My gardening abilities have been curbed a bit lately and have led me to reading more about different ways to increase the goodness in our soil which is the engine of our plant growth and the machine that nature provided to help us be more reliant in the future.
So much has been learnt by reading and listening to the advice given and seeing the soil improvements by Ernst Gotsch and like- minded individuals. They have seen the damage in different counties of either erosion or degraded dead soils. He is a farmer in soils and strives to keep life in the soil.
One thing that he believes does the most damage, is the fact that humans now plow fields to plant wheat and corn for annual crops which are not good for the soils. They usually require water and growth stimulants and then pest-control, which can become work intensive and often leaving bare soil between harvests. We, as the humans on this earth need to change our way of thinking about what we eat. Do we consume food from these flat ground type harvests or from more sustaining growths that feed both animal and humans for most of the year and each year into the future.
Ernst Gotsch does this by planting a food forest in certain stages in certain times and pruning down in specific places to allow growth. This allows us to grow a food forest at a rate suited to our age now. A natural food forest provided by mother nature can take decades. But timing is important and it can be controlled by humans to improve growth stimulants. One surprising feature is that Ernst Gotsch uses our Eucalyptus globulis to start his forest, as he can control the canopy by cutting off the top at about 5 m tall at the right time of the year. Certain trees create a stimulant in their root system to help nearby plants to grow. If you already have a canopy of existing trees, then use them while needed and coppice later when the time is right.
Many of our existing pasture crops are planted mainly to feed animals (cattle etc.) which in turn feed us. In order to carry out these soil repairing plans, one must take steps. One such tree that provides for man and animal is the Carob tree and there are many many more.
First, we need to find parent trees, and in South America they have listed approximately 9 wild bearing trees and their natural hybrids to grow on hill fields (some examples Pecans, Walnuts, Persimmons and much more). These would be crop trees for humans.
Then for animals, there would be similar but different trees for hilly areas as well e.g. Mulberry, Acorn yielding oaks etc. These trees are quoted as they relate to experiments in America. The same can apply to Australia with relevant trees to the differing temperatures and rainfall. Once the selections of best tasting tree fruits have been selected then plantings can commence. These will be the structure trees which will last for many years. Under-planting can take place at the same time for shorter living species. There are plantings for chopping and producing ground covers. There are plantings of Bananas, Pawpaws and most of the plants we are growing in our own backyards. When the trees are cut down to make room for sunlight to penetrate, the trunks are laid on the ground to save and renew soil and prevent erosion. There would be an increase in manpower to produce and maintain these food forests and plenty of food for all.
There were comparisons made to the damaging types of rainfall in the different continents such as heavy ground damaging downpours in American regions and the gentle everyday rains in European and Mediterranean regions. One book which I am reading now is called “Tree Crops A Permanent Agriculture” by J. Russell Smith, although this book relates to American research, we can do the same in our country.
This type of food forest has been known to restore underground water systems and waterways and repair the living soils. These areas can cope with droughts and flooding rains.
To promote long bearing crops for decades is better than planting yearly crops for one purpose. I have taken notes on which trees have many purposes in life.
Here is my main interest site - http://www.ideassonline.org/public/pdf/SyntropicFarming-ENG.pdf and there are also great youtube sites as Dave has previously given to us.
We need to grow our own Supermarkets in the forests for the future. What do you think about this subject?
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