What Is Natural Farming?
As we have already seen in other articles, in addition to Organic Agriculture. There are other agro-ecological currents whose objective is the development of sustainable. And respectful agriculture with the environment: Biodynamic Agriculture, Perm culture or Natural Farming, to which I will dedicate this new post.
The basic objectives are the same: to ensure the long-term cycle of nutrients. And soil fertility and to maintain diversity by naturally controlling pests. And diseases through integrated control. To reach this end, each stream establishes a series of basic principles and management techniques.
The Beginnings Of Natural Farming
The precursor of Natural Agriculture was the Japanese Masanobu Fukuoka (1913-2008). At age 25, this philosopher, scientist, and psychopathologist researcher left aside his occupation. As Agricultural Inspector of Customs to dedicate himself to agroecology, developing this new philosophy and way of cultivation: Natural Farming.
He moved to his hometown, a small rural town on the island of Shikoku. Where he began to put into practice a different way of cultivating, in collaboration with the spontaneous nature of his farm. Until he achieved a “natural garden” that was, at the same time, a forest and a wild garden. This laid the foundations of Natural Agriculture and the philosophy of “Mu”, that is, “Do not do”.
What Is The Basis?
The working method of Natural Agriculture consists of the management of the agrarian system. As if it were wild, the imitation of nature in its spontaneous form reproducing natural conditions. As faithfully as possible so that the soil becomes progressively enriched. And thus increases the quality of the food.
This is a philosophy aimed at “working together with nature and not against; to observe long and carefully, instead of working hard. And carelessly; to consider plants and animals in all their functions. Instead of treating the elements as systems of a single product.
The Principles Of Natural Farming
- Do not till or make furrows in the ground to maintain its natural structure.
- Do not add chemical-synthetic fertilizers or prepared compost to the soil. (To improve fertility, green manure can be sown to restore the balance of the soil and spread the residues of this crop).
- Do not weed by tillage or herbicides. The “weeds” must be controlled, not eliminated, since they play an important role in the fertility and balance of the biological community of the soil. You can control them with straw mulch or clover cover interspersed with the crops.
- Do not use synthetic insecticides since these eliminate the biological richness of the soil, air, and flora? We can balance the presence of insects naturally if the plants are healthy and the soil is up to the mark.
- Do not perform pruning.
Examples Of Natural Farming
For example, the programming of crops through rotations is not necessary because it is a wild crop. Fukuoka devised a sowing system that allows replacing the plow: cultivate among the wild herbs. To prevent birds or small rodents from taking the seeds or eating them. And also covering the ground with mulching from the previous harvest so that the seeds are even less visible from these animals.
You can also include in the clay balls a part of natural fertilizer (manure, for example) so that the seedling grows with enough nutrients, or grains of some species such as pepper or cayenne to prevent animals from eating them.
Variants Of The Work Method
Currently, Natural Farming also follows another method of work: that of Jean Marie Roger, very similar but a little more permissive with the techniques: it allows a minimum tillage that begins with superficial works (opposed to conventional tillage), allows the use of compost in surface or mulching based on pre-humified green manures, manures or crop residues and also allows the cultivation of foreign plants to its ecosystem.
I hope you understood a little more about this interesting agroecological current. But if you have known a little in the coming days I will leave you a very interesting video in case you want to encourage you to start practicing this way of life and change your garden a bit.