linda.shewan at bryn.com.au
Sun Jun 17 07:36:53 EDT 2007
I have no option but to try the clay covered option as broadcast sowing
simply feeds the crows/ravens, magpies, sparrows, currawongs, cockatoos
and countless other winged friends. And a covering of straw/hay has no
impact except providing light entertainment for the birds...
When we get this project going I will report back on our success rate.
It's a school project that will hopefully be grant funded so we will be
recording the results.
From: Dieter Brand [mailto:diebrand at yahoo.com]
Sent: Saturday, 16 June 2007 9:05 PM
Subject: Re: [permaculture] Seedballs
Last fall and the year before, I did some tests with seedballs in
with the direct broadcasting of seeds. I found that it either didn't
work at all, or that the seedball plots germinated much later than the
directly seeded plots.
Going by the discussions on the Fukuoka farming group, this is
similar to what a lot of people experience, since one usually never
from people again who announce that they are going to try it.
The problem I found was that the seeds in the seedballs didn't
with light rain, at a time when the directly broadcast seeds had
germinated. When the rain would get stronger, the clay would be washed
away, and the seeds, I had taken so much trouble to enclose in the
balls, where laying on the ground just as the directly broadcast
except that the latter had germinated much sooner. I live in a
region in the South of Portugal, where the climate is very different
the humid climate encountered by Fukuoka in Japan. This may account
for some of the problems I had.
If you do give it a try, don't use the mesh-method. I went to great
expense to buy 3 differently graded metal meshes and fix them to
wooden frames. It was extremely messy and took ages just to
pellet a handful of seeds. It is amazing that Fukuoka should have
included this method in his book, which he very obviously can't
have tested himself.
For a small-scale test use a large bowl (or tray) with a smooth inner
surface, throw in a handful of seeds and about 3 to 5 times that
amount of finely pulverized clay (you need to smash dry clay, then
pass it through a fine sieve so as to get rid of all stones); then one
person needs to swing the bowl around (great for your belly muscles),
so that the contents will roll along the inner side-surfaces of the
bowl (back and forth with the tray), while another persons adds water
little by little (best to use a spraying device of some sort). After a
while the pellets will form. It usually can't be avoided that some
pellets contain more than one seed.
For growing a crop by this method one needs some sort of revolving
drum device like a concrete mixer without the inner shovels. But I
wouldn't go to the expense of building one before testing if I want
to use the seedball method on a regular base.
Once I get a little more time, I will give it another try since the
pelleting of seeds allows for a much more flexible seeding schedule.
Right now, I can only use direct broadcasting from 15 Nov. until
the end of March because of the ants. I can use mulch to protect
the seeds against birds, while rodents and other wee creatures only
take a small part, but the ants will get every single seed even under
a layer of mulch.
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