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Do Nothing Farming by Masanobu Fukuoka

 
Posts: 212
Location: Philippines
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Here is another natural farming method. I wonder what you can say about this. The pros and cons of said system. Actual experience logical reasoning anything you wanna say about the subject.

http://www.ecofriendlyshelters.org/index.php/nature/385-on-growing-vegetables


"By sowing a mixture of many field crops, allowing them to grow naturally, and observing which thrive and which do not, one finds that, when grown in the hands of nature, crops superior to what would normally be imagined can be obtained.

"For instance, when the seeds of different grains and vegetables are mixed together and scattered over growing weeds and clover, some vanish and some survive. A few even flourish. These crops flower and set seed; the seed drops to the ground and is buried in the soil where the seed casing decomposes and the seed germinates. The seedling grows, competing with or being assisted by other plants. This process of growth is an amazing natural drama that appears at first disordered, but is eminently rational and orderly."

"Although this method of mixed, semi-wild cultivation may appear reckless at first, it more than suffices for the small family garden or for vegetable gardening on barren land by those who seek to live self-sufficiently.

"What I mean by the 'semi-wild' cultivation of vegetables is a method of simply scattering vegetable seed in a field, orchard, on earthen levees, or on any open, unused land. For most vegetables, mixed sowing with ladino clover gradually gives a vegetable garden with a cover of clover. The idea is to pick a good time during the sowing season and either scatter or drill a seed mixture of clover and many vegetables among the weeds. This will yield surprisingly large vegetables."
 
steward
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Hi Julian, there's a whole forum here on Permies about Masanobu Fukuoka with 1789 posts.  I don't have an answer for you but it could be in there.
https://permies.com/f/104/fukuoka
 
master pollinator
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In my experience this method works best in mild climates with well-distributed rain.  I plant in a way similar to this (polycultures) in my gardens, but tend to only have success during the cool season.  
 
pollinator
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My own opinion based upon my own observation and experience of buying abandoned farmland, once in New Jersey and once in Hawaii.

In New Jersey we purchased 7 acres that had once been a chicken farm and had a highly productive one acre garden area, growing all sorts of veggies (according to the neighbors). The garden had been left to go to seed that last season it was growing (3 years prior to our buying it. When we bought it, it has been totally abandoned for 2 years. The only edible plants I found on the land was rhubarb, a type of perennial chive, mulberry and sassafras trees, and a couple of cherry tomato plants growing around the house foundation. That's all.

In Hawaii we purchased 20 acres that had once been a small cattle ranch and also hosted a productive house garden full of veggies (again, as reported by the neighbors). The land had been abandoned for 4 years. The only edible plants I found were wild guavas and thimbleberry bushes. Absolutely nothing survived from the gardens, not even the taro and sweet potatoes. On this land, the aggressive ferns and imported pasture grasses smothered out just about all other annuals and most perennials.

So I suppose there are a lot of factors involved with "do nothing" food growing, but I can say with absolute conviction that "do nothing" farming will not work on my current farm in the state that it is in. The tropical grasses would quickly choke out anything that isn't highly competitive.

I'm not saying the "do nothing" won't work under the right circumstances, it's just that if I were required to use that food growing method here, I'd surely starve.
 
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I have read the entirety of Fukuoka's "One Straw Revolution" (highly recommend) and in it he thoroughly explains how "do-nothing" is a HUGE figure of speech, but it's the title he deemed necessary to grab people's attention and convey in an instant the paradigm shift in thinking about agriculture that society needs to have; That we need to let nature do as much as possible, and do as CLOSE TO NOTHING as possible to nature.

Su Ba: Your accounts make it clear that we can't just copy Fukuoka's instructions in our own bioregions and mircobioregions. We have to take his PHILOSOPHY and apply it ingenuously to our home places and permaculture sites. Which may take trial, error, frustration, and loss, like it did for Fukuoka. We just have to think more broadly when that happens, and take DETAILED note of our lessons and accounts to locals, neighbors, and take on apprentices, knowing that our failures are carving the path to success of future permies in our area. (and make use of the regional permies forum on here of course!)


apply Crop Rotation principle to seed scattering
https://gardenandhappy.com/crop-rotation/

contact/create localized seed libraries for greater success in seed scattering

-Lemon
 
julian Gerona
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Been reading about soil ecosystem and plant interdependence. From this point of view it would be logical to think that planting an specie requires planting of soil ecosystem that supports each. Or find a soil ecosystem that favors the plant. I think this is what Foukoka is trying to do with his scattering randomly a variety of seeds. For example we plant tomato in a soil that used to be a grassland. Then we of course need to depend the tomato by constantly pulling the grass because the soil is favoring the grass. So its either choose the plant that grows well in a particular soil or change the soil ecosystem to favor the tomato. We may also want to look on how the wild grows. It grows in a very dense manner giving no chance for any unwanted specie.
 
julian Gerona
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Actually I have thought of a way to do it. But then again its a product of flawed imagination. So I am presenting it for corrections by the garden masters. Say I plant tomato seeds randomly and waited to see which ones grow very well. On that soil where the tomatoes are healthy is presumably the best ecosystem that supports tomatoes. So I gather the soil on that spots and culture/multiply it. Then this would be my tomato planting medium. On a target area I will mulch over the wild plants/weeds. This would put the existing ecosystem on slow down but will not annihilate the SE. Then I plant my tomatoes together with the seed soil. The ecosystem of seed soil i presume to thrive on tomatoes and thereby multiply overwhelming any organisms that does not thrive on tomato plants.

Question: How do I culture/multiply a soil ecosystem sample.
 
Tyler Ludens
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julian Gerona wrote:So I gather the soil on that spots and culture/multiply it.



Rather than culture the soil that the tomatoes grew in, I would save seeds from those tomatoes and breed a variety which does well in my existing soil.

 
pollinator
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Agree, his title is a bit hyperbolic.

Perhaps a softer more simple way to say it is..

Grow what wants to grow.

Scattering seeds, observing, supporting what wants to grow seems the essence of his plan.

I try mimic this approach by letting areas go feral and then studing the wild edibles the grow there. How can I use what grows? Whar animals will eat it?

Even items like invasive edibles factor in. Can you harvest the autumn berries before the birds spread the seed? Can you graft edible pear onto the callery pear rootstock? Can you gather the queen annes lace flowers, dry them, and spread wild carrot onto poor soil areas?

Turns out doing nothing involves doing something differently.
 
julian Gerona
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Tyler Ludens wrote:

julian Gerona wrote:So I gather the soil on that spots and culture/multiply it.



Rather than culture the soil that the tomatoes grew in, I would save seeds from those tomatoes and breed a variety which does well in my existing soil.



If we take Dr. Redhawk account that soil ecosystem varies every few feet then we will need a different tomato breed every few feet. dont you think so?
 
Tyler Ludens
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No, I don't agree.  Landrace tomatoes can be broadly adapted to the conditions in which they are raised.
 
steward
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Soil is just one part of a tomato's ecosystem: Other factors that affect growth include: elevation, humidity, rainfall, insects, fungi, bacteria, viruses, other microbes, farmer's habits, solar insolation, carbon-dioxide levels, other plants, mammals, birds, etc, etc, etc.
 
pollinator
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I have converted the book into an audio book and I have listened to it a few times.

The idea of "Do nothing"   is the ultimate goal,  what if you had a garden that you had to do nothing for it to grow?

The question that is asked in the book is, "Why are we doing what we are now doing on the farm?"       "What would happen if we did not weed, and let the weeds grow?"      The plan that he developed to fight off the weeds was continual mulch from other crops.     I thought this was an awesome method as you grow your mulch, then plant in the mulch, which worked for him in growing rice.


I think that one needs to experiment in order to see if what Masanobu will work for you, his methods took years for him to perfect in his region.      Sometimes his methods do not work in all areas, as some areas the clay balls with seeds did not work for a farmer in a tropical area, but the other methods of mulch did.

Below are videos I have collected that may be of interest to you ->








Nice page devoted to one straw.
http://www.onestrawrevolution.net/One_Straw_Revolution/Videos.html



 
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