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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Fukuoka rice: far north? seeds from where? no flooding?

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  • Nandan Palaparambil
    There is a system called System of Rice Intensification (SRI) which is also called Madagaskar method. Please see the link
    Message 1 of 28 , Nov 5 5:19 AM
      There is a system called System of Rice
      Intensification (SRI) which is also called Madagaskar
      method. Please see the link

      http://www.ikisan.com/links/ap_ricesri.shtml.

      The basic principle used is not to flood the field
      since as per this theory flooding reduces the aeration
      and is harmful for the microbes. Flooding is mainly
      used to control the weeds but in NF this is achieved
      using mulching.

      Conclusion - SRI method can be taken as a proof that
      conventional flooding is not required in paddy fields.



      --- Peter the <soil_n_health_fan@...>
      wrote:

      > Hello:
      >
      > I am trying to set up a Fukuoka rice/wheat/clover
      > rotation system, but I
      > was worrying about growing rice in the north.
      >
      > How far north have people successfully grown rice?
      > The site I am thinking
      > about has a moderate continental climate, roughly
      > the latitude of Southern
      > France.
      >
      > Also, where does on get seeds? Fukuoka mentioned
      > that he has some nice
      > seeds that are suitable for his method. Does
      > anybody use his seeds? What
      > seeds do you use? What seeds are used in the
      > "northern" regions?
      >
      >
      > Does anybody practice Fukuoka grain rotations in
      > Europe?
      >
      >
      > How do we grow rice without flooding? Fukuoka says
      > flooding is not
      > necessary for growth, just to weaken the clover so
      > that the rice shoots
      > can outcompete. Can we do without floodind? How do
      > we make sure that the
      > rice gets through the clover?
      >
      >
      > A question about clover. Do we need to reseed
      > clover each year? Isn't
      > clover a perennial? If we need to reseed, where do
      > we get the seed from?
      > For rice and wheat it is clear -- from the harvest.
      > But for clover?
      >
      >
      > A question about Acacia mearnsii. Somebody said 5-6
      > trees per quarter
      > acre for the orchard. How about for the grain
      > field?
      >
      >
      > A question about threshing. How did Fukuoka thresh?
      > How do you guys
      > thresh? How do you cut the grain before that?
      >
      >
      > A question about another rotations. Has anybody
      > tried other summer crops
      > instead of rice. Corn? Sunflower?
      >
      >
      > Your help will be greatly appreciated,
      >
      > --Peter.
      >


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    • Calin A. Radulescu
      rice will definitely ripen in a mediterranean kind of climate and even northern than that; actually it is grown commercially in northern california. the main
      Message 2 of 28 , Nov 5 1:15 PM
        rice will definitely ripen in a mediterranean kind of
        climate and even northern than that; actually it is
        grown commercially in northern california. the main
        limiting factor is humidity in the soil, and you'll
        have to provide that somehow.
        it is easier if the land location is close to a river,
        or marsh, etc. and the soil is mostly clay, otherwise
        you'll be fighting an uphill battle with evaporation.
        there are rice varieties that will grow better than
        others in a dry soil, also more natural methods of
        getting water to the soil other than flooding it,
        you'll just have to experiment with them.

        here are some links that will cover the basics of rice
        growing:

        http://www.amberwaves.org/mediaPages/growingRice/updates.html
        http://www.fao.org/SD/ERP/toolkit/Books/BFplants2/21wetpaddy_files/INDEX.HTM
        http://www.fao.org/SD/ERP/toolkit/Books/BFplants2/20uplandrice_files/INDEX.HTM
        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/satoyama/hillside.html

        for what i know fukuoka used a pedal drum thresher, it
        won't be too hard to build one from recycled bicycle
        parts and a small, wooden spool used in construction.

        good luck!



        --- Nandan Palaparambil <p_k_nandanan@...>
        wrote:

        > There is a system called System of Rice
        > Intensification (SRI) which is also called
        > Madagaskar
        > method. Please see the link
        >
        > http://www.ikisan.com/links/ap_ricesri.shtml.
        >
        > The basic principle used is not to flood the field
        > since as per this theory flooding reduces the
        > aeration
        > and is harmful for the microbes. Flooding is mainly
        > used to control the weeds but in NF this is achieved
        > using mulching.
        >
        > Conclusion - SRI method can be taken as a proof that
        > conventional flooding is not required in paddy
        > fields.
        >
        >
        >
        > --- Peter the <soil_n_health_fan@...>
        > wrote:
        >
        > > Hello:
        > >
        > > I am trying to set up a Fukuoka rice/wheat/clover
        > > rotation system, but I
        > > was worrying about growing rice in the north.
        > >
        > > How far north have people successfully grown rice?
        >
        > > The site I am thinking
        > > about has a moderate continental climate, roughly
        > > the latitude of Southern
        > > France.
        > >
        > > Also, where does on get seeds? Fukuoka mentioned
        > > that he has some nice
        > > seeds that are suitable for his method. Does
        > > anybody use his seeds? What
        > > seeds do you use? What seeds are used in the
        > > "northern" regions?
        > >
        > >
        > > Does anybody practice Fukuoka grain rotations in
        > > Europe?
        > >
        > >
        > > How do we grow rice without flooding? Fukuoka
        > says
        > > flooding is not
        > > necessary for growth, just to weaken the clover so
        > > that the rice shoots
        > > can outcompete. Can we do without floodind? How
        > do
        > > we make sure that the
        > > rice gets through the clover?
        > >
        > >
        > > A question about clover. Do we need to reseed
        > > clover each year? Isn't
        > > clover a perennial? If we need to reseed, where
        > do
        > > we get the seed from?
        > > For rice and wheat it is clear -- from the
        > harvest.
        > > But for clover?
        > >
        > >
        > > A question about Acacia mearnsii. Somebody said
        > 5-6
        > > trees per quarter
        > > acre for the orchard. How about for the grain
        > > field?
        > >
        > >
        > > A question about threshing. How did Fukuoka
        > thresh?
        > > How do you guys
        > > thresh? How do you cut the grain before that?
        > >
        > >
        > > A question about another rotations. Has anybody
        > > tried other summer crops
        > > instead of rice. Corn? Sunflower?
        > >
        > >
        > > Your help will be greatly appreciated,
        > >
        > > --Peter.
        > >
        >
        >
        > __________________________________________________
        > Do You Yahoo!?
        > Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam
        > protection around
        > http://mail.yahoo.com
        >


        __________________________________________________
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      • Peter the
        Dear Calin, Thank you for the information on rice, I am still studying it. ... This was useful! Anybody know how to build one, or where to get one? In a FAO
        Message 3 of 28 , Nov 5 4:01 PM
          Dear Calin,

          Thank you for the information on rice, I am still studying it.

          On Mon, 5 Nov 2007, Calin A. Radulescu wrote:

          | [...]
          |
          | for what i know fukuoka used a pedal drum thresher, it
          | won't be too hard to build one from recycled bicycle
          | parts and a small, wooden spool used in construction.
          |

          This was useful! Anybody know how to build one, or where to get one?

          In a FAO manual [http://www.fao.org/docrep/T0522E/T0522E07.htm%5d I found
          the multipurpose BAMBA motorized thresher (Bourgoin-France), which seems
          quite useful.

          The Bourgoin page
          [http://www.bourgoin.fr/FR/bourgoin-materiels_neufs-8-13.html%5d did not
          turn up very much information beyond that. Anybody has info on /
          experience with those?

          Are these machines sold in Romania or the neighborhood?


          With any other thresher that does not require heavy machinery to go in the
          field?


          I know that in our region (the Danubian Delta in Eastern Europe) in the
          past people have used [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threshing-board%5d.
          Seems like quite an inefficient process to me.

          At some point variants were introduced of the
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Threshing_machine -- these can be powered by
          animals, and the process seems quite much more efficient than the
          boards/sledges. It would not be too difficult and expensive to rent a
          couple of horses or oxen for a day or two thresh the output of a small
          farm. Anybody still selling those nowadays?


          --Peter.
        • Peter the
          Friends: I did a brief search for Marc Bonfils, but most of the stuff I found was in French. Have these things been translated? May be I need to try some
          Message 4 of 28 , Nov 5 4:55 PM
            Friends:

            I did a brief search for Marc Bonfils, but most of the stuff I found was
            in French. Have these things been translated? May be I need to try some
            automatic web-based translation, but some of the stuff was image scans
            from paper.


            Dieter:

            Thanks for the very useful comments below!


            To recap. Open issues: which clover, which winter grain, which summer
            crop (if any), how to beat the clover upon grain germination, which acacia
            (if any), threshing, drought-resistance; Marc Bonfils in English.



            On Sat, 3 Nov 2007, Dieter Brand wrote:

            | Peter,
            |
            | You have more questions than anybody can answer ;-)

            Don't we all :-)


            | Some of my own: where about are you located and on what
            | scale do you intend to work? What are soil and climate like?

            To be determined. I am making the plan right now.

            The target area is close the Delta of the river Danube, in Easter Europe.
            The latitude is roughly that of Toulouse in Southern France (43N-44N).
            The other European regions in the same latitude are either on the sea, or
            are mountainous, so I guess the Toulouse area would be the best
            approximation of the climate.

            Scale? TBD. Right now I have a commitment of around 8 hectares (20
            acres), but if the method works, we will be looking into adding more.
            Land is really inexpensive right now, but so are the rents. The reason is
            the high inputs of industrial agriculture that is practiced right now.
            Easily the cost of inputs per year is comparable to the cost of the land
            itself right now.

            Also, we will need to solve the threshing problem if we are to grow
            substantially.


            Soil? Probably fantastic. To the extent it can still be, after being
            ruined from half a century of industrial agriculture, that is. But
            nowhere near as ruined as in the US, and probably mostly elsewhere in
            Europe.

            |
            | I live in a semi-arid climate and don't have enough water to grow
            | rice during the summer.
            |

            Rice has never been commercially grown in our region, mainly because the
            summer is relatively dry (but probably not "arid"). I am still studying
            rice more closes, as per the links another kind soul provided. I saw the
            minimum requirements being 800 mm rainfall, and for wheat 560, which is
            not quite different. Wheat is definitely grown successfully there.

            | During the winter (Nov.-June), I can
            | grow most small grains (rye, barley, wheat, oats, etc.) and
            | winter-annual crops such as lupines, clover, faba beans,
            | vetch, peas, alfa alfa, etc. The challenge here is to find an
            | annual (or perennial) suitable to continue the crop rotation during
            | the summer. Any interruption of the crop coverage will allow the
            | weeds to grow back and you have to start from zero. I found
            | that I can grow sunflowers, a corn for dry land (zorrinho) during
            | the summer without irrigation, however these crops don't
            | suppress the weeds very well.

            Sunflowers and corn definitely grow in our region. What would happen if
            they grow through a stand of clover? A constant stand of self-sowing
            clover is also what Marc Bonfils uses.

            |
            | In the North, you probably have an interruption in the growing
            | schedule during the winter, but that may be easier to handle,
            |

            We do have an interruption, but winter wheat definitely works in our
            region. Alfalfa/lucerne is grown also, and it is perennial under our
            conditions. Is my hope unreasonable that we sow some kind of clover and
            it will maintain itself forever under and over the grain crops?

            | As I said, I have no experience with rice cultivation, but
            | most grains have no trouble growing through white clover.

            What makes wheat seeds outcompete an established stand of clover? Fukuoka
            uses flooding to tip the scales towards the rice. Flooding will probably
            be impractical for us. My theory is that may be the fertility provided to
            the grain seed in the seed balls is enough to let the grain shoot above
            the clover. Is that true?

            I have no experience with clover, but lucerne can grow quite high. Does
            one mow the stand at some judiciously chosen point? How does one decide
            when?


            | Best to find a clover that reseeds itself in your climate
            | because seeds are rather expensive (Ladino costs me more
            | than 5 Euros the kilo). Harvesting clover seeds is rather
            | troublesome because the seeds are so small.

            Where does one find what kind of clover seeds are sold in Europe? Are
            there mail-order catalogs?


            | Alternately, you may want to try a technique like the "winter
            | wheat" method Marc Bonfils used in the North of France. You
            | sow in August or September, the above-ground part is frost-killed
            | during the winter while the roots in the ground go into hibernation.
            | When temperatures rise the following spring, the roots start to
            | grow again. Having the advantage of the grown root system,
            | the wheat will exhibit strong growth. However, Bonfils used a
            | wide spacing of 60 cm in order to obtain high yields. I imagine
            | that it may to difficult to obtain sufficient weed-suppression in
            | a no-till system with such a wide spacing. You could of course
            | try clover or something in-between the wheat, but will it be winter-
            | killed and grow again in the Spring?

            I know for lucerne -- it is a perennial there.


            Another question. Marc Bonfils grows only one harvest per year -- winter
            grains. Granted, he does get impressive yields, I've red 15 MT/ha. The
            standard for our region under industrial agriculture is may be 5 MT/ha tops.

            On the other hand, may be our growing season is slightly longer than that
            of Northern France. May be growing only one crop will be inefficient?
            Also, with global warming the growing season will be longer; may be we
            need a two-crop system?

            Also, it seems that global warming will bring more extreme weather -- more
            annual rainfall, but concentrated in floods and droughts. I guess some
            diversification will be paramount to guard from crop failures. Dunno
            whether just wheat will cut it.



            | They grow rice in the Camargue region in the South of France.

            Camargue is roughly our latitude, although its climate is probably
            milder, due to the close sea shore. I'll have to look more into rice.
            Will report back.



            To recap. Open issues: which clover, which winter grain, which summer
            crop (if any), how to beat the clover upon grain germination, which acacia
            (if any), threshing, drought-resistance; Marc Bonfils in English.

            --Peter.
          • Dieter Brand
            Peter, Soil in the Danube delta is bound to be a lot better than mine. Climate isn t only determined by latitude. Continental versus maritime has a lot to do
            Message 5 of 28 , Nov 5 6:26 PM
              Peter,

              Soil in the Danube delta is bound to be a lot better than mine.
              Climate isn't only determined by latitude. Continental versus
              maritime has a lot to do with it. For 8 or more hectares you
              will need some machines. Look for examples of "organic no-till"
              in the US. The NewFarm website of the Rodale Institute has
              a lot of good information. There is a guy called Steve Groff
              whose site you may want to look at. There is a cover crop
              database at:
              http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/cgi-bin/ccrop.EXE
              which has a lot of detailed information. For seeds, its best
              to find a local source. Anyway, always best to look at what
              the local farmers use. It is hard to get clover established
              here. In the field, I mainly use lupines, field peas etc. From
              what I have seen in the garden though, many things will
              just grow through clover. You have to study the different
              types of clover. In the garden I sow clover in fall, then cut
              in spring for transplanting the summer vegetables, or for
              sowing and covering with a bit of compost and mulch.
              That is all I need to do for fertility.
              Wouldn't count on global warming for that extra growing
              time, things will most likely turn out different from what
              we expect. What do you want to do with 8 hectares of
              rice? Too much to eat and not enough to commercialize
              if there are no other growers in the region. Why don't
              you look at growing organic market vegetables and fruits
              for the expanding organic market in central Europe?
              Sorry, my writing isn't very structured at this time of
              the night and I have a lot to do at present. Do let us
              know how your plans are coming along.

              Dieter Brand
              Portugal

              Peter the <soil_n_health_fan@...> wrote:
              Friends:

              I did a brief search for Marc Bonfils, but most of the stuff I found was
              in French. Have these things been translated? May be I need to try some
              automatic web-based translation, but some of the stuff was image scans
              from paper.

              Dieter:

              Thanks for the very useful comments below!

              To recap. Open issues: which clover, which winter grain, which summer
              crop (if any), how to beat the clover upon grain germination, which acacia
              (if any), threshing, drought-resistance; Marc Bonfils in English.

              On Sat, 3 Nov 2007, Dieter Brand wrote:

              | Peter,
              |
              | You have more questions than anybody can answer ;-)

              Don't we all :-)

              | Some of my own: where about are you located and on what
              | scale do you intend to work? What are soil and climate like?

              To be determined. I am making the plan right now.

              The target area is close the Delta of the river Danube, in Easter Europe.
              The latitude is roughly that of Toulouse in Southern France (43N-44N).
              The other European regions in the same latitude are either on the sea, or
              are mountainous, so I guess the Toulouse area would be the best
              approximation of the climate.

              Scale? TBD. Right now I have a commitment of around 8 hectares (20
              acres), but if the method works, we will be looking into adding more.
              Land is really inexpensive right now, but so are the rents. The reason is
              the high inputs of industrial agriculture that is practiced right now.
              Easily the cost of inputs per year is comparable to the cost of the land
              itself right now.

              Also, we will need to solve the threshing problem if we are to grow
              substantially.

              Soil? Probably fantastic. To the extent it can still be, after being
              ruined from half a century of industrial agriculture, that is. But
              nowhere near as ruined as in the US, and probably mostly elsewhere in
              Europe.

              |
              | I live in a semi-arid climate and don't have enough water to grow
              | rice during the summer.
              |

              Rice has never been commercially grown in our region, mainly because the
              summer is relatively dry (but probably not "arid"). I am still studying
              rice more closes, as per the links another kind soul provided. I saw the
              minimum requirements being 800 mm rainfall, and for wheat 560, which is
              not quite different. Wheat is definitely grown successfully there.

              | During the winter (Nov.-June), I can
              | grow most small grains (rye, barley, wheat, oats, etc.) and
              | winter-annual crops such as lupines, clover, faba beans,
              | vetch, peas, alfa alfa, etc. The challenge here is to find an
              | annual (or perennial) suitable to continue the crop rotation during
              | the summer. Any interruption of the crop coverage will allow the
              | weeds to grow back and you have to start from zero. I found
              | that I can grow sunflowers, a corn for dry land (zorrinho) during
              | the summer without irrigation, however these crops don't
              | suppress the weeds very well.

              Sunflowers and corn definitely grow in our region. What would happen if
              they grow through a stand of clover? A constant stand of self-sowing
              clover is also what Marc Bonfils uses.

              |
              | In the North, you probably have an interruption in the growing
              | schedule during the winter, but that may be easier to handle,
              |

              We do have an interruption, but winter wheat definitely works in our
              region. Alfalfa/lucerne is grown also, and it is perennial under our
              conditions. Is my hope unreasonable that we sow some kind of clover and
              it will maintain itself forever under and over the grain crops?

              | As I said, I have no experience with rice cultivation, but
              | most grains have no trouble growing through white clover.

              What makes wheat seeds outcompete an established stand of clover? Fukuoka
              uses flooding to tip the scales towards the rice. Flooding will probably
              be impractical for us. My theory is that may be the fertility provided to
              the grain seed in the seed balls is enough to let the grain shoot above
              the clover. Is that true?

              I have no experience with clover, but lucerne can grow quite high. Does
              one mow the stand at some judiciously chosen point? How does one decide
              when?

              | Best to find a clover that reseeds itself in your climate
              | because seeds are rather expensive (Ladino costs me more
              | than 5 Euros the kilo). Harvesting clover seeds is rather
              | troublesome because the seeds are so small.

              Where does one find what kind of clover seeds are sold in Europe? Are
              there mail-order catalogs?

              | Alternately, you may want to try a technique like the "winter
              | wheat" method Marc Bonfils used in the North of France. You
              | sow in August or September, the above-ground part is frost-killed
              | during the winter while the roots in the ground go into hibernation.
              | When temperatures rise the following spring, the roots start to
              | grow again. Having the advantage of the grown root system,
              | the wheat will exhibit strong growth. However, Bonfils used a
              | wide spacing of 60 cm in order to obtain high yields. I imagine
              | that it may to difficult to obtain sufficient weed-suppression in
              | a no-till system with such a wide spacing. You could of course
              | try clover or something in-between the wheat, but will it be winter-
              | killed and grow again in the Spring?

              I know for lucerne -- it is a perennial there.

              Another question. Marc Bonfils grows only one harvest per year -- winter
              grains. Granted, he does get impressive yields, I've red 15 MT/ha. The
              standard for our region under industrial agriculture is may be 5 MT/ha tops.

              On the other hand, may be our growing season is slightly longer than that
              of Northern France. May be growing only one crop will be inefficient?
              Also, with global warming the growing season will be longer; may be we
              need a two-crop system?

              Also, it seems that global warming will bring more extreme weather -- more
              annual rainfall, but concentrated in floods and droughts. I guess some
              diversification will be paramount to guard from crop failures. Dunno
              whether just wheat will cut it.

              | They grow rice in the Camargue region in the South of France.

              Camargue is roughly our latitude, although its climate is probably
              milder, due to the close sea shore. I'll have to look more into rice.
              Will report back.

              To recap. Open issues: which clover, which winter grain, which summer
              crop (if any), how to beat the clover upon grain germination, which acacia
              (if any), threshing, drought-resistance; Marc Bonfils in English.

              --Peter.




              __________________________________________________
              Do You Yahoo!?
              Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Calin A. Radulescu
              Peter, information on how to build a small threshing device is very scarce for some reason. i am going to scan the pictures that i got and i will post them in
              Message 6 of 28 , Nov 5 10:30 PM
                Peter,
                information on how to build a small threshing device
                is very scarce for some reason. i am going to scan the
                pictures that i got and i will post them in the files
                section of the group. i am from romania initially but
                have been living in usa for quite some time. there has
                been rice grown commercially in romania in the 70's,
                mostly in the south but also in the danube delta; i
                read that now there are some italian companies doing
                that. i think the potential of this crop is huge over
                there, even more so if grown naturally.

                good luck with your plan, i loved it!


                --- Peter the <soil_n_health_fan@...>
                wrote:



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              • Calin A. Radulescu
                Peter, Look at the file section for a file called Thresher, you may use some of that information. Not taking into account the Global Warming, Eastern Romania
                Message 7 of 28 , Nov 5 11:45 PM
                  Peter,
                  Look at the file section for a file called Thresher,
                  you may use some of that information.
                  Not taking into account the Global Warming, Eastern
                  Romania is in USDA zone 7, maybe 7b, so you won't be
                  able to grow Fukuoka's favorite Acacia Molissima there
                  because of the cold continental winter. There may be
                  some true acacias that will grow in zone 7 though, if
                  not the black wattle (Robinia Pseudoacacia) could be a
                  fair choice, and it already grows well in the area.
                  Talking about winter, another issue that you'll notice
                  over there is the pretty steady winter breeze that
                  could be used for pumping water or alternative energy.

                  __________________________________________________
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                • Niels Corfield
                  I think black wattle is an acacia. Robinia pseudoacacia is the black locust tree. Anyone any thoughts? My Bookmarks: http://del.icio.us/entrailer My Pics and
                  Message 8 of 28 , Nov 6 12:19 AM
                    I think black wattle is an acacia.
                    Robinia pseudoacacia is the black locust tree.
                    Anyone any thoughts?

                    My Bookmarks:
                    http://del.icio.us/entrailer

                    My Pics and Projects:
                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nielscorfield/
                    http://picasaweb.google.com/mudguard

                    Groups I Contribute to:
                    http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/polyculturepeople/
                    http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/leeds_permaculture_network/?yguid=243022692
                    http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/scythe




                    Calin A. Radulescu wrote:
                    >
                    > Peter,
                    > Look at the file section for a file called Thresher,
                    > you may use some of that information.
                    > Not taking into account the Global Warming, Eastern
                    > Romania is in USDA zone 7, maybe 7b, so you won't be
                    > able to grow Fukuoka's favorite Acacia Molissima there
                    > because of the cold continental winter. There may be
                    > some true acacias that will grow in zone 7 though, if
                    > not the black wattle (Robinia Pseudoacacia) could be a
                    > fair choice, and it already grows well in the area.
                    > Talking about winter, another issue that you'll notice
                    > over there is the pretty steady winter breeze that
                    > could be used for pumping water or alternative energy.
                    >
                    > __________________________________________________
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                  • onestrawresolution
                    Dear Peter, I forgot to mention the files section of this group for more information on the Bonfils Winter Wheat Method - see Marc Bonfils Agricultural
                    Message 9 of 28 , Nov 6 1:40 AM
                      Dear Peter, I forgot to mention the files section of this group for
                      more information on the Bonfils Winter Wheat Method - see Marc
                      Bonfils Agricultural research.

                      Be careful about diminishing the productivity of one wheat harvest a
                      year - it was the move to a wheat/beet succession in Northern France,
                      which rapidly depletes and damages the soil that led Bonfils to
                      change the way of growing.

                      We need to find a way to grow our crops while annually improving the
                      fertility of our soil. A temperate natural agriculture can do this
                      and match the productivity of commercial agriculture.

                      The use of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) can help, but it can
                      be invasive in soils with good moisture levels - perhaps there is a
                      local nitrogen fixing alternative alder perhaps (Alnus spp)?

                      Jamie
                      Souscayrous



                      --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Peter the
                      <soil_n_health_fan@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Friends:
                      >
                      > I did a brief search for Marc Bonfils, but most of the stuff I
                      found was
                      > in French. Have these things been translated? May be I need to
                      try some
                      > automatic web-based translation, but some of the stuff was image
                      scans
                      > from paper.
                      >
                      >
                      > Dieter:
                      >
                      > Thanks for the very useful comments below!
                      >
                      >
                      > To recap. Open issues: which clover, which winter grain, which
                      summer
                      > crop (if any), how to beat the clover upon grain germination, which
                      acacia
                      > (if any), threshing, drought-resistance; Marc Bonfils in English.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > On Sat, 3 Nov 2007, Dieter Brand wrote:
                      >
                      > | Peter,
                      > |
                      > | You have more questions than anybody can answer ;-)
                      >
                      > Don't we all :-)
                      >
                      >
                      > | Some of my own: where about are you located and on what
                      > | scale do you intend to work? What are soil and climate like?
                      >
                      > To be determined. I am making the plan right now.
                      >
                      > The target area is close the Delta of the river Danube, in Easter
                      Europe.
                      > The latitude is roughly that of Toulouse in Southern France (43N-
                      44N).
                      > The other European regions in the same latitude are either on the
                      sea, or
                      > are mountainous, so I guess the Toulouse area would be the best
                      > approximation of the climate.
                      >
                      > Scale? TBD. Right now I have a commitment of around 8 hectares (20
                      > acres), but if the method works, we will be looking into adding
                      more.
                      > Land is really inexpensive right now, but so are the rents. The
                      reason is
                      > the high inputs of industrial agriculture that is practiced right
                      now.
                      > Easily the cost of inputs per year is comparable to the cost of the
                      land
                      > itself right now.
                      >
                      > Also, we will need to solve the threshing problem if we are to grow
                      > substantially.
                      >
                      >
                      > Soil? Probably fantastic. To the extent it can still be, after
                      being
                      > ruined from half a century of industrial agriculture, that is. But
                      > nowhere near as ruined as in the US, and probably mostly elsewhere
                      in
                      > Europe.
                      >
                      > |
                      > | I live in a semi-arid climate and don't have enough water to
                      grow
                      > | rice during the summer.
                      > |
                      >
                      > Rice has never been commercially grown in our region, mainly
                      because the
                      > summer is relatively dry (but probably not "arid"). I am still
                      studying
                      > rice more closes, as per the links another kind soul provided. I
                      saw the
                      > minimum requirements being 800 mm rainfall, and for wheat 560,
                      which is
                      > not quite different. Wheat is definitely grown successfully there.
                      >
                      > | During the winter (Nov.-June), I can
                      > | grow most small grains (rye, barley, wheat, oats, etc.) and
                      > | winter-annual crops such as lupines, clover, faba beans,
                      > | vetch, peas, alfa alfa, etc. The challenge here is to find an
                      > | annual (or perennial) suitable to continue the crop rotation
                      during
                      > | the summer. Any interruption of the crop coverage will allow the
                      > | weeds to grow back and you have to start from zero. I found
                      > | that I can grow sunflowers, a corn for dry land (zorrinho)
                      during
                      > | the summer without irrigation, however these crops don't
                      > | suppress the weeds very well.
                      >
                      > Sunflowers and corn definitely grow in our region. What would
                      happen if
                      > they grow through a stand of clover? A constant stand of self-
                      sowing
                      > clover is also what Marc Bonfils uses.
                      >
                      > |
                      > | In the North, you probably have an interruption in the growing
                      > | schedule during the winter, but that may be easier to handle,
                      > |
                      >
                      > We do have an interruption, but winter wheat definitely works in our
                      > region. Alfalfa/lucerne is grown also, and it is perennial under
                      our
                      > conditions. Is my hope unreasonable that we sow some kind of
                      clover and
                      > it will maintain itself forever under and over the grain crops?
                      >
                      > | As I said, I have no experience with rice cultivation, but
                      > | most grains have no trouble growing through white clover.
                      >
                      > What makes wheat seeds outcompete an established stand of clover?
                      Fukuoka
                      > uses flooding to tip the scales towards the rice. Flooding will
                      probably
                      > be impractical for us. My theory is that may be the fertility
                      provided to
                      > the grain seed in the seed balls is enough to let the grain shoot
                      above
                      > the clover. Is that true?
                      >
                      > I have no experience with clover, but lucerne can grow quite high.
                      Does
                      > one mow the stand at some judiciously chosen point? How does one
                      decide
                      > when?
                      >
                      >
                      > | Best to find a clover that reseeds itself in your climate
                      > | because seeds are rather expensive (Ladino costs me more
                      > | than 5 Euros the kilo). Harvesting clover seeds is rather
                      > | troublesome because the seeds are so small.
                      >
                      > Where does one find what kind of clover seeds are sold in Europe?
                      Are
                      > there mail-order catalogs?
                      >
                      >
                      > | Alternately, you may want to try a technique like the "winter
                      > | wheat" method Marc Bonfils used in the North of France. You
                      > | sow in August or September, the above-ground part is frost-
                      killed
                      > | during the winter while the roots in the ground go into
                      hibernation.
                      > | When temperatures rise the following spring, the roots start to
                      > | grow again. Having the advantage of the grown root system,
                      > | the wheat will exhibit strong growth. However, Bonfils used a
                      > | wide spacing of 60 cm in order to obtain high yields. I imagine
                      > | that it may to difficult to obtain sufficient weed-suppression
                      in
                      > | a no-till system with such a wide spacing. You could of course
                      > | try clover or something in-between the wheat, but will it be
                      winter-
                      > | killed and grow again in the Spring?
                      >
                      > I know for lucerne -- it is a perennial there.
                      >
                      >
                      > Another question. Marc Bonfils grows only one harvest per year --
                      winter
                      > grains. Granted, he does get impressive yields, I've red 15
                      MT/ha. The
                      > standard for our region under industrial agriculture is may be 5
                      MT/ha tops.
                      >
                      > On the other hand, may be our growing season is slightly longer
                      than that
                      > of Northern France. May be growing only one crop will be
                      inefficient?
                      > Also, with global warming the growing season will be longer; may be
                      we
                      > need a two-crop system?
                      >
                      > Also, it seems that global warming will bring more extreme weather -
                      - more
                      > annual rainfall, but concentrated in floods and droughts. I guess
                      some
                      > diversification will be paramount to guard from crop failures.
                      Dunno
                      > whether just wheat will cut it.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > | They grow rice in the Camargue region in the South of France.
                      >
                      > Camargue is roughly our latitude, although its climate is probably
                      > milder, due to the close sea shore. I'll have to look more into
                      rice.
                      > Will report back.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > To recap. Open issues: which clover, which winter grain, which
                      summer
                      > crop (if any), how to beat the clover upon grain germination, which
                      acacia
                      > (if any), threshing, drought-resistance; Marc Bonfils in English.
                      >
                      > --Peter.
                      >
                    • Peter the
                      ... Thanks Calin -- I got it! Most of the pages seem to be from http://www.amazon.com/Small-Scale-Grain-Raising-Gene-Logsdon/dp/0878571345 Amazon has hard
                      Message 10 of 28 , Nov 6 6:18 AM
                        On Mon, 5 Nov 2007, Calin A. Radulescu wrote:

                        | Peter,
                        | Look at the file section for a file called Thresher,
                        | you may use some of that information.


                        Thanks Calin -- I got it!


                        Most of the pages seem to be from

                        http://www.amazon.com/Small-Scale-Grain-Raising-Gene-Logsdon/dp/0878571345

                        Amazon has hard copies for $50-$80 !!!


                        Since the book is out of print, it is available for free (well scanned)

                        http://www.soilandhealth.org/copyform.aspx?bookcode=030210

                        from Steve Solomon's Homesteading Library Catalogue

                        http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0302hsted/0302homested.html


                        Which book is the first page in Thresher.zip coming from?

                        --Peter.
                      • Peter the
                        ... Looking at http://www.uk.gardenweb.com/forums/zones/hze7.html I see we are probably zone 6 -- we are not exactly in the delta, but a bit west. May be 6b.
                        Message 11 of 28 , Nov 6 9:32 AM
                          On Mon, 5 Nov 2007, Calin A. Radulescu wrote:

                          | Peter,

                          | Not taking into account the Global Warming, Eastern
                          | Romania is in USDA zone 7, maybe 7b,

                          Looking at http://www.uk.gardenweb.com/forums/zones/hze7.html I see we are
                          probably zone 6 -- we are not exactly in the delta, but a bit west. May
                          be 6b.

                          I said we are the same latitude with Toulouse, but it seems Toulouse is
                          zone 8 -- two zones milder. There is a zone 7 area somewhere between
                          Toulouse and Lyons. Northern France seems to be zone 8. That is, or
                          climate will have more sun during the year, but with a colder winter. I
                          would probably say also a drier summer -- we are far away from oceans.

                          In the US 6b would be like the warmer parts of Tennessee and Missouri.


                          The above data for the US is for the 1990 zones. There are global-warming
                          related changes http://www.arborday.org/media/map_change.cfm -- half of
                          the US is a zone up. I'd say 1/2 zone almost everywhere.

                          If the Europe info above is old, you might be right that nowadays Eastern
                          Romania is in USDA zone 7, maybe 7b. Which would be about right for us
                          too -- may be 7a.


                          | so you won't be able to grow Fukuoka's favorite Acacia Molissima there
                          | because of the cold continental winter. There may be some true acacias
                          | that will grow in zone 7 though, if not the black wattle (Robinia
                          | Pseudoacacia) could be a fair choice, and it already grows well in the
                          | area.

                          I'll look into the Robinia Pseudoacacia (salcam). It grows natively in
                          our area, so that might be it.

                          --Peter.
                        • Shawn Turner
                          WEEDS, WEEDS, WEEDS, onestrawresolution wrote: Dear Peter, I forgot to mention the files section of this group for more
                          Message 12 of 28 , Nov 6 9:58 AM
                            WEEDS, WEEDS, WEEDS,
                            onestrawresolution <souscayrous@...> wrote: Dear Peter, I forgot to mention the files section of this group for
                            more information on the Bonfils Winter Wheat Method - see Marc
                            Bonfils Agricultural research.

                            Be careful about diminishing the productivity of one wheat harvest a
                            year - it was the move to a wheat/beet succession in Northern France,
                            which rapidly depletes and damages the soil that led Bonfils to
                            change the way of growing.

                            We need to find a way to grow our crops while annually improving the
                            fertility of our soil. A temperate natural agriculture can do this
                            and match the productivity of commercial agriculture.

                            The use of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) can help, but it can
                            be invasive in soils with good moisture levels - perhaps there is a
                            local nitrogen fixing alternative alder perhaps (Alnus spp)?

                            Jamie
                            Souscayrous

                            --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Peter the
                            <soil_n_health_fan@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Friends:
                            >
                            > I did a brief search for Marc Bonfils, but most of the stuff I
                            found was
                            > in French. Have these things been translated? May be I need to
                            try some
                            > automatic web-based translation, but some of the stuff was image
                            scans
                            > from paper.
                            >
                            >
                            > Dieter:
                            >
                            > Thanks for the very useful comments below!
                            >
                            >
                            > To recap. Open issues: which clover, which winter grain, which
                            summer
                            > crop (if any), how to beat the clover upon grain germination, which
                            acacia
                            > (if any), threshing, drought-resistance; Marc Bonfils in English.
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > On Sat, 3 Nov 2007, Dieter Brand wrote:
                            >
                            > | Peter,
                            > |
                            > | You have more questions than anybody can answer ;-)
                            >
                            > Don't we all :-)
                            >
                            >
                            > | Some of my own: where about are you located and on what
                            > | scale do you intend to work? What are soil and climate like?
                            >
                            > To be determined. I am making the plan right now.
                            >
                            > The target area is close the Delta of the river Danube, in Easter
                            Europe.
                            > The latitude is roughly that of Toulouse in Southern France (43N-
                            44N).
                            > The other European regions in the same latitude are either on the
                            sea, or
                            > are mountainous, so I guess the Toulouse area would be the best
                            > approximation of the climate.
                            >
                            > Scale? TBD. Right now I have a commitment of around 8 hectares (20
                            > acres), but if the method works, we will be looking into adding
                            more.
                            > Land is really inexpensive right now, but so are the rents. The
                            reason is
                            > the high inputs of industrial agriculture that is practiced right
                            now.
                            > Easily the cost of inputs per year is comparable to the cost of the
                            land
                            > itself right now.
                            >
                            > Also, we will need to solve the threshing problem if we are to grow
                            > substantially.
                            >
                            >
                            > Soil? Probably fantastic. To the extent it can still be, after
                            being
                            > ruined from half a century of industrial agriculture, that is. But
                            > nowhere near as ruined as in the US, and probably mostly elsewhere
                            in
                            > Europe.
                            >
                            > |
                            > | I live in a semi-arid climate and don't have enough water to
                            grow
                            > | rice during the summer.
                            > |
                            >
                            > Rice has never been commercially grown in our region, mainly
                            because the
                            > summer is relatively dry (but probably not "arid"). I am still
                            studying
                            > rice more closes, as per the links another kind soul provided. I
                            saw the
                            > minimum requirements being 800 mm rainfall, and for wheat 560,
                            which is
                            > not quite different. Wheat is definitely grown successfully there.
                            >
                            > | During the winter (Nov.-June), I can
                            > | grow most small grains (rye, barley, wheat, oats, etc.) and
                            > | winter-annual crops such as lupines, clover, faba beans,
                            > | vetch, peas, alfa alfa, etc. The challenge here is to find an
                            > | annual (or perennial) suitable to continue the crop rotation
                            during
                            > | the summer. Any interruption of the crop coverage will allow the
                            > | weeds to grow back and you have to start from zero. I found
                            > | that I can grow sunflowers, a corn for dry land (zorrinho)
                            during
                            > | the summer without irrigation, however these crops don't
                            > | suppress the weeds very well.
                            >
                            > Sunflowers and corn definitely grow in our region. What would
                            happen if
                            > they grow through a stand of clover? A constant stand of self-
                            sowing
                            > clover is also what Marc Bonfils uses.
                            >
                            > |
                            > | In the North, you probably have an interruption in the growing
                            > | schedule during the winter, but that may be easier to handle,
                            > |
                            >
                            > We do have an interruption, but winter wheat definitely works in our
                            > region. Alfalfa/lucerne is grown also, and it is perennial under
                            our
                            > conditions. Is my hope unreasonable that we sow some kind of
                            clover and
                            > it will maintain itself forever under and over the grain crops?
                            >
                            > | As I said, I have no experience with rice cultivation, but
                            > | most grains have no trouble growing through white clover.
                            >
                            > What makes wheat seeds outcompete an established stand of clover?
                            Fukuoka
                            > uses flooding to tip the scales towards the rice. Flooding will
                            probably
                            > be impractical for us. My theory is that may be the fertility
                            provided to
                            > the grain seed in the seed balls is enough to let the grain shoot
                            above
                            > the clover. Is that true?
                            >
                            > I have no experience with clover, but lucerne can grow quite high.
                            Does
                            > one mow the stand at some judiciously chosen point? How does one
                            decide
                            > when?
                            >
                            >
                            > | Best to find a clover that reseeds itself in your climate
                            > | because seeds are rather expensive (Ladino costs me more
                            > | than 5 Euros the kilo). Harvesting clover seeds is rather
                            > | troublesome because the seeds are so small.
                            >
                            > Where does one find what kind of clover seeds are sold in Europe?
                            Are
                            > there mail-order catalogs?
                            >
                            >
                            > | Alternately, you may want to try a technique like the "winter
                            > | wheat" method Marc Bonfils used in the North of France. You
                            > | sow in August or September, the above-ground part is frost-
                            killed
                            > | during the winter while the roots in the ground go into
                            hibernation.
                            > | When temperatures rise the following spring, the roots start to
                            > | grow again. Having the advantage of the grown root system,
                            > | the wheat will exhibit strong growth. However, Bonfils used a
                            > | wide spacing of 60 cm in order to obtain high yields. I imagine
                            > | that it may to difficult to obtain sufficient weed-suppression
                            in
                            > | a no-till system with such a wide spacing. You could of course
                            > | try clover or something in-between the wheat, but will it be
                            winter-
                            > | killed and grow again in the Spring?
                            >
                            > I know for lucerne -- it is a perennial there.
                            >
                            >
                            > Another question. Marc Bonfils grows only one harvest per year --
                            winter
                            > grains. Granted, he does get impressive yields, I've red 15
                            MT/ha. The
                            > standard for our region under industrial agriculture is may be 5
                            MT/ha tops.
                            >
                            > On the other hand, may be our growing season is slightly longer
                            than that
                            > of Northern France. May be growing only one crop will be
                            inefficient?
                            > Also, with global warming the growing season will be longer; may be
                            we
                            > need a two-crop system?
                            >
                            > Also, it seems that global warming will bring more extreme weather -
                            - more
                            > annual rainfall, but concentrated in floods and droughts. I guess
                            some
                            > diversification will be paramount to guard from crop failures.
                            Dunno
                            > whether just wheat will cut it.
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > | They grow rice in the Camargue region in the South of France.
                            >
                            > Camargue is roughly our latitude, although its climate is probably
                            > milder, due to the close sea shore. I'll have to look more into
                            rice.
                            > Will report back.
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > To recap. Open issues: which clover, which winter grain, which
                            summer
                            > crop (if any), how to beat the clover upon grain germination, which
                            acacia
                            > (if any), threshing, drought-resistance; Marc Bonfils in English.
                            >
                            > --Peter.
                            >





                            __________________________________________________
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                            Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
                            http://mail.yahoo.com

                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Calin A. Radulescu
                            we have talked about this topic quite a few times here, and it seems that there is more than one right way of doing it. so flooding, mowing it low, maybe
                            Message 13 of 28 , Nov 6 10:49 AM
                              we have talked about this topic quite a few times
                              here, and it seems that there is more than one right
                              way of doing it. so flooding, mowing it low, maybe
                              grazing it with some small animal, all seem to
                              accomplish pretty much the same thing - weakening the
                              clover without killing it. then you would add the
                              straw, spreading it over the field loosely,(the straw
                              must be from winter grain for rice, and from rice for
                              the winter grain to minimize spreading of disease)then
                              you would spread the seed balls. they should make good
                              contact with the earth in order to germinate, that's
                              important.


                              --- Peter the <soil_n_health_fan@...>
                              wrote:



                              __________________________________________________
                              Do You Yahoo!?
                              Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around
                              http://mail.yahoo.com
                            • Peter the
                              ... Thanks Calin, Fukuoka adds the seed balls way before the old harvest is cut. It only makes sense -- the balls need time to settle to make contact with the
                              Message 14 of 28 , Nov 6 11:21 AM
                                On Tue, 6 Nov 2007, Calin A. Radulescu wrote:

                                | we have talked about this topic quite a few times here, and it seems
                                | that there is more than one right way of doing it. so flooding, mowing
                                | it low, maybe grazing it with some small animal, all seem to accomplish
                                | pretty much the same thing - weakening the clover without killing it.
                                | then you would add the straw, spreading it over the field loosely, [and
                                | then you add the seed balls]

                                Thanks Calin,

                                Fukuoka adds the seed balls way before the old harvest is cut. It only
                                makes sense -- the balls need time to settle to make contact with the
                                soil. Fukuoka puts straw on top of the seed balls. Also makes sense --
                                the straw protects the seeds, and also all straw decomposition takes place
                                above the roots.

                                From http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0302hsted/030202/03010200.html ,
                                It is important for the roots to grow in soil that does _not_ deal with
                                decomposition. Decomposition builds humus, however humus needs to be
                                degraded for the nutrients to be released to the plants; the soil cannot
                                do both at the same time. Decomposition and root extension have to be in
                                two different layers of the soil. That's why gardeners make compost away
                                from the beds.


                                Also, I don't understand one aspect of mowing or grazing the clover.
                                Fukuoka floods when the rice shoots are already in place, and cuts the
                                rice straw when the barley shoots are growing. He talks about trampling
                                of the shoots, which is OK. When cutting rice, he can cut above the top
                                of the shoots.

                                When we have a clover stand, we usually mow it low. That would damage any
                                shooting grain that might be there. Ditto for grazing.

                                Dieter Brand <diebrand@...> said that grain can just grow through
                                clover, without any other intervention.

                                My theory (untested) is that may be the fertility provided to the grain
                                seed in the seed balls is enough to let the grain shoot above the clover.


                                Imagine we decide to mow the clover for hay. The weather has to be dry
                                after that so that the hay is dried in the filed. On the other hand, if
                                mowing is to be used to facilitating grain shooting through the clover,
                                there has to be rain to sprout the grain. Tricky. Anybody done it?


                                May be we should not mow/graze at all? But this lays to "waste" a
                                high-protein resource. Can the wheat utilize all the nitrogen fixed by
                                the clover?


                                | (the straw must be from winter grain for rice, and from rice for the
                                | winter grain to minimize spreading of disease)then you would spread the
                                | seed balls.

                                Well, if we try to practice Bonfils, then we have only one crop -- winter
                                wheat. How does he solve the propagation-of-disease issue?

                                --Peter.
                              • Dieter Brand
                                Peter, There is no way around it, you have to learn how each different cover crop you intend to use will perform under the local conditions of the place you
                                Message 15 of 28 , Nov 6 2:32 PM
                                  Peter,

                                  There is no way around it, you have to learn how each different
                                  cover crop you intend to use will perform under the local
                                  conditions of the place you will use it. The data base I
                                  mentioned provides a lot of info, but there will invariably also
                                  be a lot of trial and error when you start to put the theory
                                  into praxis. That is why "organic no-till" is much more "place
                                  specific" than conventional farming. Most no-till farmers use
                                  herbicides to kill their cover crop, which is a lot simpler.
                                  A herbicide will kill the cover crop no matter where or when
                                  you apply it. You don't even need to know much about the
                                  live cycle of your cover crop.

                                  The idea with organic no-till is that you know exactly when
                                  you can mechanically kill which cover crop for transplanting
                                  or sowing your cash crop into. For example, if I sow lupines
                                  in the fall, I know that I can cut them next March or April
                                  for growing my summer vegetables. If on the other hand I
                                  sow rye as cover crop, I probably have to wait until May for
                                  cutting, and then select a crop that can be planted or sown
                                  in May. If I cut the rye earlier, it will grow again, if I cut it
                                  later it will form seeds and reseed itself to interfere with my
                                  cash crop. If I want to grow wheat together with clover,
                                  I have to select a clover that won't interfere with the wheat ...

                                  You quote from Steve Solomon's "Organic Gardener's Composting"
                                  >It is important for the roots to grow in soil that does _not_ deal with
                                  >decomposition. Decomposition builds humus, however humus needs to be
                                  >degraded for the nutrients to be released to the plants; _the soil cannot
                                  >do both at the same time_. Decomposition and root extension have to be in
                                  >two different layers of the soil. That's why gardeners make compost away
                                  >from the beds.

                                  The soil DOES do both at the same time, and has done so for
                                  millions of years, but in different soil layers.

                                  In his classic on "bio-organic" farming (Bodenfruchtbarkeit),
                                  P.H. Rusch describes the "soil anatomy" as follows: "the ground
                                  cover of organic residues such as dead leaves, straw, etc., is
                                  decomposed by fungi, microbes and numerous small creatures in
                                  the aerobic uppermost one or two inches of soil in the so-called
                                  "cell tilth" (a phase dominated by the cells of microbes). The
                                  "decomposition phase" is followed by a "build-up" phase in which
                                  the decomposition products (the various constituents of the cell
                                  plasma) of the first phase form the "plasma tilth" in which strong
                                  colloidal bonds of humus-clay complexes, that can last up to a 1000
                                  years, form a stable humus mostly under anaerobic conditions at a
                                  depth of about 2 to 8 inches." In an undisturbed soil, these two
                                  phases will continuously go on in parallel, the one supplying the
                                  other, but roots will form mainly in the lower layer represented by
                                  the 2nd phase." Rusch considers soil disturbance such as the
                                  ploughing under of green manure to be a "sin against live".

                                  Sorry, don't have time to answer your questions in more detail.
                                  >My theory (untested) is that may be the fertility provided to the grain
                                  >seed in the seed balls is enough to let the grain shoot above the clover.

                                  No, nothing to do with the seedballs, all to do with the right timing
                                  and the right choice of crop and clover.

                                  >Imagine we decide to mow the clover for hay.
                                  You don't use clover for making hay. If you have to cut it, you let
                                  it decompose in the field.

                                  >Can the wheat utilize all the nitrogen fixed by the clover?
                                  The N in the greens can be used by other plants after cutting and
                                  decomposition. The N fixed by the soil bacteria is made available
                                  after the clover is killed. (But Olivier is right, there is much more to
                                  soil biology than N).

                                  Dieter Brand
                                  Portugal

                                  Peter the <soil_n_health_fan@...> wrote:

                                  On Tue, 6 Nov 2007, Calin A. Radulescu wrote:

                                  | we have talked about this topic quite a few times here, and it seems
                                  | that there is more than one right way of doing it. so flooding, mowing
                                  | it low, maybe grazing it with some small animal, all seem to accomplish
                                  | pretty much the same thing - weakening the clover without killing it.
                                  | then you would add the straw, spreading it over the field loosely, [and
                                  | then you add the seed balls]

                                  Thanks Calin,

                                  Fukuoka adds the seed balls way before the old harvest is cut. It only
                                  makes sense -- the balls need time to settle to make contact with the
                                  soil. Fukuoka puts straw on top of the seed balls. Also makes sense --
                                  the straw protects the seeds, and also all straw decomposition takes place
                                  above the roots.

                                  From http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0302hsted/030202/03010200.html ,
                                  It is important for the roots to grow in soil that does _not_ deal with
                                  decomposition. Decomposition builds humus, however humus needs to be
                                  degraded for the nutrients to be released to the plants; the soil cannot
                                  do both at the same time. Decomposition and root extension have to be in
                                  two different layers of the soil. That's why gardeners make compost away
                                  from the beds.

                                  Also, I don't understand one aspect of mowing or grazing the clover.
                                  Fukuoka floods when the rice shoots are already in place, and cuts the
                                  rice straw when the barley shoots are growing. He talks about trampling
                                  of the shoots, which is OK. When cutting rice, he can cut above the top
                                  of the shoots.

                                  When we have a clover stand, we usually mow it low. That would damage any
                                  shooting grain that might be there. Ditto for grazing.

                                  Dieter Brand <diebrand@...> said that grain can just grow through
                                  clover, without any other intervention.

                                  My theory (untested) is that may be the fertility provided to the grain
                                  seed in the seed balls is enough to let the grain shoot above the clover.

                                  Imagine we decide to mow the clover for hay. The weather has to be dry
                                  after that so that the hay is dried in the filed. On the other hand, if
                                  mowing is to be used to facilitating grain shooting through the clover,
                                  there has to be rain to sprout the grain. Tricky. Anybody done it?

                                  May be we should not mow/graze at all? But this lays to "waste" a
                                  high-protein resource. Can the wheat utilize all the nitrogen fixed by
                                  the clover?

                                  | (the straw must be from winter grain for rice, and from rice for the
                                  | winter grain to minimize spreading of disease)then you would spread the
                                  | seed balls.

                                  Well, if we try to practice Bonfils, then we have only one crop -- winter
                                  wheat. How does he solve the propagation-of-disease issue?

                                  --Peter.




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                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Calin A. Radulescu
                                  Pete, Growing domesticated food grain in a few inches thick, tangled mat of clovers, weeds and whatever may be in there has a lot to do with the timing, or
                                  Message 16 of 28 , Nov 7 11:18 AM
                                    Pete,
                                    Growing domesticated food grain in a few inches thick,
                                    tangled mat of clovers, weeds and whatever may be in
                                    there has a lot to do with the timing, or better say
                                    delaying the vigor in clover, tipping the balance a
                                    little bit in favor of the food crop. When done right,
                                    the rice or winter grain has had a chance to get a
                                    root
                                    system in place and access to light, whereas the
                                    clover
                                    and the weeds are quite stressed but recovering. After
                                    that, the nature will basically take care of them.
                                    I think that you should just experiment with some
                                    grain seed on a small parcel , either now or at the
                                    end of the winter and see what you get.

                                    --- Peter the <soil_n_health_fan@...>
                                    wrote:


                                    > It is important for the roots to grow in soil that
                                    > does _not_ deal with
                                    > decomposition. Decomposition builds humus, however
                                    > humus needs to be
                                    > degraded for the nutrients to be released to the
                                    > plants; the soil cannot
                                    > do both at the same time. Decomposition and root
                                    > extension have to be in
                                    > two different layers of the soil. That's why
                                    > gardeners make compost away
                                    > from the beds.

                                    Gardeners are usually rational beings, whereas NF just
                                    happens. Fukuoka said and some people here in the
                                    forum hinted at the fact that one should leave aside
                                    worries such those about nutrients, and that's right
                                    to the point, although it may seem discouraging for
                                    someone new to NF or to the eastern way of thinking


                                    > Also, I don't understand one aspect of mowing or
                                    > grazing the clover.
                                    > Fukuoka floods when the rice shoots are already in
                                    > place, and cuts the
                                    > rice straw when the barley shoots are growing. He
                                    > talks about trampling
                                    > of the shoots, which is OK. When cutting rice, he
                                    > can cut above the top
                                    > of the shoots.
                                    > When we have a clover stand, we usually mow it low.
                                    > That would damage any
                                    > shooting grain that might be there. Ditto for
                                    > grazing.

                                    it makes sense, rice will tolerate anaerobic
                                    conditions whereas clover won't. both would recover
                                    after mowing and neither of them would mind the
                                    occasional trampling.


                                    > Dieter Brand <diebrand@...> said that grain
                                    > can just grow through
                                    > clover, without any other intervention.


                                    that's right how it is. if someone were looking at it,
                                    he or she would see just taller grain growing in a
                                    ground cover of clover. human intervention is minimal
                                    very gentle, and difficult to tell apart from the
                                    natural order.


                                    > My theory (untested) is that may be the fertility
                                    > provided to the grain
                                    > seed in the seed balls is enough to let the grain
                                    > shoot above the clover.

                                    Not enough by itself. If the clover isn't week enough,
                                    and the environmental conditions aren't right for that

                                    particular grain to take over, the results could be
                                    pretty disappointing.


                                    > Imagine we decide to mow the clover for hay. The
                                    > weather has to be dry
                                    > after that so that the hay is dried in the filed.
                                    > On the other hand, if
                                    > mowing is to be used to facilitating grain shooting
                                    > through the clover,
                                    > there has to be rain to sprout the grain. Tricky.


                                    It looks tricky but actually is one of those
                                    activities
                                    that are quite simple to do but harder to explain with
                                    words how is done. The more inclined to observing the
                                    nature with an open mind one is, the easier it will
                                    get.


                                    > Anybody done it?


                                    You bet, by many people in many different conditions
                                    around the world. If an old man like Fukuoka could do
                                    it, anybody can. Personally i just experimented a few
                                    times in the backyard; many of those times it went all
                                    wrong before i could see any grain at all.


                                    > May be we should not mow/graze at all? But this
                                    > lays to "waste" a
                                    > high-protein resource. Can the wheat utilize all
                                    > the nitrogen fixed by
                                    > the clover?


                                    nutrients should get recycled in place as mulch or
                                    animal poop if the fertility of the soil is supposed
                                    to increase. otherwise it is not natural farming, and
                                    it may required managerial or some other kind of
                                    decision making to make it work.



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                                  • Ingrid Bauer
                                    The use of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) can help, but it can be invasive in soils with good moisture levels - perhaps there is a local nitrogen fixing
                                    Message 17 of 28 , Nov 21 9:12 PM
                                      The use of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) can help, but it can
                                      be invasive in soils with good moisture levels - perhaps there is a
                                      local nitrogen fixing alternative alder perhaps (Alnus spp)?

                                      here what i am have to say about alders who grow spontanouslly after clear cutting of old growth forest in our aera ( coastal fir forest British colombia Canada) they are pionner trees regenerating the soil before coniferous can come back .

                                      I have been interplanting fruit and nut trees, berry bushes , vines and other plants ( mashua, kale jerusalem artichoke etc ...) in a young red alder forest for 8 years now .
                                      i have over the years killed some of the alders ( when they reach over 20 cm diameter especially) by girdling them and inseminating them with shitake mushroom , i let them standing for the woodpeckers to deal with.

                                      the soil is wonderfull under alders, they produce abondant mulch layer everyfall . they grow tall and spindly serving the role of intermediate canopy ( they are dwarfted by very tall ancient and sparse fir who dominate the upper story) the wood on the ground rot very quickly .

                                      draw back: their shade is important more than leguminous trees. they fall and break easelly in the winter storms damaging young planted trees .

                                      they can be coppiced for a while if you leave enough branches , they will eventually succomb to rot . once dead, pileated woodpecker and downy woodpeckers can digg a nest in the biggest, that will be eventually ,the following years, used by other species like screech owls or wood ducks.
                                      jean-claude



                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • karoubas
                                      Hello Robin, Dieter, jean-claude and all, Thank you for your replies - it will take me sometime for me to read,- re read and really absorb what you are telling
                                      Message 18 of 28 , Nov 25 9:29 AM
                                        Hello Robin, Dieter, jean-claude and all,

                                        Thank you for your replies - it will take me sometime for me to read,-
                                        re read and really absorb what you are telling me/us - then I will
                                        figure out how I will incorporate this in my farm - again thank you
                                        for sharing your experiences.

                                        Its important from time to time to state the goals of natural farming.

                                        1. To be able to reforest large areas with minimum of labor, time and
                                        cost ( and minimum thinking)

                                        2. To be be able to regenerate the soil in a farm and hope it produces
                                        plenty of fruits and vegetables - again with all the above minimums

                                        I think that digging trenches and chasing after acacias in the farm
                                        may interfere with the above "minimum" requirements.

                                        I think that Fukuoka - San changed and evolved from the time he wrote
                                        the "One straw Revolution" to his last book "The Road Back to Nature"
                                        - we should be referring to his last book more often.

                                        These wonderful trees that Raju mentions - sababul acacia and the
                                        other nitrogen fixing trees on the invasive species list, may be the
                                        best hope we have to revegetate barren lands and deserts. I find it
                                        ironic that the trees that society/science has labeled as undesirables
                                        - will propably end up saving this much abused planet.

                                        Today I visited some of my wife's relatives about an hour away -they
                                        are an elderly couple in their 80's. The land around them is a flat
                                        plain without any large trees around - its plowed and bare. They told
                                        me that when their parents came into the area - the whole area was
                                        covered with large oak trees - over the years they removed all the oak
                                        trees and have been plowing the land ever since. The have used the
                                        chemical agriculture techniques to farm the land the results and
                                        familiar to us - nothing will grow on this once fertile land without
                                        fertilizers and pesticides. Their local water supply has been
                                        contaminated and they can longer drink the water from their area ( I
                                        do not know the exact cause of the contamination).


                                        For the reforestation project I used about 10 different types of tree
                                        seeds, which I collected from the trees around the city - most of them
                                        I think are different types of acacias - but in truth I do not know
                                        their names - I also added clover vetch wheat rocket and other
                                        vegetable seeds - in all there probably were about 30 types of seeds.
                                        As I said I am pleased with the results - I am waiting to see how
                                        the small trees will survive the winter frost and then how they will
                                        survive the August summer heat (I will add photos on the website soon).

                                        No matter what, I plan to make at least another 10,000 seed
                                        balls/disks this summer - we really have no other choice (other than
                                        seed balls) - if we want to revegetate large areas - planting large
                                        number of trees and watering them by hand is costly and time
                                        prohibitive - beside the failure rate is very large.

                                        Thank You
                                        Kostas






                                        --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Ingrid Bauer" <instinct@...>
                                        wrote:
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > The use of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) can help, but it can
                                        > be invasive in soils with good moisture levels - perhaps there is a
                                        > local nitrogen fixing alternative alder perhaps (Alnus spp)?
                                        >
                                        > here what i am have to say about alders who grow spontanouslly
                                        after clear cutting of old growth forest in our aera ( coastal fir
                                        forest British colombia Canada) they are pionner trees regenerating
                                        the soil before coniferous can come back .
                                        >
                                        > I have been interplanting fruit and nut trees, berry bushes ,
                                        vines and other plants ( mashua, kale jerusalem artichoke etc ...) in
                                        a young red alder forest for 8 years now .
                                        > i have over the years killed some of the alders ( when they reach
                                        over 20 cm diameter especially) by girdling them and inseminating them
                                        with shitake mushroom , i let them standing for the woodpeckers to
                                        deal with.
                                        >
                                        > the soil is wonderfull under alders, they produce abondant mulch
                                        layer everyfall . they grow tall and spindly serving the role of
                                        intermediate canopy ( they are dwarfted by very tall ancient and
                                        sparse fir who dominate the upper story) the wood on the ground rot
                                        very quickly .
                                        >
                                        > draw back: their shade is important more than leguminous trees.
                                        they fall and break easelly in the winter storms damaging young
                                        planted trees .
                                        >
                                        > they can be coppiced for a while if you leave enough branches ,
                                        they will eventually succomb to rot . once dead, pileated woodpecker
                                        and downy woodpeckers can digg a nest in the biggest, that will be
                                        eventually ,the following years, used by other species like screech
                                        owls or wood ducks.
                                        > jean-claude
                                        >
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        >
                                      • karoubas
                                        Hello everyone I just updated the site http://www.naturalfarming.us/ with photos from the 2007 seeding project Kostas
                                        Message 19 of 28 , Nov 25 11:00 AM
                                          Hello everyone
                                          I just updated the site http://www.naturalfarming.us/
                                          with photos from the 2007 seeding project

                                          Kostas







                                          --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "karoubas" <karoubas@...> wrote:
                                          >
                                          > Hello Robin, Dieter, jean-claude and all,
                                          >
                                          > Thank you for your replies - it will take me sometime for me to read,-
                                          > re read and really absorb what you are telling me/us - then I will
                                          > figure out how I will incorporate this in my farm - again thank you
                                          > for sharing your experiences.
                                          >
                                          > Its important from time to time to state the goals of natural farming.
                                          >
                                          > 1. To be able to reforest large areas with minimum of labor, time and
                                          > cost ( and minimum thinking)
                                          >
                                          > 2. To be be able to regenerate the soil in a farm and hope it produces
                                          > plenty of fruits and vegetables - again with all the above minimums
                                          >
                                          > I think that digging trenches and chasing after acacias in the farm
                                          > may interfere with the above "minimum" requirements.
                                          >
                                          > I think that Fukuoka - San changed and evolved from the time he wrote
                                          > the "One straw Revolution" to his last book "The Road Back to Nature"
                                          > - we should be referring to his last book more often.
                                          >
                                          > These wonderful trees that Raju mentions - sababul acacia and the
                                          > other nitrogen fixing trees on the invasive species list, may be the
                                          > best hope we have to revegetate barren lands and deserts. I find it
                                          > ironic that the trees that society/science has labeled as undesirables
                                          > - will propably end up saving this much abused planet.
                                          >
                                          > Today I visited some of my wife's relatives about an hour away -they
                                          > are an elderly couple in their 80's. The land around them is a flat
                                          > plain without any large trees around - its plowed and bare. They told
                                          > me that when their parents came into the area - the whole area was
                                          > covered with large oak trees - over the years they removed all the oak
                                          > trees and have been plowing the land ever since. The have used the
                                          > chemical agriculture techniques to farm the land the results and
                                          > familiar to us - nothing will grow on this once fertile land without
                                          > fertilizers and pesticides. Their local water supply has been
                                          > contaminated and they can longer drink the water from their area ( I
                                          > do not know the exact cause of the contamination).
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > For the reforestation project I used about 10 different types of tree
                                          > seeds, which I collected from the trees around the city - most of them
                                          > I think are different types of acacias - but in truth I do not know
                                          > their names - I also added clover vetch wheat rocket and other
                                          > vegetable seeds - in all there probably were about 30 types of seeds.
                                          > As I said I am pleased with the results - I am waiting to see how
                                          > the small trees will survive the winter frost and then how they will
                                          > survive the August summer heat (I will add photos on the website soon).
                                          >
                                          > No matter what, I plan to make at least another 10,000 seed
                                          > balls/disks this summer - we really have no other choice (other than
                                          > seed balls) - if we want to revegetate large areas - planting large
                                          > number of trees and watering them by hand is costly and time
                                          > prohibitive - beside the failure rate is very large.
                                          >
                                          > Thank You
                                          > Kostas
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Ingrid Bauer" <instinct@>
                                          > wrote:
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > > The use of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) can help, but it can
                                          > > be invasive in soils with good moisture levels - perhaps there is a
                                          > > local nitrogen fixing alternative alder perhaps (Alnus spp)?
                                          > >
                                          > > here what i am have to say about alders who grow spontanouslly
                                          > after clear cutting of old growth forest in our aera ( coastal fir
                                          > forest British colombia Canada) they are pionner trees regenerating
                                          > the soil before coniferous can come back .
                                          > >
                                          > > I have been interplanting fruit and nut trees, berry bushes ,
                                          > vines and other plants ( mashua, kale jerusalem artichoke etc ...) in
                                          > a young red alder forest for 8 years now .
                                          > > i have over the years killed some of the alders ( when they reach
                                          > over 20 cm diameter especially) by girdling them and inseminating them
                                          > with shitake mushroom , i let them standing for the woodpeckers to
                                          > deal with.
                                          > >
                                          > > the soil is wonderfull under alders, they produce abondant mulch
                                          > layer everyfall . they grow tall and spindly serving the role of
                                          > intermediate canopy ( they are dwarfted by very tall ancient and
                                          > sparse fir who dominate the upper story) the wood on the ground rot
                                          > very quickly .
                                          > >
                                          > > draw back: their shade is important more than leguminous trees.
                                          > they fall and break easelly in the winter storms damaging young
                                          > planted trees .
                                          > >
                                          > > they can be coppiced for a while if you leave enough branches ,
                                          > they will eventually succomb to rot . once dead, pileated woodpecker
                                          > and downy woodpeckers can digg a nest in the biggest, that will be
                                          > eventually ,the following years, used by other species like screech
                                          > owls or wood ducks.
                                          > > jean-claude
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > >
                                          > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                          > >
                                          >
                                        • pattyloof
                                          ... Great pictures! What kind of trees are those? Patty
                                          Message 20 of 28 , Nov 26 7:16 AM
                                            --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "karoubas" <karoubas@...> wrote:
                                            >
                                            > Hello everyone
                                            > I just updated the site http://www.naturalfarming.us/
                                            > with photos from the 2007 seeding project
                                            >
                                            > Kostas


                                            Great pictures! What kind of trees are those?

                                            Patty
                                          • karoubas
                                            Hello Patty, As I mentioned in the previous message I really don t know their names - some acacias. I collected seeds from the trees around the streets of
                                            Message 21 of 28 , Nov 26 8:08 AM
                                              Hello Patty,
                                              As I mentioned in the previous message I really don't know their names
                                              - some acacias. I collected seeds from the trees around the streets of
                                              Thessaloniki.

                                              Kostas



                                              --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "pattyloof" <pattyloof@...> wrote:
                                              >
                                              > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "karoubas" <karoubas@> wrote:
                                              > >
                                              > > Hello everyone
                                              > > I just updated the site http://www.naturalfarming.us/
                                              > > with photos from the 2007 seeding project
                                              > >
                                              > > Kostas
                                              >
                                              >
                                              > Great pictures! What kind of trees are those?
                                              >
                                              > Patty
                                              >
                                            • Peter the
                                              Thanks again, Jamie! Does anybody know where to get seeds for the Bonfils Winter Wheat Method? I am assuming that these are non-hybrid, and the grain can be
                                              Message 22 of 28 , Nov 27 11:06 AM
                                                Thanks again, Jamie!

                                                Does anybody know where to get seeds for the Bonfils Winter Wheat Method?
                                                I am assuming that these are non-hybrid, and the grain can be reused as
                                                seed the next year.

                                                What cultivars are there? Any discussion of their relative merits?

                                                Also, are there different cultivars of white clover that grow in Europe?

                                                --Peter.


                                                On Tue, 6 Nov 2007, onestrawresolution wrote:

                                                | Dear Peter, I forgot to mention the files section of this group for
                                                | more information on the Bonfils Winter Wheat Method - see Marc
                                                | Bonfils Agricultural research.
                                                |
                                                | Be careful about diminishing the productivity of one wheat harvest a
                                                | year - it was the move to a wheat/beet succession in Northern France,
                                                | which rapidly depletes and damages the soil that led Bonfils to
                                                | change the way of growing.
                                                |
                                                | We need to find a way to grow our crops while annually improving the
                                                | fertility of our soil. A temperate natural agriculture can do this
                                                | and match the productivity of commercial agriculture.
                                                |
                                                | The use of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) can help, but it can
                                                | be invasive in soils with good moisture levels - perhaps there is a
                                                | local nitrogen fixing alternative alder perhaps (Alnus spp)?
                                                |
                                                | Jamie
                                                | Souscayrous
                                                |
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