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Hello to Group, Bonfils & Legume Legume Questions...

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  • sydehill
    Hello everyone, nice to find this group here. I have an interest in organic gardening farming though not a purist commitment to do everything the Fukuoka Way.
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 3, 2008
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      Hello everyone, nice to find this group here. I have an interest in
      organic gardening farming though not a purist commitment to do
      everything the Fukuoka Way. I am living in Japan and as there is
      agricultural land available around here (it's going out of production
      because the farmers are getting too old to keep it going, with almost
      no young people going it to it) and since about 70 percent of their
      food is imported, and since a I have a field to experiment with,
      basically for free.. I have been trying my hand at a few small-scale
      endeavors.

      Vegetables, fruits, herbs & such are all fine, but I am currently
      interested in trying to develop an intercropping regime for growing
      an oil, grain, fiber and fodder crop that works for the area I live
      in here in Japan. There are various soil types and microclimate
      variations close to where I live, but the land I am trying this on is
      on a coastal plain with sandy soil. Rarely freezes but gets blasted
      by cold dry winds in the winter.

      I am planning to try to establish a permanent legume cover crop
      (leaning at this point to white clover and/or birdsfoot trefoil)
      and interplanting cotton and sesame from May to October or so and
      winter wheat using the Bonfils method.

      Any thoughts on the above?

      I noticed a previous request for information on seed sources for
      wheat varieties suited to Bonfils' method - (he specifies long-
      strawed true winter wheat varieties as preferable) but no response -
      any suggestions about that?

      I have until fall to deal with the wheat, but the legume bit is more
      pressing - I'm planning to plant that in March. I can get white
      clover seed here in Japan, and found sources for trefoil in the
      States (stockseed.com) but was wondering if anyone here has
      experience with the trefoil as an alternative to clover or used in
      combination with it?

      OK, thanks and good luck all -

      Douglas
      Hamamatsu, Japan
    • Jeff
      ... is on a coastal plain with sandy soil. Rarely freezes but gets blasted ... According to the sources I have read on the subject, (relating mostly to horse
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 3, 2008
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        >
        > Vegetables, fruits, herbs & such are all fine, but I am currently
        > interested in trying to develop an intercropping regime for growing
        > an oil, grain, fiber and fodder crop that works for the area I live
        > in here in Japan. There are various soil types and microclimate
        > variations close to where I live, but the land I am trying this on
        is on a coastal plain with sandy soil. Rarely freezes but gets blasted
        > by cold dry winds in the winter.
        >
        > I am planning to try to establish a permanent legume cover crop
        > (leaning at this point to white clover and/or birdsfoot trefoil)
        > and interplanting cotton and sesame from May to October or so and
        > winter wheat using the Bonfils method.
        >
        According to the sources I have read on the subject, (relating mostly
        to horse and cattle pastures), white clover is the superior choice for
        intercropping.

        The rooting depth, Root structure, nitrogen fixated, and easy of
        control, (ie doesn't aggressive spread like alfalfa or trefoil) are
        all better suited to intercropping in white clover.

        I like the idea of using cotton as a dual purpose crop- fiber and oil,
        However, there may be other good choices.

        Flax supplies high quality grain, oil and fiber.
        (possibly as a winter crop)

        Hemp (if legal in Japan) is the most productive of the fiber crops in
        the world and also can get oil from the seeds

        Sunflower oil varieties produce the most oil per area of any crop

        Soybean of course can be used as oil and portein source

        sweet potatoes although not a grain is highly productive staple

        peanuts also provides oil and protein

        quick question: how do you plan to press the oil out,

        I've been looking for an economical way of doing this on the small
        scale and come up lacking.
      • Dieter Brand
        Douglas, Welcome to the group. Sounds like you live in a climate where a continuous crop rotation without ploughing may be a possibility. If your field is
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 3, 2008
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          Douglas,

          Welcome to the group. Sounds like you live in a climate where
          a continuous crop rotation without ploughing may be a possibility.

          If your field is covered by grass and weeds, you either plough as
          a one time measure, and then sow anything you like, for example
          clover and a grain, or you try to do it the hard way without ploughing.
          In the latter case you have to choose crops that can compete with
          the grass and the weeds, for example rye or lupines. Depending
          on what grows on you field now, it may still take a few seasons
          before you can get sufficient weed-suppression to grow a cash
          crop. Growing clover in an existing stand of grass is possible
          but it can take a few years.

          Marc Bonfils developed his winter wheat method for the North of
          France, where wheat will go dormant during the Winter. In a
          climate with mild Winters, growing small grains like wheat, oats,
          barley or rye is the normal thing to do.

          There is a cover crop data base at:
          http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/cgi-bin/ccrop.EXE
          which will give you more info than you will ever want to know.
          It's for North America, but perhaps somebody from the US can
          chip in with information on what zone would correspond to your
          climate, if you don't know already.

          Apart from that, it's always best to ask local farmers in your
          region to know what will grow when.

          In general, a mixture of rye and vetch is a good choice for the
          cool season, because rye can compete with grass and develops
          more root mass than any other grain, while vetch is a legume
          that can grow well between the rye. Rye straw also has good
          weed-suppression properties.

          Dieter Brand
          Portugal

          sydehill <sydehill@...> wrote:
          Hello everyone, nice to find this group here. I have an interest in
          organic gardening farming though not a purist commitment to do
          everything the Fukuoka Way. I am living in Japan and as there is
          agricultural land available around here (it's going out of production
          because the farmers are getting too old to keep it going, with almost
          no young people going it to it) and since about 70 percent of their
          food is imported, and since a I have a field to experiment with,
          basically for free.. I have been trying my hand at a few small-scale
          endeavors.

          Vegetables, fruits, herbs & such are all fine, but I am currently
          interested in trying to develop an intercropping regime for growing
          an oil, grain, fiber and fodder crop that works for the area I live
          in here in Japan. There are various soil types and microclimate
          variations close to where I live, but the land I am trying this on is
          on a coastal plain with sandy soil. Rarely freezes but gets blasted
          by cold dry winds in the winter.

          I am planning to try to establish a permanent legume cover crop
          (leaning at this point to white clover and/or birdsfoot trefoil)
          and interplanting cotton and sesame from May to October or so and
          winter wheat using the Bonfils method.

          Any thoughts on the above?

          I noticed a previous request for information on seed sources for
          wheat varieties suited to Bonfils' method - (he specifies long-
          strawed true winter wheat varieties as preferable) but no response -
          any suggestions about that?

          I have until fall to deal with the wheat, but the legume bit is more
          pressing - I'm planning to plant that in March. I can get white
          clover seed here in Japan, and found sources for trefoil in the
          States (stockseed.com) but was wondering if anyone here has
          experience with the trefoil as an alternative to clover or used in
          combination with it?

          OK, thanks and good luck all -

          Douglas
          Hamamatsu, Japan






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        • Raju Titus
          Dear Douglas, Leguminous ground cover is very essential. It provide nitrogen,water and control weeds.We are growing successfully leguminous trees known as
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 3, 2008
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            Dear Douglas,
            Leguminous ground cover is very essential. It provide nitrogen,water and
            control weeds.We are growing successfully leguminous trees known as
            "Subabul" a Australian acacia.
            Trees helps in so many ways.
            1-Regular source of wood ,water and O2.
            2-With the seedlings cover any body can grow wheat, vegetables and oil
            seeds.
            3-Leaves can be used as fodder.chiken too likes it.
            4-Due to availability of sufficient wood you can produce wood gas for
            cooking or electricity.
            5-Chi ken farming with trees helps in so many ways.
            My suggestion is Morishima acacia is suitable leguminous tree in Japan.
            Raju
            India

            On 2/3/08, sydehill <sydehill@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hello everyone, nice to find this group here. I have an interest in
            > organic gardening farming though not a purist commitment to do
            > everything the Fukuoka Way. I am living in Japan and as there is
            > agricultural land available around here (it's going out of production
            > because the farmers are getting too old to keep it going, with almost
            > no young people going it to it) and since about 70 percent of their
            > food is imported, and since a I have a field to experiment with,
            > basically for free.. I have been trying my hand at a few small-scale
            > endeavors.
            >
            > Vegetables, fruits, herbs & such are all fine, but I am currently
            > interested in trying to develop an intercropping regime for growing
            > an oil, grain, fiber and fodder crop that works for the area I live
            > in here in Japan. There are various soil types and microclimate
            > variations close to where I live, but the land I am trying this on is
            > on a coastal plain with sandy soil. Rarely freezes but gets blasted
            > by cold dry winds in the winter.
            >
            > I am planning to try to establish a permanent legume cover crop
            > (leaning at this point to white clover and/or birdsfoot trefoil)
            > and interplanting cotton and sesame from May to October or so and
            > winter wheat using the Bonfils method.
            >
            > Any thoughts on the above?
            >
            > I noticed a previous request for information on seed sources for
            > wheat varieties suited to Bonfils' method - (he specifies long-
            > strawed true winter wheat varieties as preferable) but no response -
            > any suggestions about that?
            >
            > I have until fall to deal with the wheat, but the legume bit is more
            > pressing - I'm planning to plant that in March. I can get white
            > clover seed here in Japan, and found sources for trefoil in the
            > States (stockseed.com) but was wondering if anyone here has
            > experience with the trefoil as an alternative to clover or used in
            > combination with it?
            >
            > OK, thanks and good luck all -
            >
            > Douglas
            > Hamamatsu, Japan
            >
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • sydehill
            Thank you Raju - I am very interested in tree crops generally, but probably cannot apply it in my current situation. In the future, hopefully. I definitely did
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 4, 2008
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              Thank you Raju -

              I am very interested in tree crops generally, but probably cannot
              apply it in my current situation. In the future, hopefully. I
              definitely did not know about tree leaves as a chicken fodder.

              I would suggest to anyone who is not familiar with it a classic book
              on the subject: Tree Crops - a Permanent Agriculture by J. Russell
              Smith. First published in the late 1940's, it is based on the
              author's research and world wide travels beginning in the 1920's (I
              think). His original inspiration was to find an alternative to the
              farming practices of the Appalachian (US) region of that time which
              involved subsistance dryland raising of corn on deforested steep
              ground, with the predictable disasterous results..

              For the Appalachian region he thought that the chestnut should
              replace corn as the main staple (traditional chestnut production
              and rural economy of Corsica was the model) but the native American
              Chestnut was devastated by disease in the 1920's and never recovered.

              here is a link to that book on Amazon

              http://www.amazon.com/Tree-Crops-Permanent-Agriculture-Conservation/
              dp/0933280440/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1202192566&sr=1-1

              He was enthusiastic about locus and acacia too, of course.

              Best wishes for your projects!

              - Douglas

              --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Raju Titus" <rajuktitus@...>
              wrote:
              >
              > Dear Douglas,
              > Leguminous ground cover is very essential. It provide
              nitrogen,water and
              > control weeds.We are growing successfully leguminous trees known
              as
              > "Subabul" a Australian acacia.
              > Trees helps in so many ways.
              > 1-Regular source of wood ,water and O2.
              > 2-With the seedlings cover any body can grow wheat, vegetables and
              oil
              > seeds.
              > 3-Leaves can be used as fodder.chiken too likes it.
              > 4-Due to availability of sufficient wood you can produce wood gas
              for
              > cooking or electricity.
              > 5-Chi ken farming with trees helps in so many ways.
              > My suggestion is Morishima acacia is suitable leguminous tree in
              Japan.
              > Raju
              > India
              >
            • sydehill
              Hello, Dieter, Thanks for your response. I had recently found that cover crop data base and yes, it is quite exhaustive. Comparing climate here to N. America,
              Message 6 of 8 , Feb 4, 2008
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                Hello, Dieter,

                Thanks for your response.

                I had recently found that cover crop data base and yes, it is quite
                exhaustive. Comparing climate here to N. America, I think that it is
                very close to that of coastal North or South Carolina, although
                that's an area of the States I have not actually been to.

                I have been hand digging - deeper that most mechanical cultivation
                but shallower that double digging, and removing "weeds". There are
                very few earthworms, not a good sign, but some hibernating frogs,
                which is encouraging. I am planning to incorporate some commercial
                cow manure and "homegrown" compost which will hopefully enhance the
                bioactivity in the soil. I am considering possibilities to raise the
                P and N somewhat initially as I've heard this will enable the clover
                to establish itself more readily, then plant sesame and cotton in
                May.

                I've been checking with older local farmers (unfortunately their
                Japanese is much harder for me to understand than the younger ones)
                and will continue that - they used to grow a lot of cotton, wheat and
                sesame around here, but almost none now. I have heard there are still
                a few people doing winter wheat, but haven't found them yet.

                Apparently, it was once quite common here to grow rice and wheat
                (alternating) on the same ground, but when imported wheat was
                extremely cheap everyone abandoned the wheat production. Still
                haven't met anyone who could tell me in detail how they did it, but
                I'm sure there are still people around with direct experience.

                BTW - you are in Portugal? What part? I have only been in the north
                and spent a few months in Galicia also - nice country, I thought.

                - Douglas
                (Honshu, Japan)


                --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Dieter Brand <diebrand@...>
                wrote:
                >
                > Douglas,
                >
                > Welcome to the group. Sounds like you live in a climate where
                > a continuous crop rotation without ploughing may be a
                possibility.
                >
                > If your field is covered by grass and weeds, you either plough as
                > a one time measure, and then sow anything you like, for example
                > clover and a grain, or you try to do it the hard way without
                ploughing.
                > In the latter case you have to choose crops that can compete with
                > the grass and the weeds, for example rye or lupines. Depending
                > on what grows on you field now, it may still take a few seasons
                > before you can get sufficient weed-suppression to grow a cash
                > crop. Growing clover in an existing stand of grass is possible
                > but it can take a few years.
                >
                > Marc Bonfils developed his winter wheat method for the North of
                > France, where wheat will go dormant during the Winter. In a
                > climate with mild Winters, growing small grains like wheat, oats,
                > barley or rye is the normal thing to do.
                >
                > There is a cover crop data base at:
                > http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/cgi-bin/ccrop.EXE
                > which will give you more info than you will ever want to know.
                > It's for North America, but perhaps somebody from the US can
                > chip in with information on what zone would correspond to your
                > climate, if you don't know already.
                >
                > Apart from that, it's always best to ask local farmers in your
                > region to know what will grow when.
                >
                > In general, a mixture of rye and vetch is a good choice for the
                > cool season, because rye can compete with grass and develops
                > more root mass than any other grain, while vetch is a legume
                > that can grow well between the rye. Rye straw also has good
                > weed-suppression properties.
                >
                > Dieter Brand
                > Portugal
                >
              • sydehill
                Hello, Jeff - ... mostly ... for ... I didn t know that trefoil tended to spread aggressively, although I guess there could be advantages and disadvantages to
                Message 7 of 8 , Feb 4, 2008
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                  Hello, Jeff -

                  --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Jeff" <shultonus@...> wrote:

                  > According to the sources I have read on the subject, (relating
                  mostly
                  > to horse and cattle pastures), white clover is the superior choice
                  for
                  > intercropping.
                  >
                  > The rooting depth, Root structure, nitrogen fixated, and easy of
                  > control, (ie doesn't aggressive spread like alfalfa or trefoil) are
                  > all better suited to intercropping in white clover.
                  >

                  I didn't know that trefoil tended to spread aggressively, although I
                  guess there could be advantages and disadvantages to that (is it a
                  bug, or a feature?) Info I was reading did say it has some advantage
                  as a fodder in that it doesn't cause bloat like clover can?

                  > I like the idea of using cotton as a dual purpose crop- fiber and
                  oil,

                  well, I was actually thinking in terms of sesame as the oil crop,
                  kind of forgot about cotton oil and cottonseed cake

                  > However, there may be other good choices.
                  >
                  ack - a bunch, it looks like

                  > Flax supplies high quality grain, oil and fiber.
                  > (possibly as a winter crop)

                  one I had not considered, will check on it
                  >
                  > Hemp (if legal in Japan) is the most productive of the fiber crops
                  in
                  > the world and also can get oil from the seeds

                  used to grow around here until the Allied occupation government
                  (General MacArthur thought they had a better idea and prohibited it
                  in pretty much all its form besides fiber and seeds) There are a very
                  few people with permits to grow it, other than that its very
                  draconian and restrictive.

                  sesame has pretty similar growth habit and requirements, I think

                  >
                  > Sunflower oil varieties produce the most oil per area of any crop
                  >
                  > Soybean of course can be used as oil and portein source
                  >
                  > sweet potatoes although not a grain is highly productive staple
                  >
                  > peanuts also provides oil and protein
                  >
                  all of the above do OK around here, I think - sesame look relatively
                  easy though and I really like it as a food oil (and the raw or
                  toasted seeds are valuable/useful on their own, even if processing
                  for oil is more difficult than I anticipated

                  > quick question: how do you plan to press the oil out,
                  >
                  > I've been looking for an economical way of doing this on the small
                  > scale and come up lacking.

                  I haven't really explored that much myself, but need to. I
                  accumulated a few liters of camelia nuts this year and want to try
                  pressing them for oil, haven`t figured out how to do it just yet..
                  please let me know if you find something.

                  - Doug
                  >
                • Dieter Brand
                  Douglas, I m in the South, the Baixo Alentejo, not far from the Ocean. It s different from the North, mostly big open rolling hill country, but unfortunately a
                  Message 8 of 8 , Feb 5, 2008
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                    Douglas,

                    I'm in the South, the Baixo Alentejo, not far from the Ocean.
                    It's different from the North, mostly big open rolling hill country,
                    but unfortunately a lot less rain than in the North. Which makes
                    it difficult to put in place a _continuous_ crop rotation since
                    it's too dry during the summer. I'm testing perennials, which
                    is probably the only chance of succeeding with no-till around
                    here. But even that isn't exactly easy.

                    Dieter

                    sydehill <sydehill@...> wrote:
                    Hello, Dieter,

                    Thanks for your response.

                    I had recently found that cover crop data base and yes, it is quite
                    exhaustive. Comparing climate here to N. America, I think that it is
                    very close to that of coastal North or South Carolina, although
                    that's an area of the States I have not actually been to.

                    I have been hand digging - deeper that most mechanical cultivation
                    but shallower that double digging, and removing "weeds". There are
                    very few earthworms, not a good sign, but some hibernating frogs,
                    which is encouraging. I am planning to incorporate some commercial
                    cow manure and "homegrown" compost which will hopefully enhance the
                    bioactivity in the soil. I am considering possibilities to raise the
                    P and N somewhat initially as I've heard this will enable the clover
                    to establish itself more readily, then plant sesame and cotton in
                    May.

                    I've been checking with older local farmers (unfortunately their
                    Japanese is much harder for me to understand than the younger ones)
                    and will continue that - they used to grow a lot of cotton, wheat and
                    sesame around here, but almost none now. I have heard there are still
                    a few people doing winter wheat, but haven't found them yet.

                    Apparently, it was once quite common here to grow rice and wheat
                    (alternating) on the same ground, but when imported wheat was
                    extremely cheap everyone abandoned the wheat production. Still
                    haven't met anyone who could tell me in detail how they did it, but
                    I'm sure there are still people around with direct experience.

                    BTW - you are in Portugal? What part? I have only been in the north
                    and spent a few months in Galicia also - nice country, I thought.

                    - Douglas
                    (Honshu, Japan)

                    --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Dieter Brand <diebrand@...>
                    wrote:
                    >
                    > Douglas,
                    >
                    > Welcome to the group. Sounds like you live in a climate where
                    > a continuous crop rotation without ploughing may be a
                    possibility.
                    >
                    > If your field is covered by grass and weeds, you either plough as
                    > a one time measure, and then sow anything you like, for example
                    > clover and a grain, or you try to do it the hard way without
                    ploughing.
                    > In the latter case you have to choose crops that can compete with
                    > the grass and the weeds, for example rye or lupines. Depending
                    > on what grows on you field now, it may still take a few seasons
                    > before you can get sufficient weed-suppression to grow a cash
                    > crop. Growing clover in an existing stand of grass is possible
                    > but it can take a few years.
                    >
                    > Marc Bonfils developed his winter wheat method for the North of
                    > France, where wheat will go dormant during the Winter. In a
                    > climate with mild Winters, growing small grains like wheat, oats,
                    > barley or rye is the normal thing to do.
                    >
                    > There is a cover crop data base at:
                    > http://www.sarep.ucdavis.edu/cgi-bin/ccrop.EXE
                    > which will give you more info than you will ever want to know.
                    > It's for North America, but perhaps somebody from the US can
                    > chip in with information on what zone would correspond to your
                    > climate, if you don't know already.
                    >
                    > Apart from that, it's always best to ask local farmers in your
                    > region to know what will grow when.
                    >
                    > In general, a mixture of rye and vetch is a good choice for the
                    > cool season, because rye can compete with grass and develops
                    > more root mass than any other grain, while vetch is a legume
                    > that can grow well between the rye. Rye straw also has good
                    > weed-suppression properties.
                    >
                    > Dieter Brand
                    > Portugal
                    >






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