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Organic, No-Till Farming in Permanent Beds Using Bucket Drip Irrigation


organic, no-till farming in permanent beds using bucket drip irrigation to double yields and reduce labor by 50%



Workshops:  USA - TX,  MS, FL, CA,  AR,  NM;  Mexico, Rep. Dominicana, Côté d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Nicaragua, Honduras, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Haiti, England, India, Uzbekistan

 Organic, No-till Farming

The solution to world hunger is teaching the farmers to farm profitably and sell locally.  "There's this belief that in order to stop poverty, we have to find ways to get people to stop being farmers.  What we need to do is find ways to stop them from being poor farmers."  Amy Smith, MIT

These are based on the internet, US & international agriculture magazines, experiences teaching agriculture in many countries, research data and farmer experiences in those countries and a demonstration garden.  They are ecologically sustainable, environmentally responsible, socially just and economically viable.  There is unlimited, documented proof.  There are 90,000,000 no-till hectares worldwide. 

Fukaoka Farm, Japan, has been no-till [rice, small grains, vegetables] for 70 years.  At the time of my visits, an Indian farmer has been no-till [vegetables] for 5 years, a Malawi farmer has been no-till [vegetables] on permanent beds for 25 years and a Honduras farmer has been no-till [vegetables & fruit] on permanent beds on the contour (73° slope] for 8 years.  Ruth Stout [USA] had a no-till garden for 30 years and 7,000 people visited her garden.  No water runoff, few weeds, high yields, little labor, etc.

No technique yet devised by man has been anywhere near as effective at halting soil erosion and making food production truly sustainable as 0-tillage (Baker)

  1. Restore the soil to its natural health.  Contamination:  inorganic pesticides, insecticides & fertilizers
  2. Maintain the healthy soil.  Healthy soil produces healthy crops with highest yields and prevents most disease, pest, weed and erosion problems.
  3. Increase the soil's organic matter every year.
  4. Little or no external inputs [It is not necessary to buy anything, from anybody.] 
  5. Leave crop residue on top of soil. No burning.  You are burning up fertilizer.  Do not plow it into the soil.
  6. Plant green manure/cover crops to increase the soil organic matter.  Seeds are available in every country. 
  7. Plant the new crop in the crop residue by opening up a row or a place for the seed.
  8. Plant every field every year [no fallow land]
  9. 0-tillage: no plowing, no digging, no cultivating.  No hard physical labor required so children and the elderly can farm easily.  After two or three years the yields can double while reducing the labor by half compared to traditional farming.  Farmers farm ten acres alone using hand tools only [Honduras]
  10. Tree crops: fruit, nuts, coffee [shade-grown], etc.  Use perennial cover crops
  11. Permanent paths  [walking]
  12. Permanent beds.  They were used 2000 BC in Guatemala, Mexico and many other countries.  15-25% of the land is in paths and that saves 15-25% of the seed, water and labor but yields will be higher. 
  13. Hand tools: machete, weed cutter, seeding hoe.  Local blacksmith should make them.
  14. Soil always covered.   
  15. No compost making.  Use the organic matter for mulch.  If there is an excess, pile it up and use later.
  16. Vermiculture: Not necessary; too much labor.  Worms will be in the beds.
  17. SRI - system of rice intensification. Double yields, reduces water requirements by 50% and reduces labor. 
  18. SRI for other crops: sugar cane, finger millet, cotton, wheat, mustard.

•19.   Bucket drip irrigation should be used during the dry season and in areas of low rainfall:  Imported bucket drip kits are US$15.  A bucket drip line can be made locally from poly tubing [US$3, Nicaragua]. One will irrigate a row of crops 33 meters long using only 20 liters of water per day. A dripline can be moved to irrigate several rows per day.  Water can be from a stream, pond or well.  A drip kit returns $20 per month to the farmer [FAO study]. 

  Ken Hargesheimer  [email protected]

 Dear Ken,

Thank you for all the info. I am applying it in my own vegetable patch.  It is working.   Got half a pocket of potatoes off a square metre.  So would imagine about 10 pounds per square yard. This off previously dead low, carbon soil.  Sure next crop will be better.  Got yams coming up on same spot already.  Want to plant herbs and spices. I will send photos.

Your advise is so simple. People do not believe me when I tell them. I am so excited about growing things now. This coming from a commercial plum farmer.  May you be blessed this holy season a thousand times more than you blessed me with you help.Jeremy Karsen, South Africa


Hi Lia,
We have already started several gardens in Jinkfuin community and the people working on them have benefitted from the DVDS we received from Ken. We watched the DVDs and got so many lessons and there women and men already running gardens, good ones!  Kimilili

Project room:  Kyomya, Uganda

We have been working on improving farming techniques for almost a year. Unfortunately, the farmers are planting small plots of land that only feed their family.  There is no other choice but to try new techniques to improve the output of their plot.  Ken Hargesheimer suggested the "no till" farming techniques as well as the "drip system".  Both have proven effective at increasing production by at least 5 fold.  The time is now for Kyomya to become a model agricultural village.     [] 



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