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Fukuoka thoughts  RSS feed

 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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First off, happy new garden year!

Finally found a copy of Fukuoka's book Natural Farming at a library and been leafing through it.

I'd been curious about his ideas about composting, the making of big piles that everybody does and tilling that in each year, but no that goes against his no till, no fertilizer. Found his quote "I firmly believe while compost itself is not without value, the composting of organic materials is fundamentally useless". You'll just have to take my word that I understand what he means by this (his context, the 4 no's, when he would use it, etc etc).

I have been composting his way, bascially throwing slash on top and throwing kitchen scraps and ashes on in the winter. The dirt is in great shape, nutritious and friable, without loads of compost(it is clay to begin with). It really does work. Though I know I live in a similar temperate zone than him(so, duh it would work)

I really really like his method of observing nature as it is and starting there, instead of "what do I want to make the land grow?" Using that approach, modeling nature and bringing in native species among the veggies I grow has done more for the health and production of veggies than any other thing. Living healthy soil. Very hard concept for people to grasp--"take a few and see what's really going on".

I can plainly see this works wonderfully for a family garden, am totally sold. Has anyone done this on a scale for a farmer's market? pics?

ANybody else doing Fukuoka's thing by the booK? or sort of?

 
Brenda Groth
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Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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i have Gaia's garden and Fukuoka's book both on order, hopefully will arrive soon.

After reading the links you posted on HT forum I was more and more convinced that I gotta get me some more reading  material soon...thanks so much..i've been spending as much time as i can reading clips on both and on food forests..etc.

I have an area of my garden that i do what I CALL sheet mulch..not sure if it is really sheet mulch at all...but in the winter it is just too far to walk in the snow..250 ' to our compost pile..so i throw the scraps, eggshells, etc.. out the door on one are of my perennial garden..(now it is going in the new compost tumber)..have done it in this area for about 8 years..

well i had to dig out some perennials from that area as i'm dividing them and putting them around my pond area (goatsbeard, ligularia, filipendula, vinca, hostas, etc.)

well the ground was so dark black and spongy..the shovel sunk into the soil like butter..there are NO weeds growing in this area..as the vinca is a ground cover that has pretty much covered any bare soil..the worms and wildlife took care of breaking down all the scraps and stuff i threw out there..and made some of the best soil on my property

if this is what Fukoka believes, just throwing back onto the soil anything that came from the soil and anything else you might have on hand..then i'm all for it as it seems to work well for me.

my problem is not having enough MULCH materials..i have to truck them in
 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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I still have grass between most of my beds. I put down some things between a few beds to block grass(I really like the sheets of bark from the fir logs)--that's that question most people ask--"what to use for paths to block the grass/weeds".  Anyways I had a eureka--DOH my mulch is growing in the aisles! So I cut the grass/weeds off, makign sure to do it before seeds set, and throw them right on the beds. I get about 3-4 cuttings before the stuff goes dormant in the heat and quite growing, which makes enough mulch to be about at least 8" deep after it shrinks and wilts. Its literally gone by late fall, tunred into compost. I also leave the leafy vegetable leftovers, and the woody stuff I throw in the woods().

THere are all sorts of nutrients in weeds, so they are good mulch too. ALso have tons of worms and unbelieveable amounts of good bugs.

THe ground my garden is on was logged 20 years ago, was compacted in the course of that, has sat and baked in the sun for 10 years, then the past 10 years I've been working with it. Just saying it was problem child ground .  It's amazing though, how many seeds and bulbs lie dormant in the ground, waiting for the soil to be nice again.

It seems Fukuoka also has a sense of "closed loop" sort of sustainability, not liking to bring in hordes of outside materials, yes use what grows there are return it to the ground.  I like that.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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wyldthang wrote:Has anyone done this on a scale for a farmer's market? pics?

ANybody else doing Fukuoka's thing by the booK? or sort of?


The two I know of are Emilia Hazelip and Helen Atthowe. Both found ways to support themselves by market gardens based on Fukuoka's ideas, and both can be seen describing their work on Youtube.

The former had to adapt Fukuoka's methods heavily to suit a Mediterranean climate. I'm in such a climate, too, so I'm especially interested in her work.

The latter moves a lot of soil around each year, relies on black plastic mulch, and for many years incorporated large amounts of prepared compost.

Both examples are, to my reading of it, exactly by the book: observe nature, find what works, intervene less as your understanding improves, don't take what's written as a recipe to follow but as an instantiation of the underlying philosophy.
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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Its funny how idealized he is and yet how few imatators he has.As far as I can tell,it is related to our first world status.He advocated living a simple life close to the earth(mud huts I believe)in order to gain deeper insight into the nature of the location.How many Americans are going to live in a mud hut?Ironically his books are experiencing a resurgence of interest.So far based on the drive of the people Ive seen reading his books enthusiastically,his popularity seems based on his `no work`philosophy which lazy Americans are drawn to.Skip the mud hut part but praise the `no work `part.My experience tells me you need both.
 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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ha, attracting lazy people. That's funny, I've been looking for photo examples of forest gradening/kukuoka's methods and the funny thing is I noticed american gardens just look like weed patches, scrabbly and not very appetizing and just plain unhealthy, while european or elsewhere gardens look much more lush and healthy. I did have the thought that this was the lazy element coming in --something I have to confess I can't stand about the "hippy element"(though I am plenty hippy, and god knows Oregon is full of em, ha)

Personally I love working with handtools and doing the manual labor, try to be simple and frugal(well, we barely make enough $$). I get what you're saying about the mud hut.

Here's my garden journal for this year
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=172469&id=616102765&l=9f266da5e8

last year's, the first year I used the forest gardening way
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=74085&id=616102765&l=072661262e
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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i agree with the resurgence idea...esp since i was from the original HIPPY generation..gradutated in 1969..

My husband and I bought our home and property and began reforesting the land as soon as we moved in..it had been a celery  farm.

We have always put as much organic matter as we could back into the soil..or  bring in what we could to replenish the spent land..some areas have been really well built up and reforested and some areas we were forced to ignore because of either lack of funds, time or resources..but we are now being forced to move into those areas..for two reasons..housefire ruined a lot of our gardens and land and we had to move the house to a new location on the property thus having the old house site bare and removing the plants and trees on the new house site...and then in 2007 we gave our son a reforested and food forest garden area..for his house and watched thousands of trees being removed and a foot of spongy soil..so that the house could be put in..we both cried over the loss of our trees and soil..but were so thankful to be able to help our son gain a home of his own

so since 2008 we have been starting over again..which is so hard.

yes we also use "weeds"as mulch..but we won'tuse things like quack grass or weeds taht will regrow  into soil clogging messes..so we have to be really careful..we do try to catch them before they seed,and put them into the  garden as mulch..buthonestly..there isn't enough weed material for the amount of mulch we need at this point..so we have had to bringin ingredients..and pay for a lot of them..so it has made it hard on a fixeed income.

we are constantly on the serach for mulching materials..

in the past we have had to bring in bark and sawdust as they were the onlymateirals we could get..but sometimes we have used spoiled straw andhave had some free manure and beddingfrom ahorse farm..but latelywe haven't even been able to get that.

where we have done the "sheet composting" we have wonderful soil..but some of the areas we have been reclaioming (seemyother threads on that)..the soil ishorrible..and really needs everything that we possibly can add to it
 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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I definately dont' think what you are doing is counter to Kukuoka's method--I mean, you are restoring what would have been there naturally, right? by bringing in the compost to get the bad ground started up again. And K is always saying his methods AREN"T stone, but rather adapted to the site, right?

And celery is a rapacious crop to grow(seems I heard that?).

Joel, thanks for the names, I'll look them up.

and the " no work" seems to be more "don't pound sand" to me ha


 
Brenda Groth
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Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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well I think you are right but you probably know more than I do about fukoka as I haven't yet gotten his book and the only articles i've read on him are the ones you linked me to.

I have heard things on this site as well..which peaked my interest..but i'm really not aware of his methods by anything than those few threads and links

I'm looking forward to receiving his book (it has shipped)and Gaia's Garden...hopefully I'll learn more ..I am a true bookworm.

I do know that it only makes sense to mulch..over the 39 years I have been gardening my property, I have seen that the areas I'm able to mulch are fertile, weeds come out easily and the soil is wonderful texture..spongy and dark and rich..

the areas that aren't mulched i fight with weeds, the soil is lighter, drier and needs more water..the plants are more spindly....with as much garden as I have, finding mulch is really difficult..i use whatever I can get, but getting..well that's the hard part.

I can't drive our truck  (I'm partially disabled" and my husband well with his head injury it is hard to get him to do anything,but he can drive the truck, IF HE WILL..which he generally won't..so that leaves me having to find other ways to get mulches here..

I begged them to put the bagger on the lawnmower, but no..they wouldn't even mow..i had to use the walk behind mower with the mulching blade on it..to keep the lawns and paths under control (i use lawn paths)..simply  cause i can't mulch the paths..no mulch

I may find a way to get some taller grasses from the field next door, when they get tall enough..but in the meantime i have no resources here at all..but pulling weeds..and there aren't a lot of weeds other than quackgrass..which i won't use as mulch as it is invasive.
 
Brenda Groth
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Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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i found this great link...spent about 3 hours reading on it last night..will finish it today
http://www.charityfocus.org/docs/onestraw.pdf
 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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u r awesome

In the book I was reading at the library(an early edition) there is a section of color photos, I'm looking through the file to see if those are included, haven't seem them yet.

I'm going to see if I can copy and paste to my own file and reduce the font size to save ink and paper(ha).
 
Brenda Groth
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Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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googled Emilia Hazelip, Robert Hart and ruth stout and found a lot of interesting reading material on them as well..a very productive reading weekend for me
 
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