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Re: starting NF

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  • thomcprestes
    hello Steve, thank you very much for your message. I m about to start some experiments and it s very useful and inspiring to hear from other people. best
    Message 1 of 8 , Mar 2, 2009
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      hello Steve,

      thank you very much for your message.

      I'm about to start some experiments and it's very useful and inspiring
      to hear from other people.

      best regards,

      thomas

      ps: i just noticed that somehow i ended up deleting the post in which
      i asked you to tell more about your experience...

      --- In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, "grannis04" <grannis04@...> wrote:
      >
      > Thomas and all,
      > I did not till prior to starting. The ground was a
      > garden 10 years ago but has been grasses,clover etc. since then. my
      > focus now is on growing corn and beans because they are basic staple
      > foods that make a complete protein when eaten. These plants should be
      > a foundation for self-sustainability.
      > In the spring I choose a section of ground I wish to grow on.
      > This would be in early may when the grasses are starting to grow but
      > the temperature is still too cold to plant. I use a scythe or a push
      > lawn mower w/bag to cut the area once the growth is starting to speed
      > up. This first cut should be cut very low, almost earth level. These
      > cuttings are then piled where I intend to grow, either rows or beds or
      > whatever you choose. These piles of mulch will remain in place for two
      > to three weeks. When the planting conditions permit pull back the
      > mulch and cut the ground covers back quite low one more time. The
      > seeds are then placed on top of the ground and gently pressed to the
      > surface to get some contact. I have also just broadcast seed with good
      > results as well. I then apply a small amount (1/2") of finished
      > compost or sifted soil over the seed. I mainly do this to hide the
      > seed from birds and to get the moisture up. Over this i lay a thin
      > layer of grass cuttings from the last cut I made. When the seed
      > sprouts and primary leaves are out I start to move the previously
      > removed mulch back up close to the plants. The plants are thinned to
      > appropriate spacings and then mulched more closely. Here to note that
      > the mulch layers I use are never over 3" or 4"in depth. I will
      > continue to cut the paths and apply the cuttings through out the
      > season. I will also apply small amounts of chicken litter on top of
      > mulch layer two or three times. Some areas are only mulches with no
      > chicken and they also do well. Your growing season work is mainly
      > cutting and applying the cut materials. I call this moving the Qi.
      > Matter is neither created or destroyed, it only changes form. So we
      > move plant material from the paths and apply it to the crop and we
      > grow natural, bio-regulated plants that feed us. A word on mulch too,
      > by applying mulch,(feeding) our plants we are getting the full benefit
      > of that plant material with all of it's nutrition without having an
      > animal made out of it first. I've also spent a lot of time on my
      > stomach lifting up mulch layers to watch what was going on under
      > there. From what I've witnessed going on and from what I understand
      > all the nutrition happens right at the top layer of soil.
      > Steve G.
      >
    • Robert Monie
      Hi,   Yes, Steve seems to have plugged into a fertility cycle by mulching what naturally grows and sowing into the thin covering of plant litter. This is an
      Message 2 of 8 , Mar 3, 2009
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        Hi,
         
        Yes, Steve seems to have plugged into a fertility cycle by mulching what naturally grows and sowing into the thin covering of plant litter. This is an entry point or portal to the cyclical forces of natural farming which might as well be called "Qi" as "Mu." The simplicity of this natural fertility cycle eludes human understanding, yet there it is!  You have to "do" something to get to it, yet there is nothing you can "do" to make it happen. So it is both a "do" and a "do nothing" proposition. Of particular note is that Steve entered the cycle without using many of the props others consider essential, such as raw organic material buried in the ground, or seedballs, or acacia. His use of a thin scattering of compost or soil over the seeds obviates the need for anything as elaborate as seedball coatings, and his observation that the seeds sprout with or without the boost of chicken manure also rings true. My only suggestion is that he try to grow some
        greens (kale, bok choy, cabbage, napa cabbage, gai lan, collards, turnips) along with the corn and beans for greater diversity, more vitamins, and more phytochemicals in the soil (and in his diet). 
         
        Best of luck, Steve. Please continue to update your natural farming adventures with us.
         
        Bob Monie
        New Orleans, La 70119
        USA
        Zone 8

        --- On Mon, 3/2/09, thomcprestes <thomcprestes@...> wrote:

        From: thomcprestes <thomcprestes@...>
        Subject: [fukuoka_farming] Re: starting NF
        To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Monday, March 2, 2009, 5:55 PM






        hello Steve,

        thank you very much for your message.

        I'm about to start some experiments and it's very useful and inspiring
        to hear from other people.

        best regards,

        thomas

        ps: i just noticed that somehow i ended up deleting the post in which
        i asked you to tell more about your experience.. .

        --- In fukuoka_farming@ yahoogroups. com, "grannis04" <grannis04@. ..> wrote:
        >
        > Thomas and all,
        > I did not till prior to starting. The ground was a
        > garden 10 years ago but has been grasses,clover etc. since then. my
        > focus now is on growing corn and beans because they are basic staple
        > foods that make a complete protein when eaten. These plants should be
        > a foundation for self-sustainability .
        > In the spring I choose a section of ground I wish to grow on.
        > This would be in early may when the grasses are starting to grow but
        > the temperature is still too cold to plant. I use a scythe or a push
        > lawn mower w/bag to cut the area once the growth is starting to speed
        > up. This first cut should be cut very low, almost earth level. These
        > cuttings are then piled where I intend to grow, either rows or beds or
        > whatever you choose. These piles of mulch will remain in place for two
        > to three weeks. When the planting conditions permit pull back the
        > mulch and cut the ground covers back quite low one more time. The
        > seeds are then placed on top of the ground and gently pressed to the
        > surface to get some contact. I have also just broadcast seed with good
        > results as well. I then apply a small amount (1/2") of finished
        > compost or sifted soil over the seed. I mainly do this to hide the
        > seed from birds and to get the moisture up. Over this i lay a thin
        > layer of grass cuttings from the last cut I made. When the seed
        > sprouts and primary leaves are out I start to move the previously
        > removed mulch back up close to the plants. The plants are thinned to
        > appropriate spacings and then mulched more closely. Here to note that
        > the mulch layers I use are never over 3" or 4"in depth. I will
        > continue to cut the paths and apply the cuttings through out the
        > season. I will also apply small amounts of chicken litter on top of
        > mulch layer two or three times. Some areas are only mulches with no
        > chicken and they also do well. Your growing season work is mainly
        > cutting and applying the cut materials. I call this moving the Qi.
        > Matter is neither created or destroyed, it only changes form. So we
        > move plant material from the paths and apply it to the crop and we
        > grow natural, bio-regulated plants that feed us. A word on mulch too,
        > by applying mulch,(feeding) our plants we are getting the full benefit
        > of that plant material with all of it's nutrition without having an
        > animal made out of it first. I've also spent a lot of time on my
        > stomach lifting up mulch layers to watch what was going on under
        > there. From what I've witnessed going on and from what I understand
        > all the nutrition happens right at the top layer of soil.
        > Steve G.
        >
















        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Steven McCollough
        To all, I have used a similar technique on hay/pasture land, sorry no pictures. First the field is mowed in strips about 6 feet wide with all the mulch thrown
        Message 3 of 8 , Mar 3, 2009
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          To all,

          I have used a similar technique on hay/pasture land, sorry no pictures.
          First the field is mowed in strips about 6 feet wide with all the mulch
          thrown into narrow windrows. The higher growth in the windrows helps to
          hold the flying mulch. This is continued for the year. During the
          winter the snow piles up in the windrows as well which really helps the
          summer dry period. The following year planting proceeds in what is now
          a very light growth because of the smothering affect of mulching.
          Perennial grasses are weakened in this way and although I can't prove
          it, it seems the worms and such migrate to the windrows.

          I don't use any of Steve's other techniques and am thinking about it
          now. Because the windrows are so wide, the second year mowing between
          rows can start another windrow between the previous windrows.
          Alternatively, I use the mowing mulch up against the emerging crops
          grown for that year. Because of weather extremes in my area, most of my
          plantings are started plants. I am experimenting with scythe and rake
          now. I will also try a technique that will migrate the windrows
          annually, offset from the previous year and progressing across the
          unused six feet of space between rows. Hopefully this is a sustainable
          method.

          All attempts to scatter seeds, seedballs, and legumes have been overcome
          by perennial grasses to this point except red clover and trefoil are
          starting to represent a minor element in the pastures. It is
          interesting to note that most of this land has had hay taken off of it
          for years with subsequent drain on the soil. In one place were it is
          difficult to get to, the field got cut only often enough to keep
          saplings from springing up. This area maintains the best growth and no
          persistent perennial grass, only annual grasses and the soil is soft and
          pliable. What really surprises me is these fields haven't been
          harvested for more than ten years and still the soil drain is severe.
          The consequences of our actions are truly long term.

          Steven McCollough
          UP of Michigan USA

          >
          > >
          > > Thomas and all,
          > > I did not till prior to starting. The ground was a
          > > garden 10 years ago but has been grasses,clover etc. since then. my
          > > focus now is on growing corn and beans because they are basic staple
          > > foods that make a complete protein when eaten. These plants should be
          > > a foundation for self-sustainability .
          > > In the spring I choose a section of ground I wish to grow on.
          > > This would be in early may when the grasses are starting to grow but
          > > the temperature is still too cold to plant. I use a scythe or a push
          > > lawn mower w/bag to cut the area once the growth is starting to speed
          > > up. This first cut should be cut very low, almost earth level. These
          > > cuttings are then piled where I intend to grow, either rows or beds or
          > > whatever you choose. These piles of mulch will remain in place for two
          > > to three weeks. When the planting conditions permit pull back the
          > > mulch and cut the ground covers back quite low one more time. The
          > > seeds are then placed on top of the ground and gently pressed to the
          > > surface to get some contact. I have also just broadcast seed with good
          > > results as well. I then apply a small amount (1/2") of finished
          > > compost or sifted soil over the seed. I mainly do this to hide the
          > > seed from birds and to get the moisture up. Over this i lay a thin
          > > layer of grass cuttings from the last cut I made. When the seed
          > > sprouts and primary leaves are out I start to move the previously
          > > removed mulch back up close to the plants. The plants are thinned to
          > > appropriate spacings and then mulched more closely. Here to note that
          > > the mulch layers I use are never over 3" or 4"in depth. I will
          > > continue to cut the paths and apply the cuttings through out the
          > > season. I will also apply small amounts of chicken litter on top of
          > > mulch layer two or three times. Some areas are only mulches with no
          > > chicken and they also do well. Your growing season work is mainly
          > > cutting and applying the cut materials. I call this moving the Qi.
          > > Matter is neither created or destroyed, it only changes form. So we
          > > move plant material from the paths and apply it to the crop and we
          > > grow natural, bio-regulated plants that feed us. A word on mulch too,
          > > by applying mulch,(feeding) our plants we are getting the full benefit
          > > of that plant material with all of it's nutrition without having an
          > > animal made out of it first. I've also spent a lot of time on my
          > > stomach lifting up mulch layers to watch what was going on under
          > > there. From what I've witnessed going on and from what I understand
          > > all the nutrition happens right at the top layer of soil.
          > > Steve G.
          > >
          >
          >
          >
          > __._
        • grannis04
          To Robert, Steven and all, Robert, thanks for the feedback. I also grow a wide variety of crops because my main goal has always been to supply the family and
          Message 4 of 8 , Mar 3, 2009
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            To Robert, Steven and all,
            Robert, thanks for the feedback. I also grow a wide
            variety of crops because my main goal has always been to supply the
            family and neighbors with the best quality produce. I have been
            integrating NF for about four years. I grow garlic, peas, lettuce,
            cucumbers, squashes, pumpkins, sunflower, tomatoes, many culinary and
            medicinal herbs. The corn and beans are an attempt to supply a grain
            for basic foodstuffs. This year I plan to refine methods for the small
            seed crops that are slow to mature and need more attention when they
            are vulnerable. I think that they need a heavier mulch maintained over
            a full season so that the repression of growth is enough so that the
            seedlings can get going. Thanks for recognizing the do and do nothing
            balance, this is the real joy in NF to find the "portals or points of
            entry".
            Steven your experience seems to parallel mine. Your
            climate is similar. The six foot wide rows seem wide but is that what
            your equipment dictates? With the scythe any shape of bed can be
            maintained and there is no compaction of soil. The only drawback is in
            large scale application the scythe would need more people, so machines
            will probably be adapted similar to the low-till machinery developed
            by farmers trying to use cover cropping techniques. I can see a series
            of mowers independently set to achieve cutting heights. I also have
            hay land that was overused however if the soil is mulched and clover
            added to the area, it can be used after one growing season. You said
            your land was drained but this is reparable in a short time with the
            cooperation of nature.
            Good Growing, Steve G.






















            - In fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com, Steven McCollough <steb@...> wrote:
            >
            > To all,
            >
            > I have used a similar technique on hay/pasture land, sorry no
            pictures.
            > First the field is mowed in strips about 6 feet wide with all the mulch
            > thrown into narrow windrows. The higher growth in the windrows
            helps to
            > hold the flying mulch. This is continued for the year. During the
            > winter the snow piles up in the windrows as well which really helps the
            > summer dry period. The following year planting proceeds in what is now
            > a very light growth because of the smothering affect of mulching.
            > Perennial grasses are weakened in this way and although I can't prove
            > it, it seems the worms and such migrate to the windrows.
            >
            > I don't use any of Steve's other techniques and am thinking about it
            > now. Because the windrows are so wide, the second year mowing between
            > rows can start another windrow between the previous windrows.
            > Alternatively, I use the mowing mulch up against the emerging crops
            > grown for that year. Because of weather extremes in my area, most
            of my
            > plantings are started plants. I am experimenting with scythe and rake
            > now. I will also try a technique that will migrate the windrows
            > annually, offset from the previous year and progressing across the
            > unused six feet of space between rows. Hopefully this is a sustainable
            > method.
            >
            > All attempts to scatter seeds, seedballs, and legumes have been
            overcome
            > by perennial grasses to this point except red clover and trefoil are
            > starting to represent a minor element in the pastures. It is
            > interesting to note that most of this land has had hay taken off of it
            > for years with subsequent drain on the soil. In one place were it is
            > difficult to get to, the field got cut only often enough to keep
            > saplings from springing up. This area maintains the best growth and no
            > persistent perennial grass, only annual grasses and the soil is soft
            and
            > pliable. What really surprises me is these fields haven't been
            > harvested for more than ten years and still the soil drain is severe.
            > The consequences of our actions are truly long term.
            >
            > Steven McCollough
            > UP of Michigan USA
            >
            > >
            > > >
            > > > Thomas and all,
            > > > I did not till prior to starting. The ground was a
            > > > garden 10 years ago but has been grasses,clover etc. since then. my
            > > > focus now is on growing corn and beans because they are basic staple
            > > > foods that make a complete protein when eaten. These plants
            should be
            > > > a foundation for self-sustainability .
            > > > In the spring I choose a section of ground I wish to grow on.
            > > > This would be in early may when the grasses are starting to grow but
            > > > the temperature is still too cold to plant. I use a scythe or a push
            > > > lawn mower w/bag to cut the area once the growth is starting to
            speed
            > > > up. This first cut should be cut very low, almost earth level. These
            > > > cuttings are then piled where I intend to grow, either rows or
            beds or
            > > > whatever you choose. These piles of mulch will remain in place
            for two
            > > > to three weeks. When the planting conditions permit pull back the
            > > > mulch and cut the ground covers back quite low one more time. The
            > > > seeds are then placed on top of the ground and gently pressed to the
            > > > surface to get some contact. I have also just broadcast seed
            with good
            > > > results as well. I then apply a small amount (1/2") of finished
            > > > compost or sifted soil over the seed. I mainly do this to hide the
            > > > seed from birds and to get the moisture up. Over this i lay a thin
            > > > layer of grass cuttings from the last cut I made. When the seed
            > > > sprouts and primary leaves are out I start to move the previously
            > > > removed mulch back up close to the plants. The plants are thinned to
            > > > appropriate spacings and then mulched more closely. Here to note
            that
            > > > the mulch layers I use are never over 3" or 4"in depth. I will
            > > > continue to cut the paths and apply the cuttings through out the
            > > > season. I will also apply small amounts of chicken litter on top of
            > > > mulch layer two or three times. Some areas are only mulches with no
            > > > chicken and they also do well. Your growing season work is mainly
            > > > cutting and applying the cut materials. I call this moving the Qi.
            > > > Matter is neither created or destroyed, it only changes form. So we
            > > > move plant material from the paths and apply it to the crop and we
            > > > grow natural, bio-regulated plants that feed us. A word on mulch
            too,
            > > > by applying mulch,(feeding) our plants we are getting the full
            benefit
            > > > of that plant material with all of it's nutrition without having an
            > > > animal made out of it first. I've also spent a lot of time on my
            > > > stomach lifting up mulch layers to watch what was going on under
            > > > there. From what I've witnessed going on and from what I understand
            > > > all the nutrition happens right at the top layer of soil.
            > > > Steve G.
            > > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > __._
            >
          • Lawrence Haftl
            Steven McCollough wrote: All attempts to scatter seeds, seedballs, and legumes have been overcome by perennial grasses to this point except red clover and
            Message 5 of 8 , Mar 3, 2009
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              Steven McCollough wrote:

              "All attempts to scatter seeds, seedballs, and legumes have been overcome
              by perennial grasses to this point except red clover and trefoil are
              starting to represent a minor element in the pastures."

              I had the same problem in Oregon. Perennial grass is highly aleopathic. It
              emits a chemical that is a very effective herbicide which keeps seeds of
              other plants from growing. I found only two ways to stop this. One was to
              remove the grass in late winter/very early spring using a sod cutting
              machine and then plant seeds in the exposed earth. The other method was much
              less mechanical and more in tune with natural farming. It was to cut the
              grass very short in late fall and then cover it with a deep layer of straw.
              At least a foot deep to keep sunlight from reaching the soil and grass.
              Starting in very early spring every few weeks you take a pitchfork, slip it
              under the pile of straw and lift it up and then let it fall back. This
              lifting lets the fresh grass sprouts that managed to grow up through the
              mulch to be re-buried by the straw mulch and rot rather than grow. By early
              summer I was able to plant in the mulch by exposing pockets of soil and
              planting into them leaving the rest of the mulch in place to continue
              suppressing/smothering the grass. By covering the grass with the straw mulch
              before the ground freezes it lets the soil stay a bit warmer and makes it
              easier to warm up in spring. Direct sunlight hitting the exposed pockets
              also speeds warming of the soil up to a temperature needed to germinate
              seeds.

              Larry
              http://fukuokafarmingol.info

              P.S. Work on revising the Fukuoka Farming website is progressing. It is
              taking more time than I'd hoped but is finally beginning to look and
              function the way I'd hoped. I should be ready for some beta testing by some
              of you in about one more week. The main changes are that it will be far more
              interactive with a blog and the ability to upload images to illustrate user
              comments and articles. Being a website rather than a Yahoo forum will give
              greater exposure to search engines and the global Internet community along
              with easier access by not requiring people to join Yahoo groups unless they
              want to participate in this forum. It will also be possible for people to
              get emails with new content as it is posted much the way this forum does.
              The website is still designed as a companion resource to this forum and not
              as a replacement.
            • Robert Monie
              Hi Larry,   Perennial grasses are the source of fertility in the prairies of the world. Our prairies in the US are made of switchgrass, Indian grass, bluestem
              Message 6 of 8 , Mar 3, 2009
              • 0 Attachment
                Hi Larry,
                 
                Perennial grasses are the source of fertility in the prairies of the world. Our prairies in the US are made of switchgrass, Indian grass, bluestem and other perennials.  Their roots create soil and build glomalin levels that give the soil coherence--staving off erosion and dust bowling. If the main effect of perennial grasses was alleopathic, food production would be impossible on prairie land,
                 
                In my own garden in sultry New Orleans, I deliberately grow masses ("alley crops") of Vetiver grass rows, alternating with lemon grass. Not only does Vetier not produce an alleopathic effect, it actually lends nutrients to adjacent plants, a property well known to cocoa and banana farmers who use it to protect their main crops, above- and below-ground.
                 
                Of course some types of perennial grass are noxious weeds, difficult to eradicate and bitter enemies of adjacent food plants.   But let's not indite the whole family for the misdeeds of certain species.
                 
                Bob Monie
                New Orleans
                Zone 8

                --- On Tue, 3/3/09, Lawrence Haftl <lawrence@...> wrote:

                From: Lawrence Haftl <lawrence@...>
                Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: starting NF
                To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 12:22 PM






                Steven McCollough wrote:

                "All attempts to scatter seeds, seedballs, and legumes have been overcome
                by perennial grasses to this point except red clover and trefoil are
                starting to represent a minor element in the pastures."

                I had the same problem in Oregon. Perennial grass is highly aleopathic. It
                emits a chemical that is a very effective herbicide which keeps seeds of
                other plants from growing. I found only two ways to stop this. One was to
                remove the grass in late winter/very early spring using a sod cutting
                machine and then plant seeds in the exposed earth. The other method was much
                less mechanical and more in tune with natural farming. It was to cut the
                grass very short in late fall and then cover it with a deep layer of straw.
                At least a foot deep to keep sunlight from reaching the soil and grass.
                Starting in very early spring every few weeks you take a pitchfork, slip it
                under the pile of straw and lift it up and then let it fall back. This
                lifting lets the fresh grass sprouts that managed to grow up through the
                mulch to be re-buried by the straw mulch and rot rather than grow. By early
                summer I was able to plant in the mulch by exposing pockets of soil and
                planting into them leaving the rest of the mulch in place to continue
                suppressing/ smothering the grass. By covering the grass with the straw mulch
                before the ground freezes it lets the soil stay a bit warmer and makes it
                easier to warm up in spring. Direct sunlight hitting the exposed pockets
                also speeds warming of the soil up to a temperature needed to germinate
                seeds.

                Larry
                http://fukuokafarmi ngol.info

                P.S. Work on revising the Fukuoka Farming website is progressing. It is
                taking more time than I'd hoped but is finally beginning to look and
                function the way I'd hoped. I should be ready for some beta testing by some
                of you in about one more week. The main changes are that it will be far more
                interactive with a blog and the ability to upload images to illustrate user
                comments and articles. Being a website rather than a Yahoo forum will give
                greater exposure to search engines and the global Internet community along
                with easier access by not requiring people to join Yahoo groups unless they
                want to participate in this forum. It will also be possible for people to
                get emails with new content as it is posted much the way this forum does.
                The website is still designed as a companion resource to this forum and not
                as a replacement.
















                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Lawrence Haftl
                Hi Bob, I certainly agree that the allelopathic effect definitely varies from species to species both in type and strength of toxicity to neighboring plants.
                Message 7 of 8 , Mar 3, 2009
                • 0 Attachment
                  Hi Bob,

                  I certainly agree that the allelopathic effect definitely varies from species to species both in type and strength of toxicity to neighboring plants. The only seeds I got to resist/overcome the allelopathic effects of the native grasses I had in Oregon was clover and that was spotty at best. Did get a fair number of four-leaf clovers out of the patches though. Sowing seed balls and seeds in the grass failed. Certainly insects and birds took their toll, but sowing the same type of seed balls and seeds on exposed soil worked. A lot of the plants germinated despite having the same population of birds and insects.

                  The prairie grasses certainly contributed to/built fertility on the plains but the only way farmers were able to use that fertility was to plow the grasses under and plant into the freshly exposed soil. A variation on the sod-cutting technique I experimented with.

                  I still really enjoy your posts.

                  Larry
                  http://fukuokafarmingol.info

                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: Robert Monie
                  To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 2009 1:05 PM
                  Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: starting NF


                  Hi Larry,

                  Perennial grasses are the source of fertility in the prairies of the world. Our prairies in the US are made of switchgrass, Indian grass, bluestem and other perennials. Their roots create soil and build glomalin levels that give the soil coherence--staving off erosion and dust bowling. If the main effect of perennial grasses was alleopathic, food production would be impossible on prairie land,

                  In my own garden in sultry New Orleans, I deliberately grow masses ("alley crops") of Vetiver grass rows, alternating with lemon grass. Not only does Vetier not produce an alleopathic effect, it actually lends nutrients to adjacent plants, a property well known to cocoa and banana farmers who use it to protect their main crops, above- and below-ground.

                  Of course some types of perennial grass are noxious weeds, difficult to eradicate and bitter enemies of adjacent food plants. But let's not indite the whole family for the misdeeds of certain species.

                  Bob Monie
                  New Orleans
                  Zone 8

                  --- On Tue, 3/3/09, Lawrence Haftl <lawrence@...> wrote:

                  From: Lawrence Haftl <lawrence@...>
                  Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: starting NF
                  To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                  Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 12:22 PM

                  Steven McCollough wrote:

                  "All attempts to scatter seeds, seedballs, and legumes have been overcome
                  by perennial grasses to this point except red clover and trefoil are
                  starting to represent a minor element in the pastures."

                  I had the same problem in Oregon. Perennial grass is highly aleopathic. It
                  emits a chemical that is a very effective herbicide which keeps seeds of
                  other plants from growing. I found only two ways to stop this. One was to
                  remove the grass in late winter/very early spring using a sod cutting
                  machine and then plant seeds in the exposed earth. The other method was much
                  less mechanical and more in tune with natural farming. It was to cut the
                  grass very short in late fall and then cover it with a deep layer of straw.
                  At least a foot deep to keep sunlight from reaching the soil and grass.
                  Starting in very early spring every few weeks you take a pitchfork, slip it
                  under the pile of straw and lift it up and then let it fall back. This
                  lifting lets the fresh grass sprouts that managed to grow up through the
                  mulch to be re-buried by the straw mulch and rot rather than grow. By early
                  summer I was able to plant in the mulch by exposing pockets of soil and
                  planting into them leaving the rest of the mulch in place to continue
                  suppressing/ smothering the grass. By covering the grass with the straw mulch
                  before the ground freezes it lets the soil stay a bit warmer and makes it
                  easier to warm up in spring. Direct sunlight hitting the exposed pockets
                  also speeds warming of the soil up to a temperature needed to germinate
                  seeds.

                  Larry
                  http://fukuokafarmi ngol.info

                  P.S. Work on revising the Fukuoka Farming website is progressing. It is
                  taking more time than I'd hoped but is finally beginning to look and
                  function the way I'd hoped. I should be ready for some beta testing by some
                  of you in about one more week. The main changes are that it will be far more
                  interactive with a blog and the ability to upload images to illustrate user
                  comments and articles. Being a website rather than a Yahoo forum will give
                  greater exposure to search engines and the global Internet community along
                  with easier access by not requiring people to join Yahoo groups unless they
                  want to participate in this forum. It will also be possible for people to
                  get emails with new content as it is posted much the way this forum does.
                  The website is still designed as a companion resource to this forum and not
                  as a replacement.

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