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Re: starting NF

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 of 8 , Mar 3, 2009
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          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 4 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.

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




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