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Re: [fukuoka_farming] growing food for the people ( ants problem )

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  • Robert Monie
    Hi Calin, Well, a little improvement is better than none. If you are drenching your soil with Haber-process fertilizer and you see that your neighbor doesn t
    Message 1 of 13 , Jan 10, 2008
      Hi Calin,

      Well, a little improvement is better than none. If you are drenching your soil with Haber-process fertilizer and you see that your neighbor doesn't have to use as much because she rotates cover crops, buckwheat, sudan grass/sorgum, triticale, rye, and either cuts them or rolls tham down (as Titus suggested) to provide biomass, nutrition, and biology to the soil, you may say, "I'll try that and see if it works." If it does, then you have made your farm/garden just a little more self-reliant, with lower input requirement and more vital soil web activity at the root level. Is something wrong with that? If you later plant nitrogen-fixing trees and shrubs and clovers and notice that your field becomes still more nutrient-sparing, what is wrong with that? If you add bee-attracting plants, nectary plants for birds, insectary plants to attract beneficial bugs, maybe plant some citrus thyme and vetiver grass to cut back a little on the predatory bugs, isn't that an
      improvement? If you try companion planting, and develop supporting plant guilds, grow chicory, stinging nettle, comfrey and other dynamic plant accumulators, and you see that your garden is getting green, healthy and more productive, what's wrong with that, even it is not "all the way" natural?

      These are the kinds of improvements that Jacke suggests in Edible Forest Farming to try to wean your farm or garden from excessive reliance on added fertilizer and pesticides. To me, that would be edging your field toward--dare I say it--natural farming. Not everyone is blessed with sudden gnosis or inspiration to conspire with nature to produce a perfect garden out of whole cloth. Some have to go step by step. Not everyone can benefit from mystery. Some need clarity and method to guide them. The essence of natural farming is to reach very low input levels, high levels of self-sustenance, and not damage the environment. This is quite a bit more than just organic farming, and why should anyone insist that it be achieved mystically if it can also be approached by method and known good practices? Robert Hart's little forest garden fed him right up to his death, and according to Jacke, he did nothing at all by way of maintenance for the last 3 or 4 years. I would say that
      mystic and mysterious or not, that was some kind of natural garden. Forest gardening and forest farming are a long way from "commercial"; their current scale is more along the mom, pop, and friends lines that you suggest as ideal.

      With the increasing number of people living in high density urban apartments, it is realistic (as Dieter recently pointed out) to expect that fairly large farms are needed to feed them. Is there an intrinsic reason why these farms could not be, if not entirely natural, then at least adoptive of as many natural attributes as possible?

      Bob Monie
      New Orleans, La
      Zone 8


      "Calin A. Radulescu" <crandrei@...> wrote:

      Robert,

      Natural Farming is the Road back to Nature, the very
      not-doing of the commercial farming, not some method
      that we can strip away of it essence, copying bits and
      parts of it and paste them into commercial farming and
      still call it Natural Farming or Fukuokan. What is
      natural about commercial farming ? What is natural
      about economic growth ? The farm size is naturally
      limited by the manpower of the farmer, his family
      and friends. What can be wrong about that ? Every
      one is free to grow an organic crop but why would
      anybody associate that with Fukuoka ?

      calin.

      --- Robert Monie <bobm20001@...> wrote:

      > Stripped of its mystery, this could be
      > called organic no-till, green (living) manure
      > farming. It has much in common with

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