[permaculture] [Fwd: Re: [SANET-MG] soybean rust a new dread] }|{ potato culture in blight-infested soils

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lfl at intrex.net
Sat Dec 4 23:15:12 EST 2004

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [SANET-MG] soybean rust a new dread
Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2004 22:05:02 -0000
From: John D'hondt <dhondt at EIRCOM.NET>
>          The more important issues is how should soybean rust be managed,
> now that it is here.  This will prove especially critical for organic
> growers who cannot rely on synthetic fungicides, even if they were a good
> idea.  Does anyone have suggestions for organically approved remedies that
> organic soybean growers might use?  Or that researchers should be  evaluating?

I have never been able to grow soybean well because our climate is just too
cold for it but I live in Ireland where potato blight is omni present and
deadly. I have been an organic farmer here for almost twenty years and I
have never sprayed anything; not synthetic fungicides or even Bordeaux
mixture which I would be allowed to use as an organic farmer.

I have successfully grown potatoes for all this time through a few very
simple maverick techniques :
- I grow a great number of varieties mixed at random. The reason for this is
that we found that home grown seed did better than bought in seed by at
least 30%. At one time or another we bought small quantities of seed
potatoes of perhaps thirty different varieties. For the last ten years or so
I have also grown new varieties from real seed after flowering, perhaps one
to two hundred plants per year.
- Then we have been as hard on our potatoes as we knew how. One year we
harvested after leaving most of the tubers overwinter in situ. Many were
lost I don't doubt but the ones that survived were used as seed and thrived.
- When plants get diseased I have never panicked and tried to destroy every
last particle of the afflicted plant. Instead I have left them to rot where
they fell. The idea behind this is that if there are fifty thousand
different species of micro organism in the soil then there should be one of
them making a living of Phytophtra infestans. If I gave them an extra dose
to eat they would get more numerous so that in the end I would have less
blight. I have for myself called this technique "soil immunization" and I
have gotten convinced that it works for my potatoes. If I knew more about
the identity and nature of my "blight-eater" I would be able to make more of
this than I ever would be from selling potatoes but this is not a priority
for me at the moment.
-I mulch heavily and put out compost after harvest but I am not obsessed
with rotation. One reason for this being that volunteer potatoes usually do
extremely well. Some of these have come back year after year for ten years
or more even if I tried to get every last little tuber out of the ground
because they were in the way of other crops.

If I were living in America this is the way I would go about solving
problems with soybean rust.

To unsubscribe from SANET-MG:
1- Visit http://lists.sare.org/archives/sanet-mg.html to unsubscribe or;
2- Send a message to <listserv at sare.org> from the address subscribed to the list. Type "unsubscribe sanet-mg" in the body of the message.

Visit the SANET-MG archives at: http://lists.sare.org/archives/sanet-mg.html
For more information on grants and other resources available through the SARE program, please visit http://www.sare.org.

lfl at intrex.net

More information about the permaculture mailing list