Natural Farming 101
A once boring and lifeless median in downtown Hilo now thrives with the fruits of the natural farming method. Drake Weinert, a farmer and teacher, explained how natural farming creates an environment favorable to promote beneficial fungus and microbes. The microbes create the fertility.
Natural farming adds to the diversity of methods local farmers can use to organically grow crops and livestock. It's most well-known for the no-smell, no-flies piggeries. Drake learned from Korean Master Cho Han-Kyo, who in turn studied in Japan.
Soil is the basis. One teaspoon of healthy soil contains 100 million to 1 billion individual bacteria. Microbes are practically invisible to the human eye. Fungus and microbial diversity are key to soil fertility. Let the microbes do the farming for you, your job is to create an environment favorable to microbes. Drake shared a formula to create a tea full of microbes using water, sea salt, a potato, and dirt. Add this tea to the soil with liquid fertilizer food for the microbes.
If you don't have soil, you may use the free mulch by the landfill and inoculate with the recipe to create soil. The piggeries are created with logs stacked with layer of wood chips, then innocculate with the tea. The good microbes dehydrate pig waste and dominate over the bad stinky microbes. The method also works with chickens.
Learn more at www.NaturalFarmingHawaii.net (check out extensive youtube videos and how-to tutorials); www.CGNF-Hawaii.org (nonprofit organization facilitating Master Cho’s teachings in Hawai’i). Also free potluck every 2nd Tuesday of every month @ Sweet Cane Cafe in Hilo.