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Excellent blog: jordforbindelse (latest: notill & chop&drop, biochar, seedballs

Posts: 96
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
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Excellent blog: jordforbindelse (latest: notill & chop&drop, biochar, seedballs
          New post on *jordforbindelse*
<>  Maintaining
the garden<>;
Thomas P Jahn <>;

There is a sheer iron resistance to the idea that farming can be done
without heavy machinery. Hundreds of horse powers are out their on our
fields. And people have completely lost confidence that it can be done

However, maintaining a healthy garden gets down to *one  simple
method*called “chop and drop”.

Yes, we favor certain plants and crops over others that we call weeds. But
it is a serious mistake to try to quantitatively remove those plants we
have decided to call weeds. There is a much more simple, efficient and
appropriate method than removing weeds with shoots and roots or even
poisoning them with herbicides. We gotta change attitude and rather think
positive of our crop than being afraid of the weed. You want to concentrate
on taking care of your favorite crop, while you chop and prune *some* of
the other plants that otherwise prevent your crop from fully developing.
There is thus no waste of any of the nutrients that had been taken up by
the weeds. At the contrary: The weeds have - for the time of their own
development - accumulated nutrients that are subsequently released for the
benefit of you r crop. Roots that remain in the soil decay - or at least
partly decay, and enter the cycle of natural soil building right at the
spot. And the arial parts of the weed, when dropped at the place, cover the
soil, preserve soil moisture and also contribute to the soil building.

There is thus no lasting or serious competition for nutrients, because
surface composting and root pruning recycle the nutrients to the system in
favor of your favorite crops. If you don't interfere in the garden,
*then*it turns wild. Then eventually there is competition for
nutrients and
light, and certain plants take advantage. Then a succession sets in towards
a climax vegetation typical for the particular climatic region. Proper
gardening, however, is maintaining a young and open fruit forest. Pruning
and chopping is necessary *and* sufficient to manage and maintain this
stage for many decades.

Undisturbed soil is extremely potent in recycling organic matter. All the
soil organisms needed for cycling are right in place. This is one reason
why it takes a couple of years of transition when you change your practice
from digging and tilling to a permanent non-dig garden. The soil fauna has
to develop and reach its natural balance. Once you approach this balance,
managing becomes easier and easier.

There is no real need to prepare compost other than composting directly on
the surface. You may want to use larger patches of nutrient accumulating
plants, such as comfrey <>, for surface
composting at another place with the aid to translocate nutrients. But this
is a soft and sensitive method which keeps pace with natural cycling for
the system, allowing the system to proceed in its most productive form.

People often argue that slugs then take over and harm the cultures. But
this is just another temporary problem, until things get into balance
again. Firstly, slugs do not particularly go after your crop. They also eat
what you chop and drop and thereby assist the composting process. Secondly,
the slugs will be followed by their predators such as toads controlling
their population. Ducks are an excellent garden keeper too eating the slugs
and providing you with eggs. Every problem has a natural solution. No
artificial measure can do a better job than inviting the natural predators
into your system. Using poison will only address one problem for a short
period of time while at the same time removing the basis for survival of
the natural predators, pushing the system out of balance.

Modern agriculture is a synthetic product. It is hard to understand for
many, how to get out of the system. It necessarily requires some time and
you may encouter a temporary break down of yield until nature gets back
into balance. But yields recover, and takes over far beyond what can be
done with a synthetic system. We cannot rely on a single crop anyway. So
why not growing a rich mixture of crops together. Monocultures are only
practical for the machinery we emply to cultivate them, but neither
appropriate for us or nature. Mixed permanent cultures are far more
productive and healthy.

Natural farming is about bringing back the natural players into balance.
Once this is achieved, gardening becomes the easiest task ever. It is no
more than chop and drop, chop and drop, chop …. and drop.

I rackon, once the physical primary work is done, I can manage 2 hectares
and maintain them in a state of a paradies just as a single guard, while
enjoying plenty of leasure time.

Imagine how much you learn by actually doing it!"
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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well said
Brenda Groth
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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went to the link but oops I don't know how to translate on my computer..
Lf London
Posts: 96
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
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Brenda Groth wrote:
went to the link but oops I don't know how to translate on my computer..

Thomas Jahn is a member of the permaculture list where he posted the original of this article. He said that the site is Danish but they try to post in English sometimes. They are trying to reach and motivate Danes thus need to use a language they are comfortable with and can use to build their community and promote the concept of home, urban and community gardening for free food.

There are also many good external links there too, see especially the one  to the new Seedballs site, a replacement for the original Jim Bones' Seedballs site, which was the best site for that topic for a long time.

I am modifying the original post to include more links to no till and seedballs. I received the following link from the Fukuoka Farming list; this is a real delight to me as I like the type of lifestyle depicted in the four page photo gallery:

fruit production, no till agriculture, seedballs, simple/frugal lifestyle

naturalfarming's photostream

On Seedballs

Restoration projects worldwide

<I think this may be a restoration of the famous Seedballs
website created and maintained by Jim Bones.; this is a world class
information resource>

Biodiversity Heritage Library

"Welcome to the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) is a consortium of natural
history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make
accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their
collections and to make that literature available for open access and
responsible use as a part of a global “biodiversity commons.” BHL also
serves as the foundational literature component of the Encyclopedia of
Life (EOL). BHL content may be freely viewed through the online reader
or downloaded in part or as a complete work in PDF, OCR text, or
JPG2000 file formats. For help with downloading content, please see
the Tutorials page.

To perform a simple search of BHL, enter an EXACT PHRASE such as
"proceedings of the academy" (without quotation marks). Entering
keywords such as "proceedings academy" will not return results.

For advanced search options, please use the Books/Journals, Authors,
Subjects, Scientific Names, or Citation Finder (BETA) tabs above."

A good book on fruit growing:

The Fruit Tree Handbook - Reviews - The Ecologist

The Fruit Tree Handbook

Andy McKee

3rd November, 2011
"Packed with helpful hints and detailed explanation, The Fruit Tree
Handbook is a must-read for ‘top fruit’ enthusiasts, says Andy McKee

If you’ve ever thought about turning an unproductive grassy area into
an orchard and then quietly filed it away under 'wouldn't know where
to start', it may be time for a rethink. The Fruit Tree Handbook is
fairly hefty for a paperback but fruit growing is a big topic and
deserves the space. All too often 'top fruit' [apples, pears, plums
etc] is relegated to a couple of chapters in a general fruit book,
losing out to the easy virtues of strawberries and other soft fruit.
Given such cramped conditions, it's small wonder that people get
confused about pollination so a well-written specialist book like this
one is a welcome addition to my bookshelf.

The author, Ben Pike, is the head gardener of Sharpham Estate in
Devon, which contains 150 fruit trees. This is a man who clearly knows
his subject inside out, and isn't afraid to take a pragmatic approach.
As such, he advocates eco-friendly but effective measures rather than
trying to be strictly organic. He keeps his tone light and friendly,
especially in the more technical sections. In the pruning chapter for
instance, he reassures the reader that it is very likely that their
trees will not look like the ones ‘in the book’ (and for that one
statement, Mr. Pike, I am almost pathetically grateful). The aim of
the book is to be useful for novice growers as well as more
experienced types, and on the whole, Pike pulls it off admirably.

The Fruit Tree Handbook covers everything you'd hope to find in a
dedicated top fruit book, with chapters on choosing, buying and
planting trees as well as a dedicated section for each type of fruit.
Pollination groups are explained clearly, and there are some welcome
surprises too, such as a chapter covering much neglected quinces,
medlars and mulberries in reasonable depth. There's also a chapter on
dealing with rootstocks (often a source of mystification to new
growers) but I was particularly impressed with the chapters on
planning new orchards, renovating old ones and starting a community
orchard. I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised to find them, given
that the author runs Orchard Link - an organisation dedicated to
saving and promoting small orchards."
Posts: 143
Location: Oakland, CA
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I love to have my thinking changed by someone who can really articulate their challenge. Great blog.
Posts: 34
Location: North Carolina
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This is a great thread, hope it can continue. Some of the links in the posts are really exciting.

If you like strawberry rhubarb pie, try blueberry rhubarb (bluebarb) pie. And try this tiny ad:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
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