Elementary culture: the “without method” hat

To describe basic farming, I wrote a 200-page book with dozens of pictures (it’s called “The Garden Civilization” and you can find it here), but many people ask me to summarize the concepts essentials in a few lines. I try.

I’ll start by saying that this is the most advanced realization at the time of the “don’t do” philosophy, first comprehensibly developed in the 1970s by Japanese farmer Masanobu Fukuoka.

Beyond the “don’ts” implemented by elementary agriculture, a reliable and meaningful harvest cannot be guaranteed.


Do not cultivate the elements

To talk about elemental culture, I would like to roughly describe it in terms of “don’ts”:

  • Never work the land, not even at the start of cultivation;

  • wild grasses are neither uprooted nor cut;

  • no grass is sown other than wild grasses;

  • does not fertilize, even with substances of organic origin;

  • there is no green manure;

  • there is no composting;

  • irrigation systems are not in preparation;

  • never use pesticides, neither chemical nor organic;

  • the nature of the soil is not modified by soil amendments;

  • the “paddles” are not lifted; no varietal association is made;

  • EM not displayed;

  • homeopathic interventions are not performed;

  • without machinery;

  • there is no garden design;

  • there is no reference to a text (not even my book, where even this concept is extensively explained);

  • that it does not rest exclusively on the germ of the ancient tradition;

  • the usual distances between plants are not respected;

  • Planting and transplanting dates are not fixed in advance;

  • no crop rotation;

  • no factor related to the soil, usually considered as determining, such as acidity, compactness or other, the presence of minerals, etc., is taken into account.

The only factors to consider are sun exposure and an acceptable slope, even with terraces.

The evolution of the concept of not doing

For those who have read Fukuoka’s “The Straw Yarn Revolution,” the evolution of the concept of “don’ts” should seem clear. By doing none of this, the land invariably and permanently begins to produce abundantly, improving year by year.

Rather describe what you do, it’s a very short list . The land that we find before the start of cultivation is in a state of abandonment or worked by others. In nature, the unforested surface is always covered with living grasses that grow from a layer of dry grasses. And here’s what we do: restore a state of natural normalcy .

If there is grass, we cover it with drier grass, if we find the tilled earth we cover it with dry grass, then the grass will grow quickly and the result will be the same. From this starting point, everyone will be able to make holes in the ground for transplanting and sowing without a precise method, they will be able to assess how to reconstitute the ground cover with dry grass when it is consumed, they will will be able to find a more suitable practice for themselves to uproot the plant supports, they will be able to decide by watching the seedlings how, when and whether to give water, they will find a way not to drown the small plants of the grass sticking out from under the dry grass cover.

If we remove from these practices the “apprehension” factor, which seems to have invaded agriculture since antiquity, the result is an elementary culture.

Elementary because simple and entrusted to the natural elements , which, contrary to human presumption, agricultural technologies and practices never betray. Those who want to start cultivating ask me “what to do” and I show them my practical experiences, but above all I try to convey how each of us already has the full capacity to cultivate genetically in our creative improvisation.

Elemental Cultivation Depth

Here you have read an introduction to the “no method”, some advice to go further.

A video on elementary culture

I suggest you watch this video (then follow the youtube channel) where you can find more than two hours of elementary culture.

Further reading

For a more in-depth look at basic farming, here are some useful reads.

Leave a Comment