Chad Sentman

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Recent posts by Chad Sentman


00:51 Jocelyn: Again we have here Paul Wheaton of, and he now has Paul Wheaton... What is your blog's website name?

01:05 Paul: I'm just using and abusing WordPress I think and you know what it might change, there were some people that were saying I should put my blog there and really I was just putting it there so I could find a place to stick the Podcast stuff but instead I believe; if I remember correctly, it's

01:27 Jocelyn: That's what I'm recalling too. Again we're doing a Podcast from the road as where travelling now to Coquille, Oregon, we made a stop in Dexter, Oregon and got video footage of Rick Valley at Lost Valley Educational Centre. Anyway I'm Jocelyn Campbell of and Paul Wheaton also has Paulwheaton12, a YouTube channel where he's got over eighty YouTube videos. So we're doing Podcast number four.

02:03 Paul: Is it number four? I'm glad you're keeping track because I already forgot.

02:09 Jocelyn: Well you're driving so you're entitled to not have your full wits about you so I'm trying to help fill in the gaps while you're driving.

02:17 Paul: This is a demonstration of your awesome accounting skills, you can count to four. I went one too many.

02:30 Jocelyn: So as we mentioned at each of these Podcasts, we're taking suggestions for Podcasts out of the Tinkering Forum at and we're requesting links to  the different calls to bring staff to help spread the word about living more sustainably, living more frugally, living more self-sufficiently and today's topics is?

03:00 Paul: Diatomaceous Earth, so that would be the link for today too that I want to get people to do and when we ask for a link maybe it's like if you've got a blog or a website that's the best but if you don't have that, giving a link onto a forum is probably the next best and then after that putting it on your Facebook wall thing that's public but really a link from anywhere that you might have access to on the mighty Internet that is just grand but that's the thing we're looking for; Diatomaceous Earth source today, oh and I should say also, the link should say Diatomaceous Earth and of course you go to so you can get the exact spelling and then it should link to the article which I believe is I think.

03:58 Jocelyn: Good and we're going to talk about what Diatomaceous Earth is; it doesn't look very earthy, it's a white powder it looks more like flour almost.

04:09 Paul: Yeah kind of off white and it has a weird texture to it like if you stick your hand into flour actually it is really kind of similar to the flour, probably feels a little bit more sticky or a little bit more scratchy than flour when you rub it between your fingers.

04:29 Jocelyn: So we're going to... As we were reviewing the different key points Paul has a very thorough article out on about the uses and what it is and we're going to just briefly touch on most of those in today's Podcast and as we're making the list Paul was wrapping up the list by saying he thought no homestead should be without it.

04:57 Paul: Right I think every homestead needs to have at least ten to maybe fifteen pounds of Diatomaceous Earth on hand a day at a time and you know the stuff is already millions of years old so it's not like you have to worry about it spoiling or anything. I know that here in the Pacific Northwest the place I like to get it is from *Azure Standard* but I mean like a lot of people might not know about Azure or they might find it a little wonky to try that out. I got a new source and for years now I've had a link to stuff that I found that was really good on Amazon and a link from the article but just a few days ago I got a new source and we'll talk more about that later as we get into the talking with the crystalline silica content. I think that the place to really start with it though is; why the hell do you want it at all? I'd say that the number one reason to have it is that it's a general insect control that you can eat and in fact you do eat it. Anybody who eats grains, eats it, it might even be in other foods too but in the old and mouldy days they use a stick these nasty pesticides in with the grains that they stored in the grain silos; I know because I used to drive the wheat trucks and as we would drop off our load these guys would throw this smelly pink stuff at us and now they've gotten rid of that and they use Diatomaceous Earth.
The Diatomaceous Earth is far more effective than any other insecticide because they can't build resistance to it. The way the Diatomaceous Earth works is that... Well and in fact this part I've heard from so many different sources, so many different things and I believe it actually does two different things so I'm going to go with what I think it does and that is, it's actually kind of sharp for insects; for us it's totally fine but for insects it's kind of sharp and it actually cuts and it gets caught between the joints of their exoskeleton and cuts in more, it also helps to kind of scratch off... It's kind of abrasive so it helps to scratch off their waxy outside coating and then since it’s a dessicant, meaning that it dries things out, it actually kind of turns bugs into little bug jerky, so they're all dried out and crispy inside because most of their water needs are met through humidity in the air and this thing kind of screws that all up. So I'd say it's primary function is as a general insect killer, I don't even want to use the word insecticide because it's not a chemical at all and to me when I hear the word insecticide I think I think chemical.

08:04 Jocelyn: So if we eat it in gains why do we end up eating it in grains?
08:09 Paul: So now when we go and we take the grain to the grain silo, they dump gobs of it in with the grains and so it's already there and there's also different grades of Diatomaceous Earth and of course the stuff that they dump into the food is food-grade Diatomaceous Earth and so that the grade of Diatomaceous Earth that has a very low crystalline silica content. To qualify as food-grade I'm pretty sure it has to have less than one percent of crystalline silica and there's a lot of people who are familiar with the stuff that the Diatomaceous Earth is used for swimming pools as a filter and that's stuff has been baked and when it does that it turns to like seventy percent of crystalline silica and that stuff is dangerous. If you powder the air with it and starts breathing it in, it could lead to cancer and other problems so don't be fooling with that stuff; don't touch that. In fact the Amazon links that I have are to Diatomaceous Earth that has a content of crystalline silica at 0.5 percent and I tried to talk to the manufacturers a little bit about their crystalline silica content level and I really didn't get very far and so I just kind of let it go, 0.5 percent was the best I could find anywhere on the Internet by far; I found a lot of one percent so there's only one place where it's 0.5. So it's like "well okay, I was kind of hoping for something even lower but oh well."
Then a few days ago I found a source where I visited with a guy on the phone for a while and he was saying that the guarantee is to be less than 0.5 percent and they're usually at 0.1 to 0.2 percent and he and I talked a great length about the different Diatomaceous Earth mines and how this stuff was by far the best in the world, there is no better and I think a lot of his business is with people who buy it and they intentionally eat cups of it; not just like it ends up being in their grains are something but they actually go like "oh I want to eat a third of a cup of it today, I want to eat a third of a cup per meal today" and I mean they ingest large quantities of it and I've heard of this and it's very popular among the crowd where it's like they're really bonkers about longevity, they want to live to be more than one hundred years old and they eat a lot of this stuff and I have tried to read it several times and it has something to do with it having the right kind of silica in it and it's like a building block for cells and bones and all kind of things and it's a critical component and it's like this really good Diatomaceous Earth apparently is like just the right stuff.

11:32 Jocelyn: And that's not really what your article on rich soil is about, it isn't about people's use of it even though that's the kind of Diatomaceous Earth; sometimes you call it D.E. for short, it’s the kind that is the food grade and that people could eat but you're recommending using it to help get rid of pests right?
11:57 Paul: Dominantly yes and my point in going down that path was to make it clear how safe it is, that it's actually has a variety of health benefits for mammals while it's horribly deadly to insects. One of the people at took some Diatomaceous Earth and put it into a jar along with some fleas and the fleas were dead in minutes and this reminds me before I forget, one of the important things when you use D.E. is, use lots of it. Use gobs, don't be bashful, don't be shy, in fact my article 'Ants and Aphids on my Apple Tree' I started off trying to use D.E. and it wasn't effective so I tried a bunch of other things and then I ended up coming back to the D.E. and then I used lots of it and it worked great and the thing is if you need like a fifty pound sack, if you go to the right source; if you go to Azure Standards, I think a fifty pound sack is something like fifteen bucks.

13:10 Jocelyn: And I just want to interject that it's such a fine, light powder that fifty pounds is a lot.
13:18 Paul: Yeah. I think if any of you get some you should probably get ten pounds, don't fool around with the five pound stuff get ten pounds, it last forever but I imagine that once you do... If you've got a homestead; if you've got twenty acres and you start using this stuff, I think that you're going to end up burning through ten pounds in a year or so maybe two years and you will be really glad that you got it. I know that a lot of farmers will feed it to their animals as a form of parasite control which is always going to bother me a little bit because I kind of think the key is that once it gets wet it doesn't work, you've got to keep it dry for it to be effective and then how can it be effective then if it's inside the gut of an animal and so I don't fully understand that. However, people have been reporting awesome stuff with it and like the animals just become phenomenally healthy after being a little on the ill side of feeding it to them and they're also doing sequel parasite counts and they're showing dramatic improvements so it's definitely worth it. Now I did after writing the article, I did get a copy of the book 'The Diatomaceous Earth' by Tui Rose and I read it and wow, not only did it confirm everything that I had researched for years but it went into a lot of details of a lot of other stuff that I never even knew about Diatomaceous Earth. It's being used as a cleaner, as abrasive agent, it's amazing as a body health kind of a thing and apparently it does amazing things when you powder yourself with it when you're having certain kinds of issues and the list just goes on and on the stuff is like a miracle thing of some kind. I don't know how to express, I do think it's like... I know that for a lot of problems on the farm, the first thing that pops into my head is "I bet Diatomaceous Earth will fix this." It's like duct tape! That's what it is, it ought to be on The Red Green Show.

15:58 Jocelyn: There you go.
16:00 Paul: Yeah duct tape. If the women don't find you handsome they should at least find you handy so that means you better have Diatomaceous Earth with you.

16:12 Jocelyn: So it's effective against fleas and aphids you mentioned that right?

16:16 Paul: Oh yeah and well not aphids; I don't know about anything about it; ants though because it was ants and aphids. The ants basically heard the aphids and then if you've got like an aphid or something that eats aphids, you can't get it anywhere near the aphids until you get rid of the ants. So really usually what happens is that if you just get rid of the ants then the aphids will go away because the aphid's natural predators will come in because you know those aphids are sucking the sugar out of the plant and so they taste like little pieces of candy so then along come all these Lady Bugs and they love candy, they'll eat aphids like crazy but bed bugs; nothing works better against bed bugs than Diatomaceous Earth, nothing comes close and for fleas, I've got my big 'Flea Control' article. Nothing works as good as Diatomaceous Earth and fighting fleas. There are a couple of things that have been very interesting and I'd like to conduct more experiments and there could be more fun, more scientifically that Diatomaceous Earth and because with Diatomaceous Earth, you've got to leave it on for a while with fleas you could out last their life cycle but for the most part, Diatomaceous Earth is a number one for grasshoppers, insect sprays, it's great for a chicken dust bath because chickens get mites on them and then they'll give themselves dust baths to get the mites off of them. So Diatomaceous Earth inside where the dust is for their dust baths, that's awesome stuff that really helps them a lot.
18:06 Jocelyn: I used Diatomaceous Earth to get rid of ants in my kitchen because I had tried what I thought where the less toxic ant traps; they were Borax Ant Traps and I swear the ants were just eating that and having fun, the Borax wasn't doing anything and I also moved a flower pot outside my kitchen window and the ant hill was under the flower pot and I saw the woodpeckers come and eat all the ants but I still had ants in my kitchen until I put Diatomaceous Earth around the edges of the floor boards where they were coming in and I haven't had them since.

18:44 Paul: I think an important thing with Diatomaceous Earth and with Borax is I don't... I would not Borax with all these situations, I think Borax is a useful tool for the tool box but when it comes to insect control Borax is almost never the solution. Diatomaceous is almost always better and still Borax is toxic, it's just a low toxic thing, a low toxicity item but in this case it's almost always used incorrectly. It's always used in a way where you get to experience the toxicity of it; don't do it, stay away but Diatomaceous Earth and Borax both are generally used by folks in an incorrect way and the correct way is to keep in mind that it's not a bait, the insects don't like it and they will avoid it as opposed to a bait that's like "oh this seems like the stuff, give me some of that" and then it's got some kind of toxic element to it. For ants if you know the path that they're on, just a little bit where their path is will usually do the trick. They put ten steps, fifteen steps into it and they've got enough on them that they're goners and that's all you need. I have seen it a couple of times, I've fiddled with it a couple of times when I see ants in the area I just put a little bit down in that little area and they're gone within an hour but it's not like you put it someplace and hope that they'll still come to it, you've got to get it on them and make sure that you get it on them.

20:39 Jocelyn: You told me about that experiment someone on did with putting the fleas in a jar and I've been using Diatomaceous Earth in my place for fleas not very successfully because I wasn't consistent enough with it and so I put some fleas in a jar with Diatomaceous Earth but I had Diatomaceous across half of the bottom of the jar, half with the D.E. on the bottom half totally clear and the fleas did stay away from the D.E. and they stayed hopping around on the clear side of the jar just fine for a while, it wasn't until you made them go through the D.E. then they were dead and they were dead almost instantly after getting in the D.E. but it made a big difference; you had to have the whole surface covered where they were going to go instead of just hoping they'd fall in it.

21:41 Paul: With the flea stuff that you had at your house that was a long road but they are gone and I do think it was a big part of the D.E. but you were uncomfortable with the idea of going full D.E. and so it's like "alright, we won't do that" and so it was just slower; it was really slow, it was fun but then it was just all on the edges and stuff and the thing is that if you give them a place where they can go without it, they'll go there, they'll go hangout there instead and you know in time they'll probably accidentally hopped on to the D.E. once in a while but you got to be patient then and they could still keep reproducing forever but that's another topic for another day is talking about the flea control stuff, the flea life cycle and things of that nature. All right I think we've covered quite a lot here what else is on the list there?

22:53 Jocelyn: I think you covered just about all of it, oh the other pieces you want to cover are the unwarranted fears with using D.E. which is mostly well I'll let you go into that and then also it can... I experienced it can clog the vacuum and that's not a fear, that's just a mitigation.

23:17 Paul: Yeah you're going to have to have a kind of... And then that's another thing too, for fleas with vacuuming is a great way but you've got to put a little bit of Diatomaceous Earth in your vacuum first but if you've got these vacuums with the fancy pants filters on them and stuff that will filter out little teeny tiny bits, well D.E. is a little teeny tiny bit so it's going to filter it and once it filters it and you get a whole lot of it, well be prepared to be able to change your filter a lot and also hopefully you've got some kind of set up where you can wash it or something like that. Imagine what's going to happen if you spilled flour on the ground, if you spilled like a couple pounds of flour and then you took the vacuum to it, well it's going to also clog up your filter the same way. There are a lot of people that are all like "oh no D.E. is dangerous; you get in the air and you get it in your lungs and you're going to die." That's got a little bit of truth to it for the pool grade great stuff but not for the food grade stuff. The food grade stuff, there's people that have worked their entire lives in Diatomaceous Earth mines and have never had any health problems; no cancer, no nothing like. Now there are also people that have worked in the food grade Diatomaceous Earth factories that have a lot of problems; but that is where you’re taking the Diatomaceous Earth and you're feeding it and getting more of that crystalline silica stuff.

24:57 Jocelyn: Alright so on one other piece of the notes we wanted to talk about what Diatomaceous Earth is and we've covered that pretty thoroughly. You might discuss a little bit it is fossilized critters of a kind right?

25:13 Paul: Yeah and so they're actually called Diatoms and at the bottom of my article there was somebody who saw the article and she works as a scientist monkeying with Diatoms and documenting them and so she took a whole bunch of pictures of living Diatoms of today and so those are on the website. She gave me permission to post them up there, I've given her full credit, there's even a picture of her up there collecting samples but the Diatomaceous Earth is actually the fossilized remains of Diatoms millions of years old and so you'll get to these places where there used to be million years ago lake bottoms or something and they were just full of Diatom critters and all the things lined up just right so that the Diatoms were fossilized by the tons. Apparently there is... It's not like... I'd say it is a limited resource but it's pretty massive; my impression is anyway.

26:27 Jocelyn: We also wanted to talk about the different uses for Diatomaceous Earth and we talked about how it's put in flowers to help kill any bugs that might get in the grains or in grain silos and so it ends up in our flour that we eat. We talked about people actually eating it as a health thing and we talked about using it for bugs and we didn't talk so much about using it as a desiccant except how that acts against bugs but there's a homesteading use as using it as a desiccant as well.

27:02 Paul: Well as far as saving seeds I mean you want to keep your seeds dry when you store them and so putting a little Diatomaceous Earth in your seed packet is very helpful. From a homesteading perspective a lot of people put Diatomaceous Earth in a five gallon bucket and fill it with their home harvested grain and they'll in some Diatomaceous Earth with grains. I'm not sure where else on the homestead I can think of other than as insect control.

27:40 Jocelyn: I think we've covered everything, you already at the beginning talked about the updated source links in your article and the places to get it so that you're getting the kind with the lowest silica.

27:55 Paul: Crystalline silica.

27:57 Jocelyn: Crystalline silica.

27:59 Paul: Right because my understanding is that with Diatomaceous Earth is like a major component of it is silica but it's like the good kind and what you want to do is you want to minimize the bad kind and that would be the crystalline silica. Does that make sense?

28:18 Jocelyn: Yes. We’re at about half an hour for this Podcast.

28:25 Paul: Sweet because the exit is not that far away and you know I'm worried that we're going to miss the exit so we got to strategize around that.

28:35 Jocelyn: Right so this Podcast is a little different, we are doing it on the road as we're visiting all kinds of cool eco people and Paul has been driving and I've been trying to help hold together the topics and this was Podcast number four. Again let us know what Podcast you want to hear about at the Tinkering Forum on and Paul has a promotion running for people who push links of any of his stuff out to that's also...

29:10 Paul: In theory people are going to listen to this Podcast maybe a year down the road and it then if you want to be involved in that promotion it'll probably be over in and it sucks to be you. You should've been here a year ago. So again make the link to the Diatomaceous Earth article and if I get lots of links to my stuff, I'll be a very happy guy and I'll make more Podcasts. So I think that's it, you want to do the grand finale?

30:00 Jocelyn: It's got to be you.

30:02 Paul: It's got to be me? Okay, alright if you like this sort of thing and I know you do, come on out to the Forums at where we talk about non-toxic techniques, homesteading and permaculture all the time.
I suppose the question is about crafting with bones, but my first thought was soil fertility.

Bone meal, bone char, water-soluble Calcium Phosphate, biodynamics, etc.

My next thought was nutrition, bone broth, and so on.

I'd need a serious excess of bones before my mind got around to handcrafts.
3 weeks ago
Just that I understand correctly:

The market is digital, but the products might not necessarily be? I saw a post for someone selling a sprayer.

Anybody can develop a product, put it up for sale here, and other people can sell that product as an affiliate?

Is there a vetting process for products? Other than the affiliate commission, is there an "empire tax" on other people's products?
3 weeks ago

paul wheaton wrote:

There is a per-podcast expense for processing and stuff.

Can you elaborate? If I were to start a podcast, what expenses would I have?

Also, in the recent podcasts, you've mentioned several projects that run in the red. From memory, I think you mentioned the podcasts, gapper program, boots program, RMH innovators event and/or PDC/ATC/Schmoozaroo...

Not to pry, but what projects do you have in the black that keep all these other projects afloat?

paul wheaton wrote:

Jason Smith is wading through the videos and editing them.  I am giving him a healthy slice of the patreon income in exchange for his work.   But he can just help a little. 

I would really like to get somebody that lives here full time:

How does the Patreon sharing aspect work, to avoid the "obligation is poison " aspect of paying people?

I've got a guy who produces HOURS of YouTube content, filming seminars he teaches. He uploads the entire video file, including 30 minute+ segments where the students split into groups and the camera microphone doesn't pick up anything distinguishable, and the camera lens can only see the empty side of the room, or maybe the back of someone's T-shirt.

I told him that editing the videos would make them use less of my data plan, and he agrees, but has no time or interest in doing it himself.

If he does the filming and I do the editing, does Patreon allow us to set a split payment, maybe by percentage?
The technique described here as the Three Finger Test is similar to (or perhaps the very same as) a test described in the podcast review of the Farmstead Meatsmith workshop:

Chad Sentman wrote:I would be very interested if there were efforts made to persuade this woman, not just through debate or sending her this video series, but by challenging her to spend a winter with one, perhaps something akin to the $10,000 bet between Paul Ehrlich and Julian Simon, or the similar $10,000 bet between Matthew Simmons and John Tierney.

I just listened to the recent podcasts about reaching critical mass, about Ernie's frustration, as well as Paul's frustration that Rocket Mass Heaters aren't in the mainstream, that there's so much disbelief over the claims of efficiency, etc.

The suggestion was made to lie about the efficiency by severely understating it, so that people would be more willing to believe.

As I listened, I convinced myself that the way forward is a highly publicized $10,000 bet. Or similarly, something like the X-prize.

Offer a relatively large sum of money to whomever can build a working RMH and either set a new record in efficiency (in the X-Prize model) or to whomever fails at achieving a set low level of efficiency, like 30% more efficient than conventional (in the $10,000 bet model).

Have people build an unfuckupable RMH model according to very detailed specifications, have it inspected by someone who knows RMHs and how they should function to ensure the quality of the build and control for cheating, and test fire it under optimal conditions.

Set whatever stipulations you like to ensure that the bet is a sure thing. Charge an entry fee so people have skin in the game.

You will generate interest and publicity, hundreds, perhaps thousands of RMHs will be built, and perhaps critical mass will be reached quite quickly. There may even be a way to augment the PR side by challenging someone famous like Al Gore or Elon Musk.

I see a lot of upsides, any downsides?
1 month ago
Stick with me, in case you think I'm overthinking this.

My son recently started playing a game on the iPad called Little Alchemy, which he enjoys a lot. Players start with the four primal elements, earth, air, fire, and water, and must combine them to create new elements.

For example:
fire + air = energy
fire + water = steam
fire + earth = lava
lava + water = obsidian
Lava + earth = volcano
earth + earth = pressure

And so on. Each new element unlocks further elements and more complex combinations of two elements until eventually you get to formulas like:

corpse + electricity = Frankenstein
sword + electricity =light saber, + human = Jedi, + lava = Darth Vader

And so on.

*nerd alert* You could make a sort factor tree where:
perfume = alcohol + rose
Rose = flower + love
flower = plant + garden
plant = rain + earth
rain = water + cloud
cloud = air + steam
steam = water + fire

And then further reduce each of the other elements (alcohol, love, garden) down to their core elements earth, air, fire, and water, until eventually you could create a mathematical formula using only those four to create perfume.

As a game, I really appreciate how it visually combines ideas to create other representative concepts and "explain" to kids how certain inventions came about.

As I try to help my son discover new combinations in the game, I catch myself thinking about whether concepts related to permaculture can be explained or described so simply:

wood + soil = Hügelkultur
shovel + level = contour swale
Aquaponics - electricity = chinampa
Fire + air pressure + stone = RMH

The point is not accuracy, but simplicity. How many concepts can you explain with as few words as possible?
1 month ago

"Maintenence Solution" (for whatever reason abbreviated as SES) = OHN + FPJ + BRV

Some people dislike the notion of pre-portioning Maintenance Solution as it is something of a shortcut from the prescribed recipes, and the alcohol from the OHN can affect the livelihood of the microbiology in the FPJ and BRV.

Soil prep = SES + FAA + SW + LAB
Seed prep = Soil prep - 1/2 LAB
Leaf stage = SES + FAA
Flower stage = SES + WCP
Fruit Stage = SES (with FFJ instead of FPJ) + WCA

At each stage where FPJ is involved, it is best to use an FPJ made from that stage, from that plant. This is especially true for grapes and citrus, which should be used exclusively for grapes and citrus respectively.  For example, in the leaf stage of a strawberry plant, use an FPJ from strawberry leaves, in the flower stage use an FPJ from strawberry flowers, in the fruit stage, use an FFJ from strawberries.  If, for example, you don't have an FPJ from strawberry flowers, try an FPJ from the same stage from a different, similar plant.  Matching the stage is more important than matching the plant, except in the cases of grapes and citrus, were matching both is important.

Some people dislike the notion of pre-portioning Maintenance Solution as it is something of a shortcut from the prescribed recipes, and the alcohol from the OHN can affect the livelihood of the microbiology in the FPJ and BRV. Also, SW and LAB should be added as needed, in the proper amounts, but CAN be added at each stage.

With the exception of IMO and SW, every KNF input derives from human food and is non-toxic. Even IMO and SW are probably fine for you to consume, if that's your thing.  The inputs are intended to boost plant and soil fertility and health, but in addition to being non-toxic, they all taste delicious, and many people use KNF inputs in the kitchen as well as in the field.


Although I started my journey with LAB, it is probably far easier to begin with FPJ/FFJ.

1. Harvest plant material (ideally before sunrise) and put it into a container with a lid.
2. Whatever the weight of your harvested material, add the same amount of brown sugar.

That's basically it. You can use anything. If you use leaves, roots, stems, flowers or UNRIPE fruit, it's considered an FPJ, if you use RIPE fruit, it's an FFJ.

If you want, you can lightly massage the sugar into the plant material, but it's not really necessary. Just wait.  The dryness of the sugar will pull the liquid content of the plant material directly through the cell walls through osmosis.  After probably less than half a day, the plant material will be swimming in a pool of its own juice, although one batch I tried took closer to two weeks.

I was delighted to discover that this is exactly the same recipe that Pascal Baudar recommended for making Green Pinecone Syrup in his book about brewing fermented drinks.

This is also essentially the same recipe as FAA, except instead of using plant material, you use animal material, usually fish, heads and guts included.

Put it in a container, add equal weight brown sugar, and wait.  The sugar pulls the FAA out of the fish and you have a nice liquid nutrient. 

Once the liquid is extracted, wait a week or two before straining it off into another container (like a bottle, for example). Don't throw away the plant material.  Refill the original container with the plant material leftovers with water, and it will turn into a delicious, wonderful vinegar. In a pinch, these vinegars can be a substitute for BRV. Not perfectly ideal, but doable. best recommended substitute seems to be Banana vinegar, made with the whole banana and peel.

WCA is simple to make.
Keep the shells from about a dozen eggs. Mash them up and put them into a dry skillet on a medium heat.  Stir the egg shells and keep breaking the pieces smaller.  As the egg shells become slightly browned from the heat of the skillet, blow gently to remove the egg membrane, similar to how you might blow into a bowl of amaranth seeds to separate them from the chaff. Once you are membrane-free and all the egg shell pieces are nicely browned, put them into a container and add vinegar SLOWLY. The chemical reaction will be a bit turbulent at first. A few times a day, or at least once a day, bump the jar to see if there is still bubbling activity. If nothing happens, try adding more egg shell pieces. After about two weeks, you can strain off the pieces of egg shell and the liquid is your WCA.

WCP is similar, but instead of using egg shells, you use charred bones. Apparently bones from birds aren't as good as bones from mammals or fish.  Put them on the grill and cook them until they are black.  Drop them in vinegar and wait a few weeks, then strain them off. The leftover vinegar is WCP. It will taste and smell like a sort of sweet and sour sauce. Vinegary tang mixed with smoky BBQ flavor.

SW should be diluted 30:1. This is enough to set the trace minerals free. It also is approximately the same salinity as your blood.  If for whatever reason the marine microbiology are unimportant to you or seawater is difficult to come by, you can still get the nutrient boost by using sea salt. for every liter of water, add 1 mg of sea salt.

OHN is the most complicated, most expensive input of them all. It also takes the longest to produce, though technically, you could be up and running after two weeks.

You will need six jars (or containers with lids), AND six MORE jars with double the capacity of the first six.

OHN is made from exactly five herbs/spices: Angelica Root, Licorice Root, Cinnamon, Ginger, and Garlic.  Angelica Root has a double portion, which is why you need six jars of each size.

Each jar starts out as a sort of FPJ, but finishes as a tincture.

AR, LR and C are considered dry ingredients, and Gi and Ga are "wet" ingredients.

The first step is to hydrate the dry ingredients. Add them to their respective jars (the smaller ones) and add beer until the volume is about 1/2 capacity and wait a day.

Next, like in the FPJ recipe, add sugar to all jars. In the case of Gi and Ga, this is exactly like the FPJ process.  In the case of the two AR jars, the LR jar and the C jar, since they have beer inside, add sugar until the liquid surface is about 66-75% capacity. This is the fermentation phase, and lasts one week.

After the fermentation phase comes the extraction phase.  Add vodka to all jars until they reach about 90-95% capacity.

Stir all six jars clockwise once a day for two weeks.  After two weeks of stirring every day, you can pour off 1/3 of the liquid into the larger jars.  This is the first of five extractions.

Top off the jars with fresh vodka, and begin again, stirring every day for two weeks. Pour off 1/3 and replace with fresh vodka. This is the same for extractions 2, 3, and 4.

After the fourth extraction, replace the poured-off portion with fresh vodka and again stir clockwise every day for two weeks.  For the final extraction, pour off all the liquid, not just 1/3 of it.

In the video, he also uses Turmeric. Don't.

2 months ago
Now that I have acquired a bit more knowledge and experience about methods of Korean Natural Farming, I'd like to share a bit of what I've learned in the meantime with those of you who are as unfamiliar with the subject as I was a few months back.

In my mind, the centerpiece of Korean natural farming is the nutritive cycle theory. The idea behind it is, you give the plants what they need, when they need it, in the appropriate amounts.

The comparison can be made with human nutrition. Even if you wanted to, it would not be possible for you to consume today all the nutrients you need for the rest of your life.  Your nutrients must be supplied to you in the appropriate amounts several times daily. Additionally your body has different nutritional needs based on the various stages of life you encounter from birth until death. 

If you see a baby which is very thin, it's a good indication that something is wrong nutritionally.  A fat baby is a healthy baby.

However if you see a fat teenager, that's also an indication that something is wrong nutritionally.  And as a child grows older, it should be growing taller and thinner.  They should be developing skeletal structure and muscular strength. As they enter puberty their body has again developed a need for a different nutritional profile. Their body begins changing into a fully fertile adult.

And when an adult female becomes pregnant, her body imposes a whole new set of nutritional demands.

In the same way, plants have different nutritional needs in each stage of life, whether they are putting out leaves, roots, flowers, or fruit.  To meet these nutritional needs, we observe the plants, but feed the soil microorganisms.

That is the essence of the nutritive cycle theory.

At each stage of plant development, there are different formulas for solutions comprised of a handful of inputs, each with their own recipes. It is all very precise and specific, but collectively, is a very elegant system.

At the core of each formula are the same three inputs, which are Fermented Plant Juice (FPJ), Oriental Herbal Nutrient (OHN), and Brown Rice Vinegar (BRV). (When the plant is in the fruiting stage, replace FPJ with FFJ, or Fermented Fruit Juice, which is the same recipe as FPJ but made specifically from fruit.)

FPJ is concentrated plant food, containing all the nutrients, growth hormones and enzymes from the original plant.

OHN is plant medicine, compromised of five specific ingredients which are all anti-pathogenic.

BRV is a stimulant and activator.

These three together are sometimes called Maintenance Solution, the idea being that if your plant doesn't indicate a specific need, these three inputs are sufficient as a sort of irrigation, fertilizer and pesticide, all made from non-toxic, human food-based, inexpensive materials you probably already have in your kitchen.


I once heard Maintenance Solution compared with a simple salad made from a few ingredients. What breaks up the monotony of eating the same salad every day is mixing in a different flavor of salad dressing each time.

If Maintenance Solution is the salad, then the three options for salad dressing are Fish Amino Acid (FAA), Water Soluble Calcium Phosphate (WCP), and Water Soluble Calcium (WCA).

FAA is what makes the baby plant fat and leafy, producing biomass from the biological building blocks.

WCP is what makes the teenager plant tall, thin, and strong, adding structure and ensuring that it is able to carry the weight of the next generation.

WCA helpful in the production of fruit.


We've talked about LAB already so I won't go into it here, except to say that it is biologically active and very useful for restoring and maintaining balance and order in the microbiome, something like the police or national guard do for humans. A little goes a long way, but too much can be problematic.


For trace elements and minerals, KNF prescribes diluted Sea Water (SW). If you think of minerals in terms of a supply chain, you might say that all (or most) minerals find their origin in volcanoes, and that over time, various processes like the flow of wind, water, digestion, and so on, the minerals get distributed across the earth. Eventually they find their way into our waterways and end up in the ocean.

Not everything gets evenly distributed, but they all start and end in the same place, which is why garden supply stores sell products of volcanic origin like rock dust, as well as products of oceanic origin like kelp meal.  They have a broader spectrum of minerals than other soils and ecosystems.

One problem is that the minerals aren't always in a plant-available form.

In the case of sea water, trace minerals such as manganese, boron, molybdenum, and so on have been ionically-bound to salt molecules in the ocean. My understanding is that by diluting the sea water, these minerals are released from those salt molecules and become plant-available.

Additionally, there seems to be benefits not only from mineral nutrients, but also the unique biological profile of micro organisms in the sea water. It's a bit like the "edge-effect" in that, the highest biodiversity and the most interesting things occur where two systems interact.

In my next post, I will go into more detail on the recipes for the Korean Natural Farming Inputs and the amounts of each needed to make the formulas. In the meantime, I'd be happy to discuss or answer questions.
2 months ago