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.
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).
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…
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.