Korean Natural Farming Water-Soluble Calcium

Taylor and I are looking to build Rooftop Ecologies.  In these ecologies as in all ecologies the waste product of organism is food for another organism within the network. It’s one of ZERI’s  (Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives) core principles. What it amounts to in our case is the waste stream we divert through our system should be organic. The organisms that use things from this waste stream should utilize it to make things and provide services to biodiversity, any waste they issue post processing should be food for something else so that in the end bad things go in but nothing bad comes out the other end.

Korean Natural Farming Techniques shows how to use eggshells (a waste product) to improve the health of the plants we will grow on rooftops and down the walls of buildings.  Some of these plants will also be fruit bearing. It’s something you can do with the eggs you get from the chickens we’ll have on the roof.  It’s just another way to turn what most people regard as rubbish into gold. Now all I have to do is figure out how to make the vinegar.

Here’s page 133 of the Natural Farming handbook:

Calcium contributes to the better utilization of carbohydrates and protein; it is also a major element in forming a cell membrane; and enables smooth cell division. Calcium also bonds with organic acid to rid the body of harmful substances. Calcium prevents the overgrowth of crops, hardens the fruit, prolongs the storage period, promotes crop absorption of phosporic acid and helps crops accumulate nutrients.

How to make WCA

1. Collect eggshells and take the inside skin off.

2. Pound the shells.

3. Lightly roast the shells to remove any organic substances that can rot.

4. Put the roasted shells in a container filled with brown rice vinegar (BRV). The eggshell fragments will move up and and down  in the solution emitting bubbles until all the calcium is dissolved into the solution. When there is no more movement or bubbles, it is done. If there are no more bubbles but eggshell fragments remain it means the solution is saturated.

5. In some cases, shrimp or crab shells maybe be added to improve the effect and elvan powder may also be added (one handful per 18 litres of BRV)

How to use WCA

There are expensive, imported water soluble calcium supplements on the market. You would think that this cheap WCA would not be as effective as these. But your concerns will cease after a single application. The power of this can be strengthened by mixing Oriental Herb Nutrients (OHN) [details of this will come in a future post].

This WCA is effective in converting plants lifecycle from vegetative to reproductive growth. Natural Farmers spray WCA on the leaves after the fruits have become large. It prevents overgrowth and you get a sweet hard fruit. WCA also strengthens the flower bud ensuring that you get good fruits this year and a high yield the next year. Use with water soluble Calcium Phosphate (more on this later as well), false acacia fermented plant juice (FPJ) OHN and seawater and you will have a better tasting and more aromatic fruit.

As crops enter the later stages of their life cycle they need calcium, salt and a variety of minerals. Calcium and salt are very important for plant health.  To disregard this need and focus only on NPK is wrong and the effects can be seen everywhere.

Calcium moves carbohydrate from the body (leaf and branch) to the fruit. It is effective when crops have overgrown,leaves have a bad color or no shine, floral differentiation is weak, flower blossoms just fall, fruit doesn’t ripen and or the fruit is not sweet.

[taken from p.133 and p. 134 of Dr. Cho’s Natural Farming Handbook. Dr. Cho Han Kyu is the founder of the Janong Natural Farming Institute in South Korea)



  1. marty baecker said,

    January 17, 2010 at 5:05 am

    in making WCA can one substitute apple cider vinegar (or pickling vinegar 5%) for the brown rice vinegar? also, what is the suggested dilution(s) does one use when spraying plants with WCA?

    while i am at it i will ask another question about one of your prior natural farming entries. i live in Texas and have yet to find a source of Mugwort and Dropwort for some of the other suggested preparations. i am interested in doing what it takes if it means growing my own or finding a substitute for these. could you give me some suggestions if possible for a person that does not live in korea but still wants to develop in the natural farming methods.

    is Dr. Cho Han Kyu’s handbook in korean and you translated various pages in your blog. or is an english version available? any direction/information would be appreciated.

    thanks bunches


  2. January 17, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Marty

    Dr. Cho’s handbook is in English, some of it rather bad English, so I’ve tidied it up a lot and put it on my blog. Understand however that Dr. Cho is not a language expert but rather an an agricultural genius with 50 years experience of using his processes, so I’m not being critical when I write this.

    On your technical question I would imagine that what is extracting the calcium is the acidity of the vinegar. Vinegar nevertheless is not a strong acid and so when diluted in water the PH is moderated, while the calcium remains. An important part of the Natural Farming methodology is adding Calcium to the NPK mix of nutrients.

    Rice vinegar is an organic acid. Dr. Cho’s work in the Phillipines saw him substitute coconut vinegar for rice vinegar when making water soluble calcium phosphate, so in my honest opinion using what you have to hand is definitely an important aspect of Dr. Cho’s work. I’d imagine that using apple cider vinegar would be fine. You might want to find out whether the orchard was covered in chemicals first though.

    As far as substitutes for Mugwort and Dropwort are concerned, you might want to look at local native indian medicines. You’d be looking for plants that were used to assist mothers after childbirth. As far as suitable plants are concerned you are looking for a plant that is basically herbicide proof, tough as old boots and which jumps out of the ground in Spring. I would check first to make sure it’s not alleopathic or poisonous in some other way.That’s my reading of it in any case. However, I am not sufficiently expert on this that you should take my word for it.

    I would recommend that you contact the American society which teaches Dr. Cho’s methodology.

    The URL is here for the organization:


    There is also a contact e-mail address:


  3. January 17, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Hi Marty,

    There is no listing of the dilution in the text. However given that the dilution of other inputs is generally 1000 times, I’d go with that. However, there is the option of asking Janong USA. If they can throw light on the matter I’d be grateful if you could get back to me.



  4. marty baecker said,

    March 17, 2010 at 2:25 am

    just another question if i may. i am trying to prepare a ginger-garlic extract as per notes of Gil Carandang of the Philippines. however, it is a little sketchy to me after the initial fermentation of the ground up ginger and garlic with sugar. there is mentioned about a type of additional extraction step using 40% proof or better alcohol. no volumes are given nor what takes place after this step. how to use it (dilution) is a bit unclear also. could you help me out on this one? i have tried to contact Gil with no luck. i am very interested in understanding this procedure and why it is different (the alcohol step). i look forward to your guidance. thanks!

    • August 31, 2010 at 3:44 am

      Hi Marty,

      Alcohol extraction sounds like something I have read about in herbalist books. I’ll have a look and get back to you. Honestly, I don’t know much about variants on Dr. Cho’s system. Practically speaking it sounds as if I should be asking you questions.

      However as far as dilution of KNF resources are concerned you would be looking at 1 part KNF resource to 1000 parts water. I don’t claim to be an expert on this. I am just trying to spread the word of these techniques by typing it out. I hope to incorporate these techniques into rooftop systems in the future, but it’s slow going.

  5. Bradley said,

    May 19, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    sounds like you are one step ahead of me on the natural farming techniques. I just went to a class discussing the methods of NF. Did you get Gil’s PDF booklet?

    • August 31, 2010 at 7:00 am

      Hi Bradley,

      One step ahead might be pushing it a bit. I’ve explored a lot of different concepts and theories with NF being just one of them. I would very much like to get Gil’s PDF booklet.



  6. Jacqueline Lagamon said,

    August 5, 2010 at 7:12 am

    I would like to know where in South Korea can I find the farm of Dr. Cho. Im a Filipino Agricultural Technologist (on training here in Korea) and wishes to visit and observe the Nature Farming of Dr. Cho.

    • August 31, 2010 at 7:02 am

      Dr. Cho’s farm is Kwaesan, in Chungcheon province. I can get you a full address soon I expect.

  7. David Rack said,

    January 23, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    You can make vinegar by making biochar…

    • March 12, 2011 at 10:13 am

      Hi David,

      I did not know this. Perhaps you could write something on the topic and link it to my blog?



  8. David Rack said,

    April 7, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Where can I find Dr. Cho’s pdf book or book? I can’t find it anywhere?

  9. MMC said,

    June 16, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    David Rack- I found Dr. Cho’s book on ACRES USA site, in their book catalogue.

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