Choosing Plants for FPJ in KNF Part 1

Food forest
Food forest in Mele, Vanuatu

Choosing Plants for FPJ in KNF Part 1


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 put the pieces back together.

The Korean Natural Farming (KNF) system is the science of putting the pieces back together into a holistic ecological approach.

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 oncoming 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 drivers make the decision when to turn? Do they use math? Do they calculate the velocity of the oncoming car, use vector formulas, factor in the traction of each tire on each car, the effects of roadway conditions, and so on?

All the complicated math can be accurately calculated after an accident. But the driver making the turn does not do math. The driver simply makes a split second guess even though lives depend on it.

Is the driver ignoring the science? Ignoring the math? No. The driver is instead looking at the traffic and roadway conditions as a system and yet, without calculus, has enough information to make life and death decisions in a split second.

Nature is even more complicated than traffic.

Nature is quantum level complicated. Natural Farming is making decisions about growing food, just like a driver in heavy traffic, by looking at the system, not charts of fertilizer rates per area by crop.

KNF doesn’t manage growing food looking at specific nutrient feeding. The soil vitality created by KNF ensures that whatever we are growing has what it needs, when it needs it, in the correct amount. This happens due to the Soil Foundation, the microbial life and organic matter in the soil.

While largely ignoring macro nutrients, (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, N-P-K) seems complicated to those used to following the prescriptive fertilizing techniques of modern agriculture, it is actually quite simple and straight forward once the method is understood. In KNF this happens by following the Nutritive Cycle.

The Nutritive Cycle works by making fermented plant juices (FPJ) using wild aerobic fermentation. The plant materials are specifically chosen and formulated to signal and direct plant growth. For example, a ripe fruit fermentation signals plants to ripen its fruits, while the tips of fast growing vegetative plants, (picked before sunrise triggers photosynthesis in the plant) signal plants to grow lush, green, vegetative growth.

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 student practitioners bogged down in needing to know which specific species to use to apply specific nutrients, charts of which plants bio accumulate which nutrients, graphs, microscopes, and tests.

But Nature knows how to do this without any tests. And you can learn. It’s just like driving a car and turning across traffic safely. Drivers make turns using a wide view of the traffic pattern, not vector calculus. KNF focuses on the food system in a similar way.

If you are used to following fertilizer recommendations or sources of organic nutrients, take a wider focus.

If you are new to growing food this is actually a big advantage because you don’t have to let go of details you were taught were vitally important.

Step back from the trees 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. Let’s take a look at some patterns.

This series is continued.

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