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Science in Agriculture: The insect connection?

 
                          
Posts: 43
Location: Ozarks
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Has anyone else read Anden Anderson's Science in Agriculture? I am curious about the plant/insect connection. He says that if a plant is extremely healthy, and has a high brix on the entire plant, it will simply not get bugs. I am rather skeptical of this. It seems to me, that a tastier plant would simply attract more bugs! Any ideas?
 
pollinator
Posts: 489
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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People who follow Cary Reams' methods make this claim. I don't know of any controlled studies, but there may be some. If you google Cary Reams, you will find enough to keep you reading for days.

I don't care so much about the insect claims, but I am very interested in growing crops for maximum nutrition, which is the main purpose of these methods. It's a very interesting corner of the eco-farming/gardening universe.
 
master pollinator
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I've only ever had "pest" insect problems when plants were stressed from heat, drought, or poor soil. 

That doesn't mean a few plants don't get nibbled, but not so much as to be any kind of problem. 

 
pollinator
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Location: Oakland, CA
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In principle, my understanding of how that might work is as follows:

Most plants have innate defenses against predation.

Typically, these defenses are chemical in nature, but universally, they require energy to implement.

A high sugar content means plants have the luxury of implementing pest control measures that might otherwise be economized on, in favor of more essential functions.

One example is methyl salicylate, which can serve as a signal to attract predatory insects to plants infested with. It takes some energy to synthesize enough that far-away insects can smell it, and I think it has to be synthesized in advance, ready for release when the nibbling begins, in order to really be effective. A struggling plant might not invest in such a defense mechanism, but if there's a lot of sugar available, some will go toward that sort of nicety.
 
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Yes, I have read Science in Agriculture.  I am trying for High Brix and the most nutrient dense
food that I can grow.  Dr. Phil Callahan explains how insects find distressed plants by infrared radiation..  I find it fascinating.  I had read Phil Wheeler, Arden Andersen, Gary Zimmer.  and am balancing by soil by The Ideal Soil by Michael Astera available from
www.soil minerals.com.  We had a root cellar full of food.  The only thing that does not
keep thru the winter is winter squash.

Dave Rogers in the Adirondacks
 
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