[permaculture] Fwd: [New post] Maintaining the garden
Thomas Paul Jahn
thomaspauljahn at gmail.com
Thu Nov 3 10:35:09 EDT 2011
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From: jordforbindelse <donotreply at wordpress.com>
Subject: [New post] Maintaining the garden
To: thomaspauljahn at gmail.com
New post on *jordforbindelse*
Thomas P Jahn <http://jordforbindelse.wordpress.com/author/jordforbindelse/>
There is a sheer iron resistance to the idea that farming can be done
without heavy machinery. Hundreds of horse powers are out their on our
fields. And people have completely lost confidence that it can be done
However, maintaining a healthy garden gets down to *one simple
method*called “chop and drop”.
Yes, we favor certain plants and crops over others that we call weeds. But
it is a serious mistake to try to quantitatively remove those plants we
have decided to call weeds. There is a much more simple, efficient and
appropriate method than removing weeds with shoots and roots or even
poisoning them with herbicides. We gotta change attitude and rather think
positive of our crop than being afraid of the weed. You want to concentrate
on taking care of your favorite crop, while you chop and prune *some* of
the other plants that otherwise prevent your crop from fully developing.
There is thus no waste of any of the nutrients that had been taken up by
the weeds. At the contrary: The weeds have - for the time of their own
development - accumulated nutrients that are subsequently released for the
benefit of you r crop. Roots that remain in the soil decay - or at least
partly decay, and enter the cycle of natural soil building right at the
spot. And the arial parts of the weed, when dropped at the place, cover the
soil, preserve soil moisture and also contribute to the soil building.
There is thus no lasting or serious competition for nutrients, because
surface composting and root pruning recycle the nutrients to the system in
favor of your favorite crops. If you don't interfere in the garden,
*then*it turns wild. Then eventually there is competition for
light, and certain plants take advantage. Then a succession sets in towards
a climax vegetation typical for the particular climatic region. Proper
gardening, however, is maintaining a young and open fruit forest. Pruning
and chopping is necessary *and* sufficient to manage and maintain this
stage for many decades.
Undisturbed soil is extremely potent in recycling organic matter. All the
soil organisms needed for cycling are right in place. This is one reason
why it takes a couple of years of transition when you change your practice
from digging and tilling to a permanent non-dig garden. The soil fauna has
to develop and reach its natural balance. Once you approach this balance,
managing becomes easier and easier.
There is no real need to prepare compost other than composting directly on
the surface. You may want to use larger patches of nutrient accumulating
plants, such as comfrey <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfrey>, for surface
composting at another place with the aid to translocate nutrients. But this
is a soft and sensitive method which keeps pace with natural cycling for
the system, allowing the system to proceed in its most productive form.
People often argue that slugs then take over and harm the cultures. But
this is just another temporary problem, until things get into balance
again. Firstly, slugs do not particularly go after your crop. They also eat
what you chop and drop and thereby assist the composting process. Secondly,
the slugs will be followed by their predators such as toads controlling
their population. Ducks are an excellent garden keeper too eating the slugs
and providing you with eggs. Every problem has a natural solution. No
artificial measure can do a better job than inviting the natural predators
into your system. Using poison will only address one problem for a short
period of time while at the same time removing the basis for survival of
the natural predators, pushing the system out of balance.
Modern agriculture is a synthetic product. It is hard to understand for
many, how to get out of the system. It necessarily requires some time and
you may encouter a temporary break down of yield until nature gets back
into balance. But yields recover, and takes over far beyond what can be
done with a synthetic system. We cannot rely on a single crop anyway. So
why not growing a rich mixture of crops together. Monocultures are only
practical for the machinery we emply to cultivate them, but neither
appropriate for us or nature. Mixed permanent cultures are far more
productive and healthy.
Natural farming is about bringing back the natural players into balance.
Once this is achieved, gardening becomes the easiest task ever. It is no
more than chop and drop, chop and drop, chop …. and drop.
I rackon, once the physical primary work is done, I can manage 2 hectares
and maintain them in a state of a paradies just as a single guard, while
enjoying plenty of leasure time.
Imagine how much you learn by actually doing it!
*Thomas P Jahn<http://jordforbindelse.wordpress.com/author/jordforbindelse/>
* | 03/11-2011 at 14:52 | Categories:
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