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Re: [fukuoka_farming] LIST OWNER! Earth calling! ; was: Re: NO-CULTIVATION

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  • Stephen Canner
    Thanks for the heads up, Dieter. Believe it or not that person has been also been a list member for over 4 years. In any case, based on this most recent post
    Message 1 of 8 , Mar 3 5:10 AM
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      Thanks for the heads up, Dieter.

      Believe it or not that person has been also been a
      list member for over 4 years. In any case, based on
      this most recent post I've placed this person on
      moderated status.

      Debate, disagreement, etc, are bound to happen but the
      post below is flat out abuse. Back to business as
      usual...

      Stephen Lee Canner
      Austin, Texas


      --- Dieter Brand <diebrand@...> wrote:

      > I believe this is a clear case of an anonymous party
      > using this group
      > for his or her private ranting and for insulting
      > longstanding members
      > of this group in the most offensive manner.
      >
      > This does great damage to all who have over the
      > years tried to make
      > a constructive contribution to this group and to
      > natural farming.
      >
      > I suggest you get an identity and conform to a
      > minimum standard of
      > human decency, or leave this group.
      >
      > Dieter Brand
      > Portugal
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > THE BELOW IS FOR REFERENCE ONLY
      > NOT TO READ IT AGAIN
      >
      > macropneuma <macropneuma@...> wrote:
      > Nup Jamie, you haven't read the private
      > emails i've gotten, including some of which
      > abuse you with extreme prejudice in the most
      > cowardly way, and those go on to advocate
      > tilling!
      >
      > The only thing of a rant below by me is the terrible
      > spelling errors, sorry all,otherwise it's
      > not at all rant like or mode. My choice is to
      > re-assert rigorous evidence over fallacious
      > dogma, support not detract from Fukuoka-sensei and
      > have the anti-Fukuoka practitioners
      > go away and find one of the thousands of groups that
      > agree with their agriculture.
      >
      > Jamie, this would be an example, not to be taken too
      > seriously of shouting:
      > SO YOU DON'T SUPPORT FUKUOKA, HIS PRINCIPALS,
      > PRACTICES AND
      > PHILOSOPHIES, YOU DON'T APPRECIATE the natural
      > philosophy which is integrated
      > with practice from FUKUOKA-SENSEI, Well then FUCK
      > OFF! AND FIND ONE OF THE
      > MANY THOUSANDS OF POSSIBLE GROUPS WHICH YOU WOULD BE
      > IN SUPPORT
      > OF. APPLYING FUKUOKA ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD DOES NOT
      > REQUIRE
      > STRIPPING AWAY FROM IT ALL MEANING DISTINCTIVE FROM
      > WESTERN
      > AGRICULTURE, as if FUKUOKA-SENSEI DIDN'T ALREADY
      > KNOW WHAT THE
      > SITUATION IS ALL OVER THE WORLD, ESPECIALLY SINCE HE
      > WORKED IN
      > SAHARAN AFRICA WITH LOCAL PEOPLE GROWING FOOD, AND
      > WITH THE UN
      > THERE."
      >
      > Jamie, as i replied to one abuse of you in private
      > email to me, you are, i think one of the
      > best people to be moderator of such a group, except
      > when you go all superior, telling
      > other people your judgmental & wrong opinion of
      > their words, such condescention is
      > lame and weak. Don't like some content of what i
      > said Jamie, then don't label me as
      > ranting, engage as tell what content that is.
      >
      > Fearless openess and honesty for the love of the
      > earth
      >
      > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Jamie
      > Nicol" <souscayrous@...> wrote:
      > >
      > > Dear Macropneuma, you have fallen into rant mode
      > again. I doubt that anyone
      > > really has that much against what you say, just
      > the way that you say it.
      > >
      > > Let´s unfold Fukuoka´s message by trying to take
      > people with us. Yes, there
      > > are those deaf to Fukuoka´s ideas, but shouting is
      > only going to scare
      > > everyone else away.
      > >
      > > Jamie
      > > Mas Franch
      > >
      > > On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 10:47 AM, macropneuma
      > <macropneuma@...>
      > > wrote:
      > >
      > > > Raju,
      > > > Thanks for typing this.
      > > > Evidence, again & again, in its many forms,
      > needs to brought to bear
      > > > on this hitherto relativistic subject. Whether
      > Fukuoka-sensei's direct
      > > > observations (in his Japanese words as
      > translated into English) or any
      > > > other forms of evidence.
      > > > The dogma of gross tilling or gross plowing is
      > the hitherto
      > > > relativistic subject (as contrasted with use of
      > pointed digging sticks
      > > > or such like to dig up root tubers for food).
      > > > 'Western' Agriculturalist dogma so forcefully
      > imposed with extreme
      > > > prejudice by 'Western' farmers nearly everywhere
      > - i think of many of
      > > > my broad acre farmer neighbours to my Natural
      > Farm, here in Australia.
      > > > The dogma has been so extreme from them to
      > people such as me, and also
      > > > constantly reinforced upon themselves by
      > agribusiness and peers, that
      > > > it is there greatest weakness - if i ever
      > suggest that gross plowing
      > > > or tilling of any sort is unsustainable to them,
      > they go into, almost
      > > > fits, of histrionics about history, culture,
      > god, civilisation, etc -
      > > > in other words they display their major anxiety
      > from this unexamined
      > > > question inside themselves.
      > > > This group is no place for re-imposing that
      > anxiety, coming from the
      > > > imposition of that "Thou shalt plow" dogma.
      > > > Making commercial crops & money from farming is
      > not the criterion for
      > > > Fukuoka_farming, Fukuoka says oh so very
      > clearly.
      > > > If you must plow to survive, to run your
      > commercial farm, or to make
      > > > money, or to grow food, then by Fukuoka-sensei's
      > own definition of
      > > > shizen nouhou, you cannot be a
      > Fukuoka-sensei-inspired farmer!, and by
      > > > the same definition you're an outsider to this
      > group's purpose!
      > > > If you don't know, by now, why gross tilling or
      > gross plowing is
      > > > definitively unsustainable, from reading
      > Fukuoka-sensei's and this
      > > > group's writing, then are deluded, an idiot, or
      > out of order
      > > > (propagandist).
      > > > Stating the obvious, basic ecology & logic
      > (again):
      > > > All across this earth, is replete with rigorous
      > evidence that gross
      > > > tilling or gross plowing, as its express
      > purpose, is to extract
      > > > fertility capital from the soil - in other words
      > a series of one time
      > > > draw-downs of the fertility capital (including
      > nutrients, organic
      > > > matter and soil biomass). Each of these one time
      > draw-downs of
      > > > fertility can only be restored to the soil by
      > soil forming processes.
      > > > Soil forming processes - growing new soil -
      > occur at wildly varying
      > > > rates across the earth, as a sweeping
      > generalisation though they are
      > > > coincident with carrying capacity for primary
      > productivity, eg. So if
      > > > a place once carried (in this climatic era - or
      > naturally would carry)
      > > > a huge, dense forest, which supported many
      > animals, then it also forms
      > > > new soil quickly, compared to a place that in
      > this climatic era only
      > > > had (natural) arid desert or tundra or extremely
      > low parent materials
      > > > from the geology (in its 'natural condition' not
      > after human
      > > > degradation and domination). In still other
      > words, soil forming
      > > > processes are occurring at geological rates, not
      > at the which
      > > > unsustainable agriculture is extracting those
      > soils fertility, and
      > > > turning the into not real soils anymore, but
      > into mere physical media
      > > > for holding up plant roots and absorbing soluble
      > agricultural
      > > > fertilizers, in the same way that a hydroponic
      > system filled with
      > > > sterilised sand would still possibly operate.
      > (Although to be sure
      > > > soil or sand in a hydroponic system would have
      > drainage problems,
      > > > where it does not in a large body of soil,
      > because of capillary action
      > > > and suction forces from being the large body of
      > soil).
      >
      === message truncated ===
    • Jamie Nicol
      Dear Jason, your heartfelt commitment to Fukuoka s cause is refreshing, especially so on a list that is largely made up of posts discussing organic
      Message 2 of 8 , Mar 3 11:29 AM
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        Dear Jason, your heartfelt commitment to Fukuoka's cause is refreshing,
        especially so on a list that is largely made up of posts discussing organic
        agriculture. But there is no new information that is going to change the
        world: we have known for more than 50 years what's happening and since then
        the stories of the continued and increasing speed of destruction have
        multiplied a thousandfold...we must, each of us, uncover what drives us to
        destroy life...and that must begin by not discriminating, this group 'right'
        this group 'wrong'...and I know I've done it before more than once on this
        list.

        We must be open, but not for any reason, including ' saving the world', we
        must be open because only by opening ourselves to everything can we even
        begin to get close to ourselves, which can also be called everything.

        Yes, I know I do sometimes sound condescending or superior and for that I am
        sorry to not only you but everyone else who I've made feel that way, I shall
        be trying to improve that.

        Jamie
        Mas Franch

        On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 1:17 PM, macropneuma <macropneuma@...>
        wrote:

        > Nup Jamie, you haven't read the private emails i've gotten, including
        > some of which
        > abuse you with extreme prejudice in the most cowardly way, and those go on
        > to advocate
        > tilling!
        >
        > The only thing of a rant below by me is the terrible spelling errors,
        > sorry all,otherwise it's
        > not at all rant like or mode. My choice is to re-assert rigorous evidence
        > over fallacious
        > dogma, support not detract from Fukuoka-sensei and have the anti-Fukuoka
        > practitioners
        > go away and find one of the thousands of groups that agree with their
        > agriculture.
        >
        > Jamie, this would be an example, not to be taken too seriously of
        > shouting:
        > SO YOU DON'T SUPPORT FUKUOKA, HIS PRINCIPALS, PRACTICES AND
        > PHILOSOPHIES, YOU DON'T APPRECIATE the natural philosophy which is
        > integrated
        > with practice from FUKUOKA-SENSEI, Well then FUCK OFF! AND FIND ONE OF THE
        >
        > MANY THOUSANDS OF POSSIBLE GROUPS WHICH YOU WOULD BE IN SUPPORT
        > OF. APPLYING FUKUOKA ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD DOES NOT REQUIRE
        > STRIPPING AWAY FROM IT ALL MEANING DISTINCTIVE FROM WESTERN
        > AGRICULTURE, as if FUKUOKA-SENSEI DIDN'T ALREADY KNOW WHAT THE
        > SITUATION IS ALL OVER THE WORLD, ESPECIALLY SINCE HE WORKED IN
        > SAHARAN AFRICA WITH LOCAL PEOPLE GROWING FOOD, AND WITH THE UN
        > THERE."
        >
        > Jamie, as i replied to one abuse of you in private email to me, you are, i
        > think one of the
        > best people to be moderator of such a group, except when you go all
        > superior, telling
        > other people your judgmental & wrong opinion of their words, such
        > condescention is
        > lame and weak. Don't like some content of what i said Jamie, then don't
        > label me as
        > ranting, engage as tell what content that is.
        >
        > Fearless openess and honesty for the love of the earth
        >
        >
        > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com <fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>,
        > "Jamie Nicol" <souscayrous@...> wrote:
        > >
        > > Dear Macropneuma, you have fallen into rant mode again. I doubt that
        > anyone
        > > really has that much against what you say, just the way that you say it.
        > >
        > > Let´s unfold Fukuoka´s message by trying to take people with us. Yes,
        > there
        > > are those deaf to Fukuoka´s ideas, but shouting is only going to scare
        > > everyone else away.
        > >
        > > Jamie
        > > Mas Franch
        > >
        > > On Mon, Mar 3, 2008 at 10:47 AM, macropneuma <macropneuma@...>
        >
        > > wrote:
        > >
        > > > Raju,
        > > > Thanks for typing this.
        > > > Evidence, again & again, in its many forms, needs to brought to bear
        > > > on this hitherto relativistic subject. Whether Fukuoka-sensei's direct
        > > > observations (in his Japanese words as translated into English) or any
        > > > other forms of evidence.
        > > > The dogma of gross tilling or gross plowing is the hitherto
        > > > relativistic subject (as contrasted with use of pointed digging sticks
        > > > or such like to dig up root tubers for food).
        > > > 'Western' Agriculturalist dogma so forcefully imposed with extreme
        > > > prejudice by 'Western' farmers nearly everywhere - i think of many of
        > > > my broad acre farmer neighbours to my Natural Farm, here in Australia.
        > > > The dogma has been so extreme from them to people such as me, and also
        > > > constantly reinforced upon themselves by agribusiness and peers, that
        > > > it is there greatest weakness - if i ever suggest that gross plowing
        > > > or tilling of any sort is unsustainable to them, they go into, almost
        > > > fits, of histrionics about history, culture, god, civilisation, etc -
        > > > in other words they display their major anxiety from this unexamined
        > > > question inside themselves.
        > > > This group is no place for re-imposing that anxiety, coming from the
        > > > imposition of that "Thou shalt plow" dogma.
        > > > Making commercial crops & money from farming is not the criterion for
        > > > Fukuoka_farming, Fukuoka says oh so very clearly.
        > > > If you must plow to survive, to run your commercial farm, or to make
        > > > money, or to grow food, then by Fukuoka-sensei's own definition of
        > > > shizen nouhou, you cannot be a Fukuoka-sensei-inspired farmer!, and by
        > > > the same definition you're an outsider to this group's purpose!
        > > > If you don't know, by now, why gross tilling or gross plowing is
        > > > definitively unsustainable, from reading Fukuoka-sensei's and this
        > > > group's writing, then are deluded, an idiot, or out of order
        > > > (propagandist).
        > > > Stating the obvious, basic ecology & logic (again):
        > > > All across this earth, is replete with rigorous evidence that gross
        > > > tilling or gross plowing, as its express purpose, is to extract
        > > > fertility capital from the soil - in other words a series of one time
        > > > draw-downs of the fertility capital (including nutrients, organic
        > > > matter and soil biomass). Each of these one time draw-downs of
        > > > fertility can only be restored to the soil by soil forming processes.
        > > > Soil forming processes - growing new soil - occur at wildly varying
        > > > rates across the earth, as a sweeping generalisation though they are
        > > > coincident with carrying capacity for primary productivity, eg. So if
        > > > a place once carried (in this climatic era - or naturally would carry)
        > > > a huge, dense forest, which supported many animals, then it also forms
        > > > new soil quickly, compared to a place that in this climatic era only
        > > > had (natural) arid desert or tundra or extremely low parent materials
        > > > from the geology (in its 'natural condition' not after human
        > > > degradation and domination). In still other words, soil forming
        > > > processes are occurring at geological rates, not at the which
        > > > unsustainable agriculture is extracting those soils fertility, and
        > > > turning the into not real soils anymore, but into mere physical media
        > > > for holding up plant roots and absorbing soluble agricultural
        > > > fertilizers, in the same way that a hydroponic system filled with
        > > > sterilised sand would still possibly operate. (Although to be sure
        > > > soil or sand in a hydroponic system would have drainage problems,
        > > > where it does not in a large body of soil, because of capillary action
        > > > and suction forces from being the large body of soil).
        > > >
        > > > Beauty mate!
        > > >
        > > > --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com<fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com><fukuoka_farming%40yahoogroups.com>,
        >
        > > > "Raju Titus" <rajuktitus@>
        > > > wrote:
        > > > >
        > > > > NO CULTIVATION
        > > > > PLOWING RUINS THE SOIL
        > > > > By Masnobu Fukuoka (The Natural way of Farming)
        > > > > Knowing that the roots of crops penetrate deep into
        > > > the earth in search of air, water and nutrients, people reason that
        > > > making larger amounts of these ingredients available to the plants
        > > > will speed crop growth. So they clear the field of weeds and turn the
        > > > soil from time to time, believing that this loosens and aerates the
        > > > soil, increases the amount of available nitrogen by encouraging
        > > > nitrification, and introduces fertilizer into the soil where it can
        > > > be absorbed by the crops.
        > > > > Of course, plowing under chemical fertilizers
        > > > scattered over the surface of a field will probably increase
        > > > fertilizer effectiveness. But this is true only for clearly plowed and
        > > > weeded fields on which fertilizer is applied. Grassed field and no
        > > > fertilizer cultivation are a different matter altogether. We therefore
        > > > have to examine the necessity of plowing from a different perspective.
        > > > > As for the argument that this helps increase available nitrogen
        > > > through nitrification, this is analogous to wasting one's body for
        > > > some temporary gain.
        > > > > Plowing is supposed to loosen the soil and improve
        > > > the penetration of air, but does not this in fact have the opposite
        > > > effect of compacting the soil and decreasing air porosity? When a
        > > > farmer plows his field and turns with a hoe, this appears to create
        > > > air spaces in the soil and soften the dirt. But the effect is the same
        > > > as kneading bread: by turning the soil, the farmer breaks it up into
        > > > smaller particles which acquire an increasingly regular physical
        > > > arrangement with smaller interstitial spaces. The result is a harder,
        > > > denser soil.
        > > > > The only effective way to soften up the soil is to apply
        > > > compost and work it into the ground by plowing. But this is just a
        > > > short-lived measure. In fields that have been weeded clean and
        > > > carefully plowed and re-plowed, the natural, aggregation of the soil
        > > > into larger particles is disturbed; soil particles become finer and
        > > > finer, hardening the ground.
        > > > > Wet paddy field is normally supposed to be tilled five,
        > > > or seven times during the growing season. The more zealous farmers
        > > > have even competed with each other to increase the number of plowing.
        > > > Everyone thought this softened the soil in the paddy and let more air
        > > > into the soil. The is the way it looked to most people for a long
        > > > time, until after World War II, when herbicides became available. Than
        > > > farmers discovered that when they sprayed their fields with herbicides
        > > > and reduced the frequency of plowing, their yields improved. This
        > > > demonstrated that intertillage had been effective as a weeding process
        > > > but had been worthless as a means for loosening the soil.
        > > > > To say that tilling the soil is not the as claiming that
        > > > it is unnecessary to loosen the soil and increase its porosity. No, in
        > > > fact I would like to stress more than anyone else, just how important
        > > > an abundance of air and water are to the soil. It is in the nature of
        > > > soil to swell and grow more porous with each passing year. This is
        > > > absolutely essential for microorganisms to multiply in the earth, for
        > > > the soil to grow more fertile, and for the roots of large trees to
        > > > penetrate deep into the ground. Only I believe that, far from being
        > > > the answer, working the soil with plow and hoe actually interferes
        > > > with these processes. If man leaves the soil to it self, the forces of
        > > > nature will enrich and loosen.
        > > > > Farmers usually plow the soil to a depth of about four to
        > > > eight inches, whereas the roots of grass and green manure crops work
        > > > the soil down to twelve inches, fifteen inches, or more. When these
        > > > roots reach down deep into the earth, air and water penetrate into the
        > > > soil together with the roots. As these wither and die, many types of
        > > > microorganisms proliferate. These organisms die and are replaced by
        > > > others, increasing the amount of humus and softening the soil.
        > > > Earthworms eventually appear where there is humus, and as the number
        > > > of earthworms increases, moles begin burrowing.
        > > > > Typed by-
        > > > > Raju Titus
        > > > > Natural farmer of India
        > > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > > >
        > >
        > >
        > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        > >
        >
        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • macropneuma
        Raju, Thanks for typing this. [I have corrected the terrible spelling errors of this earlier reply to Raju s post - especially motivated by Anders Skarland s
        Message 3 of 8 , Mar 10 12:29 AM
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          Raju,
          Thanks for typing this.

          [I have corrected the terrible spelling errors of this earlier reply
          to Raju's post - especially motivated by Anders Skarland's
          difficulties in the previous email (
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fukuoka_farming/message/7341 ) - i hope
          this version helps with its corrections of errors of spelling and also
          of some of my writing quality, along with the direct reply i will post
          later when it is ready - i've been thinking of correcting this below,
          since Jamie's reply which labelled it ranting. But i am writing from
          various libraries, my iPod and cafe's, and i don't have much time to
          go over the same ground many including Fukuoka-sensei, Raju &
          Jean-Claude have already been over so well, or repeating myself again.
          Cheers to all!
          PS.
          http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/337 is another
          tangent from the topic & purpose of this group, of Mokichi Okada
          tradition of Shizen NouHou as distinct from Fukuoka, Masanobu-sensei's
          tradition, and the group herein. Though i believe this tangent for the
          purpose of a comparison to further enlighten Fukuoka-sensei's Shizen
          NouHou, is not off-topic in this group]

          Rigorous evidence, in its many forms, again & again, needs to brought
          to bear on this hitherto relativistic subject.
          Whether Fukuoka-sensei's direct observations (in his Japanese words as
          translated into English) or any other forms of evidence.
          The dogma of gross tilling or gross plowing is the hitherto
          relativistic subject.
          (As contrasted with non-gross tilling such as use of pointed digging
          sticks or such like to dig up root tubers for food.)
          'Western' (<-so called), agriculturalist dogma has been so forcefully
          imposed with extreme prejudice by 'Western' farmers nearly everywhere
          (in some cases as the ideological basis for genocide of 'others') --
          (but) i think of many of my, broad acre farmer, neighbours, to my own
          Natural Farm, here in Australia (, who are less extreme than genocidal
          earlier European Australians, in some cases, people today's forbears
          where genocidal in recorded histories).
          The dogma has been so extreme from them to people such as me, and also
          constantly reinforced upon themselves by agribusiness (merchants) and
          peers (farming community), that it is their greatest weakness - if i
          ever suggest that gross plowing or gross tilling of any sort is
          unsustainable to them, they have often gone into, almost fits, of
          histrionics about history, culture, god, civilisation, etc. In other
          words they display their major anxiety, from this unexamined question
          inside themselves.
          This group is no place for re-imposing that anxiety (from the
          unexamined question of the definitive unsustainability of gross
          tilling or gross plowing, in some people-here's minds), coming from
          the imposition of that "Thou shalt plow" dogma.
          Making commercial crops & money (& higher yields & efficiency &
          productivity gains) from farming is not the criterion for
          Fukuoka_farming, Fukuoka says oh so very clearly.
          If you must plow to survive, to run your commercial farm, or to make
          money, or to grow food at all (as only know this plowing way), then by
          Fukuoka-sensei's own definition of "Shizen NouHou" [Natural Farming]
          you cannot be a Fukuoka-sensei-inspired farmer! By the same definition
          you're an outsider to, this group's purpose! (which is OK i welcome
          'outsiders' here, so long as outsiders don't pretend that they are
          adapting Fukuoka.)
          If you don't know, by now, why gross tilling or gross plowing is
          definitively unsustainable, from reading Fukuoka-sensei's and this
          group's writing, then you must be deluded, an idiot, or out of order
          (propagandist).
          Stating the obvious, basic ecology & logic (again):
          ----------------------------------------------------
          All across this earth, is replete with rigorous evidence that gross
          tilling or gross plowing, as its express purpose, is to extract
          fertility *capital* from the soil - in other words a series of one
          time draw-downs of the fertility *capital* (including nutrients,
          organic matter and soil biomass - eg. microbe death and then its
          body's nutrients being extracted also). Each of these one time
          draw-downs of fertility can only be restored to the soil by soil
          forming processes. Soil forming processes - growing new soil - occur
          at wildly varying rates across the earth. As a sweeping generalisation
          though they are coincident with carrying capacity for primary
          productivity, eg. so if a place once carried (in this climatic era -
          or naturally would carry) a huge, dense forest, which supported many
          animals, then it also can form new soil quickly; Compared to a place
          that in this climatic era only had (natural) arid desert or tundra or
          (soils formed from) extremely low-fertility parent materials from its
          geological history (ie. in its 'natural condition', not after human
          degradation and domination).
          In still other words, soil forming processes are occurring at
          geological rates, not at the rates which unsustainable agriculture is
          extracting those soils fertility, and turning those soils into not
          real soils anymore, but into mere physical media for holding up plant
          roots and absorbing soluble agricultural fertilizers (laboratory
          chemical - espec. nitrogen from the Haber-Bosch process wholly
          dependent upon oil energy), in the same way that a hydroponic system
          filled with sterilised sand would still possibly operate.
          (Although to be sure soil or sand in a hydroponic system would have
          drainage problems, where it does not in a large body of soil, because
          of capillary action and suction forces from being the large body of soil).

          Beauty mate!

          --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "Raju Titus" <rajuktitus@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > NO CULTIVATION
          > PLOWING RUINS THE SOIL
          > By Masnobu Fukuoka (The Natural way of Farming)
          > Knowing that the roots of crops penetrate deep into
          > the earth in search of air, water and nutrients, people reason that
          > making larger amounts of these ingredients available to the plants
          > will speed crop growth. So they clear the field of weeds and turn the
          > soil from time to time, believing that this loosens and aerates the
          > soil, increases the amount of available nitrogen by encouraging
          > nitrification, and introduces fertilizer into the soil where it can
          > be absorbed by the crops.
          > Of course, plowing under chemical fertilizers
          > scattered over the surface of a field will probably increase
          > fertilizer effectiveness. But this is true only for clearly plowed and
          > weeded fields on which fertilizer is applied. Grassed field and no
          > fertilizer cultivation are a different matter altogether. We therefore
          > have to examine the necessity of plowing from a different perspective.
          > As for the argument that this helps increase available nitrogen
          > through nitrification, this is analogous to wasting one's body for
          > some temporary gain.
          > Plowing is supposed to loosen the soil and improve the
          > penetration of air, but does not this in fact have the opposite effect
          > of compacting the soil and decreasing air porosity? When a farmer
          > plows his field and turns with a hoe, this appears to create air
          > spaces in the soil and soften the dirt. But the effect is the same as
          > kneading bread: by turning the soil, the farmer breaks it up into
          > smaller particles which acquire an increasingly regular physical
          > arrangement with smaller interstitial spaces. The result is a harder,
          > denser soil.
          > The only effective way to soften up the soil is to apply
          > compost and work it into the ground by plowing. But this is just a
          > short-lived measure. In fields that have been weeded clean and
          > carefully plowed and re-plowed, the natural, aggregation of the soil
          > into larger particles is disturbed; soil particles become finer and
          > finer, hardening the ground.
          > Wet paddy field is normally supposed to be tilled five,
          > or seven times during the growing season. The more zealous farmers
          > have even competed with each other to increase the number of plowing.
          > Everyone thought this softened the soil in the paddy and let more air
          > into the soil. The is the way it looked to most people for a long
          > time, until after World War II, when herbicides became available. Than
          > farmers discovered that when they sprayed their fields with herbicides
          > and reduced the frequency of plowing, their yields improved. This
          > demonstrated that intertillage had been effective as a weeding process
          > but had been worthless as a means for loosening the soil.
          > To say that tilling the soil is not the as claiming that
          > it is unnecessary to loosen the soil and increase its porosity. No, in
          > fact I would like to stress more than anyone else, just how important
          > an abundance of air and water are to the soil. It is in the nature of
          > soil to swell and grow more porous with each passing year. This is
          > absolutely essential for microorganisms to multiply in the earth, for
          > the soil to grow more fertile, and for the roots of large trees to
          > penetrate deep into the ground. Only I believe that, far from being
          > the answer, working the soil with plow and hoe actually interferes
          > with these processes. If man leaves the soil to it self, the forces of
          > nature will enrich and loosen.
          > Farmers usually plow the soil to a depth of about four to
          > eight inches, whereas the roots of grass and green manure crops work
          > the soil down to twelve inches, fifteen inches, or more. When these
          > roots reach down deep into the earth, air and water penetrate into the
          > soil together with the roots. As these wither and die, many types of
          > microorganisms proliferate. These organisms die and are replaced by
          > others, increasing the amount of humus and softening the soil.
          > Earthworms eventually appear where there is humus, and as the number
          > of earthworms increases, moles begin burrowing.
          > Typed by-
          > Raju Titus
          > Natural farmer of India
          >
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