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RE: [fukuoka_farming] Humus-making according to P. A. Yeomans

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  • 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 1 of 2 , Dec 18, 2006
      The Soil and Health online library has copies of Yeomans books for download
      - with permission from Allan Yeomans himself. Here is the link:


      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

      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

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