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Geoff Lawton planting method in food forest

 
Posts: 78
Location: Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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Hi! Watching one of his videos, I became curious on this: is there any video or site or whatever where Lawton explains his method of planting and sowinfg in food forest?

For example, in Sintropic agriculture, wich he mentions, they sow directly on the soil and plant every meter. Has Lawton some philosophy on this explained somewhere?
 
pollinator
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Location: NW California, 1500-1800ft,
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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.
 
Antonio Hache
Posts: 78
Location: Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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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.



Hello Ben! Yes, this helps a lot. I have not found a video where he explains this, maybe I didnt search well! So, it is direct sowing on that carpet? And how do you choose what to throw?

I’d love to learn more on this 😊
 
Ben Zumeta
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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
pollinator
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From Gabe Brown:

"Four distinct management groups organize the cover crop diversity. 1) Cool-season grasses like wheat, oats, and triticale; 2) Cool-season broadleaves like canola and sweet clover; 3) Warm-season grasses like hybrid pearl millet and sorghum-Sudangrass; and 4) Warm-season broadleaves like sugar beets, cowpeas, soybeans, and sunn hemp. He advises to set the drill for the largest seed." (He has a fancy seed drill that allows him to plant upwards of 70 species at a time without tilling).
 
Ben Zumeta
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Antonio, I just connected that you were the one with the post from Valencia, Spain. It's so good to hear about that part of the world where my Basque ancestors came from getting some permaculture reinvigoration from people like you! I imagine the Basque and Catalan cultures both must have had a great deal of permaculture friendly traditional practices (one of which I know of being the Cork Oak-Jamon Iberico silvo-pastured pork production that sounds a lot like holistic management to me). I would try to learn as much as I could from remaining traditional native practitioners and historical documentations of what worked there for over ten thousand years for the Basque and Catalan people, much like I am trying to learn from the local Tolowa here who stewarded the redwood coast so well for a similar amount of time. I also understand the moorish influence on agriculture in Spain had some very permaculture friendly design elements (swales planted in summer, berms in winter). Best of luck!
 
Antonio Hache
Posts: 78
Location: Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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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.



Ok, I did that and wrote my location !

So, the thing is to mix all of that and throw it away?

I checked for Lawton videos on this, but there are sooo many of them that dont know where to start. I read that Sepp Holzer method is also cool, but also can’t find a text or video talking specifically about seeds. Didnt know Gabe Brown, I will have to check him out!
 
Ben Zumeta
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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.
 
Antonio Hache
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Location: Denia, Alicante, Spain. Zone 10. 22m height
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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.



Im not short in seeds at the moment, but anyway I love to learn all the methods possible on direct sowing 😂

Ah, and it is a pleasure to know about your basque ancestors. They had more a cattle and livestock tradition, also greens. In my area, the main tradition is the arab, they were pioneers
 
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