Hi everyone, I’m new here and I’m looking for input or advice from anyone who has done Fukuoka style growing before. Also I don’t have internet on the farm most times so I’m sorry if I can’t respond to anything right away.
Grain Field- I can explain in more detail what and why I’m doing where the conversation goes but basically I’ve got a field full of weeds that I plan to broadcast amaranth and beans into, then chop down all the now maturing winter grasses and lay them as a mulch over the seed. I’m hoping the beans will use the amaranth as trellising and shade in our hot California summers. In the fall I will broadcast winter grain and some sort of leguminous ground cover and chop and drop the crop residue from the amaranth and beans onto either the seed or the seedlings. I plan to seed when I harvest on one part of the field and seed before on another so that the seedlings are growing when I harvest.
Veggie Patch- Also a field, actually this one is a hillside, where I’ll broadcast seed and then chop and drop weeds same as the grain field. I have some tomatoes and peppers that I will transplant but otherwise there will be direct seeding, which is fine because our season is very long, the last frost being sometime about now and the first one in fall coming around late November/early December.
Both patches will be irrigated due to total lack of warm season precipitation in California. It should also be noted that I don’t need high yields or clean fields, I have no scarcity of space and seed to spare; I just want to find an easier, more passive form of farming.
Let me know what you guys think I could do differently and why, or what experiences you’ve had doing similar things. Thanks!
Update: In the grain field the beans and amaranth have both come up wonderfully and have developed multiple sets of leaves. The amaramth was surprisingly good at coming up through the thick mulch, having such a tiny seed.
The veggies had a lot less grass coverage where I planted, and so may have been water deficient at times but melons are seeming to do well already. I'm happy anything has come up on completely unprepared ground without fertilization.
Could you send some pictures of your fields, including photos of the soil? Here on the Aegean coast and islands we have the exact same climate except the growing season is from late march-early april to (usually) mid-october. There is an exception though, most olive varieties grown here are harvested throughout november.
I’m sorry my internet keeps freaking out I’ve tried to send the pictures a couple different times and even these messages won’t send. Fifth time’s a charm! Our soil is a pretty heavy clay, and frost this year stopped in april, and I’d expect late november to have another or maybe even december. Let’s see if the pictures work
I can’t seem to find the picture of the tomatoes that were only in weeds without mulch, which I was very impressed by, and I can’t take a picture as I am off farm now (why I’m now able to send this). Hope that does you well though
Unfortunatley due to personal events I had to leave the site where the growing was taking place, but I recently went back to discover that some of the now completely neglected plants, with a total lack of water during the worst months of the year for a mediterranian climate, survived.
Plants that I have seen survive Fukuoka style planting then neglect concerning any pest control or watering(although it was a very wet May) include:
-Green Zebra tomato
-Unidentified red cherry tomato(seed saving this!!)
-New england pie pumpkins(not yet fruiting, I believe they will still die before then)
-Blacktail mountain watermelon(not fruiting)
-A stalk of Painted Mountain corn seems to be alive
-Sunset goldilocks, Hopi Red Dye, and Red Garnet amarnaths all survived and set seed, although did not grow so tall.
-Vermont cranberry bean did the best. Bush varieties that were quicker to mature survived.
Ultimately, due to the conditions that were created by my absence I would not consider this a completed experiment. I’m sorry I couldn’t contribute more knowledge to these forums. Maybe if I find a more permanent situation I’ll try again more formally.
Neat experiment! It looks like you found some good droughts resistant genes as a side effect. What you could do differently?
As you mentioned, you had a very wet May. I wonder how much better the plants would have grown if the were just downhill of a swale, and there was no irrigation.
Earthworks are the skeleton; the plants and animals flesh out the design.
Here’s good advice for practice: go into partnership with nature; she does more than half the work and asks none of the fee. – Martin H. Fischer