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Organic Farming to the Roots

By: Steve Frailey Wednesday August 10, 2016 comments Tags: organic farming, sustainable farming, compost tea, vermiculture

At Hawaiian Organic Noni, it’s more than just about selling an organic product. It traces all the way back to our roots. From the very start we strive to keep everything organic, good for our planet, and good for you! With our organic farming experience going back forty years, the techniques we use ensure that our soil is fertile, healthy, and full of nutrients. One key technique is mulching. 

Why Organic Mulching?

Mulching is one of the easiest ways to enrich soil fertility. Mulching essentially imitates the natural cycle of leaves, wood, and other plant matter building up on the ground to cover the soil. It retains moisture and creates an enticing environment for worms, the closest friend for healthy soil! On our organic farm on Kauai we make sure to continually mulch every single noni tree in our orchard. It keeps them growing and healthy, providing the trees with essential nutrients.

Try it in your own garden: Mulch around your plants and trees and you will see the positive results. You can use plant materials from around the yard like leaves, grass clippings, wood chips, even shredded paper and cardboard will work--minus the tape!    

What’s mulching like on the Hawaiian Organic Noni Farm?

Over the many decades spent farming, we’ve gone through a lot of trial and error, but we’ve finally settled on the best process for mulching our noni trees! And it’s all based on organic principles--working with nature not against it--and the desire to keep our soil as rich and fertile as possible, growing fantastic noni and extremely healthy trees!

One of our favorite things to mulch with is shredded coconut palm fronds. We mulch 10-12 inches thick around every tree in the orchard--twice a year. The plant material decomposes, becoming nutritious topsoil, picking up moisture at night and keeping the soil moist, preventing some evaporation.  

What else do you do besides organic mulching?

Mulching is the primary thing, but underneath our mulch we use a special compost material, and we spray our trees with compost tea.

Another thing you’ll find on our farm is worms. So many you can’t count them! We added worms to our orchard about ten years ago, and the results have been outstanding. Vermiculture is a technique we use for composting, but if there’s one thing that attracts worms, it’s mulch! Earth worms loosen the soil, aerate, and fertilize!

Try this in your own garden: After mulching around all your plants, sit back and wait for the earthworms to come! They are attracted to the plant matter, and it’s a great home for them. (Plus these worms are your best friends when gardening!) You’ll be able to enjoy healthier soil and healthier plants.

Having an all organic farm doesn’t just mean avoiding those nasty chemicals and fertilizers. It’s also about proactively farming with the goal in mind to provide the plants with nutritious natural fertilization, which leads to a more nutritious product in the end. And with organic principles guiding our farming, it’s better for the environment, better for the plants, better for the farming, and better for you!

Actually, as an organic farmer for over 40 years, all we have been doing is mimicking what Nature has been doing for millennia on the forest floor. Leaves fall to the ground creating mulch but also a perfect cool, dark, damp home for earthworms who make topsoil. Mulch and watch the worms come and work for you building healthy soil!

Steve Frailey

About the Author: Steve Frailey

My wife and I (Steve Frailey) moved to Kauai, Hawaii in 1982 from our organic farm in California. There were no roads, electricity, water or buildings but lots of Noni trees (Morinda Citrifolia) in our valley. We also developed a deep relationship with Noni that was growing all through our valley.  Today we run our Hawaiian Organic Noni farm, and share the gift of health with people throughout the world.