Taking A Leaf Out Of Fukuoka’s Book

Masanobu Fukuoka, was a Microbiologist, Agricultural Scientist, Philosopher, Farmer and Author of ‘The One Straw Revolution” – a book about Natural Farming. At the age of 25 he pushed aside his career to return to his family farm in Ehime prefecture, Japan to live a simple and gentle life, living off the land and studying nature. He spent the rest of his days promoting and demonstrating the virtues of his natural farming techniques. I’ll talk more about him in the future.

Taking a leaf out of Fukuoka's book. Literally =)

So, I decided that since my potato bed was now empty and ready for a new crop that I would take a leaf out of Fukuoka-san’s book and direct seed the bed with my new winter crops. In a small bowl I put together a mix of the following seeds: Carrot, Shallots, Parsnip, Turnip, Radish, Swede, Tasoi, Lambs Lettuce, Coriander, Dill, ‘Giant of Italy’ Parsley, and few garlic bulbils from a seed head we found following our last harvest.

First, I removed the remaining straw from the bed, put it to one side and raked the surface clean. (If you’re wondering why this bed is half empty its because when I planted my potatoes here I filled all of that empty space and more with straw for the potatoes to grow into. There is more than enough soil in there for any other crops).

Clean, tidy and ready to sow.

Then I sprinkled my seed evenly and replaced the straw in a light layer to cover the seed. I will keep sprinkling over more straw* bit by bit as the seeds sprout. I’m not too sure what will happen but, it will be fun to watch. I’ll keep you posted.

I have another patch that I will plant more conventionally so that I can observe any differences. I should state that this isn’t completely new for me as I do have a tendency to sprinkle random seed around the garden from time to time. Whatever comes up comes up. And no it doesn’t get too messy. I choose my spots wisely, thin out the plants I don’t want and add them to my compost.

*You might notice that my straw is all chopped up and looking lovely. No, it didn’t come like that. It is partially broken down from the potatoes having grown in it over the last 6 months and I have also made use of my garden shreaders. I’ll see if I can find a picture of  one…

Gigi De Bois - Shredder #1

I like to lay out straw for my girls to scratch around in. It provides habitat for bugs. The bugs provide the girls with extra protein and they break the straw down for me. They never get bored.

Two quick notes – I did not water in the seed. I simply timed my sowing to coincide with a rain event. Also, just in case anyone was wondering, this bed is 1.5m x 3m.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Hi,
    thought I would leave you a comment to let you know how much I’ve been enjoying reading your blog – and I must say I’m extremely envious of your garden, it’s size in particular and the fact that you can keep chickens, a dream of mine that will hopefully one day be fulfilled.

    I’m quite the novice gardener – in Melbourne – but am enthusiastic and keen to try new things and improve my knowledge, especially in vegetable gardening.

    I love the idea of mixing all those seeds together and scattering them randomly, can’t wait to see what happens with it all over the next few months. It’s also given me some ideas as to what I can plant in the few bare spots I currently have.

    In terms of scattering seeds in the garden, I too have been doing that for the last few years with my lettuce, basil and parsley and I have never had to purposefully replant these since. I just let let a few plants go to seed and dry out then crumble the seed heads in an appropriate place. I now always have heaps of plants around the place, so I guess I must be doing something right.

    Anyway, I’ll be reading regularly to pick up more tips along the way. Good luck with all your plans.


    • Hi Jo,

      Thank you so much for stopping by. It’s funny, I look around me and I’m forever thinking, I need to move somewhere bigger so I can… [insert dream here]. I honestly believe that if it’s chickens you so madly desire, then chickens you shall receive. It’s just a matter of time. If you want things bad enough I think that the universe picks up on it and gives you a little nudge along. You just have to be persistent.

      My hope is that I can help people feel more confident about gardening because there really are few things in the garden that are difficult once you have good clear instructions. Be sure to ask if there are any specific topics you need help with and I’ll always do my best to help.

      Take care and keep up the good work.



  2. Jodi – what a lovely reply, thank you. I will hold tight to your theory of the universe giving us our greatest desires with a little persistence. Having been reading your blog and a few other home gardening blogs, my confidence is definitely rising – I’ve even tried growing from seed now and my broadbeans look amazing.

    I do have one constant challenge in the garden and that is my lemon tree. I’ve had it for 4-5 years now – it’s a miniture in a pot – and it has had constant problems and never a lemon in sight. I recently cut it back as the top branches were dying off. The is the second time I’ve done this – the first time was because it had some kind of parasite (a moth or something similar from memory) that got into the branches and made them swell up. I was told to cut the effected parts off which I did and it looked much healthier after a couple of weeks. The same happened this time, cut off the bad bits and then it started looking good, but now I have something eating all the leaves. Any suggestions? Should I be spraying something on it, adding something to the soil, etc.
    Thanks again and I’m now going to go and read your two most recent posts.


  3. Posted by Kylie on May 3, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    That chicken is just so gorgeous….I have just been accepted to look after the ‘girls’ at CERES, (the chook shed), can’t wait….I think it will be such a gorgeous experience to learn how to care for chooks…


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