Knowing Permaculture: Part 3

Holistic nature of living

For the plant to live! Every being has to live!

We are not separate from the system, on the contrary, we are an integral part.

Every element of the whole is equally vital. Human intelligence does not separate it from nature but the modern approach to life lacks a holistic vision.

We could sustain ourselves if we understand our role. The philosophy of permaculture centers around in becoming a potent ingredient in this blend. Each of us having in us the unique intelligence of life, of the universe as a whole.

To mimic the natural system to grow a plant. To add ingredients to make the soil as it develops its maturity over a period of time.

To invite the necessary microorganisms, using elements available in the surroundings, to help feed it with nutrients.

Masanobu Fukuoka reviewed four principles in his practice of natural farming

  • No tilling: Embracing the natural biodiversity of the land and encouraging the microbial diversity of the soil, the field is not tilled as this would lead to an imbalance of microbial life, affecting the sustenance of  relationship that  beings share.The earth is left to cultivate itself by means of the penetration of plant roots, the digging activity of the micro-organisms, earthworms, and small animals.

  • The use of fertilizer or chemicals is not practiced, neither is the use of compost. Fukuoka-san recognized  that the careless use of these dressings drains the soil of its essential nutrients. Left alone the earth maintains its own fertility, in accordance with the orderly cycle of plant and animal life.

  • No weeding! Either by cultivation or by herbicides. Weeds are acknowledged in helping build the soil fertility and balance of the biological community. Controlling rather than elimination with the use of straw mulch, a ground cover of white clover interplanted with the crops, and temporary flooding is the preferred option.

  • No use of chemical pesticides to control harmful insects and diseases. Plants are grown with their companions which complement each other’s  growth, inviting predators for the insects. The idea is to grow a sturdy crop in a healthy environment.

An example to understand natural farming:

Broadcasting of the rye and barley seeds on separate fields in the fall, while the rice is still standing. A few weeks after which the rice is harvested and the straw is spread back over the fields as mulch. The two winter grains are usually harvested about the 20th of May. But two weeks or so before the crops have fully matured, the rice is broadcast right over them. After the rye and barley have been harvested and threshed, the straw is spread back over the same field. The legumes are sown between the rice plants in early fall while the weeds reseed themselves quite effortlessly.

This example is from Japan and may or may not bear resemblance from other regions of the world

This could contribute to plant varieties and practices suitable to a particular region, different plant varieties, and practices in harmony with the ecology of different regions.

The system is based on the recognition of the complexity of the living organisms that shape an ecosystem deliberately exploiting it. Farming is seen not just as a means of producing food but as an aesthetic and spiritual approach to live, the ultimate goal of which is to create perfect human beings.

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