Category Archives: Uncategorized

Chicks 4 Days Old

Standard

Wild chicks first venturing out of the nest will be following mama around eating bugs, grass & herb tips, fallen fruits, bulbs & tubers, worms, whatever they happen to find. Chicks this age should be getting a gnarly wild diet while the gut is developing so that they develop a full healthy gut. This is Natural Farming. How does Nature do it? That should be the whole of the discussion but let me illustrate my point with a story.


Chicks raised on commercial feed (grain) grow much shorter underdeveloped digestive tract. That means they have poor digestion no matter what you feed them. I have seen young roosters starve to death literally sitting on top of a pile of unlimited food. They had been fed a diet of commercial feed their entire life. They were unable to digest the real, whole food at their feet. I see commercial grain as the same thing as feeding a fast food diet.


Master Cho talks about feeding chicks brown rice and chopped bamboo leaves the first 3 days of life. When I was in Hawaii and ordered chicks, they were sent by air and were 3 days old when I got them. If I fed chicks that were more than 3 days old bamboo and brown rice most of them died.


A chick gets three days of nutrition supplied by the nutrients in the egg yolk. That is how they can ship chick from the Mainland to Hawaii without needing to feed them. They can survive the first 3 days without food. If their gut is primed with wild food, in Master Cho’s case hard to digest whole rice & bamboo leaves, then it primes the gut system that life is hard and the chick grows a full healthy gut system, able to digest almost anything edible. Later in life if that is the only food available they will be fine because they have developed a gut that can digest that kind of food.


The same thing happens with plants. If you plant a seedling in soft fluffy soil with all the nutrients it needs, it doesn’t need to develop a strong healthy root system. Why bother to spend effort and resources when life is easy?


Master Cho says he puts an uncooked brown rice grain in a newborn’s mouth every day. Why does he do that? A newborn can only digest mothers milk, not whole grains. He does it to prime the growing baby’s body that this world will be full of rice and you need to grow to be able to digest the food that you will be eating, and here, for you, it’s rice.


That is the purpose of feeding brown rice and bamboo to chicks from day 1-3. Life is hard. Get ready. On day 4, after they have depleted the nutrition of the yolk, they need nutritious feed, as they would naturally find in Nature as mentioned above.


Many KNF sources suggest 30% commercial grain feed. That is like saying that you feed your children good healthy organic food, except that you let them have McDonalds for one meal every day. How healthy are your kids going to be? How healthy are your chickens going to be? A lot depends on what you feed them early in life. It seems to be a better choice to develop a gut that can fully and properly digest food, rather than spend labor and resources to make food more digestible for chickens. Try to feed them a diet that is as natural as possible. Let your chicks grow a natural, healthy gut. What are you going to feed them? Watch newly hatched chicks that can freely roam. What are they eating? Nature has the answers.

Compost where you are

Standard

Did you know you can compost wherever you want to grow crops? Without waiting for compost?

This images shows seedlings flourishing in poor soil by growing on top of a layer of composting food waste. Below are 2 images that compare seedings of the same age and size planted on the same day. Photos were taken a week after planting.

Notice that the two seedlings planted in soil that covers raw compost is not only much bigger but looks much much healthier than the seedlings planted about a meter away in the same soil without any compost.

There are 2 ways I have successfully used compost in place. I’m talking about using raw compost, essentially whole kitchen and yard scrapes. These methods are useful when you don’t have animals to process kitchen and yard waste. Every kitchen has waste, and this waste is a resource. (These methods do require a yard. For those without animals or a yard a worm or bokashi bin would be the way to utilize precious kitchen “waste”.)

Method 1: Everyday put the kitchen and yard scrapes under a different tree (or shrub or bush etc). I rotate around so that every tree gets some compost in turn. I then cover with mulch, leaves grass, whatever is available. Avoid getting too close to the trunk. Around the dripline is best.

This mimics the natural process of fruit and leaves falling at the base of trees and plants. It’s quick. It’s easy. And it actually work.

Method 2: Plant over a new compost pile. This can be done by digging down or building a raised bed. In the area you wish to plant throw down your kitchen and yard waste. Cover with several inches of soil. If the soil is poor that’s okay. It’s about to get a lot better.

Bonus Method: In-Garden Vermicompost (Feed the Worms). I tried this method in my commercial tea field. After 3 weeks the tea plants with this treatment were significantly taller and bushier. I stopped when the mongoose found it. No other vermin was interested. How does it work?

Put kitchen scrapes in a blender with enough water to make a slurry. This breaks the food scrapes into particles small enough for worms to consume. Dump one container of food scrapes slurry per plant. Feeding the worms will improve the soil directly and will quickly increase your worm populations.

Just think, no more hauling, piling, turning, turning, and hauling again. No more compost piles, or as I call them, ‘Pile and Pray’. Now you can have compost happen right where you need it….just like it happens in Nature.

How do I get rid of pest & disease 4 rules

Standard

By reacting to a pest or disease with ‘What can I do to kill this’ the reaction comes from fear. OMG this is going to kill everything and I’ll never eat again!

Fear is useful for situations of danger. It allows you to rely on instinct when you come across a snake. It could be poisonous and kill you. You could run, try to kill or disable the snake, or freeze and hope the snake leaves you alone.

The fear response is designed to get proper action when there is no time to ponder best actions.

The problem with applying a fear based reaction to problems that are not a fight or flight survival problem is that logic and reasoning are left out of the response. In other words if you act out of fear you can make stupid mistakes. This is where capital Stupid mistakes can happen.

Pests and disease are not an immediate threat to your life. Use sound judgement and reasoning. Get sound results.

If you have a pest or disease problem there is a reason why. You always want a little pest and disease pressure around. It makes plants and animals stronger just like humans build an immune response to getting a cold. We don’t get the same cold virus to infect us again because our body learned how to destroy it.

Pest and disease is also good in small amounts because the “good guys” need something to eat or they will leave or die, leaving plants without a defense force. In animals this would include surface and gut microbes.

‘But all my strawberries are full of mold.’ You definitely have a problem. Most people panic and want to know how to kill the mold. This is a fear based reaction. Just attacking the mold is a fear based reaction. Logic and reasoning are better tools.

The logic and reasoning reaction is to figure out why the mold likes your strawberries so much and figure out a way to change the system so mold is no longer happy on your strawberries. So many times the things we go after in food production are the symptoms and not the real cause.

So what to do?

1. Don’t panic
2. Logically assess the problem and contributing factors. Do this in the field with your plants and animals. Don’t ask the internet machine for other people’s fear based solutions.
3. Once you think you know what is wrong, try to fix what you think is wrong. If it helps you were right. If not perhaps you were right but other things are still wrong. Trying ideas is how you learn how your food system grows. It’s not the same for me as it is for you. Don’t fear trying your ideas, but you might want to try on a small section first. If you are paying attention to your growing system you are probably right. If not try something else.
4. Here is a story from Gil Carangdang. He was visiting a farmer who was complaining that part of his field wasn’t growing well. He insisted Gil tell him what’s wrong. Gil responded that he didn’t how what was wrong and maybe he should to pray to God for the answer. In desperation the farmer looked to the heavens…..and saw that the poorly performing part of the field was too heavy shaded.
#morelofthestory Let Nature be your expert and teacher

Choosing Plants in Natural Farming

Standard

When practicing Natural Farming you literally need to step back from the trees and see the forest. Modern science is based on reductionist theory. Things are taken apart, dissected, parts are tinkered with to figure out how they work. This method has served mankind well. But now it’s time to to put the pieces back together.

Natural Farming is the science of putting the pieces back together into a holistic ecology. Our goal is to mimic nature. Some feel it is not a scientific approach to ignore species and specific nutrients. Think of it this way.

You’re driving a car in a busy city, waiting to make a turn across traffic. When do you turn? The consequences are dire. If you make a mistake an incoming car can crash into you and possibly kill you. Yet people make these decisions all over the world every day and only a tiny fraction end in crashes. So drivers are pretty good at this.

How do they make to decision? Do they use math? Do they calculate the velosity of the oncoming car, the distance away, the traction of the tires on each car, the effects of roadway conditions, acceleration rates? All the complicated math can be calculated after an accident. But the driver making the turn does no math, only makes an educated guess even though lives depend on it. Drivers learn from experience to estimate speed and distance and acceleration rates.

And nature is even more complicated, quantimly complicated. So what do we do? How do we make educated decisions without knowing all the particulars? How do we choose which plants to use?

I see so many Natural Farming practitioners bogged down in ‘what is this’ and ‘what species is that’ and ‘how does this work’?

Step back from the tree and look at the forest. The answers you seek are not in the massively complicated details, but are in the patterns of the natural world.

TOXIC VS TONIC

When considering which plants to use, consider medicinal vs tonic qualities. A medicinal plant would be one used to treat acute conditions, stopping a cold virus for example. Most medicines work by being toxic in some way. The best work on the pest or disease, not the host being healed. But still they work by toxic actions.

Tonics on the other hand are used regularly, even daily, and over extended periods of time. Tonics do not stop a cold but taking the tonic increases health & vitality, even longevity, preventing the cold. They do not work by a toxic action but by fortifying and harmonizing. Master Cho’s Oriental Herbal Nutrient OHN, for example, is a fermented extraction formula of the herbs he thinks are the best, most powerful tonics. He advocates taking some every day, giving to plants and animals every day, feeding to microbes as well, not for any specific action, but because the strengthen, harmonize, tonify.

If the plant you want to use has toxic actions it’s best not to feed plants on your weekly feeding routine. But a medical plant Fermented Plant Juice FPJ would be great to make and use when it’s helpful properties are needed. For an every week FPJ plant you want one that works like a tonic.

USING PATTERNS

When choosing plants to make into inputs let the pattern tell you what to use. Fast growing plants are used to encourage green growth. Fruit are used to set and ripen fruit. But there are endless patterns to use.

For example I had a miracle berry bushes that was tight and slow growing. The nodes were too close causing it to choke and suffer from fungal problems. I wanted the bush to open up, lengthen the node spacing, give it a chance to grow. My solution? I looked around for a fast growing, leggy plant with long spaces between nodes. I ended up choosing a vine. I don’t remember which one and it doesn’t matter. After giving the miracle berry some vine FPJ and the bush opened up and started growing. I saw the pattern “leggy” and put it where I wanted a change, “compacted”. My compacted then grew longer nodes, became a healthy bush, and started soon after giving berries. You don’t get these kind of results looking at plant nutrition. It was actually a hormone that helped in this case. I knew gibberellic acid would work. But instead of spending hours researching sources of gibberellic acid and ways to extract and use it, I just looked around for the pattern I needed, leggy. The pattern approach is easy and highly effective.

SAME SAME

The pattern approach can be used for specific crops as well. Tomato ferments are great to grow tomatoes. I suggest making separate inputs for each stage of life as hormones, enzymes, co-factors etc. all will change over the life cycle of the plant. Use young plant thinnings to make an FPJ for young tomatoes. Make another from tomato plants just starting to bloom to use to induce flower growth. To get the fruit to set use a green tomato Fermented Fruit Juice FFJ from green tomatoes. Switch to ripe tomato FFJ to help fruit ripening. The pattern here is “same-same”.

If you want to be a Natural Farmer, effective & efficient, look at patterns not details.

1. Science does not yet understand microbial ecology. It’s new science and the tendency is to take it apart, not put together a holistic system. The systems approach defies the scientific method.

2. It is impossible to learn everything in one human lifetime.

3. Effectiveness is the measure of truth. Look for patterns. Test them. See the truth. Be effective & efficient. That is being a Natural Farmer, one working with nature instead of against her.

Resurrection Juice

Standard

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

Standard

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

300 Year Old Permaculture Garden

Standard

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. 

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.  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 that is 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 be composted and under-go biological transformation to be available to plants. This takes labor, time, and is not very precise.  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.