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More thoughts on imitating nature

 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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Our black bean crop has been surprised by an unscheduled hurricane right before harvest, so a good chunk of the beans started to sprout within the soggy pods.
While harvesting what we could, I noticed that, although they say to sow seeds and cover them with as much soil as their thickness, in nature a seed can only be dropped onto the surface and hope to be covered by enough organic material to keep it moist and nourished until it sprouts roots. All the others will perish, and that's why in nature seed production is much higher than necessary: high mortality.
I figured that the odds of those beans actually falling all the way to the soil and survive was one to five.
At the same time, I heard many of you talking of taking advantage of animals trampling the soil where seeds are, but that sounds counterintuitive, as it would have seeds trying to sprout in soil that's really compact, and if it rained or the moist soil caused the seeds to plump up and soften, a lot of seeds would be destroyed anyway.
Some of you know I am preparing to sow all kinds of stuff in my experimental plot. Should I just cast my rice, maybe 5 times as much (that's a lot of waste!) considering the loss from birds and ants, and weather?
Well, I already know I'm NOT gonna do that, just provoking some thought and feedback.

Thanks,
Sergio.
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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And while we're at it. When I plant seeds in trays and follow the conventional gardening recommendations, still the seedlings come up all spindly and lie on the soil, as if I had sowed them way too superficially. Why is that?
When I transplant them, I put them in deeper, maybe removing the lowest leaves, if the plant kind allows it, but in nature this would not occur.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9421
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I try to remember plants are adapted to particular conditions, and those conditions may not be present where I happen to want to grow those particular plants.  The seeds I want to plant might not be adapted to baking hot temperatures, or alternating wet and dry, like the native seeds.  Also, nature is much more willing to plant thousands of seeds in order for a handful of plants to survive.  Most of us can't afford to be that generous! 
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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I think 1 in 5 is way too generous.  For example, look at a cherry tomato plant with 200 fruits on it, each fruit with a dozen seeds.  If 1% of those seeds succeeded, each plant would produce 24 offspring.  After  a few generations, the world would be a tomato jungle.  In the green house, we eliminate the birds and insects, and try to provide a "perfect" environment...if we plant 100 seeds, we want 100 plants.  In a suitable environment, plants will succeed in nature, limited only by other competing plants.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i often find seeds sprouting in produce that I'm preparing for a meal, and those seeds get tossed into my compost bucket and spread witht he rest of the "sheet compost" on my garden..sometimes I wonder if any of them are going to grow?? Don't necessarily plant any of them, but, watch to see if I see them coming up.

often a shriveled tomato will have sprouting seeds in it or an old potato might grow or even a peach pit or apple seeds (often they are sprouting when I core them)
 
maikeru sumi-e
Posts: 313
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Animals don't compact the soil, but bad management will. Too many too continuously will either plow or crush the living breath out of the soil.
 
Sergio Santoro
Posts: 256
Location: Nicoya, Costa Rica
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I was referring to the soil right around the seed where a few hundred pounds of cow have stepped.
Actually I am just writing to ask you what your signature means (te kahu...).
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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