We have previously discussed not rotating crops. Today, let’s get radical and discuss not planting them.
The revolutionary-Buddhist-monk-farmer-rancher-radical-crazed-genius-soil-scientist Masanobu Fukuoka had the thought one day while looking at his fields that he was doing too much work. A smart farmer does one less thing every day, and Fukuoka was very smart indeed. He stopped doing everything in one day.
His farm did not go out of business because before he quit working, he did a lot of work. He planted crops that would naturally reseed themselves, he cut down his orange orchards and replanted them so they might regrow without the effects of pruning, he undomesticated his animals so they would wander his lands and set up their own nests and homes. He sold his tillage equipment, he himself began to go wild, wearing traditional and primitive Japanese clothes, living in a traditional and primitive Japanese cabin. He wrote poetry every day in praise of the Buddha’s teaching.
His annual struggle was with his rice, barley and other grains. They would not reseed by themselves, having been too long under domestication.
His religious views obviously influenced his practice, but Fukuoka founded his revolutionary practices in sound scientific methodology, experimentation and observation, and discovered how to reclaim deserts, how to increase his farm’s profits. It was through his science that he rediscovered his religion.
His books, especially The One Straw Revolution and Natural Agriculture are worthwhile reading, and present another tool in the farmer’s belt. Large farms, such as Lundberg farm, and small farms, such as Colorado’s TwoInTents, employ his science, albeit no other farmer has accomplished his results so well: the temptation to do some work and see the benefits of that labor is too great, and it truly does take a Buddhist who has forsaken works and laid down the burden to accomplish truly natural agriculture.
Yet, even lay followers of the great Fukuoka will find the blessings of nature in greater and increasing profits, greater and increasing fertility, and less disease and loss. If you have the courage, read his books and try learning the hard lesson of this master farmer.