How we farm
We believe our farm should resemble a natural ecosystem. Trees and plants out in the wild grow massive without any inputs or sprays not only because they can create their own nutrients through photosynthesis. It is also because they are part of nature’s cycle. Plants are in a symbiotic relationship with diverse soil organisms that decompose and release nutrients contained in various organic compounds (dead plants and animals, etc.) for their uptake.
We are trying to mimic natural ecosystem. We grow cover crops so not to leave the soil uncovered (you rarely see bare soil in nature) and to encourage photosynthesis even between crop production, whenever possible. We also aim to increase biodiversity in the field by planting different families of crops close together (avoiding monoculture) and by planting flowers to foster beneficial insect habitat. Furthermore, we are moving away from tilling because over- tillage can destroy soil structure and microbial population in the soil.
We do not use chemical fertilizers (except fertilizers contained in purchased seeding soil mix). We need to replenish what we remove (crop harvest). We avoid chemical fertilizers because they are difficult to handle due to its intensity even in small dosages and because they do not enhance soil biology. Moreover, overapplication can cause environmental and health problems. Nitrogen and phosphorus commonly found in chemical fertilizers can leach into the ground and pollute groundwater, if not absorbed by plants. Overapplication can also harm crop quality. Instead, we use natural materials as soil amendment - plant based fermented fertilizer we make with rice bran, rice husks and soybean meal; wood ashes and charcoal; mineral rocks and powders, and marine-derived minerals. Overapplication can occur even with our natural soil amendment so we always try to apply an appropriate amount at an appropriate timing.
We do not use chemical herbicides (except chemical treatment that comes with purchased seeds). We believe we do not need them because plants that grow in a healthy ecosystem are indeed healthy and can fight off pests or diseases. However, in reality, we still struggle to keep everything pest free so we use netting as physical protection. Also by encouraging biodiversity, we are, in essence, trying to keep the balance in check so not any one type of pathogens or pests proliferate to the point they cause too much damage.
By implementing farming practice that mimics a natural ecosystem, we should be able to create an environment in which vegetables can absorb whatever and whenever they need. Ultimately, we believe we can therefore bring you more nutrient-dense and tastier vegetables. In agriculture there are always new findings so we will continue exploring a better farming method.