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No-Till methods of Food Production

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Presentation on theme: "No-Till methods of Food Production"— Presentation transcript:

1 No-Till methods of Food Production
Natural Farming, Layer Cake Gardening, Small-scale Organic No-till

2 Masanobu Fukuoka Lived 1913-2008 in Japan Trained in Plant Pathology
Wanted to Farm in a way that mimicked nature Author of The One Straw Revolution, The Natural Way of Farming, and The Road Back to Nature

3 4 Principles of Natural Farming
No Cultivation No Fertilizer No Weeding No Pesticides

4 Rice/Barley Succession
Rice grown May-October Barley Grown October-May Done without Tilling, flooding of fields, and fertilizers Matched or exceeded yields of highly mechanized neighbors Did not ask “what more can I do?”, but instead “what can I not do?”


6 Rice/Barley Succession
Barley broadcast a couple of weeks before Rice harvest with White Clover (nitrogen source) Rice Harvested, and straw spread back on field Thin layer of chicken manure (nitrogen source) spread to help decompose straw (carbon source) In December, rice for following year broadcast in clay pellets Barley harvested in May and straw spread on emerging rice seedlings and clover

7 Fukuoka’s vegetable experiments
Broadcast vegetable seeds in his citrus orchard next to the trees amidst clover Planted spring plants as winter weeds began to die, and fall plants as summer weeds began to die His vegetables outcompeted weeds if planted with cover crop Every season, he let a certain percentage of plants go to seed Plants in the same species cross-pollinated with each other Vegetables “re-wilded” themselves

8 Advantages/Disadvantages
Method teaches us to think outside the box Emphasis on observing environment and mimicking natural systems Less work Straw recycles nutrients and suppresses weeds Disadvantages His methods for grains and vegetables not universal Need plenty of rainfall and fertile soil Vegetable method more of an experiment (wife still had traditional kitchen garden) Rice impractical in Texas Resilient weeds (Bermuda & Johnson Grass) Japan’s climate much different than Waco

9 A Central Texas grain succession
Using Fukuoka’s system, what type of succession would work in this climate? Winter Wheat, Barley or Rye with a type of clover or vetch Summer To be honest, I don’t know what would work 3 sisters? Cowpeas? Buckwheat? Sorghum?

10 Layer Cake Gardening Salamander Springs Farm in Berea, KY
Adapted, simpler version of Sheet Mulch Gardening and Lasagna Gardening

11 3 Layers Bottom Layer- Cardboard, old feed bags
Middle Layer- thin layer of compost or manure Top Layer (icing)- rotted hay, leaves, or similar carbon source Layers are left to compost for 3 months before planting

12 Advantages/Disadvantages
Not labor intensive No equipment needed Cardboard suppresses weeds Disadvantages Requires planning ahead and patience Some want immediately raised beds


14 Neal Curran’s Method Beds solarized with clear plastic
Fall cover crop planted Usually a legume or a legume with a grain Popular examples include Hairy Vetch/Rye, Crimson Clover/Oats Cover crops overwinter and put on rapid growth in spring and are crimped or cut at flowering stage Spring crops are transplanted into cover crop residue Same method can be used for summer cover crops to fall vegetables Another cover crop or vegetable bed should be planted after harvest to beat the next set of weeds

15 Advantages/Disadvantages
Cost effective No initial compost needed Nitrogen source + Weed Suppression + habitat for beneficial insects Disadvantages Requires a lot of planning and proper timing Early season crops and direct seeded plants cannot be easily grown in thick mulch In Texas, weeds will eventually grow through cover crop mulch

16 Common Threads Green Manures and Cover Crops Creative weed suppression
If you don’t have a rototiller or tractor, you have options

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