Re: [fukuoka_farming] More details please, Anders
- Hello Jeff
Spring is a fairly dry season here, that's a difference. But apart
from that there are many similarities between our growing conditions,
as it seems.
In natural farming you have probably come longer than I have.
Basically I am a seed saver and household gardener. I worked at a
farm long time ago. I have been growing grains in my household garden
in very small scale. I will pick that up again when time allows.
Grain is a good rotation crop in a veggie garden.
One thing that has handicapped my learning of natural farming is that
the plot I have been growing the longest time is really very
difficult to grow by any method. It is a poorly drained clay soil in
north-east orientation (the coldest possible) with almost no late
afternoon or evening sun (which is typically the warmest sun here). I
have only gradually understood the problems with this growing
situation. (I noticed Raju said that good drainage is necessary for
successful natural farming.)
I have also been growing in other locations. I am fairly successful
when I get a decent field to borrow, but those opportunities have
only lasted a few years each and haven't quite involved the
possibility to do something in the vein of natural farming.
What I have found working that may be a little bit on the way to
natural farming is this:
I use mulch but not thickly. I don't use mulch to suppress weeds
(more than marginally) but I use mulch to shade the soil, conserve
water, aid living organisms in the soil, and supplying some nutrients
and organic matter.
I let leguminous plants, that I have originally sown, self-sow in the garden.
I weed selectively. I only weed out weeds that compete to strongly. I
keep weeds that I like and the ones that I regard as beneficial. In
the end of the growing season the left weeds plus self-sown
leguminous plants can form a fair stand of companion plants. I
imagine I could take-off from this by letting these companion
plants/weeds stand till next season and so on. I have lost two such
chances the last years because I had to leave those fields.
In terms of perennials I only have a wilder form of traditional
Swedish garden culture with trees, among them apple trees, and a few
berry shrubs in a former lawn that now is more of a ley with grass
and flowers (which are also perennials). With the apple trees I have
tried to restore a central trunk, inspired by Fukuoka. Partial
success there at least.
The perennial garden forms the larger part of my garden, and is not
really problematical. It is the kitchen garden and (sometimes) fields
that are problematical (from an NF perspective and in other ways
too), or in other words, the growing of annuals and biennials. BTW I
see no big difference between annuals and biennials, as both kinds in
food production are grown as annual cultures. The second year for the
biennials is seed production and is something else.
Well, that's not much. I wish I would have been more creative in this
field, and that I would have had better growing conditions.
But admittedly it has not been my main ambition to develop natural
farming under Swedish conditions. I have been more preoccupied by
saving and maintaining varieties. This comes with a need to keep some
control of the layout of the sowings and plantings, and isn't quite
in tune with typical natural farming practices like scattering seed
mixtures, although combinations could in principle be possible.
At 22:28 2008-03-12, you wrote:
>I suspected we had similar climate when I heard you were from Sweden,
>I"m Sorry I wasn't very clear when I was recording my climate,
>winter lows of -30, summer highs of up to 30 (so slightly hotter)
>and slightly drier,...
>which is consistent with my knowledge of near biomes.
>like I said I"m on the edge of tall/grass prairie decidous forest, but
>the southern border for the coniferous forest is within 100km of my
>I think we share a lot of challenges,....
>slugs when using mulch, cold soil temperatures when using mulch,..
>cool wet springs makes germination tough,....
>cold winters, ....
>I would like to know more about what works for you...
>I'm just beggining my experiments into natural farming...
>right now I have strawberries, asparagas, apples trees, jerusalm
>artichokes, and rhubarb for perrenials.
>I tried egyptian walking onions but did not find their flavor pleasing
>In my vegetable garden, my biggest crop is bush (snap) beans.
>carrots, when I get the planting right...
>and tomatoes grown as transplants,
>zucchini, and other squash do well...
>lettuce and other salad greens are usually interplanted...
>I'm working on finding hardy plums
>my raspberries flower, but do to lack of pollinatores are not
>currently producing fruit.
>do you have any expereince growing grains ... or tricks that work well
>for other crops..??