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DIY Organic nutrients: Korean Natural Farming (KNF)

KNF is a cheap and simple way to use the vegetation around to grow cannabis organically!
29 September 2021
9 min read
DIY Organic nutrients: Korean Natural Farming (KNF)

  • 1. What is korean natural farming?
  • 2. Benefits of korean natural farming
  • 3. Basic steps on how to make korean natural farming
  • 4. Fermented plant juice
  • 5. Fermented fruit juice
  • 6. Oriental herb nutrients
  • 7. Water soluble calcium
  • 8. Korean natural farming for you
  • 9. Knf feeding schedule
  • 10. Knf - most common questions
  • 11. In conclusion

Korean natural farming (aka KNF) is one of the most recent systems used to grow not only cannabis but all other plants organically.


Sebastian Good provides you with a brief explanation about organic nutrients.

By using the microorganisms in your favor you can ferment the naturally occurring vegetation to make your own organic nutrients for cannabis.

1. What is Korean Natural Farming?

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.

The KNF 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.


Korean natural farming: what is knf?

KNF consists of fermenting organic matter to decompose the nutrients, making them more easily available for the plants.

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

2. Benefits of Korean Natural Farming

  • KNF is a self-sustainable system suited for small and large-scale cultivations.
  • KNF results in higher yields with fewer nutrients.
  • Increases plant health and immune system.

3. Basic Steps on How To Make Korean Natural Farming

There are several KNF recipes that 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.


Korean natural farming: adding brown sugar

Remember to always write down the weight of the plant material because you will have to add the same amount of brown sugar after.

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 cheesecloth, a towel, or any other breathable material.

Step 5

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

4. Fermented Plant Juice

FPJ1 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.


Korean natural farming: fermented plant juice

FPJ uses the compounds found in growing plants to provide the elements cannabis in the vegetative stage needs.

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 vegetation you want to collect is not flowering yet and are vigorous, grow fast, healthy, and not poisonous.


Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ)2ml/L1ml/L0


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 cannabis plants in the flowering stage. 


Korean natural farming: fermented fruit juice

FFJ consists of fermenting fruits and flowers to extract the compounds needed in the flowering stage of the cannabis plant.

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


Fermented Fruit Juice (FFJ)01ml/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 OHN2) are 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 cannabis plants increase their resilience to stress factors such as environmental conditions, increases plant robustness and encourages growth.


Korean natural farming: Oriental herb nutrients

OHN uses the aroma of naturally occurring herbs to fight off and prevent bugs and pests on cannabis plants .

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 separately in rice vinegar or beer for 2 days to allow them to rehydrate, if you’re using fresh herbs you can skip this step.


Korean natural farming: Oriental herb nutrients

OHN should be made in different jars before mixing everything into the final product.

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.


Oriental Herb Nutrients (OHN)1ml/L1ml/L1ml/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.


Korean natural farming: Oriental herb nutrients recipe

The process of making oriental herb nutrients.

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 cannabis plants even more. Have in mind that even though KNF is organic they're still nutrients and using them in excess or on already stressed cannabis plants can be bad.

7. Water Soluble Calcium

Water-soluble calcium (aka WCA) is a way of providing calcium to your cannabis 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.


Korean natural farming: water soluble calcium

Water-soluble calcium can be used as a foliar spray during the flowering stage of cannabis plants.

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.


Water-soluble Calcium (WCA)01ml/L2ml/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.


Korean natural farming: water soluble calcium

If you see bubbles still coming out after 10 days, add more eggshells and let rest until you don't see any more bubbles.

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

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. Korean Natural Farming 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.


Korean natural farming: fermented juices

If done properly KNF juices can be consumed by humans and animals, bringing great benefits to your health.

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. KNF Feeding Schedule

Just to make things easy for you, here’s a Korean natural farming feeding chart to help you out. Just have in mind that the amounts may vary according to your growing conditions and the specific strain you’re growing.


Korean natural farming: feeding schedule

KNF feeding schedule for cannabis plants.

For those of you that still have a lot of doubts about KNF and how to use it, read along for the frequently asked questions and the answers!

10. KNF - most common questions

Can I freeze the fruits to make KNF?

You shouldn’t freeze fruits or plants because freezing them kills the microbes that’ll help make your KNF, so make sure to use fresh fruit, ideally right after harvest.

My KNF smells weird, did I do it wrong?

Different KNF mixes can smell and taste different and can taste from sweet to sour so it’s not unusual for a KNF to taste bad. Learning how to identify if your KNF is good or not by the smell and taste takes time so it’s a matter of seeing how your plants react and making changes accordingly. Always remember to trust your instincts!

Can I replace brown sugar with honey?

Osmotic pressure is what pulls the juices from the plants or fruits and sugar exerted osmotic pressure but honey does not so it’s not recommended to use honey. A good tip is to add 10% salt to your fermented plant juice in case your plant material is dryer than usual.

How long are FPJ and FFJ good for?

At room temperature, approximately one week, and in the fridge for up to 6 months, but it depends on several things. Make sure to check the bubbles in the FPJ or FFJ, the bubbles will become less intense as time passes. Less intense bubbling means that the microbe population is fading so make sure to check your KNF mix daily and once it smells like alcohol, then it’s already degraded.

Should I always use brown rice vinegar?

Any type of vinegar will do the job but the better the quality, the better the final product. If you can’t find brown rice vinegar, there’s no problem in using regular vinegar but have in mind that if you want a quality KNF you should use high-quality ingredients.

11. 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 KNF for very cheap. Have you ever tried any of the recipes? Share your tips and tricks, feel free to leave us a comment below!

This post was most recently updated on September 29, 2021.

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).
29 September 2021