Ben Zumeta wrote:I don’t think I can fully answer your question or that I even fully understand what your question is, but I’ll give a short summary of how I’ve applied what I’ve learned from Geoff Lawton’s videos on his website and the PRI’s. As I understand and have applied his methods, we are mimicking natural processes in which seeds are dispersed in a carpet with much higher numbers than could possibly all survive to reproduce, and then fall leaves and duff (mulch) cover them instead of soil. So we broadcast a dense carpet of legume and diverse other seeds and then covering with a loose light mulch that strong seedlings can push through, ideally before or during rain. We will then have natural selection take its course and the seed that form on our plants the next season will have been selected for suitability to this method and our climate. So we only have to buy or acquire the seed from outside once, quickly balancing out the extra cost of overseeding at first, and that extra seed is itself an excellent veganic fertilizer. I have also found that bulk fava beans, if bought in bulk, compare well in price to other organic veganic fertilizers that provide what the beans do, even if the seeds just decompose. This is even more valuable as a complete fertilizer if it’s diverse array of seeds like buckwheat, brassicas, grasses and wildflowers. Also, by that second season we will have biomass for chop and drop mulching over our home grown seed, and as our trees and shrubs grow this will increase. Hope this helps.
Ben Zumeta wrote:These are good questions Antonio. It will help others provide locally appropriate answers for you if you put your general location, elevation and zone in your profile.
That being said, I have gotten plenty of good insights from farmers like Gabe Brown and Sepp Holzer in vastly different climates from mine. Generally, its hard to go wrong with diversity in all dimensions, including plant species and families, growth habits, height, root structure, climatic preferences, and seasonality. Gabe Brown emphasizes representation from five main families (much like the old NY crime syndicates;):
1) Amaranth (including sunflowers, buckwheat, spinach)
2) Legume (beans, peas, clovers)
3) Brassicas and mustards (ie cole crops like kale, collards, cabbage)
4) Grasses (as Bill Mollison said, "save your money on grass seed, they will come on their own!")
5) Borage family (phacelia, borage, comfrey)
I'd add in some squash, potatoes (under deeper mulch), and anyhting else you could hope would grow in your climate and season. Then cover with a 2-4" (less with small seeds, deeper for larger seeds) mulch of straw, chopped and dropped weeds, shredded leaves, pine needles, palm fronds, or any other loose organic matter you have cheaply available. Sprinkle in some compost or spray with compost tea if you can for microbe inoculation. You will get plants naturally selected for your context and methods, and significantly better soil the next season and beyond.
Ben Zumeta wrote:If you are short on seed and want to help get better germination rates, you can make seed balls following Masanobu Fukuoka's directions from One Straw revolution (basically rolling diverse seeds in 90%clay/10%compost). Spread seeds or seed balls and mulch if soil is bare. If it is covered in weeds/grasses, spread seed mix or seed balls before rain, then cut back weeds/grasses as coarsely as possible and use that as mulch, adding more organic matter if necessary to cover seed. It the grass is in a thick mat, this is the only time i'd consider shallowly tilling/flail mowing once where tree roots won't be damaged.