What is Natural Farming?
Natural farming, or sometimes called no-till farming or do nothing farming, is the result of Masanobu Fukuoka’s life work. Through working with the land, he had on his fathers farm he realised that the problems we have with farming and food stem from us trying to bend nature to do what we want which does not work. Instead he took the opposite approach and stopped interfering with nature and allowed it to do what it does best and the results were an abundant of crops, fruit and vegetables that equalled and often surpassed the modern farming techniques that used machinery and chemicals.
In his books, Masanobu Fukuoka lays out 4 principles for natural farming
- No Cultivation
- No Chemical Fertiliser of Prepared Compost
- No Weeding by Tillage or Herbicides
- No Dependence on Chemicals
There is no need to till the ground as nature will take care of this by itself. Tilling the ground disrupts and destroys the natural environment and is altered beyond recognition. Worms, other insects, plant roots and microorganisms will naturally cultivate the soil and return the soil back to its natural state.
No Chemical Fertiliser of Prepared Compost
Using fertiliser disrupts the natural state of the soil. It will help the plants grow but this is a short term gain, in the long run the soil and plants suffer. Using natural cover crops love clover or alfalfa which naturally fertilise the soil.
No Weeding by Tillage or Herbicides
Once you stop ploughing the soil then the cover crops naturally control the weeds. Initially you can spread straw over the area to suppress the weeds giving the other crops and plants a chance to flourish. Straw is also a natural green manure which is good for the soil.
No Dependence on Chemicals
Chemicals weaken the plants and kill off beneficial insects and microorganisms. Leaving nature alone will naturally encourage predators to pests and keep them in balance.
In addition to this there is no machinery used, or required, to do this. Hand tools are sufficient to harvest crops such as wheat, rice, buckwheat and others. For further reading on the subject visit the Further Information page.