that clay is the best medium to start with , very rich in minerals ect

              Jeff <shultonus@...> wrote: Hi again,

              This is Jeff in North Dakota, I would like to comment scientifically
              about the nature of soils in various areas and their suitability for
              crops. Just to let you all know I do have a BS in environmental science
              and passed the exam to become a certified soils professional.

              Soils have two primary components: the first is the mineral base, the
              second is the organic and biological aspects.
              The fertility of the mineral base is based on two different factors.
              The first one is parent material. That is to say what kind of rock was
              eroded to form the base. The parent material can be relatively poor
              fertility (pure sand) or relatively high in fertility (certain volcanic
              ashes). However, much more important to the mineral base is its
              relative age. The older a soil is the more leached it will be. Leaching
              is a natural process in which the mineral fertility is removed from the
              soil by water and erosion processes. Second, the older a soil is, the
              more fine grained it will become. Old soils are always clay. Clay is
              not the best for growing plants because it is heavy and likes to bind
              whater more tightly than plants can withdraw it. The best soils for
              holding water are in the middle called loams (neither sand nor clay).

              The biological aspect is much like a buffer for the mineral base. And
              in general the biological aspect is much more important for the things
              we care about in a soil. This is why industrial farming is so adept at
              mining the soils. It neglects or destroys the biological aspects.

              First ants and worms and other crawly things lossen the soil and make
              it easier for roots to grow. In healthy soils bacteria and fungi also
              play an important roll in enhancing root function.

              Secondly organic matter (humus) helps the soil store both nutrients and
              water. Organic matter can and often does hold more nutrients than the
              mineral part of even the most productive soils. Humus makes the soil
              more loam like by providing a varied pore structure thus avoiding clods.

              On young soils like the midwestern part of the US, the mineral portioin
              is so rich it takes a generation or more for this soil to be degraded
              to the point of causing problems for plants. THis is because as the
              soil is leached it is being renewed by the erosion of new material. The
              midwest also intially had high levels soil organic matter, which has
              fallen rapidly in the last several decades.

              As to Austrailia and Amazonia (and Africa) and (tropical India). The
              soils are among the oldest on the plant, this means they're very
              fragile and not very fertile on the mineral part.
              All of the fertility in a tropic soil is in its organic portion.
              and most of the fertility is usually in the growing portion. not the
              humus.

              Plowing increases the decay rate of humus and destroys the organic base
              very rapidly. And removal of the living vegetation removes most of the
              fertility in any soil.
              Instead of burning or clearing the land, most of it should be left to
              compost.

              So the answer is that the soil was poor to begin with, and we made it
              alot worse.
              That being said, our crops are adapted to high nutrient situations and
              dont tolorate poor soils, where as naitve vegetation is adapted for
              this situation and has a support structure of bacteria and fungi that
              helps maintain adequate fertility.

              When abandoned the land will naturally restore to the old system, but
              it will be much more vulnerable because of the loss of any fertility in
              the initial organic material, loss due to clearing and burning, and
              loss of the support structrue of crawlies and fungi/bacteria.

              In these systems they can more rapidly be restored by adding soil from
              a naitive non-destrurbed sight into the partially restored site to
              hopefully restore the soil microbe associations.

              Work is just starting on ways to raise these microbes for this sort of
              restoration.

              Many tropical pacific islands have a young volcanic base so they are
              more resistant than the previously mentioned areas.







              Yahoo! Groups Links






              __________________________________________________
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              Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Jeff Schulte
              Red clay is infinitely better for plants than grey clay. Red clay still does have minerals in it, while grey clay does not. That being said your organic matter
              Message 6 of 12 , Oct 15, 2006
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                Red clay is infinitely better for plants than grey clay.
                Red clay still does have minerals in it, while grey clay does not.

                That being said your organic matter is what is making your soils productive

                Clay is an important component of soil as it is the only mineral portion of
                soil
                that does hold on to nutrients (in the right situations).
                The problem with industrial agriculture is it quickly uses up the mineral
                reserve.
                In young soils that are not (all) clay, natural weathing takes place to
                replace
                this mineral reserve. Clay does not weather any more.
                ALso without organic matter, clay competes for water with the plants.

                Proper organic matter content hold minerals, as much or more than clay,
                it also alleviates the water stress.

                Keep in mind that your Red clay in France is probably only 20-30,000 years
                old,
                while the soils in Amazonia and Africa are several times older, on the scale
                of
                100,000 years or more.



                >From: maihki neary <maihki@...>
                >Reply-To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                >To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                >Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Poor soils
                >Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2006 03:32:54 -0700 (PDT)
                >
                >hi jef i found your email on soil very confusing i have a red clay soil in
                >the south of france and plants grow great in it, of cause i am building up
                >the levels of organic mater but i would think that clay is the best medium
                >to start with , very rich in minerals ect
                >
                >Jeff <shultonus@...> wrote: Hi again,
                >
                >This is Jeff in North Dakota, I would like to comment scientifically
                >about the nature of soils in various areas and their suitability for
                >crops. Just to let you all know I do have a BS in environmental science
                >and passed the exam to become a certified soils professional.
                >
                >Soils have two primary components: the first is the mineral base, the
                >second is the organic and biological aspects.
                >The fertility of the mineral base is based on two different factors.
                >The first one is parent material. That is to say what kind of rock was
                >eroded to form the base. The parent material can be relatively poor
                >fertility (pure sand) or relatively high in fertility (certain volcanic
                >ashes). However, much more important to the mineral base is its
                >relative age. The older a soil is the more leached it will be. Leaching
                >is a natural process in which the mineral fertility is removed from the
                >soil by water and erosion processes. Second, the older a soil is, the
                >more fine grained it will become. Old soils are always clay. Clay is
                >not the best for growing plants because it is heavy and likes to bind
                >whater more tightly than plants can withdraw it. The best soils for
                >holding water are in the middle called loams (neither sand nor clay).
                >
                >The biological aspect is much like a buffer for the mineral base. And
                >in general the biological aspect is much more important for the things
                >we care about in a soil. This is why industrial farming is so adept at
                >mining the soils. It neglects or destroys the biological aspects.
                >
                >First ants and worms and other crawly things lossen the soil and make
                >it easier for roots to grow. In healthy soils bacteria and fungi also
                >play an important roll in enhancing root function.
                >
                >Secondly organic matter (humus) helps the soil store both nutrients and
                >water. Organic matter can and often does hold more nutrients than the
                >mineral part of even the most productive soils. Humus makes the soil
                >more loam like by providing a varied pore structure thus avoiding clods.
                >
                >On young soils like the midwestern part of the US, the mineral portioin
                >is so rich it takes a generation or more for this soil to be degraded
                >to the point of causing problems for plants. THis is because as the
                >soil is leached it is being renewed by the erosion of new material. The
                >midwest also intially had high levels soil organic matter, which has
                >fallen rapidly in the last several decades.
                >
                >As to Austrailia and Amazonia (and Africa) and (tropical India). The
                >soils are among the oldest on the plant, this means they're very
                >fragile and not very fertile on the mineral part.
                >All of the fertility in a tropic soil is in its organic portion.
                >and most of the fertility is usually in the growing portion. not the
                >humus.
                >
                >Plowing increases the decay rate of humus and destroys the organic base
                >very rapidly. And removal of the living vegetation removes most of the
                >fertility in any soil.
                >Instead of burning or clearing the land, most of it should be left to
                >compost.
                >
                >So the answer is that the soil was poor to begin with, and we made it
                >alot worse.
                >That being said, our crops are adapted to high nutrient situations and
                >dont tolorate poor soils, where as naitve vegetation is adapted for
                >this situation and has a support structure of bacteria and fungi that
                >helps maintain adequate fertility.
                >
                >When abandoned the land will naturally restore to the old system, but
                >it will be much more vulnerable because of the loss of any fertility in
                >the initial organic material, loss due to clearing and burning, and
                >loss of the support structrue of crawlies and fungi/bacteria.
                >
                >In these systems they can more rapidly be restored by adding soil from
                >a naitive non-destrurbed sight into the partially restored site to
                >hopefully restore the soil microbe associations.
                >
                >Work is just starting on ways to raise these microbes for this sort of
                >restoration.
                >
                >Many tropical pacific islands have a young volcanic base so they are
                >more resistant than the previously mentioned areas.
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > __________________________________________________
                >Do You Yahoo!?
                >Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
                >http://mail.yahoo.com
                >
                >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >

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              • Harvest McCampbell
                Great essay, Thanks! Harvest http://harvestsgardeningsecrets.blogspot.com ... scientifically ... for ... science ... the ... factors. ... was ... volcanic ...
                Message 7 of 12 , Oct 15, 2006
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                  Great essay,

                  Thanks!

                  Harvest
                  http://harvestsgardeningsecrets.blogspot.com


                  --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff" <shultonus@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Hi again,
                  >
                  > This is Jeff in North Dakota, I would like to comment
                  scientifically
                  > about the nature of soils in various areas and their suitability
                  for
                  > crops. Just to let you all know I do have a BS in environmental
                  science
                  > and passed the exam to become a certified soils professional.
                  >
                  > Soils have two primary components: the first is the mineral base,
                  the
                  > second is the organic and biological aspects.
                  > The fertility of the mineral base is based on two different
                  factors.
                  > The first one is parent material. That is to say what kind of rock
                  was
                  > eroded to form the base. The parent material can be relatively poor
                  > fertility (pure sand) or relatively high in fertility (certain
                  volcanic
                  > ashes). However, much more important to the mineral base is its
                  > relative age. The older a soil is the more leached it will be.
                  Leaching
                  > is a natural process in which the mineral fertility is removed from
                  the
                  > soil by water and erosion processes. Second, the older a soil is,
                  the
                  > more fine grained it will become. Old soils are always clay. Clay
                  is
                  > not the best for growing plants because it is heavy and likes to
                  bind
                  > whater more tightly than plants can withdraw it. The best soils for
                  > holding water are in the middle called loams (neither sand nor
                  clay).
                  >
                  > The biological aspect is much like a buffer for the mineral base.
                  And
                  > in general the biological aspect is much more important for the
                  things
                  > we care about in a soil. This is why industrial farming is so adept
                  at
                  > mining the soils. It neglects or destroys the biological aspects.
                  >
                  > First ants and worms and other crawly things lossen the soil and
                  make
                  > it easier for roots to grow. In healthy soils bacteria and fungi
                  also
                  > play an important roll in enhancing root function.
                  >
                  > Secondly organic matter (humus) helps the soil store both nutrients
                  and
                  > water. Organic matter can and often does hold more nutrients than
                  the
                  > mineral part of even the most productive soils. Humus makes the
                  soil
                  > more loam like by providing a varied pore structure thus avoiding
                  clods.
                  >
                  > On young soils like the midwestern part of the US, the mineral
                  portioin
                  > is so rich it takes a generation or more for this soil to be
                  degraded
                  > to the point of causing problems for plants. THis is because as the
                  > soil is leached it is being renewed by the erosion of new material.
                  The
                  > midwest also intially had high levels soil organic matter, which
                  has
                  > fallen rapidly in the last several decades.
                  >
                  > As to Austrailia and Amazonia (and Africa) and (tropical India).
                  The
                  > soils are among the oldest on the plant, this means they're very
                  > fragile and not very fertile on the mineral part.
                  > All of the fertility in a tropic soil is in its organic portion.
                  > and most of the fertility is usually in the growing portion. not
                  the
                  > humus.
                  >
                  > Plowing increases the decay rate of humus and destroys the organic
                  base
                  > very rapidly. And removal of the living vegetation removes most of
                  the
                  > fertility in any soil.
                  > Instead of burning or clearing the land, most of it should be left
                  to
                  > compost.
                  >
                  > So the answer is that the soil was poor to begin with, and we made
                  it
                  > alot worse.
                  > That being said, our crops are adapted to high nutrient situations
                  and
                  > dont tolorate poor soils, where as naitve vegetation is adapted for
                  > this situation and has a support structure of bacteria and fungi
                  that
                  > helps maintain adequate fertility.
                  >
                  > When abandoned the land will naturally restore to the old system,
                  but
                  > it will be much more vulnerable because of the loss of any
                  fertility in
                  > the initial organic material, loss due to clearing and burning, and
                  > loss of the support structrue of crawlies and fungi/bacteria.
                  >
                  > In these systems they can more rapidly be restored by adding soil
                  from
                  > a naitive non-destrurbed sight into the partially restored site to
                  > hopefully restore the soil microbe associations.
                  >
                  > Work is just starting on ways to raise these microbes for this sort
                  of
                  > restoration.
                  >
                  > Many tropical pacific islands have a young volcanic base so they
                  are
                  > more resistant than the previously mentioned areas.
                  >
                • Mark Moodie
                  Hi Jeff What are the right situations? ie what could one do to make those nutrients available, and what to retain them on such clays? Mark
                  Message 8 of 12 , Oct 16, 2006
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                    Hi Jeff

                    What are the right situations? ie what could one do to make those nutrients
                    available, and what to retain them on such clays?

                    Mark

                    On 16/10/06 8:56 pm, " Jeff Schulte" wrote:

                    > Clay is an important component of soil as it is the only mineral portion of
                    > soil that does hold on to nutrients (in the right situations).
                  • Jeff
                    ... nutrients available, and what to retain them on such clays? Mark ... portion of ... certain cover crops like buckwheat and borage are known for bringing
                    Message 9 of 12 , Oct 17, 2006
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                      >
                      > What are the right situations? ie what could one do to make those
                      nutrients available, and what to retain them on such clays?
                      Mark

                      > On 16/10/06 8:56 pm, " Jeff Schulte" wrote:
                      >
                      > > Clay is an important component of soil as it is the only mineral
                      portion of
                      > > soil that does hold on to nutrients (in the right situations).
                      >
                      certain cover crops like buckwheat and borage are known for bringing
                      nutrients to the surface with their deep roots, and efficient
                      absorptioin, composting of certain leaves (like oak for calcium)
                      also brings nutrients into the system, clay will naturally hold onto
                      these nutrients once in the system until they are leached, eroded,
                      or taken up. Rain or irrigation in excess can leach nutrients by
                      simple dilution. It is important to avoid tile draining and excess
                      irrigation. To combat erosion you should leave either permanent
                      cover or dead organic matter so the soil isn't bare. Eventually,
                      nturients taken up by palnts and harvested will need to be replaced.
                      They can be replaced by manure, compost, or cover crops.

                      Soil leaching also takes place in sandy soils without organic
                      matter, or clay soils that are cracked deeply (suffering water
                      stress) and lacking organic mater. I can't overstress the benefits
                      of organic matter in all soils.
                    • Robert Monie
                      Hi Mark, A Texas farmer named Malcolm Beck explains in his 2002 interview exactly how to reinvigorate dead clay-based soil. See
                      Message 10 of 12 , Oct 17, 2006
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                        Hi Mark,

                        A Texas farmer named Malcolm Beck explains in his 2002 interview exactly how to reinvigorate "dead" clay-based soil.
                        See http://www.texaslegacy.org/bb/transcripts/beckmalcolmtxt.html. His method was to let all the "weeds" (which must have included some deep accumulators like sorrel, yarrow, burnet, dandelion, plantain, yellow mustard) grow unimpeded to their maximum height and plant the heaviest cover crops he could find, such as Sudan grass and giant clover (eventually reaching 8 feet high!) He did this entirely without seedballs or hardwood residue, using techniques that go back to the "ley" farming movement of late 19th century England (though he may not have been consciously aware of their origins) and before.

                        Fukuoka, Bonfils, and Pain are not the only access points to nature's fecundity. The human race has discovered and forgotten over and over again, age upon age, how to finesse plant growth from the soil. In ley farming, the idea was to let very deep rooted grasses and legumes grow undisturbed in the initially "barren" soil, for a period of at least 4 years. Try it and see if it works! Mix seeds from a member of the long-rooted "bunch grass" family such as orchard grass with chicory and with agressive-rooted yellow mustard and monster-rooted red and sweet yellow clovers. Throw in a dash of vetiver grass (not too much! The roots may not decay quickly like those of orchard grass). In the summer, sow Sudan grass very thickly. Seed and reseed, as much as the soil can stand for at least 4 years. Occassionaly poke around in the ground with a sharp stick, disturbing the root and stem growth as a burrowing or nibbling animal might. This "punctuated" surface disturbance will
                        create more humus than just letting the cover growth alone. Christine Jones, in a classic essay on soil building, "Creating New Soil" explains how great soil results from the interaction of animals and people (along with air, sun, water, and geology). The significant part of this interplay between animal and plant does NOT necessarily rest in the depositing of animal manure (a point further developed by Eliot Coleman, Scott Nearing, Ian Jones, and Michael Melendrez--all of whom have used essentially vegan techniques). Christine Jones' essay deserves to be read and re-read at least a few dozen times, and the accompanying picture of bunchgrass with its stunningly massed roots is worth a thousand words. See http://www.creatingnewsoil.blogspot.com Each of Jones' paragraphs could be expanded into a chapter or a book. How does nature work to grow plants in the field? The roots of thickly massed grasses and legumes decay, producing food for microbes. The microbes produce
                        humus, which stores biologically available nutrients for the food plants. The tall grasses such as Sudan grass decompose, adding compost to the mix. The legume roots fix nitrogen. No need for seedballs, hardwood, or the philosophical speculations of Jean Pain, Marc Bonfils, or even Fukuoka.

                        The approach outlined here can be expanded to include direct composting and microbial innoculation. Over the years, along with the cover crops and deep rooted ley crops, these will all improve soil fertility. If you are historically minded, go back and read the classics of "ley" farming, such as Newman Turner's "Fertility Farms" and "Fertility Pastures" (specifically on "herbal leys"); Robert Elliot's "30 Years Farming on the Clifton Park System"; Hugh Corley's "Organic Farming"; and related books such as A. Guest's "Gardening Without Digging"; Gerard Smith's "Organic Surface Cultivation"; J.E.B. Maunsell's "Natural Gardening" (which advances the theory that soil can be improved by creatively disturbing it with a spading fork--here we have human beings mimicking the pulsed nibbling of little animals on the roots and stems); and Leonard Wickenden's "Make Friends With Your Soil" and "Gardening with Nature."

                        All these predate Fukuoka, and most predate J Rodale's "organic" movement. One day, some astute historian/archeologist/anthropologist may trace the progress of natural approaches to farming through the ages. If uncovered, the evolution of natural farming will appear in many shapes and guises, most having nothing to do with seedballs. Nature is polyphonic and multiple; it knows many ways (more than humans can ever know) and does not speak in only one voice.

                        Bob Monie
                        River Ridge, LA
                        7 miles outside New Orleans in Zone 8
                        Mark Moodie <mark.es@...> wrote:
                        Hi Jeff

                        What are the right situations? ie what could one do to make those nutrients
                        available, and what to retain them on such clays?

                        Mark

                        On 16/10/06 8:56 pm, " Jeff Schulte" wrote:

                        > Clay is an important component of soil as it is the only mineral portion of
                        > soil that does hold on to nutrients (in the right situations).






                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Forest Shomer
                        Hi Bob, Thanks for your excellent words. Fukuoka-san came upon his knowledge by innovating, by thinking outside the box , i.e., by not being limited to
                        Message 11 of 12 , Oct 18, 2006
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                          Hi Bob,

                          Thanks for your excellent words. Fukuoka-san came upon his knowledge
                          by innovating, by 'thinking outside the box', i.e., by not being
                          limited to orthodoxy. In these changing times we are wise to gather
                          nectar from not just one source, but emulate the honeybee, feeding
                          deeply from one source, then another, and another, to nourish the
                          hive (our time) and the brood (next generation) with continuity.

                          Unfortunately, the link to Jones' essay is "404--not found" . Do you
                          have a copy that you can send as part of a text message on this list?
                          Or if it is very long, perhaps you could send as an attachment
                          directly to people like me who request it. Thank you,

                          Forest
                          Port Townsend, WA, USA



                          >Posted by: "Robert Monie" <mailto:bobm20001@...?Subject=
                          >Re%3A%20Poor%20soils> bobm20001@...
                          ><http://profiles.yahoo.com/bobm20001> bobm20001
                          >
                          >Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:38 pm (PST)
                          >
                          >
                          >Fukuoka, Bonfils, and Pain are not the only access points to
                          >nature's fecundity. The human race has discovered and forgotten over
                          >and over again, age upon age, how to finesse plant growth from the
                          >soil. In ley farming, the idea was to let very deep rooted grasses
                          >and legumes grow undisturbed in the initially "barren" soil, for a
                          >period of at least 4 years. Try it and see if it works! Mix seeds
                          >from a member of the long-rooted "bunch grass" family such as
                          >orchard grass with chicory and with agressive-rooted yellow mustard
                          >and monster-rooted red and sweet yellow clovers. Throw in a dash of
                          >vetiver grass (not too much! The roots may not decay quickly like
                          >those of orchard grass). In the summer, sow Sudan grass very
                          >thickly. Seed and reseed, as much as the soil can stand for at least
                          >4 years. Occassionaly poke around in the ground with a sharp stick,
                          >disturbing the root and stem growth as a burrowing or nibbling
                          >animal might. This "punctuated" surface disturbance will
                          >create more humus than just letting the cover growth alone.
                          >Christine Jones, in a classic essay on soil building, "Creating New
                          >Soil" explains how great soil results from the interaction of
                          >animals and people (along with air, sun, water, and geology). The
                          >significant part of this interplay between animal and plant does NOT
                          >necessarily rest in the depositing of animal manure (a point further
                          >developed by Eliot Coleman, Scott Nearing, Ian Jones, and Michael
                          >Melendrez--all of whom have used essentially vegan techniques).
                          >Christine Jones' essay deserves to be read and re-read at least a
                          >few dozen times, and the accompanying picture of bunchgrass with its
                          >stunningly massed roots is worth a thousand words. See
                          ><http://www.creatingnewsoil.blogspot.com>http://www.creatingnewsoil.blogspot.com
                          >Each of Jones' paragraphs could be expanded into a chapter or a
                          >book. How does nature work to grow plants in the field? The roots of
                          >thickly massed grasses and legumes decay, producing food for
                          >microbes. The microbes produce
                          >humus, which stores biologically available nutrients for the food
                          >plants. The tall grasses such as Sudan grass decompose, adding
                          >compost to the mix. The legume roots fix nitrogen. No need for
                          >seedballs, hardwood, or the philosophical speculations of Jean Pain,
                          >Marc Bonfils, or even Fukuoka.
                          >

                          --


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Robert Monie
                          Hi Forest, Somehow the URL for Christine Jones Creating New Soil got mangled. Here are two direct ways into her essay:
                          Message 12 of 12 , Oct 18, 2006
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Hi Forest,

                            Somehow the URL for Christine Jones' "Creating New Soil" got mangled.
                            Here are two direct ways into her essay: http://www.creatingnewsoil.blogspot.com

                            or

                            go to http://www.google.com and enter "Christine Jones Creating New Soil."

                            Try to pull up a version that shows the photographs, because the shot of the root system on bunchgrass is fantastic. Four years of bunchgrass, along with deep rooted red and yellow clovers, chicory, burnet, yellow and white mustards, oilseed radish, with a little vetiver, sorrel, and plantain thrown in will transform most soils. The grass and forbe roots will loosen compacted soil (virtually "double digging" it), eventually decompose (compost BELOW GROUND), leaving a layer of microbe-rich humus, and if you plant tall plants like Sudan grass that flourish above ground, you will get still more organic material near the surface.

                            THEN, after 4 years of "prepping" you can try the Fukuoka short Dutch clover (or New Zealand clover) polyculture over soil that has been so beautifully prepared for it. (Of course, some soils might be so leached out that they initially also require mineral supplemental from rock powders, separately prepared compost, or other sources.)
                            .
                            Bob Monie


                            Forest Shomer <ziraat@...> wrote:
                            Hi Bob,

                            Thanks for your excellent words. Fukuoka-san came upon his knowledge
                            by innovating, by 'thinking outside the box', i.e., by not being
                            limited to orthodoxy. In these changing times we are wise to gather
                            nectar from not just one source, but emulate the honeybee, feeding
                            deeply from one source, then another, and another, to nourish the
                            hive (our time) and the brood (next generation) with continuity.

                            Unfortunately, the link to Jones' essay is "404--not found" . Do you
                            have a copy that you can send as part of a text message on this list?
                            Or if it is very long, perhaps you could send as an attachment
                            directly to people like me who request it. Thank you,

                            Forest
                            Port Townsend, WA, USA

                            >Posted by: "Robert Monie" <mailto:bobm20001@...?Subject=
                            >Re%3A%20Poor%20soils> bobm20001@...
                            ><http://profiles.yahoo.com/bobm20001> bobm20001
                            >
                            >Tue Oct 17, 2006 2:38 pm (PST)
                            >
                            >
                            >Fukuoka, Bonfils, and Pain are not the only access points to
                            >nature's fecundity. The human race has discovered and forgotten over
                            >and over again, age upon age, how to finesse plant growth from the
                            >soil. In ley farming, the idea was to let very deep rooted grasses
                            >and legumes grow undisturbed in the initially "barren" soil, for a
                            >period of at least 4 years. Try it and see if it works! Mix seeds
                            >from a member of the long-rooted "bunch grass" family such as
                            >orchard grass with chicory and with agressive-rooted yellow mustard
                            >and monster-rooted red and sweet yellow clovers. Throw in a dash of
                            >vetiver grass (not too much! The roots may not decay quickly like
                            >those of orchard grass). In the summer, sow Sudan grass very
                            >thickly. Seed and reseed, as much as the soil can stand for at least
                            >4 years. Occassionaly poke around in the ground with a sharp stick,
                            >disturbing the root and stem growth as a burrowing or nibbling
                            >animal might. This "punctuated" surface disturbance will
                            >create more humus than just letting the cover growth alone.
                            >Christine Jones, in a classic essay on soil building, "Creating New
                            >Soil" explains how great soil results from the interaction of
                            >animals and people (along with air, sun, water, and geology). The
                            >significant part of this interplay between animal and plant does NOT
                            >necessarily rest in the depositing of animal manure (a point further
                            >developed by Eliot Coleman, Scott Nearing, Ian Jones, and Michael
                            >Melendrez--all of whom have used essentially vegan techniques).
                            >Christine Jones' essay deserves to be read and re-read at least a
                            >few dozen times, and the accompanying picture of bunchgrass with its
                            >stunningly massed roots is worth a thousand words. See
                            ><http://www.creatingnewsoil.blogspot.com>http://www.creatingnewsoil.blogspot.com
                            >Each of Jones' paragraphs could be expanded into a chapter or a
                            >book. How does nature work to grow plants in the field? The roots of
                            >thickly massed grasses and legumes decay, producing food for
                            >microbes. The microbes produce
                            >humus, which stores biologically available nutrients for the food
                            >plants. The tall grasses such as Sudan grass decompose, adding
                            >compost to the mix. The legume roots fix nitrogen. No need for
                            >seedballs, hardwood, or the philosophical speculations of Jean Pain,
                            >Marc Bonfils, or even Fukuoka.
                            >

                            --

                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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