[permaculture] Organic no-till for dry-land farming?

dwoodard at becon.org dwoodard at becon.org
Sun Jun 3 03:05:31 EDT 2007

If you can find something like a grass which

1. goes completely dormant during the dry season yet shades the ground and
protects it from wind, and

2. is hsopitable to being interplanted with your crop in your wet season

you might have some success.

Doug Woodard
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

>   I’m new to the list. I have been receiving your messages
>   for a while, but haven’t been able to participate in the
>   discussions since I live in a remote region of Portugal
>   without land line and without regular Internet access.
>   Inspired by the works of Masanobu Fukuoka and others,
>   I converted to no-till farming/gardening 3 years ago
>   after 7 years of organic gardening. There are plenty of
>   options for the winter, when we get enough rain, and also
>   for that part of the garden which I can irrigate during the
>   summer. However, since we don’t get any rain at all
>   during the summer months there isn’t enough water for
>   irrigating the fields.
>   There are models for dry-land farming in semi-arid regions
>   like ours; however, these models involve ploughing the soil
>   so as to create a powder fine dirt mulch which prevents the
>   humidity in the layer below from evaporating. I haven’t, so
>   far, come across any example of no-till farming for dry lands.
>   The key requirement for organic no-till to be successful is
>   continued coverage by cover crops or cash crops during the
>   entire growing season so as to control weeds. Any interruption
>   in the growing schedule means that the weeds will come back
>   and that one has to start from zero. Thus, if I can’t find a
>   solution for the summer period, it looks like the whole
>   endeavour is bound to fail.
>   I would appreciate any ideas regarding methods and types
>   of crops for semi-arid regions that don’t require ploughing.
>   Failing this, I at least hope to get your opinion regarding
>   the feasibility of my project.
>   Dieter Brand
>   Portugal

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