What is Natural Farming?
Natural Farming is Japanese traditional method for Vegetable Farming .Natural farming began as a "method of producing agricultural products without using pesticides or chemical fertilizers" advocated by Mokichi Okada. The nutrients needed to grow ordinary crops are obtained through composting from dead grass and straw, just as in the natural world, so no fertilizers or pesticides are needed. Some practitioners advocate a stoic style of farming, such as no weeding and no tilling.
Soil Preparation for Natural Farming
The most important factor that determines the success of crops grown by natural farming is the soil in which the crops are grown. Understanding the environment, especially the soil, is very important in farming, as it takes some time from sowing the seeds to harvesting the crop. Just as no athlete can express his or her skills without muscular strength, no vegetable garden or farming operation will last long without an understanding of the soil and its importance to the success of the operation.
Conditions of Good Soil for Vegetable Production
What exactly is good soil for vegetables? The first thing to know about soil is its condition, its history, its character, and what it is suitable for. If you use purchased fertilizer-free soil, it is a good idea to plant clover or other green manure along with the soil to create a soil that is closer to the natural environment over time.
Basics of soil preparation in the field｜Timing, order, tools, etc.
Time of soil preparation
When preparing soil for a field, it is important to know the wind (wind power and direction), the direction of the sun, the flow of water, and the pH of the soil. There are two main soil preparation periods, depending on the crop to be grown. The specific time to start depends on the vegetables to be harvested in spring/summer (February to March) and fall/winter (September), so be careful.
Tools that are useful for soil preparation
The following is a list of items that are useful to have when preparing soil.
- - Acid clock...Used to test the pH of the soil.
- - Shovel...Used for raising soil and making ridges. It is advisable to have an assortment of shovels of different sizes depending on the size of your vegetable garden or field.
- - Gloves...Waterproof rubber gloves for vegetable gardens are recommended. Military gloves are also inexpensive and easy to use, but are not recommended considering the possibility of getting wet or getting small particles of soil in them.
- - Boots...They do not absolutely have to be boots, and you can wear sneakers before you throw them away, but waterproof boots are better here as well.
- - Natural fertilizers, etc...For beginning soil preparation, humus, rice bran, oil cake, vinegar, etc. are used to adjust soil bacteria and pH
Basics of soil preparation in the field｜Time, order, tools, etc.
 Till the soil
Till the soil to the ground (in the field only): By replacing the soil in the upper part of the field with turnip soil, the bacteria in the soil are homogenized and activated, and the soil is brought closer to its natural state. In fields that have been continuously used, vegetable scraps are removed, and any pebbles or clods are crushed or removed.
 Add compost.
When turning the soil over, rice bran, oil cake, humus, etc. are added. This is to stimulate the activity of microorganisms such as fungi living in the soil and to promote the increase of nutrients in the soil.
Mixing a soil neutralizer to adjust the acidity level.
The acidity of the soil is adjusted together with compost. Generally, it is said that the ideal acidity of soil suitable for growing crops is around pH 6.0 to 6.5. If the value is low, the soil tends to be acidic, and if it is high, it tends to be alkaline. If the pH value is too high, the soil tends to be alkaline. If the pH value is too low, the soil tends to be acidic.
Mix in the original fertilizer
If a pre-fertilizer is necessary, add it to the soil about two weeks after the compost has been added. Natural farming does not use fertilizers, but if necessary, you can use natural organic fertilizers such as chicken manure or coffee grounds.
 Make rows.
Next, make ridges for sowing crop seeds. Generally, the direction of the ridges should be north-south. If the land is windy, it is best to place taller plants along the edges of both rows to avoid wind.
 Sowing Seeds
Determination of crops
Crops to be grown have compatibility and character. Crops that support the growth of the main crop, crops that go well with the main crop, and crops that improve soil conditions should be selected in consideration of their placement and interrelationships.
When practicing natural farming, you will be collecting seeds in your own vegetable garden. At first, we recommend using home-grown fixed seeds or native seeds that are available for sale. It is said that by repeatedly collecting seeds in the same land, they will adapt to that land.
Seeds should generally be sown before rainfall. Basically, seeds do not need to be buried deeply in the ground because they prefer moderate light. In addition to sowing seeds, there are other methods of planting using seed potatoes or baby plants.
The crop is harvested when it begins to produce moderately by regularly monitoring its condition. If you do not insist on natural farming, cut weeds to nurture the crops. It is good to try with various restrictions at first, but if you do not feel the joy of harvesting, you may not be motivated to continue.
The Basis of Home Vegetable Gardening is Soil Preparation
I hope you have understood the importance of soil preparation in the home vegetable garden from the fact that most of the explanations I have given so far refer to the soil. Determining what kind of soil is comfortable for the crops and preparing it will lead to the final harvest results. However, it is not possible to do this while checking the growth process, so the only way is to gather information in advance and create your own soil through repeated trial and error, taking the surrounding environment into consideration.
Natural farming does not pull weeds.
Weeds are the weeds that steal the nutrients from the side of crops. It is tempting to pull them out, but in fact, some natural farming methods grow crops without removing weeds. Natural farming methods that aim for a more natural environment, such as a forest, even reproduce the culling that occurs in the natural environment. The reason for this is that by letting selection take its course, the seeds that are best suited to the land will eventually remain. As the saying goes, "Let a cute child go on a journey," and it may be said that the natural farming method is a method of cultivation that does not add unnecessary steps for the convenience of humans in the natural world as well.
Adopting Natural Farming Methods in the Vegetable Garden
When incorporating natural farming into a vegetable garden, a beginner farmer may not be able to achieve the fruits of his or her labor if he or she suddenly tries to do without weeding, without fertilizers, and without any other restrictions. My personal recommendation is to start by adopting natural farming methods that you can continue without difficulty. Please keep in mind that it cannot be done overnight, so please be patient and try to find your own lifestyle and relationship with nature through repeated trial and error, as if it takes several years or decades to build up.