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Timing the cutting of wild vegetables under orchard  RSS feed

 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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I read a post of yours that talked about Fukuoka-sensei scything the wild vegetables in summer. Given the do nothing world view, he must have had some idea why that was a useful thing to do rather than letting everything grow seed and just lay down in its own time. I also remember reading about cucurbits rambling, which would have had to survive the scything. I know the timing that you cut a meadow (and I assume a wild vegetable meadow) would affect the composition over time, as some species are able to mature seed while others do not. Why did Fukuoka-sensei value the cutting, and did he ever talk about timing of cutting, or vary the cutting regime across the landscape.

While this is a "technique question", I think it is closer to general principles, and as you strip away practices as he did to return to natural processes, I suspect there is increasing meaning in what he DID do.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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not sure if he is still here, but I would think that he was doing something similar to chop and drop mulch. In the one straw book he did some chop and drop...so that might be what he was doing.

leaving the dead material to mulch is a great idea
 
Paul Cereghino
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Alas we will likely need to figure it out ourselves...

With annuals, they'll self mulch, after seed, shoots become brittle, then wet, then weak, and make lovely spider web frames for winter. Why chop, if they'll fall down anyway. Does all that vege slash keep the clover in check, creating regeneration niche for the annual vegetable seeds in the following spring? Would you undermine your late season vegetables or biennials by slashing too low? I know I'll have to try it to figure it out, and I am starting to accumulate enough seed to start doing more robust experiments, but I was curious about what people have observed about sustaining annual vegetation through cyclic cutting.

And then there are Fukuoka-sans mysterious annual family cycles in Natural Way of Farming!! What exactly are those about! He refers to them as being based on observation. But what was he observing? What are the mechanisms underlying those patterns? I suspect he would say, why not sow lots of seed and watch...
 
larry korn
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Location: Ashland, Oregon
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Fukuoka mowed the ground cover in mid-summer. This stimulated new growth and provided a chop-and-drop mulch. Most of the plants had produced by then. One reason he mowed was for simple and practicle reason...if you didn't it would get too hard to walk around, all the plants would suffer from lack of air circulation and harvesting the orchard trees would be made really difficult. Remember, this was a commercial citrus orchard. After living there nad walking around day after day we all knew where the patches of vegetables were. We didn't just go in there and mow them all down. In those places we used a short handled scythe and went around the vegetables. Fukuoka's natural farming wasn't just scattering a lot of seeds out there and watching what happened. The orchard was tended, but gently and in such a way that the land was improved and the area made more abundant for all creatures.
 
John Gros
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I think he liked to cast seed of his next crop, then give it two weeks to germinate then cut the old crop. He may have been doing that. Plus I think that cutting the crop rather than letting it stand is to get it on the ground where it contacts with soil moisture and adds to the humus faster.
 
Cal Burns
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As this was a citrus orchard, I wonder how this would apply to an established pecan orchard? Just bought the property so this will be the first season. Am considering planting a nitrogen fixing annual cover crop around the orchard and then mow it down in the summer, or let it die off on it's own. Would prefer an edible, say peas.The harvest starts in late September. The orchard floor just has to be clear for harvesting of the pecans by then.
 
alex Keenan
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You chop to the time of the plants.
If you let grass go to seed you have straw not hay.
The same goes for any other chop and use.
You have to time the plants development to the use you will put the cut material to.

 
Jeffrey Hodgins
Posts: 166
Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
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I once grew a crop of Guasuntle (go ye and learn what that meaneth) and did not chop it down, later when I was working there I cut my hands 2 or 3 times on the erect stocks before deciding to get rid of them. It was alot harder once they were dry and they were also filled with idle nutrients that were gasing off over time without going to the soil at all.
 
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