Walking into Korean Natural Farming…

Common Mullein, Verbascum thaspus. Also known as Bullock's lungwort.
Common Mullein, Verbascum thaspus. Also known as Bullock’s lungwort.

I walk as much to see what is around me as to count steps or to wander for a specific purpose.

Lately I’ve been looking for early plants, those that have the ability to defy the weather and show up when they want to, grow quickly, and stand up to a little late winter.

So, this Saturday, February 22nd, I’m teaching a class on Korean Natural Farming (KNF) practices that is already filled to capacity. But, the walk I’ll lead after the class is open to anyone who is interested in exploring the types of locations and plants used. Be at Coogan Farm Nature and Heritage Center, 162 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic, CT 06355 at 11:00 a.m. for the walk.

This quest is spurred on by what some might consider a current phase in gardening or farming. There are a lot of sites where you can learn about Korean Natural Farming. Some of them are excellent – what I’ll be striving for here – and some simply parrot what others have said.

One critical term that keeps recurring when you talk about KNF is the word: indigenous, as in indigenous microorganisms. The micro-biologics that play an immensely important role in plant heath, growth, and nutrients. If this sounds like new age science, it is not.

Dr. Han-Kyu Cho brought these ancient practices, and some of the scientific validation of them, to today’s growing number of gardeners and farmers looking for better, sustainable growing practices. As more research is done and validated (Elaine Ingham, John Kempf, Jeff Lowenfels, Bionutrient Food Assoc., etc.) the importance of regenerating the fertility of our soil becomes more and more compelling.

The down side to this change in growing practices is that as Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “What exists now, is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing truly new on earth.” (Bible, New English Translation). Dr. Franklin H. King, a former Assistant Chief of Bureau of Soils at the Department of Agriculture, spent 9 months (February – October) in 1909, observing farming practices in China, Korea, and Japan. His book, Farmers of Forty Centuries: Or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan, outlined the need, and methods, to replenish the fertility of the soil. Dr. Liberty H. Bailey in the preface to King’s book strongly stated the case for renewing soil fertility.

And now, 110 years later we’re finally getting around to it, using Korean Natural Farming practices adapted to our local biome.

Come join me on the walk… And bring your questions, Saturday, February 22, 11:00 a.m. at Coogan Farm Nature and Heritage Center, 162 Greenmanville Ave., Mystic, CT 06355

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