Indigenous Microorganisms 1 aka imo1

in #agriculture7 months ago (edited)

The following post is from my blurt blog:


Microorganism Collection from a Local Forest.

What is Indigenous Microorganisms aka IMO?


Natural Farming with Indigenous Microorganisms (IMO) is a method of farming using naturally occurring soil microorganisms that are deliberately collected and cultured. It has been practiced throughout Asia and Korea for centuries. It enhances soil fertility and plant nutrient uptake through the introduction and proliferation of beneficial soil microbes or mycorrhizae. The originator and founder of Natural Farming, Mr. Han Kyu Cho, has visited Hawaii several times and this practice is taking root, getting attention and support from the county and state as well as from many small-scale and commercial farmers.Source

I strongly encourge anyone interested in this IMO process to explore these videos from Chris Trump.

  • IMO1
  • All about IMO

Rice Preparation


  • Rinse rice( I use sushi rice/small to medium grain)

  • Add just enough water to make 'al dente' or rather slightly crunchy.


  • I used a Tiger Brand rice cooker. I have found using a high quality rice cooker and filling the cooker with water up to the same level as the rice, works the best.



  • If you don't let the rice cool prior to covering with a paper towel in the next steps, the trapped heat will cause excessive amounts of moisture causing the medium to rot before it is cultured
  • I added 1/8 tsp (0.6ml) of OHN, and a 1/4 tsp (1.25ml) of FPJ to the rice water before cooking the rice.

The IMO 1 Collection

Build a wooden box or use a container such as an unfinished woven basket with gaps approximately a 1/4 inch wide. The box or basket must be made of a natural material, preferably from a hardwood.



Leave 1/4 inch gaps between the bottom boards, then add additional holes with a 1/4 inch drill bit to make a breathable bottom.


Build a square box approximately 10 inches by 10 inches by 6 inches high, pre-drill holes for screws to prevent splitting.
Fasten 1/2 inch wire mesh over the top to keep animals out.


The instructions above are a basic template. Since I live in Las Vegas, a very arid climate, I also designed a wooden box with a lid to help keep moisture in and rodents out, especially preventing them from peeing on the collection while trying to eat the rice.

20201022_142422_copy_600x800.jpg My friend Mike who helped build the box I designed

The IMO 1 Collection (Continued)

Fill the container with the 'al dente' cooked rice until it is ½ to ⅔ full, be sure not to pack the rice down, leave the rice fluffy to avoid possible anaerobic conditions


Cover the rice filled container with a paper towel and use a rubber band OR staples to secure it. Make sure the paper towel is not sagging, nor touching the rice. As both cases may cause premature rot or not beneficial microorganisms.

Fasten a 1/2 inch mesh welded wire screen over the top of the box to keep animals from deer to mice out.

Pick a spot that has not just a little but a lot of mycelium, on leaves, twigs, and place your collection box on the surface or 1/2 inch deep.


Walk around and gather additional pieces of mycelium covered material and place on the corners of the top of your box.

Cover the collection box with leaves around the sides and top


If necessary, place additional protection from animals such as a cage, large wooden box, etc

Use a small tarp, if needed, in order to keep the rain out

IMO 1 should be ready in 5 days in warm humid climates to 10-14 days in cold and arid climates (highs of 50 lows of 0)

IMO 1 Notes

Forests with broad leaf trees are the best collection sites. Under a tree is best in order to achieve a 70% shade to 30% sunlight for the collection. This ratio of shade to sunlight is what mycelium and our beneficial microorganisms thrive in.

One of my desert forest locations


If you need to collect from a location other than your farm, collect microbes from about 500-1000 feet higher in elevation and no more than 100 miles from your farm, as there is more diversity and they are much more robust.

  • Do NOT collect IMO 1 from lower elevations, as they are not as hardy.

  • Do Not collect IMO from your compost piles or worm bins, as we are looking for a different diversity of biology

  • Do not use a culture from some rice that has been sitting out on your front porch because most pathogens are opportunistic, and this has a lack of diversity and competition

  • If it is cold outside say high temperatures of 50° F tuck the box into the soil a couple of inches

  • If you live in the city, you can collect a 5 gallon bucket of forest/woods soil with a lot of visible mycelium and collect IMO 1 at home (you won't get the yeasts and bacteria)

  • Collect IMO 2 in Spring, Summer, and Fall; use a blend of each to maximize diversity
    Get 3 years of Collections on the shelf, use a blend of each to maximize diversity

  • a 12x8x4 box will hold 6 - 8 cups of rice (4 - 5.5 lb)

  • a 6x8x4 box will hold 3 - 4 cups of rice (2 - 2.75 lb)

  • Aid collection by priming the site with FPJ @ 1:500

IMO 1 Collection Harvest

  • It is best to harvest your collection early in the morning, as the mycelium may lay down in the afternoon from heat, creating a darker(grey) appearance.

  • Check your collection by sliding your hand underneath your collection box, if there is no heat then leave it for a couple more days. If there is heat it's time to harvest. If you take the paper towel cover off, you MUST harvest immediately, whether it's ready or not.

  • Ideally you want predominately white to gray, fuzzy mycelium bloom.

  • A 10% small spattering of color is probably ok. If the culture is all red, blue, green, orange, yellow, black just compost it thermophylically, it's not that these are bad, just not what we are wanting to culture here

  • You have approximately 1 hour to take to IMO 2, or your culture may get contaminated

IMO 1 Harvest Notes

  • Black Mold is Aspergillus fungi, which is ok for nature, but not in our house

  • Blue Mold is Penicillin, which some people may be allergic too

  • If only a corner is undesirable, you may cut it off, however if your IMO 1 is contaminated IMO 2 may go bad indicated by bubbles.

  • Mold is a catch all term for something you can see blooming

My recent personal collections. Note the mycelium is not as pronounced. I was not all that excited about these collections but there were only 1% colored molds and 99% white molds and strands. In my next posts you will see how even unsatisfactory collections can still turn out great for IMO 3 AND IMO 4.

If I can do this process in Las Vegas, an arid and dry desert, then surely you will be able to as well, in a much more habitable climate!




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