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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Do nothing

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  • Robert Monie
    HI Dieter, The olla or ancient clay pot system of watering can still work well in many locations and gardens. A ceramicist in Australia has designed an
    Message 1 of 11 , May 18 2:46 PM
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      HI Dieter,

      The olla or ancient clay pot system of watering can still work well in many locations and gardens. A ceramicist in Australia has designed an "upscale" version of these that I have seen used in the Orinda/Berkeley area of California, but much cheaper and probably equally effective models can be built. See http://www.wateringsystems.net

      Some modern engineers have been especially attracted to the hows and whys of ancient watering systems. One notable engineer is Kenneth R. Wright; among his many investigations of ancient water-sparing irrigation systems are the following:

      Water for the Anasazi: How the Ancients of Mesa Verde Engineered Public Works

      Burried Clay Pot Irrigation

      Water Masters of Mesa Verde

      Tipon: Water Engineering Masterpieces of the Inca Empire

      Machu Picchu: A Civil Engineering Marvel

      Bob Monie
      New Orleans, LA


      brand@...> wrote:
      Jamie,

      You live in a very favourable climate. Where I live there are no edible annuals
      that will reseed without irrigation. Even with irrigation, reseeding doesn’t
      work very well, since without a selection of seeds, the variety will usually
      deteriorate, that is, supposing the seeds aren’t eaten by some animal
      before the next growing season, which is usually the case. And to waste
      precious irrigation water and time in the vague hope that something will
      come up is hardly sensible.

      Dieter Brand
      Portugal

      Jamie Nicol <souscayrous@...> wrote:
      ...
      Here are a few of the veg that reseed themselves or are natives already
      growing: asparagus, artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, cardoon, swiss chard and
      other leaf beets, beetroot, borage (it is too dry for comfrey, but borage is
      from the same family and grows prolifically), chicory, mache (miner's
      lettuce?), lettuce (there is much cross pollination but the new varieties
      while being smaller are very tasty), coriander (cilantro), rocket, mint,
      sage, lavender, thyme, rosemary, most radishes (there are many good, long
      radishes to seed if you can't get daikon), tomato, aubergine, peppers (these
      are borderline as they require more water than the two previous), marigold
      (calendular), tagetes, it is too dry for nasturtiums, water melon (they are
      small but they do grow well), cucumber, and some other cucurbits (see what
      works for you), parsnips, celery (small but have very strong flavour) and
      then there are the cereal crops like winter and summer wheat and barley,
      millet, amaranth and in good years maize.

      These are only a few, please add to the list if you can. I'll try and make a
      more detailed list when I'm in the garden next time.

      Jamie
      Souscayrous

      On 5/13/07, John Warner <daddyoat@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hello Jamie and Fukuoka List Members,
      >
      > Thanks, Jamie for the very significant question--a question to which I'm
      > very pleased to respond.
      >
      > First, I might say that "do nothing" is an overstatement. Overstatement is
      > deeply rooted in Eastern philosophy as seen particularly in the Tao Te Ching
      > with respect to leadership, the emphasis of non-action over taking action
      > and not meddling with the natural flow of things. It was Dante, perhaps,
      > that gave Christianity the Mortal Sins [the first being pride], for a Sufi
      > the greatest sin may be to forget God but a philosophical Taoist might make
      > a good case for saying that the worst human being of all is a "cunning
      > meddler". Taoism, as I understand it, had a very strong influence on some of
      > the branches of Buddhism that reached Japan and I suspect that this is
      > background to Mr. Fukuoka's philosophy. Overstatement is a literary
      > technique and one I'm personally inclined to use myself--after all what good
      > would writing be that, however technically correct, was uninspiring?
      >
      > It's in modern systems theory [and the disciplines sometimes referred to
      > as the "new sciences"] where the scientist meets the Taoist philosopher and
      > says "hello". This is reflected in books such as "The Tao of Physics" and
      > "The Dancing Wu Lu Masters" and a number of others that have been published
      > over the past 50 years of so. A book that particularly influenced me was
      > Fritjof Capra's "The Turning Point" published in the 80s.
      >
      > Whole Systems Agriculture is a reflection of this union. Please visit our
      > website where reference is made to this particularly, as I recall, in the
      > section on species complexity. Also on the website is a paper by Dr. Joe
      > Lewis and others, titled "A Total Systems Approach to Sustainable Pest
      > Management" which gives a lot of theoretical information on how, with
      > sufficient complexity, pest management can take care of itself--at least to
      > a large extent. Examples from our farm follow.
      >
      > Last year we had record breaking heat--three days of 113F and a number of
      > others well over 100F. Shortly afterward aphids hit all our beans like a
      > whammy. We were experimenting with a number of old varieties like "Christmas
      > Lima", "Willow-Leaf Lima", and some from Native Seed Search with long names
      > I can't recall at the moment. But they all got it--absolutely dripping with
      > honeydew. The infestation was so bad I had to compromise with my philosophy
      > of non-intervention and I sprayed a solution of dish detergent.but it was
      > to little avail. But Lo! In a couple of weeks lady bird beetle larvae, and
      > later of course adults, began to appear.and eventually got thick enough to
      > clean up most of the plants. But by that time the beans had been critically
      > set back and a good part of the crop was lost.
      >
      > So I've woven a little theory on this. During the heat wave it got so hot
      > and dry that the lady bird beetle population took a big hit. [I recall my
      > old entomology professor asking rhetorically "what's the most common disease
      > of insects?". Answer: "lack of water". Well, the heat wave might have set
      > back all the insect life but, as we know, plant eaters, and aphids in
      > particular, are real champs at reproduction. In fact, in the early stages of
      > the aphid population cycle, they don't even have to bother with having sex.
      > Only females hatch who reproduce parthogenically [that is, they clone
      > themselves]. This resulted in an explosion the beetles couldn't keep up
      > with.
      >
      > The above, although it resulted in a loss [still, some beans got
      > harvested] it illustrates the do-nothing principles I'm talking about.
      >
      > We're looking at nature's self-organizing principle at work. For this to
      > work there needs to be a lot of complexity Next week, the Agricultural
      > Inspector will be coming for her annual visit to see if we are actually
      > growing all the things we sell at the farmers market. On the forms required,
      > I listed nearly 200 species--lumping, for the most part, varieties and
      > colors together. This does not include the plants we don't sell but have set
      > out and about for esthetic reasons and also as habitat for beneficials. Lots
      > of shrubs here--brooms, acacias, privet and the champ of fast growth:
      > butterfly bush. We have perhaps 30 oaks. [Jamie, a couple of these came from
      > acorns you sent from France--thanks again.]. Mostly we have holly and cork
      > oaks.
      >
      > I now have 2 sons that support themselves completely from their work on
      > our little farm. I hold this up in support of the efficacy of our theory and
      > our practice. One harvests and sells at the markets while the other works
      > with me on production. How do they find their places, their niches, in the
      > work on the farm? In the same way skunks find chicken pens and hollow
      > logs--that is by the principles of self-organization. Or perhaps you could
      > think of it as do-nothing management on my part.
      >
      > Sorry about a rather poor job of editing this. There's lots to do outside.
      > But please visit our website for more about our work and read, if you're
      > inclined, Dr. Lewis' important paper. Dr. Lewis and Mr. Fukukoka may not
      > know of each other but if they met I suspect they'd find some common ground.
      >
      > Good wishes all,
      >
      > John Warner, Madera Whole Systems Agriculture near Fresno, California
      > No-tractor, no tillage, permanent mulch market growers since 1996
      > http://www.wholesystemsag.org
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >

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    • Dieter Brand
      Bob, Thanks for the clay pot idea. Hadn’t heard of that one before. It may, however, be a little difficult to get porous clay pots releasing just the right
      Message 2 of 11 , May 19 2:56 PM
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        Bob,

        Thanks for the clay pot idea. Hadn’t heard of that one before. It may,
        however, be a little difficult to get porous clay pots releasing just the
        right amount of water.

        I live in a semi-arid zone - not a drop of rain from May through September with
        temperatures of up to 40 deg C in the July/August period. Therefore, water
        is the limiting factor in everything I do. In the last few years I have been able
        to reduce irrigation by about 80% mainly by converting to no-till and adding
        compost and mulch to the top. I also chucked out all that fancy irrigation
        equipment including sprinklers, mini-sprinklers, drip systems, etc. Now
        I’m only using an open watering hose modulating the water jet with my
        thumb into a film softly landing on the heavily mulched soil. Perhaps old
        man Fukuoka was right after all when he admonished us to "think about
        what you can do less".

        Dieter Brand
        Portugal

        Robert Monie <bobm20001@...> wrote:
        HI Dieter,

        The olla or ancient clay pot system of watering can still work well in many locations and gardens. A ceramicist in Australia has designed an "upscale" version of these that I have seen used in the Orinda/Berkeley area of California, but much cheaper and probably equally effective models can be built. See http://www.wateringsystems.net

        Some modern engineers have been especially attracted to the hows and whys of ancient watering systems. One notable engineer is Kenneth R. Wright; among his many investigations of ancient water-sparing irrigation systems are the following:

        Water for the Anasazi: How the Ancients of Mesa Verde Engineered Public Works

        Burried Clay Pot Irrigation

        Water Masters of Mesa Verde

        Tipon: Water Engineering Masterpieces of the Inca Empire

        Machu Picchu: A Civil Engineering Marvel

        Bob Monie
        New Orleans, LA


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      • Gloria C. Baikauskas
        Dieter, Have you read Albrecht s, The Myth of Drought? It can be read at http://www.soilandhealth.org The more organic material you have in and on the soil
        Message 3 of 11 , May 19 10:55 PM
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          Dieter, Have you read Albrecht's, The Myth of Drought? It can be
          read at http://www.soilandhealth.org

          The more organic material you have in and on the soil the more
          moisture the soil will hold.
          Gloria, Texas

          --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Dieter Brand <diebrand@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > Jamie,
          >
          > You live in a very favourable climate. Where I live there are no
          edible annuals
          > that will reseed without irrigation. Even with irrigation,
          reseeding doesn't
          > work very well, since without a selection of seeds, the variety
          will usually
          > deteriorate, that is, supposing the seeds aren't eaten by some
          animal
          > before the next growing season, which is usually the case. And
          to waste
          > precious irrigation water and time in the vague hope that
          something will
          > come up is hardly sensible.
          >
          > Dieter Brand
          > Portugal
          >
          > Jamie Nicol <souscayrous@...> wrote:
          > ...
          > Here are a few of the veg that reseed themselves or are natives
          already
          > growing: asparagus, artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, cardoon, swiss
          chard and
          > other leaf beets, beetroot, borage (it is too dry for comfrey, but
          borage is
          > from the same family and grows prolifically), chicory, mache
          (miner's
          > lettuce?), lettuce (there is much cross pollination but the new
          varieties
          > while being smaller are very tasty), coriander (cilantro), rocket,
          mint,
          > sage, lavender, thyme, rosemary, most radishes (there are many
          good, long
          > radishes to seed if you can't get daikon), tomato, aubergine,
          peppers (these
          > are borderline as they require more water than the two previous),
          marigold
          > (calendular), tagetes, it is too dry for nasturtiums, water melon
          (they are
          > small but they do grow well), cucumber, and some other cucurbits
          (see what
          > works for you), parsnips, celery (small but have very strong
          flavour) and
          > then there are the cereal crops like winter and summer wheat and
          barley,
          > millet, amaranth and in good years maize.
          >
          > These are only a few, please add to the list if you can. I'll try
          and make a
          > more detailed list when I'm in the garden next time.
          >
          > Jamie
          > Souscayrous
          >
          > On 5/13/07, John Warner <daddyoat@...> wrote:
          > >
          > > Hello Jamie and Fukuoka List Members,
          > >
          > > Thanks, Jamie for the very significant question--a question to
          which I'm
          > > very pleased to respond.
          > >
          > > First, I might say that "do nothing" is an overstatement.
          Overstatement is
          > > deeply rooted in Eastern philosophy as seen particularly in the
          Tao Te Ching
          > > with respect to leadership, the emphasis of non-action over
          taking action
          > > and not meddling with the natural flow of things. It was Dante,
          perhaps,
          > > that gave Christianity the Mortal Sins [the first being pride],
          for a Sufi
          > > the greatest sin may be to forget God but a philosophical Taoist
          might make
          > > a good case for saying that the worst human being of all is
          a "cunning
          > > meddler". Taoism, as I understand it, had a very strong influence
          on some of
          > > the branches of Buddhism that reached Japan and I suspect that
          this is
          > > background to Mr. Fukuoka's philosophy. Overstatement is a
          literary
          > > technique and one I'm personally inclined to use myself--after
          all what good
          > > would writing be that, however technically correct, was
          uninspiring?
          > >
          > > It's in modern systems theory [and the disciplines sometimes
          referred to
          > > as the "new sciences"] where the scientist meets the Taoist
          philosopher and
          > > says "hello". This is reflected in books such as "The Tao of
          Physics" and
          > > "The Dancing Wu Lu Masters" and a number of others that have been
          published
          > > over the past 50 years of so. A book that particularly influenced
          me was
          > > Fritjof Capra's "The Turning Point" published in the 80s.
          > >
          > > Whole Systems Agriculture is a reflection of this union. Please
          visit our
          > > website where reference is made to this particularly, as I
          recall, in the
          > > section on species complexity. Also on the website is a paper by
          Dr. Joe
          > > Lewis and others, titled "A Total Systems Approach to Sustainable
          Pest
          > > Management" which gives a lot of theoretical information on how,
          with
          > > sufficient complexity, pest management can take care of itself--
          at least to
          > > a large extent. Examples from our farm follow.
          > >
          > > Last year we had record breaking heat--three days of 113F and a
          number of
          > > others well over 100F. Shortly afterward aphids hit all our beans
          like a
          > > whammy. We were experimenting with a number of old varieties
          like "Christmas
          > > Lima", "Willow-Leaf Lima", and some from Native Seed Search with
          long names
          > > I can't recall at the moment. But they all got it--absolutely
          dripping with
          > > honeydew. The infestation was so bad I had to compromise with my
          philosophy
          > > of non-intervention and I sprayed a solution of dish
          detergent.but it was
          > > to little avail. But Lo! In a couple of weeks lady bird beetle
          larvae, and
          > > later of course adults, began to appear.and eventually got thick
          enough to
          > > clean up most of the plants. But by that time the beans had been
          critically
          > > set back and a good part of the crop was lost.
          > >
          > > So I've woven a little theory on this. During the heat wave it
          got so hot
          > > and dry that the lady bird beetle population took a big hit. [I
          recall my
          > > old entomology professor asking rhetorically "what's the most
          common disease
          > > of insects?". Answer: "lack of water". Well, the heat wave might
          have set
          > > back all the insect life but, as we know, plant eaters, and
          aphids in
          > > particular, are real champs at reproduction. In fact, in the
          early stages of
          > > the aphid population cycle, they don't even have to bother with
          having sex.
          > > Only females hatch who reproduce parthogenically [that is, they
          clone
          > > themselves]. This resulted in an explosion the beetles couldn't
          keep up
          > > with.
          > >
          > > The above, although it resulted in a loss [still, some beans got
          > > harvested] it illustrates the do-nothing principles I'm talking
          about.
          > >
          > > We're looking at nature's self-organizing principle at work. For
          this to
          > > work there needs to be a lot of complexity Next week, the
          Agricultural
          > > Inspector will be coming for her annual visit to see if we are
          actually
          > > growing all the things we sell at the farmers market. On the
          forms required,
          > > I listed nearly 200 species--lumping, for the most part,
          varieties and
          > > colors together. This does not include the plants we don't sell
          but have set
          > > out and about for esthetic reasons and also as habitat for
          beneficials. Lots
          > > of shrubs here--brooms, acacias, privet and the champ of fast
          growth:
          > > butterfly bush. We have perhaps 30 oaks. [Jamie, a couple of
          these came from
          > > acorns you sent from France--thanks again.]. Mostly we have holly
          and cork
          > > oaks.
          > >
          > > I now have 2 sons that support themselves completely from their
          work on
          > > our little farm. I hold this up in support of the efficacy of our
          theory and
          > > our practice. One harvests and sells at the markets while the
          other works
          > > with me on production. How do they find their places, their
          niches, in the
          > > work on the farm? In the same way skunks find chicken pens and
          hollow
          > > logs--that is by the principles of self-organization. Or perhaps
          you could
          > > think of it as do-nothing management on my part.
          > >
          > > Sorry about a rather poor job of editing this. There's lots to do
          outside.
          > > But please visit our website for more about our work and read, if
          you're
          > > inclined, Dr. Lewis' important paper. Dr. Lewis and Mr. Fukukoka
          may not
          > > know of each other but if they met I suspect they'd find some
          common ground.
          > >
          > > Good wishes all,
          > >
          > > John Warner, Madera Whole Systems Agriculture near Fresno,
          California
          > > No-tractor, no tillage, permanent mulch market growers since 1996
          > > http://www.wholesystemsag.org
          > >
          > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          > >
          > >
          > >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > ---------------------------------
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          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
        • Dieter Brand
          Gloria, Thanks for the Soil and Health Library Link. There seem to be a lot of interesting titles. I will download the Albrecht as soon as I can get to a
          Message 4 of 11 , May 19 11:21 PM
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            Gloria,

            Thanks for the Soil and Health Library Link. There seem to be
            a lot of interesting titles. I will download the Albrecht as soon
            as I can get to a place with a faster Internet access.

            I absolutely agree about the importance of soil organic matter,
            especially if you combine it with a no-till system so as to keep
            the organic web intact.

            Dieter Brand
            Portugal

            "Gloria C. Baikauskas" <gcb49@...> wrote:
            Dieter, Have you read Albrecht's, The Myth of Drought? It can be
            read at http://www.soilandhealth.org

            The more organic material you have in and on the soil the more
            moisture the soil will hold.
            Gloria, Texas



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          • michael
            Same here. We eat more and more the things which have self seeded around from our original plantings of years/decades ago, mostly Asian and European species of
            Message 5 of 11 , Jun 12, 2007
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              Same here. We eat more and more the things which have self seeded
              around from our original plantings of years/decades ago, mostly Asian
              and European species of origin, not the hybrids of millennia, and
              also many so-called weed plants. The daikon have reverted to their
              wild form and need only thinning, by eating green of course. Some go
              to seed and the young seed pods are eaten. The arugula is all over
              the place, as is the shungiku and wild broccoli. I can't keep them or
              the purslane out of the gravel driveway; not that i want to. Things
              have spread to the orchard and for some reason the European alien
              (sorry EU, that what the books call them) grasses are in decline as
              the edible things increase. Who knows where this will all go but
              after 25 years, OSR is looking more obvious. It takes a long time to
              figure out how to do nothing.

              On May 14, 2007, at 7:34 AM, Jamie Nicol wrote:

              > So I now try not to dig beds at all, seed but not transplant, seed
              > everything I can get my hands on, especially those that will reseed
              > themselves annually, irrigate only when forced to by drought, leave
              > no earth
              > bare (both above ground and below), harvest a fraction of the plants
              > growing, never weed by pulling (just cut the volunteer at the
              > moment it
              > flowers), return volunteer or unused crop to beds, use anything
              > growing
              > nearby as mulch for the beds, always leave volunteer leguminous plants
              > (nitrogen fixing), leave some native leguminous trees or fruit
              > trees or
              > shrubs (trees are the prerequisite for a mediterranean natural
              > agriculture)...
              >
              > do-nothing seems to me to be about giving up any control and
              > beginning to
              > play with nature. Not caring what grows (for if there are enough
              > seeds,
              > irrespective of the weather, the soil will be covered by growth), just
              > casting seeds and watching what happens.



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Jamie Nicol
              Dear michael, it s good to hear your thoughts after practicising so many years of doing nothing and that you find that One-Straw becomes more obvious as
              Message 6 of 11 , Jun 13, 2007
              • 0 Attachment
                Dear michael, it's good to hear your thoughts after practicising so many
                years of 'doing nothing' and that you find that 'One-Straw' becomes more
                obvious as time passes. You mention purslane, which I forgot to mention in
                my list, but is just about my favourite veg to eat and doesn't take any
                space in the garden as, like you, it grows on the gravel track beside the
                garden and requires (thrives) no intervention from me.
                I have a video of Fukuoka speaking in India (thanks to Michiyo) where he
                insists that there be no soil disturbance at all and that NF is nothing
                other than casting seedballs. But, given enough seeds, I suspect that one
                can do without the clay entirely (and letting plants go to seed and then
                seed themselves is an excellent way of ensuring enough seed). All we need do
                is return seeds to the land left bare of plants (and thus bare of seeds) and
                the green will return.

                And yes, this also means in droughty areas! Rain doesn't fall from the sky
                but grows up from the ground.

                Jamie
                Souscayrous

                On 6/12/07, michael <mdearing@...> wrote:
                >
                > Same here. We eat more and more the things which have self seeded
                > around from our original plantings of years/decades ago, mostly Asian
                > and European species of origin, not the hybrids of millennia, and
                > also many so-called weed plants. The daikon have reverted to their
                > wild form and need only thinning, by eating green of course. Some go
                > to seed and the young seed pods are eaten. The arugula is all over
                > the place, as is the shungiku and wild broccoli. I can't keep them or
                > the purslane out of the gravel driveway; not that i want to. Things
                > have spread to the orchard and for some reason the European alien
                > (sorry EU, that what the books call them) grasses are in decline as
                > the edible things increase. Who knows where this will all go but
                > after 25 years, OSR is looking more obvious. It takes a long time to
                > figure out how to do nothing.
                >
                > On May 14, 2007, at 7:34 AM, Jamie Nicol wrote:
                >
                > > So I now try not to dig beds at all, seed but not transplant, seed
                > > everything I can get my hands on, especially those that will reseed
                > > themselves annually, irrigate only when forced to by drought, leave
                > > no earth
                > > bare (both above ground and below), harvest a fraction of the plants
                > > growing, never weed by pulling (just cut the volunteer at the
                > > moment it
                > > flowers), return volunteer or unused crop to beds, use anything
                > > growing
                > > nearby as mulch for the beds, always leave volunteer leguminous plants
                > > (nitrogen fixing), leave some native leguminous trees or fruit
                > > trees or
                > > shrubs (trees are the prerequisite for a mediterranean natural
                > > agriculture)...
                > >
                > > do-nothing seems to me to be about giving up any control and
                > > beginning to
                > > play with nature. Not caring what grows (for if there are enough
                > > seeds,
                > > irrespective of the weather, the soil will be covered by growth), just
                > > casting seeds and watching what happens.
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >


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