korean natural farming cannabis

DIY Organic nutrients: KNF

Korean natural farming is one of the most recent systems used to grow not only cannabis but all other plants organically. By using the microorganisms in your favor you can ferment the naturally occurring vegetation to make your own organic nutrients.

1. What is KNF?

KNF is a way of growing organically which imitates the processes that already exist in nature and relies on microorganisms to improve the health of the soil.

This system is widely used in all types of crops including, most recently, cannabis.

KNF (aka Korean Natural Farming) was created by Cho Han Kyu from the Janong Natural Farming Institute, it focuses on producing a fertile medium and improves the overall yields and quality of the harvest without using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.

By using naturally occurring plants and microorganisms to decompose nutrients, you can turn them into a form that the plants are able to absorb, the plants then use those nutrients and as a result, produce food which the microorganisms feed on.

2. Benefits of KNF

  • Self-sustainable system suited for small and large-scale cultivations.
  • Higher yields with fewer nutrients.
  • Increases plant health and immune system.

3. Basic Steps on how to make KNF

There are several KNF recipes which should be used in the different stages of plant growth, each one of them contributes to certain elements that are crucial to plant development and growth.

Even though the recipes are used on different occasions, they all consist of fermenting organic matter with brown sugar and are relatively cheap and easy to make.

Step 1

Collect the material you’re going to use, if it’s from nature it’s better to collect it before sunrise (when the plants are in respiration mode).

Step 2

Do not rinse the collected plant material to preserve the microorganisms on the surface and write down the weight of the collected plant material.

Step 3

Cut the plant material in half and add brown sugar equal to the weight of the material then mix well.

Step 4

Use a glass or polyethylene jar to store the plant and sugar mix, pack it tightly and cover the “mouth” of the jar with a cheesecloth, towel, or any other breathable material.

Step 5

Store the container in a well-ventilated area, far away from light and extreme cold or hot. The jar should be ⅔ full after the plants settle, if not, add more plant and sugar.

4. Fermented Plant Juice

FPJ 1 aids in plant nutrition, it is made by fermenting the shoots of growing plants in brown sugar for around 7 days, this allows all the compounds in it to be released and then used by the microorganisms in the soil.

Fermented plant juice is usually made with sweet potato shoots, bamboo, or seaweed among others but can be made with anything you have available as long as the plants you want to collect are not flowering yet and are vigorous, grow fast, healthy, and not poisonous.

Recipe Vegetative Pre-flowering Flowering
Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ) 2ml/L 1ml/L 0

FPJ can be used both as a foliar spray or to water the soil for plants, it should be mixed in a ratio of 2ml per liter in the vegetative stage and 1ml per liter in the pre-flowering stage, ideally after the sunset.

5. Fermented Fruit Juice

FFJ is basically the same as FPJ but it’s used for cannabis in the flowering stage. The process is the same as when making fermented plant juice but instead of fermenting plant tips, you will be using fruits.

We recommend fermenting banana, mango, squash, papaya, melon, grape, apple, and strawberry although you can use whatever you can as long as they’re fresh, locally grown, and free of pesticides.

Fermented fruit juice contains nutrients like potassium that increase energy levels and promotes the production of hormones which are used to increase the yields of plants in the flowering stage.

Just like when making fermented plant juice, make sure you weigh everything before cutting it into smaller pieces so you know exactly how much sugar to add, this way you avoid problems and can easily make FFJ in 7 days.

Recipe Vegetative Pre-flowering Flowering
Fermented Fruit Juice (FFJ) 0 1ml/L 2ml/L

The amount of FFJ you use in your mix depends on how long you let it ferment, obviously the longer you let it ferment the stronger it will be but a general rule is to use 1ml per liter in the pre-flowering stage and 2ml per liter in the flowering stage.

6. Oriental Herb Nutrients

Oriental herb nutrients (aka OHN 2 ) is used throughout the whole life cycle of your cannabis plant, this mixture of aromatic herbs discourages the growth of pathogenic microbes, encourages beneficial microbes.

OHN brings a lot of benefits to your crop, it not only helps prevent and fight off pests such as powdery mildew, spider mites, fungus gnats, whiteflies, and aphids but also helps your plants increase their resilience to stress factors such as environmental conditions, increases plant robustness and encourages growth.

Oriental herb nutrients are made by following the steps mentioned above but with some differences.

OHN can be made with dehydrated or fresh herbs, even though you can get away with not using all of the herbs required, we recommend using Angelica Gigas roots, Cinnamon bark, Licorice roots, Garlic and Ginger to make a foolproof OHN.

Before starting have in mind that each needs to be in separate glass jars.

If you’re using dehydrated herbs you will need to soak the dry herbs in separate in rice vinegar or beer for 2 days to allow them to rehydrate, if you’re using fresh herbs you can skip this step.

After letting your herbs rehydrate for around 2 days (or if you’re starting with fresh herbs) make sure the herbs fill 1/3 of the jar they’re in and add an equal amount of brown sugar by weight.

Now that you have added the sugar, your jar should be 2/3 full, let it rest for 5-7 days with a breathable cover like a paper towel or cheesecloth, this will allow the OHN to breathe.

Recipe Vegetative Pre-flowering Flowering
Oriental Herb Nutrients (OHN) 1ml/L 1ml/L 1ml/L

After one week has passed you will need to completely fill each jar with vodka or other liquor with more than 40% alcohol, stirring every morning with a wooden spoon for 14 days, then strain and store in separate jars, have in mind this process can be repeated up to 5 times before discarding the herbs.

Now that you have every herb extract ready to be used, you will need to mix 2 parts of Angelica extract with 1 part of Garlic, Licorice, Ginger, and Cinnamon extract, stir slightly and let rest for 6-12 months, it’s important to keep the jar loosely covered to allow the air to circulate and prevent the build-up of gases.

If your plant is stressed (from overfeeding, a bug infestation, or overwatering for example) you should use half of the recommended amount of OHN per liter to avoid stressing your plants even more. Have in mind that even though KNF it organic they’re still nutrients and using them in excess or on already stressed plants can be bad.

7. Water Soluble Calcium

Water-soluble calcium (aka WCA) is a way of providing calcium to your plants using household items. Calcium encourages a plant’s cell processes, flowering (improves yield and quality), root growth, and prevents bud rot.

This recipe can be used as a foliar spray and is a good alternative to adding crushed eggshells into the soil or other slow-release amendments.

To make water-soluble calcium you will need to roast eggshells for approximately 45 minutes until they’re slightly tan and then cover them with brown rice vinegar in a ratio of 1:10, so if you have 10g of eggshells you will need 100ml of vinegar then cover the mouth of the jar with a cheesecloth and let it rest for 7-10 days.

Recipe Vegetative Pre-flowering Flowering
Water-soluble Calcium (WCA) 0 1ml/L 2ml/L

You will see bubbles coming out of the eggshells, if you still see them after 10 days have passed, add more eggshells and repeat the process until the mixture is saturated and you can’t see any more bubbles, at this point your water-soluble calcium is ready.

WCA should be used as a light mist very early in the morning of just after the sun goes down to avoid leaf burn and allow time for absorption before it evaporates, remember than even though KNF is organic watering with a too strong solution or too often can burn your plants.

WCA should be mixed during the pre-flowering and flowering stage of your cannabis plant and should be used in combination with the other recipes to have optimal results.

8. KNF for you

As crazy as it may seem, all KNF recipes can be consumed by humans and even animals.

Maintaining a habit of consuming KNF every day is like having an extra layer on top of your immune system, you will be consuming beneficial microorganisms and bacteria which will live in a symbiotic relationship with the ones you naturally have, protecting you against malicious ones.

Have in mind that making KNF can take a couple of tries before it comes out the way it should, we recommend gathering a bit of experience before starting to consume your fermented juices, this way you’ll be able to differentiate fermentations that turned out bad and the ones that didn’t.

9. In conclusion

KNF is an organic and environment-friendly alternative to bottled nutrients, even though it can take a couple of months to be ready for use, you can effectively make your own nutrients for very cheap. Have you ever tried any of the recipes? Share your tips and tricks, feel free to leave us a comment below!

External References:

  1. Natural Farming: Fermented Plant Juice – College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. (2013).
  2. Natural Farming: Oriental Herbal Nutrient – College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. (2013).
  3. Natural Farming: Water-Soluble Calcium – College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. (2013).

KNF is a system that uses naturally occurring vegetation and relies on fermentation to produce organic nutrients not only for cannabis but for all other crops.