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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Natural farming on highlands

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  • Javier Dávila
    this is what i´m doing with the stones. http://www.flickr.com/photos/13735317@N00/sets/72157594401878480/ Javier h. ... PD. THANKS ROBERT MONIE FOR THE WEB
    Message 1 of 17 , Dec 2, 2006
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      this is what i´m doing with the stones.

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/13735317@N00/sets/72157594401878480/

      Javier h.
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      PD. THANKS ROBERT MONIE FOR THE WEB ADDRESS


      At 12:17 a.m. 02/12/2006, Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude Catry wrote:

      >< the other way is building a tall wall
      >and moove all the soil with a hoe until I get a flat surface>
      >
      >Ideally when you want to built a terrasse with
      >high retaining walls it will be important to
      >remove the top soil , bringing down the subsoil
      >to make it flat then recover with the top soil .
      >it will minimize the burrying of good top soil
      >against the wall deep down and thinning the top
      >soil on the upper part of the terrace .
      >the way i do it in my garden ( on a rock bluff )
      >i fill the space behind the wall with wood and
      >other organic matter mixed with some soil that i
      >gather from ditches ( my terrasses are small
      >scale )then plant all the plants that have been
      >listed to you allready that are known great soil builders .
      >jean-claude
      >
      >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
    • Javier Dávila
      this is what i´m doing with the stones. http://www.flickr.com/photos/13735317@N00/sets/72157594401878480/ Javier h. ... PD. THANKS ROBERT MONIE FOR THE WEB
      Message 2 of 17 , Dec 2, 2006
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        this is what i´m doing with the stones.

        http://www.flickr.com/photos/13735317@N00/sets/72157594401878480/

        Javier h.
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        PD. THANKS ROBERT MONIE FOR THE WEB ADDRESS


        At 12:17 a.m. 02/12/2006, Ingrid Bauer / Jean-Claude Catry wrote:

        >< the other way is building a tall wall
        >and moove all the soil with a hoe until I get a flat surface>
        >
        >Ideally when you want to built a terrasse with
        >high retaining walls it will be important to
        >remove the top soil , bringing down the subsoil
        >to make it flat then recover with the top soil .
        >it will minimize the burrying of good top soil
        >against the wall deep down and thinning the top
        >soil on the upper part of the terrace .
        >the way i do it in my garden ( on a rock bluff )
        >i fill the space behind the wall with wood and
        >other organic matter mixed with some soil that i
        >gather from ditches ( my terrasses are small
        >scale )then plant all the plants that have been
        >listed to you allready that are known great soil builders .
        >jean-claude
        >
        >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
      • Jeff
        HI all, I just finished reading a book by Jane Poynter on Biosphere 2. Really more of a physchological tale on isolation and group dynamics, but I did track
        Message 3 of 17 , Dec 6, 2006
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          HI all,

          I just finished reading a book by Jane Poynter on Biosphere 2.
          Really more of a physchological tale on isolation and group
          dynamics, but I did track down an small paper about limited details
          on the food grown there.

          It caught me as some what of a surprise how in-adequately prepared
          the Biospherians were for weed and pest problems.
          It references double dig /bio-intensive method favored by John
          Jeavons. And scientifically it compares favorably to tropical
          production of food and NASA's hydroponic efforts> (they outproduced
          other sources), however, the diet selection was hardly inspiring
          (mostly rice, peanuts, lablab beans, goat milk, bananas, sweet
          potatoes and paypays, along with various greens). Wheat and sorgum
          also made a small dent, but the sweet potato production is what kept
          them alive. They ate so much they turned orange from all the beta-
          carotine.

          What struck me as odd, is the missing of some rather important
          tropical foods: sugar cane was mentioned as being grown, and a
          processing unit was in the biosphere, but apparently, this source
          never contribuated significantly to their diet. Manioc/taro was 'not
          preferred" but not mentioned further. Also missing was Avacado, a
          great source of nutrition on calories.
          Corn was planted but not mentioned as significant. Barley is usually
          a better choice then wheat for production, unless they were wanting
          bread, which they said the didn't really eat much of (turned hard).
          Radishes and Daikons, a staple of most organic farmers (especially
          with its fast growth) wasn't mentioned as significant. Bananas were
          a staple, but not included was the more starchy plantain, which
          would stick with the biospherians longer. Other things struck me as
          odd: their low production of fish through the rice patties.... Only
          30 fish over two years, and average weight was under a pound. It
          seems to me that a tilapia/azolla systems would produce more than
          this. (6820 ft^2 in rice patties)
          She also mentioned that 3-4 hrs/per day/per person was required to
          maintain this system. NAsas finds 2-3 hours/per day/per person to
          maintain their growth.
          This to me seems excessive. My traditional home garden requires much
          much less work than this per area. And this is where permaculture
          and fukuoka types systems have a chance to shine in reduced work
          load.:
          Now taking back a step, I read the Greg Williams review and Toby
          Hemenway's response to the Permaculture critic.
          I'll summarize briefly:
          G. WIlliams (show me the money) er Show my examples and yeild data.
          T Hemenways: we don't really have good/or any data,
          T Hemenway: even if we did your missing the point,

          While Toby does desparately want data to be found, or created in the
          future, he acknoewledges that permaculture seeks something beyond
          the scientific realm, Jane and the Biospherians claim much the same
          thing, (that science, in a sense has gotten to far along
          micromanaging everything, and re really don't even hae a language
          that works to comunicate between different scientific fields.)
          Essentially ecology.
          does anyone have numbers for fukuoka production besides the bonfils
          wheat and the fukuoka rice/barley method?

          It seems to me that there needs to be a reductionist study of the
          imputs of these studies to effectively communicate the vastly
          different energy flows in these systsems to traditional scientists.
          Unfortunately , the science of nutrient/energy flow is just begining
          to get a handle on largely mono-culutral simplified systtms, belying
          the need and finances to fund such a project of the semi-functional
          buffer areas..

          Following up this thought, I would like to know which crops everyone
          thinks are the most productive for the amount of labor you put into
          them? the yield per square foot of the staples of the Biospherians
          realy surprised me> ..
          Egg plant topped the list,
          vegetables that also did well, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, onions
          and green beans.
          With sweet potatoe way behind.
          and rice being one fourth, that of sweet potatoe.
          But of course you really shouldn't live mostly on sweet potatoes,
          but that's another discussion entirely.
          Fruits were measured per plant rather than per area, so not
          comparable to this yeild.

          Any comments?
          Jeff
        • Robert Monie
          Hi Jeff, For a brighter marriage of technology and biota, see the Eden Project (http://www.edenproject.com), which brings together the world s biomes under the
          Message 4 of 17 , Dec 7, 2006
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            Hi Jeff,

            For a brighter marriage of technology and biota, see the Eden Project (http://www.edenproject.com), which brings together the world's biomes under the shimmering transluency of "next-generation" geodesic domes and tensegrity structures engineered by Nicholas Grimshaw and Company. The Eden project respects (and openly uses) the Earth and its atmosphere and makes no attempt to transform a barren self-imposed vacuum into a quasi-Earth by terrafarming, as the Biosphere mistakenly did.

            The trouble with Biosphere is that it was (as the old English proverb goes) "neither fish nor fowl." James Loveck and other visionary scientists toyed with the idea of greening Mars and making an Earthly atmosphere there by seeding the planet with the right plants and other life forms, thus giving birth to a viable ecology, an atmosphere, a planetary Gaian system(see Lovelock's book, The Greening of Mars). The biospherians didn't run with this ball; they stumbled, fumbled, and ultimately fouled their way through it--a bad game all around. Instead of trying to terraform a little patch of, say the Moon, the biospherians decided to seal themselves up on the surface of their own planet, Mother Earth, to see if they could reconstruct her benefits with their own derivative (and drastically simplified) design. The plants and animals they set up to make a self-sufficient ecology didn't mesh or produce enough oxygen or food, so they just opened the portal seals to let in Earth's
            own air (did they also sneak in a few Pizzas and and spinach wraps?), rather like boys and girls running away from home but making sure to stuff plently of Mama's pumpkin pie in their knapsacks.

            The Biosphere wasn't much of a farm or much of a "space-ship earth" or much of a simulation of what would happen if you really tried to terrafarm other planets. The windows weren't transparent enough to allow full spectrum light in (compare Eden's which are better) and the overall design style was undistinguished (compare Bucky Fuller's beautiful botanical garden in St. Louis, Grimshaw's Eden, or both the old and the new greenhouses at Kew Gardens). One bright spot was nutritionist Roy Walford, who had done excellent work in planning an optimal diet that would extend human longevity by creative caloric restriction, but the poor man was stricken with a terminal illness (perhaps triggered by his confinement or perhaps not), and most of the other biospherians also experienced various degrees of unwellness during their period of confinement.

            Could other planets be greened? In our solar system, Earth seems to be the right size, has the right orbit and the right density to support life "naturally"; the other planets do not. Since the other planets are so different, even if we found a way to irrigate them, get plankton to grow, and seed them with microbes and plants, would they ever look anything like Earth?
            Would they exude an atmosphere like ours or would something radically different occur (something more "natural" for them?). Biosphere could not have answered any of these questions, nor could it tell us if an orbiting space station could somehow be terraformed into a mini-Earth. Biosphere did reveal some unexpected problems in trying to seal off a habitat on the Earth's surface from the Earth's natural atmosphere and attempting to duplicate that atmosphere within.

            Whether this has much practical application, I do not know. Much would I rather see Earth dwellers downsize their houses to maybe under 800 sq. feet, dig up the rest of the lot and plant on it. Mars might or might not be greenable; cities on Earth without question are.

            Bob Monie
            Zone 8
            Jeff <shultonus@...> wrote:
            HI all,

            I just finished reading a book by Jane Poynter on Biosphere 2.
            Really more of a physchological tale on isolation and group
            dynamics, but I did track down an small paper about limited details
            on the food grown there.

            It caught me as some what of a surprise how in-adequately prepared
            the Biospherians were for weed and pest problems.
            It references double dig /bio-intensive method favored by John
            Jeavons. And scientifically it compares favorably to tropical
            production of food and NASA's hydroponic efforts> (they outproduced
            other sources), however, the diet selection was hardly inspiring
            (mostly rice, peanuts, lablab beans, goat milk, bananas, sweet
            potatoes and paypays, along with various greens). Wheat and sorgum
            also made a small dent, but the sweet potato production is what kept
            them alive. They ate so much they turned orange from all the beta-
            carotine.

            What struck me as odd, is the missing of some rather important
            tropical foods: sugar cane was mentioned as being grown, and a
            processing unit was in the biosphere, but apparently, this source
            never contribuated significantly to their diet. Manioc/taro was 'not
            preferred" but not mentioned further. Also missing was Avacado, a
            great source of nutrition on calories.
            Corn was planted but not mentioned as significant. Barley is usually
            a better choice then wheat for production, unless they were wanting
            bread, which they said the didn't really eat much of (turned hard).
            Radishes and Daikons, a staple of most organic farmers (especially
            with its fast growth) wasn't mentioned as significant. Bananas were
            a staple, but not included was the more starchy plantain, which
            would stick with the biospherians longer. Other things struck me as
            odd: their low production of fish through the rice patties.... Only
            30 fish over two years, and average weight was under a pound. It
            seems to me that a tilapia/azolla systems would produce more than
            this. (6820 ft^2 in rice patties)
            She also mentioned that 3-4 hrs/per day/per person was required to
            maintain this system. NAsas finds 2-3 hours/per day/per person to
            maintain their growth.
            This to me seems excessive. My traditional home garden requires much
            much less work than this per area. And this is where permaculture
            and fukuoka types systems have a chance to shine in reduced work
            load.:
            Now taking back a step, I read the Greg Williams review and Toby
            Hemenway's response to the Permaculture critic.
            I'll summarize briefly:
            G. WIlliams (show me the money) er Show my examples and yeild data.
            T Hemenways: we don't really have good/or any data,
            T Hemenway: even if we did your missing the point,

            While Toby does desparately want data to be found, or created in the
            future, he acknoewledges that permaculture seeks something beyond
            the scientific realm, Jane and the Biospherians claim much the same
            thing, (that science, in a sense has gotten to far along
            micromanaging everything, and re really don't even hae a language
            that works to comunicate between different scientific fields.)
            Essentially ecology.
            does anyone have numbers for fukuoka production besides the bonfils
            wheat and the fukuoka rice/barley method?

            It seems to me that there needs to be a reductionist study of the
            imputs of these studies to effectively communicate the vastly
            different energy flows in these systsems to traditional scientists.
            Unfortunately , the science of nutrient/energy flow is just begining
            to get a handle on largely mono-culutral simplified systtms, belying
            the need and finances to fund such a project of the semi-functional
            buffer areas..

            Following up this thought, I would like to know which crops everyone
            thinks are the most productive for the amount of labor you put into
            them? the yield per square foot of the staples of the Biospherians
            realy surprised me> ..
            Egg plant topped the list,
            vegetables that also did well, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, onions
            and green beans.
            With sweet potatoe way behind.
            and rice being one fourth, that of sweet potatoe.
            But of course you really shouldn't live mostly on sweet potatoes,
            but that's another discussion entirely.
            Fruits were measured per plant rather than per area, so not
            comparable to this yeild.

            Any comments?
            Jeff






            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • torskel87
            Thanks Bob Your message has been really helpfull for me, I´ve been trying to plant cover crops with tarwi and it has helped a lot to the soil, now I will try
            Message 5 of 17 , Dec 7, 2006
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              Thanks Bob
              Your message has been really helpfull for me, I´ve been trying to
              plant cover crops with tarwi and it has helped a lot to the soil, now
              I will try to look for the other cover crop plants like phalaris
              grass, woolypod vetch....
              Miguel
              Sacha Runa farm
              Ecuador




              --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Robert Monie <bobm20001@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Hi Miguel,
              >
              > Steve Vanek at Cornell has done important work in testing cover
              crops for the tropical highlands. Try emailing him at siv2@... A quick
              Cornell report on the subject is available at
              http://mulch.mannlib.cornell.edu/ccth/covcropspecies.htm
              >
              > Frijol Chinapopo, Tarwi, Yellow and White Sweet Clovers, Garotilla
              (Bur-Medic), Sanfoin, Woolypod Vetch, and Phalaris Grass have all been
              tried with some degree of success.
              >
              > An aggressive, deep-rooted legume like sweet clover, together with
              a grain like Quinoa, and a grass like Phalaris, would probably be
              ideal for increasing humus. Also, if you can grow Yacon, Sunchoke, and
              Chicory (Cichorium intybus) in the mix, the inulin in the roots
              should, after several rotations, add to the fertility of the soil.
              Generally, grains, grasses, legumes, and the high inulin plants
              (chicory, sunchoke, artichoke, onion, asparagus, sunflower) work
              together to create a "ley" that produces fertile topsoil. If any one
              of these categories of plants is missing in the cover crop (probably
              more accurately the "root crop" mix), you will may fall short of
              acheiving maximum benefits.
              >
              >
              > Bob Monie
              > New Orleans, LA
              > Zone 8
              >
              >
              > torskel87 <torskel87@...> wrote:
              > Hi Everyone
              > This is Miguel from Ecuador, I am very interested in the subject of
              > cover crops because I have been building terraces and once that I
              > build them the remaining soil is really poor because the intensive
              > labor and movement of the topsoil.
              > Maybe is not so natural to build terraces, and I am building them like
              > the Incas used to do,but I´ve seen that if you don´t build them in
              > hilly lands, water absortion and soil fertility are poor, once that I
              > build them the remaining soil is really poor so what I´ve trying is to
              > rebuild it with cover crops, but I am wondering if the cover crops
              > might be able to rebuild top soil once the it´s been completly mooved,
              > somebody have an idea about this...I ve tried two ways of building
              > terraces, one is by slow formation, just building a green wall of
              > grass and leting the soil to be cariied year after year by the rain,
              > and in this case the terraces are narrow, in this kind of terraces
              > I´ve tried with natural farming, the other way is building a tall wall
              > and moove all the soil with a hoe until I get a flat surface, in this
              > case is when I wonder if a cover crop might be able to rebuild the
              > soil????? In this case the terraces are usally broad.
              > Maybe it would more natural to create green contours, but it would
              > take a really long time until I get a flat surface on a slope.If
              > somebody have expeience with farming on hilly lands I would thank any
              > idea or advice.
              > The advantages of terracing are that once builded, fertility remains
              > forever and is not washed by the rain, and water absortion improves a
              > lot.Also the microclamate created in the terrace prtotects the plants
              > from the harsh conditions of the highlands(I am farming over 9200
              > ft)specially wind and frost, I´ve tried natural farming on terraces
              > and it works really good but only once the fertility is back, in some
              > terraces I´´ve been trying to grow vegetables in a natural way and is
              > amaizing to see daikon, lettuce, chard, turnip and clover replanting
              > by themselvs with any work year after year, the only thing that I do
              > in some terraces is spacing because daikon and lettuce seeds are
              > scattered by birds and grow to thick, but once that the spacing is
              > done the only thing that i have to do is harvesting....
              > Soon i would like to post some photos about the terraces and the
              > natural replanting of vegetables and andean tubers, but how do i post
              > the photos in the group???
              > Cheers
              > Miguel
              >
              > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Robert Monie <bobm20001@>
              > wrote:
              > >
              > > Hi Ty and Steve,
              > >
              > > Everything Steve said about rocks that far down under the field is
              > exactly right; unless you plan to specialize in growing some
              > fantastically deep underground plant like the Japanese Imo mountain
              > yam (cinnamon vine), you have plenty enough depth in your soil to grow
              > most vegetables, legumes, and fruits. In addition to adding organic
              > matter, you could experiment with various seasonaly rotating cover
              > crops to see which work best for you in your microclimate.
              > >
              > > Some cover crops to try are spelt, ryegrass, red clover, and hairy
              > vetch in fall/winter, buckwheat in summer, and yellow blossom clover
              > or birdsfoot trefoil in spring. Also try agricultural chicory for as
              > long as you can keep it going. Yellow mustard, daikon, and oilseed
              > radish are also good bets.
              > >
              > > Each of these crops has its own special role in creating topsoil,
              > both the humus and the glomular glycoprotein parts that science now
              > tells us are essential for soil fertility. Rye and buckwheat are
              > alleopathic and do most of your weeding for you; buckwheat also takes
              > up and releases phosphorus. Red Clover and yellow sweet clover burrow
              > through the hard soil (though don't expect them to do much with the
              > boulders--at least in the next 100 years) and fix nitrogen from the
              > air; birdsfoot trefoil also fixes nitrogen and is not nearly so
              > finicky about getting started as the clovers are; hairy vetch is a
              > companion plant to rye that flourishes in cool weather; buckwheat will
              > grow in the steaming South; yellow mustard mines nutrients from low
              > levels, sudan grass provides mass for decomposition; chicory adds
              > inulin to the soil to build humus, and so forth. One of the old "ley"
              > mixes might work well for you too (these usually combine chicory or
              > burnet, a bunchgrass or two, a few
              > > kinds of rye, a legume and some herbs for good measure). And don't
              > forget Fukuoka's beloved short and middle-sized white clovers, White
              > Dutch, New Zealand or New Zealand Dutch, or Ladino. In my experience
              > the white clovers work best after a few years of soil build up and
              > preparation. Then, you can really sow some vegetables among the
              > clovers and they just might come up.
              > >
              > > Some places where you can find these cover crops, expecially in
              > high quantity volume: Cooper Seeds http://www.cooperseeds.com for
              > buckwheat, ryegrass, hairy vetch and chicory and some of the clovers.
              > Main Street Seeds ttp://www.mainstreetseedandsupply.com a good
              > alternative.
              > >
              > > Pinetree Seeds http://www.superseeds.com for spelt and bird'sfoot
              > trefoil
              > >
              > > Peaceful Valley Seeds http://www.groworganic.com for mixed
              > (including yellow and white)mustard, oilseed radish (Johnny's Seeds
              > http://www. also has these and Sudan grass as well), an herbal pasture
              > mix (what I call a "ley mix"), and several clovers.
              > >
              > > Bob Monie
              > > Zone 8
              > > USA
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > Steve Gage <sgage@> wrote:
              > > Hey there Ty,
              > >
              > > Sounds exactly like typical New Hampshire conditions, only here we
              > blame
              > > the glacier instead of contractors :-)
              > >
              > > I surely wouldn't worry about what's 15-20 feet down. 15-20 inches is
              > > more like it around here.
              > >
              > > When you say "not very thick" about the topsoil, what do you mean?
              And
              > > it would be useful to let us know where you are. I know you're not in
              > > New Hampshire, because of the palm trees :-)
              > >
              > > In any case, there's probably quite a bit of soil around those big
              > > rocks. And what are you intending to grow? Seems like if the grass
              and
              > > palm trees are happy, you should have something to work with.
              > >
              > > But here's my free all-purpose prescription: Add organic matter :-)
              > >
              > > All best,
              > >
              > > - Steve
              > >
              > > tykei2 wrote:
              > > > Hi All,
              > > >
              > > > I think I may have a problem. I have secured a plot of land for
              > > > farming. But I recently discovered that its made up of several
              layers
              > > > that may make it difficult for farming, Im not sure.
              > > >
              > > > Its land that was modified to make the house that is on the property
              > > > stable as it is in a slide zone. In this respect it was a
              success, but
              > > > the way they did it might cause problems for me, Im not sure.
              > > >
              > > > On the very bottom layer there is some clay/soil type of
              element, its
              > > > about 15-20 feet down I estimate.
              > > >
              > > > On top of that the contractors dumped giant boulders, to
              stabalize the
              > > > ground. Id say 10 feet high tops.
              > > >
              > > > Then on top of that they put top soil, not a very thick layer, but
              > > > grass and palm trees are growing in it just fine.
              > > >
              > > > So my question is: will this cause me problems down the line as
              I try
              > > > to grow things?
              > > >
              > > > It seems that the plants would try to grow deep roots, getting
              through
              > > > the top soil only to hit giant rocks with not much soil at all
              at that
              > > > layer.
              > > >
              > > > Does anyone have any experience growing in these conditions?
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > thanks!
              > > >
              > > > -Ty
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > > Yahoo! Groups Links
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              > >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • garden03048
              ... great photos. Your walls look a lot like those we have here in New England. Your views may be better than ours, though. thanks, anthony NH zone 5
              Message 6 of 17 , Dec 9, 2006
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                --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Javier Dávila
                <j_h_davila@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                > this is what i´m doing with the stones.
                >
                > http://www.flickr.com/photos/13735317@N00/sets/72157594401878480/
                >
                > Javier h.

                > >
                > >
                >Javier,

                great photos. Your walls look a lot like those we have here in New
                England. Your views may be better than ours, though.

                thanks,

                anthony NH zone 5
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