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Natural Farming with Barley experiment  RSS feed

 
Posts: 944
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
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So Ranson, which all varieties of Barley have you been working with as your genetic foundation?

I'm thinking of adding Full Pint to my own experiments [dunno if it's new or just new to me and that company.]
 
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Kyrt Ryder wrote:So Ranson, which all varieties of Barley have you been working with as your genetic foundation?

I'm thinking of adding Full Pint to my own experiments [dunno if it's new or just new to me and that company.]



mmm, that looks delicious.  

I can't remember off hand which barley I used to start with.  It's mentioned earlier in this thread.

When I first started this project, it was very difficult to find good quality, organic, grain seed.  As far as I could tell, only saltspring seeds sold barley in Canada at that time.  Most of what I used was from them and the bulk food bin (which is a great way to introduce grain weaves into the house - grrr! ).
 
pollinator
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I'm enjoying following this. It sure sounds like tainted mulch. I came sooooo close to buying round bales of certified organic grassfed free-range hay for mulch, but I have heard so many storied about this I am resigned to growing my mulch.

I'm interested in the hawkweed situation. I have been trying to encourage it! It is supposed to be a good accumulator, and has a nice root mass that at least in my clay disaster is penetrating the soil. I have some other stuff like daikons and chicory planted, but it seems like its a frontier species that can make lemonade out of that type of soil. I am similarly having trouble getting clover to do much, and I have also seeded trefoil. There is already lespedeza growing -but no nodules! This is year one on the place and I suspect it is because the prior owners fertilized the weeds most diligently spring and fall. My more scholarly source suggested that the pH is the issue, but I am thinking boron may also be low. Because the clover is just not doing anything unless its has some amended soil. My sample doesn't report boron.

I will try to find the link to the accumulator article...if you are interested. Its a thread on here.
 
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I would love to see more from this experiment. I tried the Fukuoka method on a small scale with rye and millet over several years at two locations. My experience was that weeds took over. One year there were so much weeds and so little grain, that I said, "OK it's yummy, nutritious hay, with some grain in it", fed it to the animals and decided not to give it any more energy. The land had indeed become more fertile, but I could grow these cereals in much more productive ways. Seedballing worked for me on bare disturbed ground, but seedballs vanished without trace in established vegetation. I do however want to see feedback on people's experiments with it. I see a lot of people talking about it, saying they are going to experiment with it and then......silence...

I went looking for Fukuoka farms in Korea, and heard about a number which were said to be using it, but they all said "we couldn't get it to work, so now we use another method". One of these methods sounded very interesting, it involved snails and ducks. Negative results should be reported (big pharma has been rightly criticised for suppressing negative results of drug trials, but that's another story). I still hold out hope that someone, somewhere is managing to do it well and get the kind of yields Fukuoka claimed, and provide some useful tips to help the rest of us to get it work more often than it currently seems to be working.
 
r ranson
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Things are pretty unsettled for me right now.  There are a few things preventing me from moving forward.  There are more than I will mention here, but that's more external problems than ones with the experiment.  

Challenges:

1. most of the house has gone gluten free.
2. the area I did my initial experiment is still not recovered from the herbicide in the 'organic' straw.
3. processing grain with the tools and space I have is challenging
4. finding a crop rotation that will work in my climate.


Potential solutions to move forward with my experiment:

1. grow oats
2. repair the damage to that area (not sure how yet, but it isn't fixing itself, so I need to step in)
3. grow naked oats
4. keep experimenting.  

So that's where I'm at.  If it ever stops snowing, I'll be planting oats in the garden this spring and bulking up on seed.  I also hope to repair the damaged area, perhaps with a cover crop or green manuer.  I haven't figured if I have to till it under or if I can try a chop and drop system to get things going again.  BUT, if I can grow sunflowers, then that should get a lot of the nastiness out of the soil dirt.
 
Peter Ingot
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R Ranson wrote:Things are pretty unsettled for me right now.  There are a few things preventing me from moving forward.  There are more than I will mention here, but that's more external problems than ones with the experiment.  

Challenges:

1. most of the house has gone gluten free.
2. the area I did my initial experiment is still not recovered from the herbicide in the 'organic' straw.
3. processing grain with the tools and space I have is challenging
4. finding a crop rotation that will work in my climate.


Potential solutions to move forward with my experiment:

1. grow oats
2. repair the damage to that area (not sure how yet, but it isn't fixing itself, so I need to step in)
3. grow naked oats
4. keep experimenting.  

So that's where I'm at.  If it ever stops snowing, I'll be planting oats in the garden this spring and bulking up on seed.  I also hope to repair the damaged area, perhaps with a cover crop or green manuer.  I haven't figured if I have to till it under or if I can try a chop and drop system to get things going again.  BUT, if I can grow sunflowers, then that should get a lot of the nastiness out of the soil dirt.



You have my full sympathy.
 
pollinator
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Location: Left Coast
[Post New]posted 3/2/2015 5:34:46 PM This post has earned 14 up votes 14   Quote  Report post to moderator
Many people seem inspired by Fukuoka's writings, but I've seen very few people growing grain using his philosophy or method. This year, I've set aside a little plot of land for growing grain using Fukuoka's philosophy of Mu farming. I'll start documenting it here, and if people are interested, I'll keep writing about it.  


I never had a chance to reed his writing only references to them so I have questions about what was actually done on the barley rice rotation.
was the field flooded or only flood irrigated or just seasonal rainfall?  How much water can the barley roots tolerate in the winter?  Is there a rice that will grow in a cooler temperature? All the references say it needs to be above 70F. That doesn't happen in my field until it starts to dry up.
 
Peter Ingot
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Hans Quistorff wrote:

Location: Left Coast
[Post New]posted 3/2/2015 5:34:46 PM This post has earned 14 up votes 14   Quote  Report post to moderator
Many people seem inspired by Fukuoka's writings, but I've seen very few people growing grain using his philosophy or method. This year, I've set aside a little plot of land for growing grain using Fukuoka's philosophy of Mu farming. I'll start documenting it here, and if people are interested, I'll keep writing about it.  


I never had a chance to reed his writing only references to them so I have questions about what was actually done on the barley rice rotation.
was the field flooded or only flood irrigated or just seasonal rainfall?  How much water can the barley roots tolerate in the winter?  Is there a rice that will grow in a cooler temperature? All the references say it needs to be above 70F. That doesn't happen in my field until it starts to dry up.



Fukuoka only flooded his rice in the summer for about 3 weeks. The barley wuld have been winter barley so it would never get flooded
 
Hans Quistorff
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Thank you Peter Ingot  for the reply.
My ponds are flooded October through July.  They are part of a natural swale system that makes a big Z from north to south across my flood plain. The upper north edge ponds dry first and I plan to extend my millet planting into them as the rain tapers off.  I am filling the ponds with grass and perennial flax in the summer and fall to keep weeds [particularly buttercup] from growing then this time of year I rake it out of the water and onto the surrounding buttercup which is  gradually increasing the pond area but not the depth. I have been harvesting some of the anaerobic compost from the bottom of the ponds to improve the sand soil up slope which in that biome quickly become bacterially dominated and increases worm population.
So basically the only things that will grow in the flooded areas over the winter now are the buttercup which is not very desirable, the hollow reed that is traditionally used to make waterproof baskets and tying shocks of flax for retting, The perennial flax, a type of native syringa bush which I don't want to take over the field and a couple of swamp type grasses that I could try harvesting the seed.  
As it is I am gradually getting more perennial flax in the summer and retting it during the winter. Now I need a customer for the retted flax.
 
r ranson
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My barley experiment is officially ended.  Most of the house is gluten free now, so there's not much point in growing barley.

But I'm still keen on no-till natural farming.  So I started a new experiment to repair the soil and return to no-till.  
 
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Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
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Someone in this thread talked about adding flour to clay seedballs.  I would offer an alternative: destran.  Not to be confused with dextrose.  Where it gets used as a binder a lot, is fireworks.  And I first seen a recipe on a fireworks site.  Basically it is cooked (partially hydrolysed) corn starch.  As it is cooked, it shouldn't smell like "food" to most animals.

 
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