[permaculture] fukuoka_farming mailing list needs aco-moderator.

Dieter Brand diebrand at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 29 10:15:35 EDT 2012

> It's fascinating that you have this
> long unbroken history with your land and 
> farming, Dieter.

I’m afraid it isn't an unbroken history.  In the 60s our farm was closed due to industrialization like millions of other small farms across Europe.  I worked most of my life in cities.  It is only about 15 years ago that we were finally able to realize our dream and buy some land in the country.  It’s about 30 acres of hillside land with a number of small fields.  It isn't really suitable for commercial farming and I use it mainly to grow our own food.  We give away the surplus.  We have very long and hot dry periods.  The result is that the heavy clay soil is very deficient in humus.  I have had to create a new layer of topsoil by mulching and composting.  Since I can only use a small portion of the land due to lack of irrigation water, there is plenty of organic matter growing on the remaining land.  Therefore, I only use on-site materials such as hay etc. for soil improvements. I grow the usual stuff including vegetables, pulses, berries, fruits
 and some grains - all on a small non-mechanized scale.  Since I’m not a commercial farmer, I have plenty of freedom to experiment.  

The idea of a forest garden doesn't really work very well here because the soil is too poor and too dry for fruit-bearing trees to grow without cultivation and without irrigation.  Most of the fruit trees I planted in the beginning have died or don’t bear any fruit.  It is only now, after having improved part of the soil for over 10 years that fruit trees will grow in the improved soil.  But even then, I need irrigation.  I planted an olive tree in improved garden soil a few years ago.  This year was very dry and I didn't have enough water for irrigating that particular plot.  The result was that the olive tree only produced very tiny olives too small for eating.  This shows that even olive trees in improved soil will not produce good fruits without irrigation.  It is a very difficult environment.  The only exceptions are loquat and apricot trees because they bear fruits in the spring when the soil still has enough moisture.  Some types of plum trees
 are also alright, but other types require better soil and some irrigation.  

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