Vanisle_BC
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Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

Masanobu Fukuoka's book “The One-straw Revolution”
https://www.appropedia.org/images/d/d3/Onestraw.pdf
is an inspiring and intriguing treatise on low-work, no-till, completely organic “natural” farming. Although his main pursuit is the production of rice in combination with rye and barley, he also gives some details of applying his philosophy to raising vegetables.

I wonder whether forum members may have used, or might experiment with, any (which?) of his techniques in growing garden vegetables. Which methods work well and with which plants? Some could be quite inappropriate; for instance in a small garden hereabouts, letting tomato vines go unstaked along the ground would result in lots of rotted fruit (as well as taking up too much real estate) and saving seed from carrots grown “wild” would produce future crops riddled with Queen Anne's Lace.

Still, as an arthritis-plagued senior I'm entranced by the idea I could seriously reduce the amount of toil involved in vegetable growing. I'd love to hear the experiences and ideas of anyone who uses or intends to experiment with Mr Fukuoka's – or similar labour saving – methods.

Maybe we could form a group of One-Straw Revolutionaries :)
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

Did you see where we did a chapter by chapter discussion of the book here:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=46

I think many of us at least try to borrow some of his wisdom and the somewhat similar techniques of Ruth Stout, no-work gardening. A link to a video of her is in this thread, which is recent addition to the One Straw Revolution discussion.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... ut#p380799
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Vanisle_BC
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

rainbowgardener wrote:Did you see where we did a chapter by chapter discussion of the book here:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=46
Thanks for the link, rainbow; I'll take a good look at that thread. I did read Ruth Stout many years ago but didn't go the maxi-mulch route for various reasons, some forgotten :)
"The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior." H. D.Thoreau. (Me too.)

HoneyBerry
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

I'm not into this. But I was recently reading about nature's vast network of organisms in the soil, that it is all connected, a huge web, and that tilling the soil disrupts the network. It was an interesting read, but I just got started and then had to put it down. I want to finish reading about it when I am done working so much O.T.
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applestar
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

Yep. Like Rainbowgardener said, I'm one of the members here that borrow a lot from his concepts. I'm going to grow rice again in my tiny rain garden paddy this year, too. Also water chestnuts, I think. I like to group plant communities in a polyculture bed.

I'm also going to try to work barley into the succession this year, though I've had trouble with it in the past.

Last year, I played with hugelkultur with my pallet sided high raised bed. This year, I'm going to sort though the woodpile and bury all the old decomposing stuff in the spiral garden since cucurbits are in rotation there this year and I can give it a little time to mellow.

Clay seed balls is another fun technique. I've done it off and on -- still haven't perfected it I think. It might be that our drought here is making it difficult for that particular method to succeed.

In addition to Ruth Stout, I want to mention Emilia Hazelip who had reached the conclusion that once you understand Masanobu Fukuoka's methods, you need to study your local growing conditions compared to his, and make adjustments and adapt.

Most of all, though, I like to think in terms of being a part of the synergistic (oops that's an EH terminology I think) network of living organisms -- myself, my garden, all the things that live in it ...and then hold that feeling and extend out to the rest of our planet and on out into the universe.... and marvel. Image
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

Nice post, applestar. What is EH?
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applestar
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

Just a lazy reference to Emilia Hazelip :oops:

...thanks :D
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

Sorry, she was just in the paragraph before. I should have gotten that. .. :oops:
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Rue Barbie
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

My garden does not follow one specific technique, but rather a combination of several that give the best results in my area, coupled with what resources are available. And what I'm willing to do (half-way through my first double dug bed 2 decades ago, I knew that was not going to happen, lol).

I mulch, generally don't till, but sometimes do fluff up the soil similar to using a broadfork, make compost, and lately have been experimenting with cover crops in my home garden beds.

I think there is great merit in parts of these programs, but not all techniques fit every garden/farm. Here, if I really want a good garden, I have to work around an on-going drought. This includes mulching, rain-water collection, diversion, dry farming, 'rain beds', and grey water use and distribution.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

@Rue Barbie: Love to hear more about what you are doing and see some pictures! I think many of us need to be doing many of the things you mention. (Although global climate changes turns out to mean making extremes more extreme. Many, maybe most, places are getting drier. Some of the places, like where I live in TN, that were already wet, are getting wetter. Chattanooga normally gets 50 in of rain a year, which is a lot. Last year we got 67!!)

Even so I am very curious about gray water usage. I had a plan worked out for how to do that at our last place. But before I got it together to actually implement the plan, we moved. Now I'm not sure. But even though we don't really need the water here, still it gripes me to let all that shower/bath/sink water just go down the drain.
Last edited by rainbowgardener on Tue Apr 05, 2016 5:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Susan W
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

For me a balance, and like Rue, don't follow any one 'theory or practice'. I have most of my plants in large containers, set up on pallets for drainage and all. Some in-ground stuff. In picking up from here and there, my (wavering?) logic, macro environment with temps and rain, micro environment of 1/4 acre in town, work out systems that mostly work.

As I have mentioned here before, working on living soil in the large containers. As most of mine are herbs and perennial plants, can just work with the system. The earthworms are my bitty buddies helping of course! Pots with annuals get just a bit more attention, but still mostly living soil containers.

When a person writes about no (or minimal) work for garden, I just shrug with an OK, whatever.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

Really, it can be done! :) Before I moved, I had a plot in a community garden, besides my home garden. Even though the community garden was only about one-quarter mile away, it is just not the same as outside your door. I tended to visit it about every two weeks. Did a lot of work in the beginning getting everything set up, compost dug in, planting done, everything well mulched. Then it just coasted. When I visited, I watered thoroughly, checked everything over, harvested anything ready, did what needed doing. Then it was on its own for another couple weeks. Tomatoes tended to suffer a bit with that regimen, but peppers and herbs and other things did just fine.
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Rue Barbie
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

rainbowgardener wrote:@Rue Barbie: Love to hear more about what you are doing and see some pictures! I think many of us need to be doing many of the things you mention. (Although global climate changes turns out to mean making extremes more extreme. Many, maybe most, places are getting drier. Some of the places, like where I live in TN, that were already wet, are getting wetter. Chattanooga normally gets 50 in of rain a year, which is a lot. Last year we got 67!!)
(Alas I don't have a camera that I can use right now.) I've read suggestions that California will continue to get more dry as the climate continues to change. Locally we've had intermittent droughts as long as I can remember (decades), so not enough water will always be the case. And they keep building more and more houses and apartments, so...

You get 50 inches of rain??? Wow. We average about 14, and the past few years have not reached even that. This year was supposed to be a 'godzilla' el nino, but we got less than last year. I think this year's total is around 7 or 8.

We do have a prediction for a bit more rain this week (less than an inch), but hopefully it will happen and I can top off my saved water. With 4 downspouts harnessed, I potentially can harvest 2,000 gallons for each inch on a 3,000 sq ft roof. The main problem however is having containers in which to store that much. :shock:
Even so I am very curious about gray water usage. I had a plan worked out for how to do that at our last place. But before I got it together to actually implement the plan, we moved. Now I'm not sure. But even though we don't really need the water here, still it gripes me to let all that shower/bath/sink water just go down the drain.
If we had enough water I would not be 'doing' grey water. But right now I feel it is a necessity since our water sources are seriously low, and our current rainy season is in it's last weeks till next oct/nov/dec. You just never know.

I don't use just any water for grey water. Shower and laundry water, esp with minimal product in it. Anything with lots of soap, etc, goes down the drain or is used for flushing. And grey water is never put on anything that is eaten raw. Some advise never on root crops either, but I don't mind that if they are cooked, such as beets. Right now I'm putting it mainly on my pepper beds, the fruit of which will be flame-roasted. I also try to avoid putting it on any green part of the plant.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

So how do you collect your shower and laundry water? Is it stored or moved directly to the garden?

I am really interested in how this is done. thanks!

Yes, the average rainfall in Chattanooga TN is 53 inches a year. As noted last year we got 67! The 53 inches average already makes us one of the wettest cities in the US, behind New Orleans, Miami, Birmingham, and Memphis.

However, it is interesting. We tend to get rain in bunches, so we are way down the list in terms of number of rainy days a year and have over 200 sunny days a year and 119 rainy days (I guess the rest are cloudy).
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Gary350
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

It is always fun to try new things and grow new things in the garden. Middle TN channel 5 weather says, we get on average 300 days of rain per year but Google says 119, if I were guessing I would say 200 to 250 days. Google says we get 48" of rain per year I think that is low my rain gauge shows 4" an hour ago and 4.5 last week and it rained for 10 days before that a total of 18 inches that is a total of 26.5 inches in the past 4 weeks. We had another flash flood today garden is a mud hole again and it is going to freeze Friday. I am still waiting to plant something. Soon weather will be nice and sunny.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

Another reason why I like to garden in raised beds -- really helps the drainage. Much of my yard will be muddy/ puddly after a big rain, but not the raised beds. Sat we may go down to mid-30's, but no freeze. And this time of year, it only hits that low point around 8 AM and by 9 AM temps are already up a bit. So it only has maybe a couple hours down at that low point.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

There is an article in the local news about the effect the housing developments have on the forests of fir trees in the Gig Harbor area.
Here is an excerpt:

"Forest trees that have been in relatively protected and undisturbed environments for all of their lives become very vulnerable to exposure when these forests are urbanized, that is, when residential or commercial subdivisions are built in or around the forests," the guide says.

"When you remove a large number of trees," it continues, "you change the site conditions for the remaining trees. Sudden increases in amounts of sunlight and wind may shock trees." The risk of wind collapse is magnified due to the "death of the shallow network of supportive, fine roots."
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

I have watched this in action. The Quaker Meeting I attended in Cincinnati sat on five acres. The back half of it was a little remnant woods. When I first starting attending there in 1971, the woods was beautiful - a complete canopy that included a number of massive old beech trees as well as buckeye, oak, maple, hackberry, catalpa and the forest floor full of native woodland wildflowers. Some how we thought if we just left it alone it would be ok. We fenced it in, put a path around the outer edge and didn't let anyone walk in it except on the path. But it had already started being attacked by a bunch of invasives - Japanese honeysuckle shrub, english ivy, eunoymous, vinca.

By the 2000's it was obvious the woods was dying. We had lost a number of the huge old trees in various storms. That is natural, but they weren't being replaced, because the honeysuckle crowded out / shaded out the tree seedlings, so no new trees were coming along. The wildflowers were mostly smothered by all the ivy and vinca. Since there were now a lot of holes in the canopy, sun loving weeds were popping up. And since there was open space and sun all around the outside, the trees on the outer edge tended to all lean out in the sun. We had to take down a number of them when neighbors complained about trees leaning over into their yards, threatening their houses.

At that point we started trying to save the woods -- cutting down honeysuckle shrub, cutting all the vines off trees, where trees were being smothered, planting new native trees, etc. It is a ton of work, that has to be constantly redone. The first native trees we planted were all eaten by the deer that live back there, so we learned to plant them in cages. When we made clearings for them some of the wildflowers came back on their own and we we planted some as well. I don't live there any more, but even with all the best work we can do, it is clear that patch of remnant forest will never be what it used to be. It is really difficult for an isolated bit of forest to survive in the midst of a city full of exotic invasives.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

Interesting reading. Humans have such a knack for making a mess of things. Planting trees in cages? I have never heard of that. I love trees. It breaks my heart to see them cut down by developers.

I do see some good things happening. For example, there is a big wetland restoration project going on in my little town. I will post a link to the news video about that project. See my next post for the video..
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HoneyBerry
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Re: Any one-straw revolutionaries out there?

Wetland restoration project in my town:


https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/loca ... 77772.html
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