• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

That blurred zone between nature and agriculture.  RSS feed

 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So, I was thinking about my rice. We plant it after the second good storm of the year, about mid May. By September it's harvested, but if we didn't, I guess it would reseed itself, and be ripe by January. Too bad rice needs a lot of water and here it stops raining by December at the latest. Possibly the stalks from the previous generation would keep the moisture as living (well, dying) mulch?
Then I guess it would reseed itself in January and stay dormant until the first rains in May?
It must be like that. Just trying to figure out how to have agriculture imitate nature. I couldn't quite understand the gap between september and may, without human intenvention. I was also thinking of Fukuoka planting rice at the time when it would naturally occur, which would have me plant rice in September and hope during the last two months that the mulch does its job (which is what Fukuoka counts on, having 25 years of decaying clover). It would actually work great because now we harvest in September when it's the rainiest and it's a pain to dry the rice in the sun and even just find a sunny day to harvest!
Also, in nature seeds are cast off in excess just to cope with any eventuality, whereas in agriculture there is more control and we tend to want 100% yield from each seed planted.

OK, so I guess I answered my first question. I rock.

Second wondering of mine, in agriculture we rotate the crops for all those reasons we know, but in nature, I was looking at my mung beans, and thinking that if we didn't intervene, only more mung beans would grow in the same area, making it bigger, or shifting maybe a little bit in one direction. And that would happen with just about any plant. I guess the key again is that in agriculture we harvest and just clear everything, whereas in nature, stuff grows out of the corpses of its previous generation. In the case of the mung beans, they would sprout mulched by the stalks of their parents that contain the very nutrients a mung bean needs to grow and they won't even have to extract them from the soil.
Wow, not like I had to be convinced about the importance of mulch, but this is really interesting to keep in mind.

Am I correct in all this?
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
in nature crops are not naturally rotated, that is part of the food forest teaching.  Annuals may rotate slightly by animal or wind movement, but generally if they reseed it will be fairly close by in either a clump or a wave of plants..however, animals and birds will spread the seeds by their fur/feathers or feces.

it always amazes me when things pop up that aren't supposed to be there, like the minnows that showed up in my pond that are NOT goldfish ..when the only fish in our pond are goldfish..until now...not sure what the minnows are of or where they are from but they aren't goldfish
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 489
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Never having grown either rice or mungs, I can only say that your reasoning makes sense to me.

But I'd add a couple more things for you to mull. Nature does polycropping, people do monoculture to make harvest more efficient, especially for crops like rice. Also, nature does not need to get a crop every year - if the weather and/or the bugs don't cooperate, oh well. That's what the soil seed bank is for.

Also, when you are growing an exotic crop, you may not have available to you the whole suite of biota that interact with that plant in its native habitat. I can see that making a difference.

Where I live, the native oaks set a good acorn crop once every one or two years (there will be some acorns in the off years.) And further, the weather might only be favorable for the establishment of a new oak generation once or twice in a decade. This works just fine for human and animal foragers, but would not be so great for a commercial grower.

So I think you need to be clear what your objectives are. For instance, if you have to sell that rice crop, it might be harder to process and distribute if you are growing on a different schedule than other rice growers in your area. You might have to look hard to find a market.

So much to think about, and so much fun to play with it!



 
ronie dee
Posts: 618
Location: NW MO
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Brenda Groth wrote:

it always amazes me when things pop up that aren't supposed to be there, like the minnows that showed up in my pond that are NOT goldfish ..when the only fish in our pond are goldfish..until now...not sure what the minnows are of or where they are from but they aren't goldfish


Birds bring in the fish..Especially the pelican type birds that have a beak fulla fish eggs and little fish.
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I always wondered myself how some fish is propagated.
 
ronie dee
Posts: 618
Location: NW MO
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The fish or eggs could also come from 'upstream' when it rains a lot or floods.
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Right, the eggs must be the secret.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!