Synergistic agriculture, rules and principles

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Joe Dispenza

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L'synergistic agriculture is a farming method devised by Emilia Hazelip. This one that observes nature and applies the principles to a natural and ecological agriculture. Let's find out better.

> The origins of synergistic agriculture

> The guiding rules

> How to create a synergistic vegetable garden

The origins of synergistic agriculture

Synergistic agriculture is a cultivation method conceived and created by Emilia Hazelip, a Spanish agronomist who harmonized the agricultural principles of not doing by the Japanese microbiologist Fukuoka together with the concepts of permaculture and his personal experiments in France and the USA, adapting everything to the Mediterranean climate.

According to Hazelip, the Earth, like a real living being, owes its own vitality and fertility to what happens under the surface of the soil, where the set of microorganisms, bacteria, fungi, earthworms, organic residues and the exudates released by the roots, create a environment capable of self-regulating and increase one's vitality.

Also according to Hazelip, just as the soil increases the plants, in turn the plants themselves help the fertility of the soil through the biochemical substances released in the interactions between plant and plants, between plant and animals and, more generally, between plant and environment. .


Guiding rules of synergistic agriculture

The principles behind synergistic agriculture are based on the four pillars of Fukuoka's agriculture of non-doing.

1) No tillage of the soil: the soil is not plowed or disturbed except at the beginning, during the creation of the benches (flower beds). This preserves the stratification of the soil (tissue structure) in order to respect the activities of all forms of life present and guarantee their continuity. The soil is seen as a real biochemical laboratory, within which the storage of CO2 also takes place, not working the soil therefore prevents it from being dispersed into the atmosphere as following any plowing, contributing to the greenhouse effect. .

2) Do not compact the soil: to ensure the fertility of the soil, the presence of tunnels for an air reflux is essential. Leaving the roots of the plants at the end of the cycle and not disturbing the work of microorganisms and small animals allows the creation of porous tunnels that make the soil softer and prevents the asphyxiation of life present in the subsoil and the development of an anaerobic environment on the surface.

3) No chemical fertilization: fertility is given by the covering of organic origin of the soil, as occurs in nature in an undergrowth, where the detached leaves cover a layer of material that decomposes to a state called humus. Using the mulching method allows us to recreate this process in our gardens: materials such as straw, leaves, bark, twigs etc. are recovered, placing a layer above the soil. This also ensures a stable humidity and temperature level for the soil and plants; retains water and substances in the soil, protecting from heavy rains and drying out; it also regulates and controls the proliferation of invasive spontaneous herbs.

4) Biodiversity: cultivate at least three botanical families, above all by maintaining the constant presence of liliaceae (excellent repellents against harmful insects and molds and fungal diseases) and legumes (nitrogen-fixing). Obviously, the choice of plants is based on principles of intercropping and arrangement in space. Increasing biodiversity as much as possible contributes to the development of an ecosystem that regulates itself through numerous and various synergies between living beings; it is no coincidence that the entire agricultural methodology in question takes its name from this principle: synergistic agriculture.


You can learn more about which plants to grow based on the sowing calendar


Creation of a synergistic vegetable garden

Here are the steps for creating a pallet according to the synergistic agriculture method:

  1. Design: observe the space available and collect data on exposure, climate, winds, orientation, etc., and choose the shape of the raised flower beds (pallet).
  2. Pallet preparation: move the ground (once and only once) creating more mounds from 20 to 50 centimeters high and on average 120 centimeters wide and 5 to 7 meters long. Between pallet and pallet you need walkways at least 50 centimeters wide.
  3. Irrigation: drip irrigation is generally considered the best, due to water savings and therefore less environmental systems.
  4. Mulch: cover with organic material as described above the entire surface of the pallet.
  5. Permanent supports: to implant supports of wood or metal or recycled materials to allow climbing plants to develop in height.
  6. Sowing and transplanting: the last step is the planting of the plants. The position that the plant will occupy on the pallet derives from specific criteria of synergistic agriculture, which look at the associations and the main needs of the plant in question. The choice of plants to use is not limited to just vegetables but also includes aromatic plants, flowers, wild and medicinal herbs.


In the town we find several synergistic agriculture courses and trainers who teach and disseminate this method of agriculture. The one directly connected to the founder is the free school of synergistic agriculture "Emilia Hazelip".


Like synergistic agriculture, biodynamic agriculture also respects the terrestrial ecosystem: find out how!


Other articles on synergistic agriculture:
> Interview with Gianna Nencioli, supporter of the synergistic garden

> How to avoid wasting water in the garden

> Degrowth, myth or possible reality?


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