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masanobu fukuoka

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15477
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Larry Korn (http://www.larrykorn.net) gives and overview of the works of the spectacular Masanobu Fukuoka, author of The One Straw Revolution (http://onestrawrevolution.net)

Larry talks about how Masanobu Fukuoka had three properties: the house in town, the rice field, and the citrus orchard on the hill.

The spectacular thing about the rice fields is that he had rice production typically greater than his neighbors, without using the equipment or chemicals that his neighbors use. And, on top of that, he pulls a crop of barley off of the same land in addition to the massive rice crop. As another bonus, Masanobu Fukuoka's soil gets richer and richer every year.

Up on the hillside, Masanobu Fukuoka plants a variety of things between the trees. He has a thick, lush jungle of herbacious things like vegetables growing between the trees. Tangerines, asian grapefruit, daikon raddish, mustard, acacia trees, buckwheat, mandarin oranges, etc.



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roman shapla


Joined: Aug 07, 2009
Posts: 30
Thanks everyone for the fascinating discussions!

I hope this isn't too off topic, but I'm trying to purchse one of Fukuoka's books (he gifted it to my wife and it was lost by the post office. I've spent the past 6 years trying to track it down)

I have found it online, but I can't read Japanese. If anyone could help me with this I would be forever indebted to you!

http://yapparikenkou.com/images/238_7120_1[1].jpg

Best wishes!
-Roman
                              


Joined: Apr 01, 2011
Posts: 15
roman shapla wrote:
Thanks everyone for the fascinating discussions!

I hope this isn't too off topic, but I'm trying to purchse one of Fukuoka's books (he gifted it to my wife and it was lost by the post office. I've spent the past 6 years trying to track it down)

I have found it online, but I can't read Japanese. If anyone could help me with this I would be forever indebted to you!

http://yapparikenkou.com/images/238_7120_1[1].jpg

Best wishes!
-Roman



Hi Roman,

It is the cover page of the "Wara Ippon no Kakumai - Sokatsuhen", subtitled "Nendo Tango no Tabi", which he published after his travels to the US, Europe, Africa and India.  The equivalent English publication is called "Recapitulation".  Nevertheless, the latter is not a translation, since the contents of both book is quite different.

Dieter
                              


Joined: Jun 20, 2010
Posts: 34
Inspired by fukuoka's planting of annual crops in his orchard and by the preservation of extremely drought tolerant annual crops grown by indigeous peoples of SW and Northern Mexico by Native Seeds/SEARCH,  I have been experimenting with growing these annual crops with fruit trees with much success. Anyone living in a Meditarraen climate who wants to play around with annuals who can get watered as infrequently as fruit trees, Native seeds/SEARCH is an amazing resource.  http://www.nativeseeds.org/
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
dragonfly, I hope you will post somewhere, maybe in a thread of its own, more details of how you are growing annuals and fruit trees, which varieties you've grown, etc.  Thanks!


Idle dreamer

duane hennon
volunteer

Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 400
Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
    
  13

I think "do nothing" means something similar to the doctor's oath of " First, do no harm"

another thing to remember is that there will be a transitional period to build up the soil and eliminate legacy weed seeds from the plot before it starts to look like his.
back in the 80's when he first came on the scene, people tried his approach thinking the land would immediately switch over and were disappointed.
thus giving permies a bad name
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
i second the native seeds, AMAZING varieties.


The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
roman shapla


Joined: Aug 07, 2009
Posts: 30
Dieter wrote:
It is the cover page of the "Wara Ippon no Kakumai - Sokatsuhen", subtitled "Nendo Tango no Tabi", which he published after his travels to the US, Europe, Africa and India.  The equivalent English publication is called "Recapitulation".  Nevertheless, the latter is not a translation, since the contents of both book is quite different.


Thanks, Dieter. Yes, it was a rather lovely book. Lots of colour pictures. He gave a copy to my wife when she attended his course in 2002. At the time, he was around 90, could not walk and had to be carried everywhere.

The yapparikenkou site is the only place I've seen it for sale, so that's why I'm looking for someone who can help me with the purchase.

Thanks,
Roman
Joseph Fields


Joined: Feb 23, 2011
Posts: 157
Location: Berea, Kentucky
    
    1
After hearing Paul's podcast about Mr. Fukuoka, I download The One Straw Revolution on my Kindel. I read it in 3 days. Thats really fast for me to read anything.  I have a 3/4 acre Rye and Radish field that planted last fall as a cover crop and for wildlife. I resisted the urge to till it asunder the other day. I'm going to move my garden and see what happens to the Rye plot. Had two wild geese mowing down the radish leaf's yesterday morning. Question for any one that has read the book he talks about growing australian acacia trees. Does any one know a nursery that sells these in the U.S. ? He also talks about using wood to fertilizing his fruit trees. Does anyone have any info on how he did this?
duane hennon
volunteer

Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 400
Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
    
  13

hi 95,

he used the acacias for nitrogen fixing. find a native nitrogen fixer in your area to use instead. it's the function that's to be duplicated, not the specific plant. He buried wood (trees) in his orchard, in a manner similar to the "hugelcultur" that's all the rage here.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
duane wrote:
He buried wood (trees) in his orchard, in a manner similar to the "hugelcultur" that's all the rage here.


In "One Straw Revolution" he mentions how he wasn't happy with the results of burying logs because they collapsed into open pits on the hillside.  I'm experiencing a lot of collapsing in my hugel trenches.  I figure I'll just keep adding material on top.

                              


Joined: Apr 01, 2011
Posts: 15
roman shapla wrote:
The yapparikenkou site is the only place I've seen it for sale, so that's why I'm looking for someone who can help me with the purchase.


Roman,

This site sells health food products.  The わら一本の革命 総括編 粘土団子の旅 has been out of print for a number of years.  It was last published in 2001.  The Tokyo book store Kinokuniya used to sell it.  You could try mailing them: webmaster@kinokuniya.com.  The complete reference is  わら一本の革命 総括編 粘土団子の旅  福岡正信 /自然樹園 ISBN:9784938743024, price: 2,500 Yen.  But they probably don't have it anymore.  I don't know any sites selling second hand books.

Dieter
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
i'm trying the fukuoka method this year. i'm brand new to it all so since i have time im trying many methods to see what works the best for a beginner and see what i'm good at naturally.

for the fukoka method i have merely raked up the straw, thrown my first year wheat seed into the grass (medium water table valley land). i took about a 15 by 15 section and scattered a pound of seed. I tossed the hay around like i saw fukuoka in the video. I'm pretty sure the wheat will compete very poorly with the grass.

i havent yet decided if i should in another few days hit the grass with a mower. i've heard that kind of grass ferments and it might mat.

i'm going to do the same thing, perhaps bordering the territory, fairly soon with some buckwheat (late may?) and probably mamoth red clover, and rodeo oats. i am considering using that area for my amaranth seed too. but i can't decide. I really want a good amaranth crop and im thinking it might be better off in its own culture. same with quinoa.

any ideas on the mowing?

i have another area near the hugel and where i intend some fruit trees, that i would like to try the natural seeding with rice, but i never got around to getting seed! why does it seem in the places i have bought that rice is not sold?

Jack Shawburn


Joined: Jan 18, 2011
Posts: 230
Rice seed is not something easily come by even in Asia.
I asked - and it seems to be "controlled" so to speak.
Most being hybrids and different hybrids used for different areas and climates
as well as time of year that it is grown.
Terri Matthews


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 410
Location: Eastern Kansas
    
    3
I tried the Fukuoka method and it failed for me: I decided that my different climate was the culprit.

I am trying different edible plants now, with some success. Every year I try out a couple of more plants.

Blackberries did great but often need to be watered while they are yeilding. Asparagus was good once I found a source of bigger roots: it does not do as well as the asparagus in my garden but it is living and yielding. Chives worked in the damper areas, and I am starting to wonder it some of those "chives" are green onions because they are starting to get larger. These are plants that are coming back every year, feed me, and need very little care.

The vegetables that did well for Masanabu Fukuoka all failed for me. Again, his climate is very different than mine. Also seed balls do not work for me: the few seedlings that grew from seedballs looked like they needed more water.

This year I am trying buckwheat (again), American Plum, POSSIBLY squash, and I have not decided what else. I am coming here to see what plants have done well for others in a permaculture setting, LOL!
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
i feel like its almost entirely based on a set process and the seed. If just one wheat plant survives, then take the seed from that one and next year there might be 5. If this process is continued you will eventually have a proper method for the way you do it in your climate.

of course i have no knowledge about this, but after reading a little on both fukuoka and plant breeding it seems logical.

for instance if i was to scatter my amaranth seed out there maybe i get nothing that can compete. but if i took the seed from a wild amaranth in the field and used that seed to spread around maybe i can let nature expand thte range of that plant.

better yet i could cross my domestic amaranth with the wild strain and really be getting somewhere.

sometimes i feel like the do-nothing term is a little misleading to us westerners, even with my background in buddhism i have a hard time not saying to myself all the things fukuoka actually did.

(orchards and harvesting, scattering seed balls, returning mulch, are all things that dont occur naturally)

so if my method uses breeding in a slightly more 'scientific' sense than nature (picking and choosing) im not concerned. what is important is the frame of mind. the idea that we can let nature do all the work of feeding us, by only telling it what we want, and working with it to get it. of course this borders on hinayana farming, which fukuoka speaks of in natural way... but you really can't speak about mahayana farming anyway.

i have often told people that i experiment with things, but i dont do it to get a scientific answer, i do it to get shit done. i dont isolate pieces when i experiment, i experiment to find a functional way. this way it doesnt take years to ever get anything done. i can throw in 5 variations at once if i think they all will help. if i only test one thing at a time it is wholly inpractical. i dont use the scientific method, i use the get shit done method. i believe that if i do this and i observe carefully i can learn much quicker than the scientist, who sweats over the most laborious details.
Jeff Hodgins


Joined: Mar 29, 2011
Posts: 140
I'm wondering how fukuoka's expariment in Greece turned out. Are there any examples where clay ball method has worked on a large scale?
roman shapla


Joined: Aug 07, 2009
Posts: 30
Back in August, I met a woman who had worked on the project in Greece. I'll try to contact her for an update.
duane hennon
volunteer

Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 400
Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
    
  13
copying his method won't work unless you live where he did

here is a very good video about adapting his methods in India

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15477
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
More podcast stuff featuring a former Fukuoka intern.

http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/143-podcast-012-helen-atthow-soil-conifers-fukuoka/
                                


Joined: Mar 24, 2011
Posts: 41
Location: Missouri
boddah wrote:
i feel like its almost entirely based on a set process and the seed. If just one wheat plant survives, then take the seed from that one and next year there might be 5. If this process is continued you will eventually have a proper method for the way you do it in your climate.

of course i have no knowledge about this, but after reading a little on both fukuoka and plant breeding it seems logical.

for instance if i was to scatter my amaranth seed out there maybe i get nothing that can compete. but if i took the seed from a wild amaranth in the field and used that seed to spread around maybe i can let nature expand thte range of that plant.

better yet i could cross my domestic amaranth with the wild strain and really be getting somewhere.

sometimes i feel like the do-nothing term is a little misleading to us westerners, even with my background in buddhism i have a hard time not saying to myself all the things fukuoka actually did.

(orchards and harvesting, scattering seed balls, returning mulch, are all things that dont occur naturally)

so if my method uses breeding in a slightly more 'scientific' sense than nature (picking and choosing) im not concerned. what is important is the frame of mind. the idea that we can let nature do all the work of feeding us, by only telling it what we want, and working with it to get it. of course this borders on hinayana farming, which fukuoka speaks of in natural way... but you really can't speak about mahayana farming anyway.

i have often told people that i experiment with things, but i dont do it to get a scientific answer, i do it to get shit done. i dont isolate pieces when i experiment, i experiment to find a functional way. this way it doesnt take years to ever get anything done. i can throw in 5 variations at once if i think they all will help. if i only test one thing at a time it is wholly inpractical. i dont use the scientific method, i use the get shit done method. i believe that if i do this and i observe carefully i can learn much quicker than the scientist, who sweats over the most laborious details.


I agree.  I am growing a variety of different plants this year from seed, and although I am not starting them all in the ground, I have gotten them outside and planted as soon as possible regardless of frosts, rain, hail, heat, etc. .  Whatever survives the conditions here and produces well is what I gather seed from and plant next year.  Hopefully, within a few seasons, I will be able to broadcast seed that is suited towards this climate and just worry about harvesting.


I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.
-E.B. White
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Nerdmom wrote:
Hopefully, within a few seasons, I will be able to broadcast seed that is suited towards this climate and just worry about harvesting.


We are in a such a severe drought my diet would be restricted to cactus and squirrels if I were to only eat what is adapted to the (current)  climate.   
                                


Joined: Mar 24, 2011
Posts: 41
Location: Missouri
Yuck Ludi,
This is why I'm thankful to have settled in Missouri.  We are technically in drought conditions, but the grass is green on everyone's lawn so I really think that only applies to the farmers.  This is why I am so interested in trying to adapt plants to cold and dry conditions.  The neurotic in me is always expecting epic fail, which I will not be able to afford starting this year as I have pumped money into the garden in hopes of future returns.  You know I'm at the public lawn disposal facilities trying to get my hands on as much mulch and compost as possible.  NOt quite ready for a pure Fukuoka method.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I think the Fukuoka method is great if you're in a climate like his part of Japan.    Not much of the continental US is like that. 
                                


Joined: Mar 24, 2011
Posts: 41
Location: Missouri
I don't know, I'm reading his book, and the part where he got irritated with his interns? kinda made me think.  He didn't want them to do exactly what he did, just use similar principles.  Your really have to be in touch with what your spot of earth wants to do.  Like, I was gonna plant a bunch of wildflowers around this hawthorn tree cause I am tired of trying to mow around it without loosing and eye and as I was walking up I noticed this year there was a huge cluster of wild violets growing around the tree, and that takes care of my grass problem.  I just kept on walking until I got to a part of the lawn where the grass was dead.  Pulled back the dead grass, threw some wildflower seeds down, kinda fingered them into the dirt, and covered them back up with the dead grass, gave em some water, and moved on.  I'm hoping for a wild violet takeover, then I'll never have to mow again! 
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
H Ludi Tyler wrote:
I think the Fukuoka method is great if you're in a climate like his part of Japan.    Not much of the continental US is like that.   



everyone keeps saying this but im not sure i agree. of course i have no evidence really other than speculation. but the mindset is nearly 100 percent the product. what fukuoka talks about is a freedom from humanity. its about putting the seed in the ground and having it grow by natures will. i am using wild edibles as my inspiration.

im trying to divorce myself from notions, particularly the notion that i have to grow crops.

my favorite way to learn is to accumulate masses of knowledge, then to try and forget it all and just do it. there is nothing more appealing than the fukuoka method, and while his 'exact method' is relative to his time and place, his 'ultimate method' has absolutely nothing to do with time and place
Mary Saunders


Joined: Nov 26, 2010
Posts: 75
If you want to mow wild violets, you can.  It doesn't seem to bother them much at all.
                                              


Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Posts: 500
boddah wrote:

everyone keeps saying this but im not sure i agree. of course i have no evidence really other than speculation. but the mindset is nearly 100 percent the product. what fukuoka talks about is a freedom from humanity. its about putting the seed in the ground and having it grow by natures will. i am using wild edibles as my inspiration.

im trying to divorce myself from notions, particularly the notion that i have to grow crops.

my favorite way to learn is to accumulate masses of knowledge, then to try and forget it all and just do it. there is nothing more appealing than the fukuoka method, and while his 'exact method' is relative to his time and place, his 'ultimate method' has absolutely nothing to do with time and place

very well said. imo
                                


Joined: Mar 24, 2011
Posts: 41
Location: Missouri
JadeQueen wrote:
If you want to mow wild violets, you can.  It doesn't seem to bother them much at all.

Well, the point is that I don't want to have to mow at all.  I mean I could purchase ground cover, but at this point, getting that planted is more work than mowing, sooo, I'm trying to wait for the dandelions and violets to flower and send out seed before I mow so that they will knock the grass out, and then I can get away with mowing very little.  Then, when I do mow and mulch, I'll hopefully get a better quality mulch to put on the veggie patches.
          


Joined: Jan 27, 2011
Posts: 5
Hi everyone, I just came across this video of Mr Fukuoka which appears to contain footage I havent seen before

It appears to be in german. Can anyone subtitle it or translate?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fk1o7qlj_8
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
Dieter wrote:
What method?  There is no method!



By "Fukuoka's method" I mean his method of growing rice and other grain. 

I can't grow rice, I do not have the climate for it (not enough water).  Therefore, I can not use Fukuoka's method of growing rice.

Hope that clarifies things.   


                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
i thought that was a heck of a response by dieter!

but you are right Ludi it is about how you define his method.

my response was more of a commentary on his other book natural way of farming. where it gets pretty deeply into the difference of hinayana and mahayana farming. so my point more about MU farming. The buddhist philosophy in which the thing is also not the thing. so while one says thats the method, the other says that is not the method.
                                              


Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Posts: 500
  Just to complicate things... Im no expert on fukuoksa or anything so perhaps Im wrong... but something i read the other day said that we WAS teaching things as a method, which worked just fine over in japan. when he came to the states according to what i read the other day, he realized a lot how variable things were, and transitioned it into more of a mentality.... either way, doesnt matter... its just semantics. we all agree the guys work was amazing. he had a lot of insight many could benefit from. thats all that really matters.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
SILVERSEEDS wrote:
we all agree the guys work was amazing. he had a lot of insight many could benefit from. thats all that really matters.


Yep, sure do agree!  I love him. 

Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
duane wrote:

By copying I was referring to doing exactly what he did, rather than adapting them to their specific sites


I guess I'd like to know what kinds of climate folks have been successful with his grain-growing method/nonmethod  in and how they adapted his techniques to their specific sites.  For instance, has anyone been successful with his techniques in a very dry climate with natural rainfall?  What did they grow?  When did they plant each type of seed? 
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
i mentioned this somewhere. can't really remember if it was this thread but i did a pretty simple experiment a few weeks ago by sowing a pound of wheat into a twenty by twenty untouched grass land. i think i have to hit it with a mower this week to give it any chance of succeeding. i mulched it with the straw from the plot developed over winter.

anyone think of anything to encourage at least some results? i have the sneaking suspicion that there will be very few plants that make it out of the grass.

if i could identify small wheat i would do some weeding but i cant yet and havent tried to learn to identify baby wheat. i had not put any clover in with it
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
I think one of the big ideas of Fukuoka grain growing is the permanent legume groundcover.  I'm not sure what perennial groundcover would work in my locale with our current severe drought conditions.  Something like 15 inches of rain per year. 
                                              


Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Posts: 500
H Ludi Tyler wrote:
I think one of the big ideas of Fukuoka grain growing is the permanent legume groundcover.  I'm not sure what perennial groundcover would work in my locale with our current severe drought conditions.  Something like 15 inches of rain per year.   


Yes it would. If you are on a water retentive soil. Although you wont be able to use all types of clovers, and other related use plants. Ive got several types of clover growing and my area gets about 10-12 inches a year. I dont really keep tracks of names as I do so many things in a shrt time span, I just try a dozen, and keep what works... but I should be able to dig up the names. I will get back to you eventually on which ones it was.....

You wont have the level of nitrogen fixation of some of the better clovers thuogh, I do remember lots of them I was trialing were fixing about 1/4-1/2 of the top tier stuff. but the top tier stuff doesnt survive here on its own... so far...

By the way i read a study one time on growing corn with a clover ground cover and wider spacing. they actually got superior yields, and used less chemicals. this was a test by some synthetic farming group, but they cut their usage of both herbicides, and fertilizers, while increasing yields slightly....  that lead me to trialing clovers in this way..... Those around my grains do get irrigated at this point, I still need breeding work on that, but Ive got other clovers growing on their own. I did water them until they sprouted though, because I didnt want to wait to plant them with the rains, and they are perennial... I havent watered them for a few years since.
Tyler Ludens
pollinator

Joined: Jun 25, 2010
Posts: 5326
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
    
  20
My question is what kind of perennial legume will grow with 15 inches of rain per year?  I'm not saying there isn't one, just that I don't know what it is. 

                                              


Joined: Mar 30, 2011
Posts: 500


  several clovers. there are lots of others actually. wilder plants that wouldt be congruent with this. but theres also tepary beans planted with rains, or winter peas planted with summer monsoons... Lots of little niches for that.

    Ive got some in my seedbank for trialing later, but those are the ones I will be working first because besides the nitrogen fixing trees and bushes, those seem likely to work best.

    but something like broom dalea will grow on WAY less then that. Just not sure yo want it in your field of grains. theres a few others to, but those I remember off the top of my head.
 
 
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