Author Archives: Farmer Girl

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Growing People and Food Naturally

Resurrection Juice

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Natural Farming inputs are all about giving plants what you want them to do. You don’t need to know anything about the biochemistry to figure out effective inputs. It’s all about the patterns in nature. Using the power of patterns is how I found Resurrection Juice.

People often ask if using so-and-so plant is good for making a fermented juice. It depends on what you want to use it for. What is the plant good at?

For example I had a miracle berry bush that grew tight, with short nodes*. It didn’t get air or light in the center of the bush and didn’t produce berries. I needed it to open up, to have longer nodes. As a scientist I know gibberellic acid is a plant hormone that will give longer nodes. It’s used on grapes because if the cluster of grapes is too tight they mold. But I didn’t go out and buy gibberellic acid, and I didn’t look up which plants have it.

As a Natural Farmer I looked to the pattern and found a plant with really long nodes, made a fermented juice from that, and gave it to my miracle berry bush. And like a miracle it started growing longer nodes, opened up, and from then on produced berries prolifically. In this case a single application was all that was needed.

Years later we were cutting down koa haole trees (Leucaena leucocephala). But of course they want to grow back. When I saw the shoots growing out of the cut trunks, I saw a pattern. The tree was trying to resurrect itself. As resurrection could be a useful tool I made a fermented juice from the soft growing tips of the koa haole re-growth, collected before sunrise so that the growth factors would still be active.

Resurrection Juice is now a permanent part of my system. I use it for plants that need to be brought back to life or are trying to come out of dormancy. I find it highly effective.

What is the pattern of koa haole that makes it good for Resurrection Juice? It’s a fast growing weedy tree, a pioneer species, and it will vigorously regrow from its roots if cut to the ground. It’s a legume, a type of mimosa. The part that is used for this purpose is the young soft tips of the shoots that spring from a cut trunk or root, again, collected before sunrise so that the growth factors are active.

So what plants do you have that show a talent for something useful? Look for patterns and give it a try.

*the part of a plant stem from which one or more leaves emerge, often forming a slight swelling

Good Morning Moringa

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Good morning moringa! Added raw Fiji sugar massaged, then stuffed in a jar with a sprinkle of sugar on top. Now to cover with cloth and let the microbes do magic.

Moringa is a low yield #fpj fermented plant juice but it’s so high value it’s worth it. Most of it we consume but the plants love it too (green vegetative growth). Sometimes we make it into a potent medicinal tonic (like OHN). Good stuff!
#knf #moringa #microbialmagic

Helping the bees!

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Helping the bees

It’s been 6mo since we’ve had a good rain. The native bees are understandably thirsty…and hungry. We’ve been making sure they have water to drink in places they won’t drown. (Bees drown extremely easily.) And we’ve been letting them have some of our bananas.

These native bees are clever and can eat fruit when nectar is not available. They absolutely love! pineapples and bananas. We once lost an entire bunch of bananas to the bees. The first day it was just a few bees. This species is extremely mellow and they tolerated when you put your hands in with them and pulled off a few bananas. By the end of the day there were a lot of bees and it was making me just a little nervous pulling out bananas for an afternoon snack. I’m allergic to bees. Once I even grabbed a banana and had 3 or 4 bees under my fingers and they started wiggling around. They didn’t sting, probably figured there is plenty of bananas to go around. By the next morning the whole hive settled in, perhaps more than one hive, and started munching away. I just didn’t dare pick any more bananas with hundreds of bees eating from the hanging bunch of bananas. They literally chewed through the skins and dug into the ‘meat’.

Once the bananas were well past ripe I dropped them into a huge jar I have (over 20 liter/5gallons, it was a huge bunch) and made FFJ Fermented ripe banana juice. The enzymes from the bees changed the color of the bananas and thereby the juice. I ended up with a huge batch of very special FFJ-Ripe-Banana.

Back to the video. I just wanted to let you get to know a little about my bees first. I made a large batch of FPJ Fermented Plant Juice from some banana flowers. One flower bud was particularly large. The flower shoot was over a meter long. I’ll cover why the flower bud was so big in an upcoming post. Needless to say I ended up with a lot of banana flower dregs and I don’t have chickens here at the moment, so I decided to offer them to the bees.

We dumped out the banana flower FPJ dregs. Soon we heard the loud drone of tons of bees. They got some sweet moisture, and everyone was happy.

When offering bees water it’s good to add a tiny bit of BV Bio-Vinegar such as BRV Brown Rice Vinegar, Banana Vinegar, or raw Apple Cider Vinegar. According to the research Master Cho is doing a component pH is a big factor in risks for bee decline. DO NOT use commercial white vinegar. It’s a petroleum product and makes a great herbicide, by the way. I will put together the recipe for Bees from Master Cho. Put the water in a shallow dish filled with smooth rocks that come just up out of the water so the bees can drink without drowning. If you’re interested in the recipe just watch for the hashtags #lovebees #naturalfarming . Bee love!

ARE YOUR PLANTS FAT?

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ARE YOUR PLANTS FAT?

Master Cho likes to compare plants and plant growth to humans. For one thing it makes it easy to understand. He is known for sayingĀ “Don’t make your plants fat.” What does he mean?

Nitrogen is given to plants to encourage growth. It gives them a dark green color and great growth. Then we wonder how to get rid of the bugs. We like to give plants nitrogen because we like to nice green color and the fast growth, but it turns out too much nitrogen makes plants, in Master Chos words, ‘fat’. And just like humans, plants that are fat are not healthy.

A ‘fat’ plant will bring in bugs, aphids, scale, white fly, beetles, sucking and chewing insects that come calling because they detect a sick plant. The chemical companies haveĀ convinced us that the darker the green the better. We can see results and think the chemicals are working. Then the pests come in and the chemical companies can then sell us all kinds of more chemicals to kill the pests. They tell us that nutrient deficiencies make plants unhealthy so we buy more fertilizers. But these plants are already over-fed! They make a lot of money and we think we don’t have a green thumb.IMG_20170314_192158

In this picture are two roselle plants. The one on the right is healthy and properly fed. The one on the left was given some nitrogen (organic fish fertilizer) and is sick, weak, and full of chewing and sucking insects. Notice there are no chew marks on the healthy plant. These two plants were spaced about an arms-length apart so it wasn’t because the pests did not find the healthy plant. Soon after this picture was taken the sick plant was dead. The one on the right received no fertilizer and continued to grow and produce.

Keep Ā in mind that nature is perfectly capable of fixing nitrogen and getting it to plants. Look at a lush green forest or other natural landscape. It grows perfectly even though no one is going through the forest with fertilizer. How? The air all around us is 78% nitrogen. There is no shortage of nitrogen. You don’t really need to even be concerned with nitrogen fixing plants, usually legumes. If you have proper microbial ecology in your soil the nitrogen will get fixed and your plants will uptake what they need. Microbial ecology is the key.

This is a major difference between Master Cho Korean Natural Farming SYSTEM (KNF) and other methods of growing plants, even organically. KNF is a system approach that relies on two components.

  1. Soil Foundation: Make sure your soil has high levels of ecologically balanced microbes, a healthy and alive soil.
  2. Nutritive Cycle: Give plants inputs that encourage the plants life cycle stage. The focus is not on NPK, trace minerals etc. That comes from having vibrant healthy soil. KNF inputs are not used for nutrition. They provide chemical signals, hormones, enzymes, co-factors etc. that will tell the plant what to do, eg. grow or make fruit. The nutrition comes from the soil.

So stop overfeeding your plants, reduce your pests, and save money.

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300 Year Old Permaculture Garden

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This family garden is 300 years old. It literally contains tons of food: cassava, coconut, banana, watercress, taro, shellfish, roofing material, flowers, and much more. There is no tilling, no fertilising, just tons of food grown naturally. The garden is tended and harvested, but nature is left to do most of the work. Even if neglected for months at a time the garden will flourish.

There are no rows of a single crop type so pests do little damage. Flowers are grown here and there. Sometimes the flowers are harvested and sold at the Saturday market, but the rest of the time they provide beauty for the gardeners, and pollen and nectar for the beneficial insects.Ā 

This garden is the perfect example of the goal of Natural Farming. Grow food in a natural environment, letting the naturally balanced ecosystem provide food without huge inputs of labor, chemicals, or money. Ā Natural Farming is not new.

However, science has made the process of mimicking nature easier and more effective. It is a systems approach to agriculture. It can be scaled from small backyard gardens to large commercial operations. It is ideal for a family farm with some chickens, pigs, a few head of livestock, orchards and gardens, tended by a single couple with or without children. It was developed in temperate South Korea, where it is used by an entire county. It is now practised in all climates in over 40 countries worldwide. It combines the wisdom of the old ways with modern science.

It uses no dangerous chemicals. In fact, all inputs are made from local ingredients and are edible directly by humans. Why would you give your plants or animals, food you plan to eat, dangerous and toxic inputs? We are all part of the same food system so we want to give our plants and animals food thatĀ isĀ safe and edible. What kind of things do we use in Natural Farming? Things like fast growing herbs, fruits, eggshells, fish, bone. Everything is fermented, making it bio-available and fast acting, just like chemical fertilisers, but ultimately safe. Organic fertilisers need to beĀ compostedĀ and under-go biological transformation to be available to plants. This takes labor, time, and is not very precise. Ā So you can see that Natural Farming is effective, like chemicals, yet safe, like organic. It is natural, safe, and effective. Stay tuned to learn more.Ā