Monday, January 14, 2008
Although I plan to plant rice without cultivation, I was offered a small tractor, a "kounki" (耕うン機）in Japanese. It isn't a riding tractor, but one you walk behind. One of the reasons that I am going to plant without cultivation, aside from Fukuoka's proscription, is that I don't have enough money to buy farm equipment. Since I got this one for free, I gratefully accepted it. One of the farmers I'm learning from, a student of Fukuoka's for some years, cultivates to a very shallow depth, and then plants. He does it so he can cover over the seeds better than just using straw, because he has a problem with birds eating his seeds. I may try one field cultivated, and the other one not and see how it goes, especially since this year I won't have the advantage of being able to cover the seeds with wheat straw since this is my first year of planting.
The kounki that I got is also nice because it's diesel, so if petroleum goes the way of the dodo or just gets too expensive to use, I may be able to switch to biodiesel.