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Re: Natural farming on highlands

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  • 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 1 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 2 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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