The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Masanobu Fukuoka's four principles

Masanobu FukuokaMasanobu Fukuoka realized that his system of natural farming wouldn't be exactly replicable in other parts of the world --- for example, we'd be hard-pressed to grow rice here in Virginia.  So he summed up his method into four principles that can be used anywhere.

First, he admonishes us not to till or turn the soil.  Although Fukuoka doesn't go into the science behind the disadvantages of soil tilling, he did mention that cultivating soil gives troublesome weeds like crabgrass and dock a foothold.  As my father can tell you, once crabgrass gets into your garden, you might as well move on.

Masanobu FukuokaPrinciple 2 is "no chemical fertilizer or prepared compost."  I know the latter may be fighting words!  But I see his point --- in nature, plant matter is naturally composted on the soil surface, a process which promotes the growth of beneficial fungi.  Fukuoka adds fertility to his soil by returning straw (and a bit of poultry manure) to the soil surface and keeping a groundcover of white clover growing at all times.

Third, Fukuoka refuses to weed by tillage or herbicides.  Instead, he uses mulch, a clover groundcover, and temporary flooding to keep the weeds in check.  In addition, his winter grain/rice rotation keeps the fields constantly covered with crops, so weeds never have a fallow period to gain a foothold.

Finally, principle 4 is "no dependence on chemicals."  All organic gardeners will agree to that.

Check out Mark's Avian Aqua Miser invention.

This post is part of our One-Straw Revolution lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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