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Re: [fukuoka_farming] Re: starting NF

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  • 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 1 of 8 , Mar 3, 2009
      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.


      ----- 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

      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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