Organic farming: simple,
healthy…the way to save the planet? Indeed, as our world faces an
alarming global warming crisis, more and more people are awakening to
the benefits of organic farming.
concerned for the welfare of Earth and all her inhabitants, Supreme
Master Ching Hai frequently calls for the world to embrace the practice
of organic farming.
Videoconference with Supreme Master Ching Hai and Former Philippine President Fidel Ramos Act Now! - For a More Peaceful and Safer World Taipei, Formosa (Taiwan) February 21, 2009
Supreme Master Ching Hai:
The benefit of organic farming is immense, including great advantage to
both human health and the environment. Organic farming actually
restores the topsoil and cleans the air and water supplies even. It is
even good for animals, all beings on this planet, including even trees
and land, in part because it does not use chemical fertilizer or
Now, scientific studies have found that organic
farming not only reduces energy usage and produces less CO2, which
helps lower greenhouse gases, but it actually allows the soil to absorb
even 40% of presently in the air CO2 emission. Before we even invent
any technology to reduce CO2, or before we even reduce all the cars and
transportations, if we go organic we reduce 40% of the current CO2 in
the air already, and the daily emission.
viewers, on today's Planet Earth: Our Loving Home, we are joined by one
of our Association members who is an organic farmer in South Africa.
Mr. John Lefferts has been kind enough to guide us through the basics
of organic farming, so let's go take a look!
John Lefferts Organic farmer Our Association Member from South Africa
I'm from the Western Cape, Plettenberg Bay, a place called Wittedrif.
We've been here for two years. And We had to tackle a farm that was
used as a grazing land. And We found that the land was very depleted of
goodness. And for us the most important element was to try and put back
humus compost back into the soil mulch.
is decomposed organic matter which helps plants to grow. Mulch is a
protective covering put in the soil to lessen water evaporation, to
inhibit weed growth, to keep soil temperature steady, and to enhance
the overall richness of the soil.
The soil that we have here is very clay-rich, so it requires air. And
The only way we get air into it, because it becomes very compacted with
rain, is by putting this wonderful humus with it. Obviously it starts a
whole worm population because they can breathe inside the soil. All the
microorganisms can survive. And basically that is the secret to really
growing a good product is to have very healthy soil which has got good
aeration, good drainage.
A ridge-style arrangement of the land has many advantages.
The second step is to make ridges on this land. Then we fill that with
some of the mulch to be able to get better drainage, because the soil
here, as mentioned, has been a little bit overworked. And it compacts
because it's very clay-rich. So in order to give the plants a better
drainage, what we do is we ridge it up and then we put mulch inside it.
That gets mixed and the plants get planted on top. And obviously the
healthier the soil, the better the product.
And If you look
behind me you'll be able to appreciate that the ridging in itself
creates the drainage that the plants so desperately need. In addition
to that we then cover the top of the beds with a straw. And that
obviously conserves water. It allows us only to spray twice or three
times a week instead of having to spray every day.
This is a bale of the wonderful hay that I'm talking about. And What we
do is we take this hay and we spread it not too thickly. We spread it
on the top of our ridges, as you can see, on the eggplant, in order to
So now as mentioned we put a nice layer of this straw inside,
conserving the moisture. And if you look it's so beautiful and wet and
easy to dig with your fingertips. That's how wonderful the soil
becomes. And Then you put this nice straw, or hay as we call it, around
the base of the plants to conserve water.
Strawberry cultivation is a fine example of where the use of hay is immensely beneficial.
Our strawberries are finished, but this is an interesting fact about
strawberries. They're called strawberries because when the plant throws
out little flowers and they become berries, if you don't put straw the
berries will land on the soil. And The insects and the worms and
everything else will eat it from the bottom. But when you place a nice
bed of straw, the strawberries land on it and they ripen beautifully
without insects getting hold of them, hence the word "strawberries."
we come back, Mr. Lefferts will tell us about the wonders of companion
planting. You are watching Planet Earth: Our Loving Home. Please stay
tuned to Supreme Master Television.
back to Planet Earth: Our Loving Home. Organic farming means no
chemical fertilizers or pesticides are used during cultivation and thus
the environment is spared from having to absorb these harmful unnatural
substances. Also, the soil on organic farms is able to absorb CO2 from
the air, thus helping mitigate global warming. Our Association member
in South Africa, Mr. John Lefferts, is showing us the art of organic
farming on today's show. He will now discuss the important concept of
The spray program that we have obviously does not include insecticides
or pesticides or any herbicides. We use a system called companion
planting. The companion planting allows us to combine plants, which
will help with the insects.
Because we give them something
else that will attract them or with these pungent smelling khaki bush
and marigold plants, or these strong onion plants which keep the
insects away from our produce.
Some of the examples
of companion planting would be: spring onions with strawberries,
yarrow with beans, stinging nettle amongst your spinaches, khaki bush
and marigold where all your spinach is, and tulbaghia, which is a wild
garlic plant which you plant almost all the way around your vegetables
patches. A lot of the insects don't like the pungent smell of the
Things like khaki bush and marigolds are
also planted generally all the way around your vegetable patches. We
also use things like lemon verbena, which we put one on each corner,
because that too has this wonderful pungent smell. Things like lavender
are used as well extensively in the rows to be able to detract a lot of
the insects. .
Organic farming done right means few to no insects eating the crops.
What I've noticed with having planted in this wonderfully mulched, very
healthy soil, and with moon, there are no insects. If the plant is
weak, it would naturally attract insects. So remember the secret is
very good soil and to time your planting. Obviously good water,
preparation of your soil, mulching of the ground, straw inside keeping
the water retention, all of these elements make up a very healthy
plant, and the healthier the plant is, the less insects are attracted
Lefferts (m): The
other thing that's quite vital is the type of mulch that you use. For
example, potatoes, tomatoes and strawberries love acidic mulches. These
mulches are made from pine needles. Whereas, a lot of the other plants
which are alkaline, like the leafy vegetables, spinach, lettuce, they
like the alkaline mulches. And it' amazing, the tomato tastes
completely different when you're using an acid mulch with it.
Another key element of organic farming is selecting the correct time for planting.
It's so important to follow your planting regime according to the moon
and the zodiac signs. The moon controls the tides and the gravity. So
at a full moon the water has come up to its maximum.
the first sliver of the moon starts pulling, that's when you would
plant all your leafy vegetable plants. And when the moon is pushing,
you plant your root vegetables. The reason for that is the root
vegetable follows the water or the leafy plants get water to actually
to be pulled out of the ground.
Organic foods are truly rewarding to grow and to eat!
Lefferts (m): When
you pick a spear directly off the plant, within 6 hours the sugars have
changed and this is no longer sweet and crunchy, but quite bitter
because the whole sugar composition of the plant changes. And That's
why it's important that everybody grows their own organic veg. Picking
an asparagus spear out of your own garden or a tomato or pulling a
potato out of the ground, you will never compare the taste of what
you've just pulled out of the ground to something that's traveled
extensively. And That is why it's so important to try and grow your own
produce. "Mmmm, mmm, mm" Wish you could taste this!
That sure does look fresh and full of flavor!
Finally, the difference that you will notice in picking a fresh
asparagus or picking fresh produce out of your garden is obviously
because they're so healthy. There is no substitute for healthy
vegetables. We've noticed, for our kids and our family, that having the
blessing of being able to eat our own organic vegetables, unbelievable
how our children never need doctors and antibiotics and they don't get
sick. Try it.
Lefferts' farm is flourishing with happy crops. Anyone can start
growing organic produce, no matter how small one's available space is
It's been really nice spending a little time with you talking about
organic farming. But you don't have to have a farm to do organic
plants, you can plant tomatoes in pots on your balcony, you can put
potatoes in them. You can have these shelf pots that you can plant all
your herbs. You can plant your lettuces. Try something. Just
experiment. Obviously remember it must get a bit of sun because that's
what causes the photosynthesis.
But you don't really need a
farm. You need to actually have a passion to grow your own vegetables
without insecticides, and herbicides and pesticides and chemical
fertilizers. All you need is natural products, give it a bash, try it.
It's healthy. Be Veg, Go Green. Thank you.
thank John Lefferts for all the wonderful tips on growing organic
fruits and vegetables. Not only is it fun and simple, but it is the
best way of raising food for the health of our Earth!