Aljaz Plankl wrote:i have no idea!
Tyler Ludens wrote:I'm not sure China "did fine" as their style of food growing required clearing a lot of forest and entailed an enormous amount of labor. They were able to practice agriculture for a long time, but I'm not sure it was "fine." But I have a low opinion of agriculture compared to horticulture/permaculture....
larry korn wrote:Hello again, The keyline/chisel plow can be a handy tool for getting a soil building rotation going especially on land that has become hard or developed a hardpan for one reason or another. The "plow" cuts slits in the earth rather than inverting the layers of the soil. It allows air and water to find their way into the deeper layers of the ground. Each year for two or three years lower the tines so it goes a little deeper. Once the soil-building plants have taken hold you won't have to chisel plow anymore. Be sure to include some deep-rooting accumulator plants in the mix (such as radish family members) along with some grasses and legumes.
The groundcover plants can be mowed and left on the surface or you could disc it into the top inch or two of the soil. The discing would simply speed the decomposition without plowing and inverting layers and leaving the soil open to erosion.
Please check our permaculture design course in February in Western Washington!
SILVERSEEDS SILVERSEEDS wrote:
H Ludi Tyler wrote:
I think one of the big ideas of Fukuoka grain growing is the permanent legume groundcover. I'm not sure what perennial groundcover would work in my locale with our current severe drought conditions. Something like 15 inches of rain per year.
Yes it would. If you are on a water retentive soil. Although you wont be able to use all types of clovers, and other related use plants. Ive got several types of clover growing and my area gets about 10-12 inches a year. I dont really keep tracks of names as I do so many things in a shrt time span, I just try a dozen, and keep what works... but I should be able to dig up the names. I will get back to you eventually on which ones it was.....
You wont have the level of nitrogen fixation of some of the better clovers thuogh, I do remember lots of them I was trialing were fixing about 1/4-1/2 of the top tier stuff. but the top tier stuff doesnt survive here on its own... so far...
By the way i read a study one time on growing corn with a clover ground cover and wider spacing. they actually got superior yields, and used less chemicals. this was a test by some synthetic farming group, but they cut their usage of both herbicides, and fertilizers, while increasing yields slightly.... that lead me to trialing clovers in this way..... Those around my grains do get irrigated at this point, I still need breeding work on that, but Ive got other clovers growing on their own. I did water them until they sprouted though, because I didnt want to wait to plant them with the rains, and they are perennial... I havent watered them for a few years since.
r ranson wrote:Okay, I admit it. I've actually been playing around with Fukuoka's grain raising ideas for a month now. Experimenting and observing.
If this isn't the right place to post this, please let me know where would be better. Thank you.
It looks like we are going to have very little winter this year. The last frost was a couple of days after New Years, and given the weather patterns here and that many of the animals have come out of hibernation two months early, I feel it's a good bet our February freeze is going to pass us by.
I decided that Barley is what I can play with because if we do get a frost or even a snow, it will hold up pretty well. I bought a bag of organic barley which is usually used for animal feed, but has a great germination rate of 95%.
First attempt was the second week of Jan. I broadcast some old barley seed so that it was approx 2 seeds per inch (only less regular as per my understanding of Fukuoka's philosophy). Why that thick? Reading about small scale grain raising - traditional European methods - they recommend one seed per inch when starting out, maybe one seed per inch and a half if you have absolutely fantastic soil. (source: Small-Scale Grain Raising: An Organic Guide to Growing, Processing, and Using Nutritious Whole Grains for Home Gardeners and Local Farmers, by Logsdon and O-Brien - my memory of what I read when I borrowed it from the library). In One Straw Revolution, I remember Fukuoka saying that for the first few years, especially when dealing with poor quality, compacted soil, it is a good idea to sew the seeds extra or even twice as thick as normal.
On top of the barley, I spread about half an inch of used hay (hay the animals had nibbled on but didn't like because it was too coarse. Basically like chopped up straw). On top of that I sprinkled a tiny amount of llama berries.
Results: That night the wild ducks came and ate most of the grain. During the week, the ducks really enjoyed themselves. At the end of the week, the ducks had enough and I pealed back some mulch and looked at what was left of the grain. About one kernel per 6 inches remained and was growing well. Better than I had expected, but not as good as I hoped.
Reviewing Fukuoka's philosophy, I see some of the things I did wrong.
First off, the mulch was cut up straw - not the uncut straw that Fukuoka recommends. Also the mulch wasn't thick enough. Third aspect I failed to follow was to step on the grain. I was so careful not to step where I had broadcast, but by not stepping on the grain, it failed to push the barley into the soil. Seeds love contact with the soil, the more the better. So keeping this in mind, it was time to try again.
Second try: First weekend of February.
Broadcast grain again, this time to a thickness of two or three kernels per square inch. Walking all over the area as I broadcast (I broadcast about four times in the same area to get the grain thickly on the ground).
Mulched again with twice as much spent hay (that's what I have, so that's what I used) and on top of that with leaf mulch from cleaning out the ditch. On top of all that, a much thicker layer of llama berries.
Why llama and not chicken manure as per Fukuoka's method? Llama has several benefits that I wanted to take advantage of. First off, it's a great deterrent for many animals that enjoy grain, like mice, llamas, ducks... &c. Since I have no clay yet, I decided to try this method to protect the grain. Second, it's easier to spread around as it's in nice neat little berries. Third, I've observed that it's exceptionally good at growing grass. Llama berries are good for growing just about anything and everything green; given that their PH is pretty neutral and they are full of all the good things for roots and circulation growth in plants. But with grasses, llama berries really shine there. The grass that receives llama treatment stays greener much longer in the drought than the rest of the property. Also where the llama berries go, fewer hawkweed is found.
Results: week in and no ducks bother the grain. A good amount of the grain has sprouted. Although not evenly distributed, it averages about one to two kernels per square inch that have put down roots and are now starting to form their shoots.
So far I've only done a 10 by 20 foot section, the limiting factor being mulch. If I can get more things to use for mulching, then I'll plant more. Later, when the weather warms up, I'll add in the clover and try my hand at buckwheat on the slopes of the terraces.
But for now, the rain has come back with a vengeance. It will be curious to see how the grain survives being partly flooded. Not well, I'm guessing.
If this is interesting to anyone, I can keep the updates coming.