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THE SOIL WORKS IT SELF

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  • Raju Titus
    THE NATURAL WAY OF FARMING THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF GREEN PHILOSOPHY WRITTEN BY MASANOBU FUKUOKA TRANSLATED BY FREDERIC P.METREAUD. THE SOIL WORKS IT SELF
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 3, 2008
      THE NATURAL WAY OF FARMING
      THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF GREEN PHILOSOPHY
      WRITTEN BY MASANOBU FUKUOKA
      TRANSLATED BY FREDERIC P.METREAUD.

      THE SOIL WORKS IT SELF
      The soil lives of its own accord and plows it self. It
      needs no help from man. Farmers often talk of "taming the soil" and of
      a field becoming "mature" but why is it that trees in mountain forest
      grow to such magnificent heights without the benefit of hoe or
      fertilizer, while the farmers' fields can grow only puny crops?
      Has the farmer ever gives any careful thoughts to what
      plowing is? Has he not trained all his attention on a thin surface
      layer and neglected to consider what lies below that?
      Trees grows where it can thrive to its great size, mixed woods rise up
      where mixed woods must, and pine trees germinate and grow in places
      suited for pine trees. One does not see pines growing at the bottom of
      a valley or cedar seedlings taking root on mountain tops. One type of
      fern grows on infertile land and another in areas of deep soil. Plants
      that normally grow along the water's edge are not found on mountain
      tops, and terrestrial plants do not thrive in the water. Although
      apparently without intent or purpose, these plants know exactly where
      they can and should grow.
      Man talks of "the right crop for the right land" and does
      studies to determine which crops grow well where. Yet research has
      hardly touched upon such topics as the type of parent rock and soil
      structure suited to mandarin orange trees, or the physical, chemical,
      and biological soil structures in which persimmon trees, grow well.
      People plant trees and sow seed without having the faintest idea and
      of what the parent rock on their land is and without knowing anything
      about the structure of the soil. It is no wonder than that farmers
      worry about how their crops are going to turn out.
      In the mountain forests, however, concerns over the physical
      and chemical compositions of the top soil and deeper strata are
      nonexistent; without the least help from man, nature creates the soil
      conditions sufficient to support dense stands of towering trees. In
      nature, the very grasses and trees ,and the earthworms and moles in
      the ground, have acted the part of plow horse and oxen, completely
      rearranging and renewing the soil. What can be more desirable to the
      farmer than being able to work the fields without pulling a plow or
      swinging a hoe? Let the grasses plow the topsoil and the trees work
      the deeper layers. Everywhere I look, I am reminded of how much wiser
      it is to entrust soil improving to the soil and plant growth to the
      inherent powers of plants.
      People transplant saplings without giving a thought as to what
      they are doing. They graft a scion to the stock of another species or
      clip the roots of a fruit sapling and transplant it. From this point
      on, the roots cease to grow straight and lose ability to penetrate
      hard rock. During transplanting, even a slight entanglement of the
      tree's roots interferes with the normal growth of the first generation
      of roots and weakens the tree's ability to send roots deep into the
      soil. Applying chemical fertilizers encourages the tree to grow a
      shallow roots structure that extends along the topsoil. Fertilizer
      application and weeding bring a halt to the normal aggregation and
      enrichment of topsoil. Clearing new land for agriculture by pulling up
      trees and bushes robs the deeper layers of the soil of a source of
      humus, halting the active proliferation of soil microbes. These very
      actions are what make plowing and turning the soil necessary in the
      first place.
      There is no need to plow or improve a soil because nature has
      been working at it with its own methods for thousands of years. Man
      has restrained the hand of nature and taken up the plow himself. But
      this is just man imitating nature. All he has really gained from this
      is mastery at scientific exposition.
      No amount of research can teach man everything there is to
      know about the soil, and he will certainly never create soils more
      perfect than those of nature. Because nature itself is perfect If
      anything, advances in scientific research teach man just how perfect
      and complete a handful of soil is, and how incomplete human knowledge.
      We can either choose to see the soil as imperfect and take
      hoe hand, or trust the soil and leave the business of working it to
      nature.
      Typed by Raju Titus
      Natural farmer of India
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