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Humus-making according to P. A. Yeomans

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  • Robert Monie
    P A Yeomans book The City Forest is a good read for anyone lucky enough to find a copy (one is currently for sale for $103 on Amazon.com). After other plows
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 18, 2006
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      P A Yeomans book "The City Forest" is a good read for anyone lucky enough to find a copy (one is currently for sale for $103 on Amazon.com). After other plows "broke the prairie," and created the American Dust Bowl, Yeomans' chisel plow helped restore the land. Some of his recommendations resemble those later popularized as permaculture and forest farming, and he continued some practices of the earlier ley farmers as well, especially relating humus and topsoil formation.

      In his "Keyline System," he recommended "changing the subsoil conditions to better suit the aerobic soil organisms' conversion of sub-soil into topsoil." He pointed out that "the organisms need warmth, space for air and moisture, plus a plentiful supply of high protein food." This emphasis on the singlular role of protein (probably what we today would call glycoproteins) rather than carbohydrates in creating topsoil anticipates the insights of Dr. Michael Melendrez today. Yeomans considered the "root systems of pasture legumes" the preferred food source for the microbes that produce humus. He stated that "for rapid soil growth some of the roots [of these pasture legumes] must die." His method was to periodically "use stock to quickly eat down most of the aboveground parts of the plant," preferably at flowering time just when the legume roots have turned from white to brown and also to disturb the roots themselves, to help break them down.

      For Yeomans, humus was mainly the product of the right microbes (what we would today identify as the Glomus family?) feeding on the right decaying and partially disturbed legume roots at the right time, just after the they began to flower. The process was optimized by letting the animals chew up or claw up the pasture just enough to "prepare" the root feast for the microbes.

      So, there is much more to Yeomans than his admittedly innovative chisel plow and methods of capturing water. Ultimately, it is the roots and their microbial communities that make the humus, and Yeoman understood this well.

      Bob Monie
      Zone 8

      Yeomans' out of print books sell on amazon.com for $100.00 or more, when you can find them. I suspect that Yeomans', like Hugh Corley and the other English ley and
      pasture farmers, is one more nearly-forgotten master that we can learn from today in
      our attempts to regrow lost topsoil.

      Bob Monie
      New Orleans/River Ridge, LA




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Linda Shewan
      The Soil and Health online library has copies of Yeomans books for download - with permission from Allan Yeomans himself. Here is the link:
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 18, 2006
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        The Soil and Health online library has copies of Yeomans books for download
        - with permission from Allan Yeomans himself. Here is the link:



        http://www.soilandhealth.org/01aglibrary/01aglibwelcome.html



        Steve Solomon runs this amazing online library - highly recommended!



        Cheers, Linda



        _____

        From: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
        [mailto:fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Robert Monie
        Sent: Tuesday, 19 December 2006 1:24 AM
        To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Humus-making according to P. A. Yeomans



        P A Yeomans book "The City Forest" is a good read for anyone lucky enough to
        find a copy (one is currently for sale for $103 on Amazon.com). After other
        plows "broke the prairie," and created the American Dust Bowl, Yeomans'
        chisel plow helped restore the land. Some of his recommendations resemble
        those later popularized as permaculture and forest farming, and he continued
        some practices of the earlier ley farmers as well, especially relating humus
        and topsoil formation.

        In his "Keyline System," he recommended "changing the subsoil conditions to
        better suit the aerobic soil organisms' conversion of sub-soil into
        topsoil." He pointed out that "the organisms need warmth, space for air and
        moisture, plus a plentiful supply of high protein food." This emphasis on
        the singlular role of protein (probably what we today would call
        glycoproteins) rather than carbohydrates in creating topsoil anticipates the
        insights of Dr. Michael Melendrez today. Yeomans considered the "root
        systems of pasture legumes" the preferred food source for the microbes that
        produce humus. He stated that "for rapid soil growth some of the roots [of
        these pasture legumes] must die." His method was to periodically "use stock
        to quickly eat down most of the aboveground parts of the plant," preferably
        at flowering time just when the legume roots have turned from white to brown
        and also to disturb the roots themselves, to help break them down.

        For Yeomans, humus was mainly the product of the right microbes (what we
        would today identify as the Glomus family?) feeding on the right decaying
        and partially disturbed legume roots at the right time, just after the they
        began to flower. The process was optimized by letting the animals chew up or
        claw up the pasture just enough to "prepare" the root feast for the
        microbes.

        So, there is much more to Yeomans than his admittedly innovative chisel plow
        and methods of capturing water. Ultimately, it is the roots and their
        microbial communities that make the humus, and Yeoman understood this well.

        Bob Monie
        Zone 8

        Yeomans' out of print books sell on amazon.com for $100.00 or more, when you
        can find them. I suspect that Yeomans', like Hugh Corley and the other
        English ley and
        pasture farmers, is one more nearly-forgotten master that we can learn from
        today in
        our attempts to regrow lost topsoil.

        Bob Monie
        New Orleans/River Ridge, LA



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





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