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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: Will Architecture Change Agriculture?

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  • Robert Monie
    Hi, This time Christine Jones is not talking about Yeomans plough. She is tallking about how to increase the biologically useful carbon content of the soil
    Message 1 of 9 , Apr 1, 2008

      This time Christine Jones is not talking about Yeomans plough. She is tallking about how to increase the biologically useful carbon content of the soil that is lost when topsoil is lost--a very common condition today. Rather than speculate about increasing carbon content by adding charcoal wastes or biochar to the soil, she rediscovers the value of robust root growth in the Poaceae (grass and grain) family that was known to ley planter Robert Eliot over a cenury ago at his Clifton Park farm in England. Eliot observed that when Orchard Grass (Dactylis glomerata L.) was planted with grains, herbs, and forbs (for example rye, yarrow, stinging nettle, plantain, sheep's sorrel, salad burnet, chicory, and an assortment of clovers) the natural fertility of the field increased from seaon to season. He called this combination a "ley" and compared the effect it had on the field to "composting below ground."

      If you look at the massive vetiver-like fibrous root growth shown in the "Bunch Grass" on page 2 of http://managingwholes.com/new-topsoil.htm , it is easy to see where the carbon would come from--the breakdown of roots, as if each hairy root were a little compost heap below the ground. Of course, root growth of this magnitude requires several years of growth. Eliot used to recommend at least 2 to 4 years for his ley to take hold and develop.

      For some reason, Dr. Jones doesn't mention Eliot; perhaps she takes him for granted or she may not even know that he anticipated her conclusions. No matter; both she and he are right about this. The message matters more than the history:

      "The cheapest, most efficient and most beneficial form of organic carbon for soil life is exudation from actively growing roots of plants in the Poaceae family, which includes pasture grasses and cereals. The breakdown of these fibrous roots is also an important source of carbon in soils. Organic carbon additions are governed by the volume of plants roots per unit of soil."

      This is from http://soilcarboncredits.blogspot.com/ (or google to
      Christine Jones Soil and Carbon Credits).

      The remainer of Dr. Jones' soil carbon credits article brings us up to date on what the latest soil science tells us about continued fertility and what produces it, with information about glomalin and humus carbon content. All this is compatible with what Fukuoka did, though it changes the emphasis to growing specific plants to do specific things to the soil first before planting, rather than growing seeds from whatever "weeds" are to be found.

      Best wishes,

      Bob Monie
      New Orleans, LA

      macropneuma <macropneuma@...> wrote:
      Bob Monie wrote "...A good theory is that of Austrialian soil
      scientist Christine Jones, which I will describe in my next post. ..."

      Good for you Bob, getting into an Aussie info source. (i don't really
      care that it comes from Australia, just if the evidence is rigorous
      and stands up to rigorous scrutiny. Australia has some good advances too.)
      For yours and all us readers sakes please, oh please, be very wary &
      careful, though.
      EG. of the Yeomans *type of plowing techniques* - very
      creative-carbon-accounting that type of technique.
      Please, if you may, read up alot of critiques about that Yeomans *type
      of plowing techniques* before you commit to words.
      Also, my own late-father did that type of technique on what is now my
      Natural Farm for 10 years - in very-brief it's very dodgy, and dad
      really regretted it dreadfully-muchly (the soil damage), while wanting
      to move toward Fukuoka-inspired Natural Farming.

      For example:
      Christine Jones
      "Building new topsoil"
      pages 2-3:
      "The late P.A. Yeomans, developer of the Keyline system of land
      recognised that the sustainability of the whole farm was dependent on
      living, vibrant
      topsoil. The formation of new topsoil using Keyline principles, at
      rates not previously
      considered possible, was due to the use of a tillage implement
      designed to increase
      soil oxygen and moisture levels, combined with a rest/recovery form of
      grazing and
      pasture slashing, to prune grass roots and feed soil biota. Yeomans
      was able to
      produce 10 cm of friable black soil within three years, on what was
      previously bare
      weathered red shale on his North Richmond farm (Hill 2002).
      Hill, S. B. (2002). 'Redesign' for soil, habitat and biodiversity
      conservation: Lessons
      from Ecological Agriculture and Social Ecology'. Proceedings
      'Sustaining Our
      Future: through Healthy Soils, Habitats and Biological Diversity'
      launch of the
      'Healthy Soils Campaign'. Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Sydney,

      Jones C. E. (2002). Stipa Native Grasses "Changing Landscapes" Forum
      Armidale, 3 May 2002.

      -> http://www.amazingcarbon.com/JONES-BuildingNewTopsoil.pdf

      I haven't read Robert Hill's paper cited above yet, but i suspect it,
      for obvious reasons to do with his *mixed (blessing)* role in our
      society - I have read quite a bit of his prior Canadian writing and
      Australian writing, though.


      Please Bob, (re-)read here Jeff's & Dieter's posts here about these
      very ideas:
      starting at Jeff's "priority one: holistic practices"
      -> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fukuoka_farming/message/6893

      then Deiter specifically on Yoemans:
      -> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fukuoka_farming/message/6897
      quoting Deiter:
      "PS: The Yeoman's claims of producing 18 (?) inches of topsoil in
      3 years (which corresponds to the ploughing depth of their subsoiler)
      is a creative use of language worthy of the best spin doctors."

      Unfortunately much of so called sustainable farming in the 'western'
      world is a con - creative accounting - or carbon accounting... etc.
      You know Bob.


      A good short (2 pages) Australian paper just on clarifying; and on
      critiquing the current 'paradigm', before going into finding real
      solutions, by an apparently critical thinking - hopefully rigorous
      Aussie scientist - is:
      White, Robert 2006 "The sustainability myth [Viable farming and
      sustainable farming are not the same thing.]" Australasian Science
      (2000), v.27, no.4, May 2006: 30-31.

      i have added this file here to the files section for members to access
      and read it, please. see:


      --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Robert Monie <bobm20001@...>
      > Hi Karrie,
      > Yes, the solar age will necessarily be a spin-off of the silicon
      valley computer age, just as the automobile was a spin off of the
      carriage + mechanical engine. We can take courage in the fact that the
      Horseless Carriage really was horseless, so the solar city can be
      hydrocarbon-less. The worst we could do would be to imagine that most
      of the world will live in grass huts and ride oxen carts or hunt for
      venison with bows and arrows. A solar economy will not be any more
      difficult to produce than the computer microchip or the development of
      Internet has been. It will flow naturally like a technological Nile
      into the 22nd Century if we encourage the flow. But it will not flow
      from grass huts, oxcarts or bows and arrows.
      > Sustainable growers need solar cities, and solar cities need
      sustainable growers.
      > Now that cities are planning to deal with carbon, sustainable
      farming theorists should present their carbon-dealing plans. . A good
      theory is that of Austrialian soil scientist Christine Jones, which I
      will describe in my next post. (And it does not consist of dumping
      carbon waste into the ground or firing up large masses of "biochar."
      It consists of growing plants of the Poaceae family, including pasture
      grasses and cereals in the same field. It is based on plant litter,
      root exudates, and microbes).
      > Bob Monie
      > New Orleans, La
      > Zone 8
      > kvarpio@... wrote:
      > Here is one version:
      > http://www.vtt.fi/uutta/2008/20080229.jsp?lang=en
      > and
      > http://www.eeropaloheimo.fi/EcoCity.htm
      > Karri
      > 2008/3/30, Bernhard Heuvel <bernhardundee@...>:
      > >
      > > Hi Bob,
      > >
      > > I'd wish all the promises being held by the architects! It would
      be good
      > > for all farmers if the cities would be self-sufficiant.
      > >
      > > But...
      > >
      > > .
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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