Platero college launched a project recently to take responsibility for the planet: “nature is wounded. We need to tackle the problems of desertification that were ignored by previous generations . We do not want to look the other way while our house is being destroyed. ”
The project is to reforest an area of natural park that they have been authorised to plant on with clay balls of seeds , following the permaculture technique created by M. Fukuoka called Nando Dango . They are trying to raise money for materials through their web site: http://bosqueplatero.wordpress.com/about
Nendo Dango is a technique of encapsulating selected seeds inside clay balls, designed by a Japanese farmer and microbiologist Masanobu Fukuoka, which he developed after observing how nature behaves.
Our home planet is polluted, on the edge of imbalance and lacks the green vegetable skin necessary for life, so we must act decisively, boldly and urgently to reverse the threats that affect us.
And so, with a simple ball of clay mixed with seeds I can create the conditions for the development of new forest growth. The Nendo Dango is a way of planting, direct, simple, participatory, educational, recreational and highly effective.
It is a solution to the severe desertification that threatens us, and it shows that we can act with immediate results against the lack of fertile soil and create the conditions for a new relationship with the environment.
The Nendo Dango can be applied to almost all the world’s ecosystems, and is very cheap. Furthermore, there is a very high chance that the seeds will germinate. Another advantage is that it avoids the seeds being eaten by birds and rodents.
The clay can be supplemented with other materials, such as organic matter or natural repellents, as detailed below.
There are different types of encapsulation :
1. Individual covering & Life bombs (Large Seeds )
2 Seed tacos (medium seeds)
3 Pastry balls (small seeds )
First put the mixture into a bucket or basin using either brown clay from the area or a bought version, feed it with fertilizer and dry organic matter. Mix in some symbiotic, medicinal and aromatic seeds that act as repellents . To keep the number of seeds of each species balanced bear in mind that the largest take up more space and weigh more. Take care that each Nendo Dango has no more than 3 seeds, as when thrown they can compete with each other to grow.
Add water slowly to the mixture until it has the right consistency. For example: 20 parts clay and 10 parts seed compost .
Once we have a good solid mass, start to break it into pieces with a variety of shapes and sizes. The classic shape is roughly round balls 2 – 3 cm in diameter. These can be easily made by making a long tube that is cut using a spatula, and then rounded using your hands to make a sphere.
The balls are then kept to dry on an oven rack, flat sieve or colander. Another common technique is to create discs, that are made by repeating the above procedure but without rounding them off, and making sure that there is no air inside from the previous kneading.
Some working principles
No plowing: this way the structure and composition of the soil is maintained with optimum moisture and micronutrients
No fertilizers: through the interaction of different botanical , animal and mineral elements in the soil, the fertility of the soil regenerates like any other eco system.
No killing weeds or using herbicides: they destroy nutrients and soil microorganisms, and are only justified in monocultures. Fukuoka proposed an interaction of plants that enriches and controls the natural biodiversity .
No pesticides: they also kill the natural richness of the soil. The presence of insects can balance the culture.
No pruning : let the plants run their natural course .
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