Thursday, March 31, 2011

Big Healthy Vegetables, No Fertilizer

Six Pound Zucchini
Anyone still doubting Korean Natural Farming?  I saw a small zucchini last weekend but didn't harvest it.  I  had a busy week, and only got back to check this Wednesday.  OMG, just 4 days later I found this giant.  The amazing thing is this zucchini isn't pithy or seedy.  It is excellent fruit through and through.

This was grown in a greenhouse that had tomatoes in it last year. When I prepared the garden bed last year I used IMO #4 and bio-char.  Then I grew cherry tomatoes.  They grew and grew giving plenty of fruits, but eventually became so thick with tomato vines I decided to let them die.  To do this I turned off the water thinking they would wilt and perish.  No such luck.  Three months later the plants were still thriving with NO WATER.  This amazed me, and my only explanation is that the IMO's have the ability to extend the surface area of the roots so that they could get water from outside the greenhouse.

So this year I did NOT TILL.  To prep the bed I just put a thin layer of IMO#4 over the bed, a layer of chipped sugar cane, and topped that with a thin layer of grass clippings to protect the IMO's from the sun.  I planted tomatoes ( large kind) and a few zucchini plants on March 1, 2011.  It is now March 29th and the plants are cranking.  The zucchinis are harvestable (see picture) and the tomatoes have flowered and are beginning to have small fruits.  Not tilling preserves the soil structure and allows air flow deep down into the earth.  It does not disturb the micro-organisms.  This is LIVING SOIL.

My plan is to remove the zucchini plants after they show signs of getting powdery mildew, and just grow tomatoes there.  I cut off all the new shoots on my tomato plants except the terminal ends.  The plants will get very long, perhaps thirty feet or so in length doing this method.  I'll just direct them around the greenhouse like a merry-go-round.  In theory each plant should produce 2 pounds (4 fruits) every ten days.  If they perform anything like the zucchini, I should have plenty.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Eric, Rachel here (Jason's mom).
    Have you used rice bran or rice mill as a substrate for IMO 3, and if so where have you found it locally? Trying to avoid wheat as we have gluten sensitive people here. Hoping to move away from purchased amendments but not there yet.