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Human Health and Soil  RSS feed

 
Posts: 21
Location: Noosa Hinterland QLD, Australia
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This is made up of two parts. This is Human Health and following will be Managing the Soil.

Following is my opinion of what I have observed. I am no expert and have on formal training in this area.

My motivation is to grow and teach others, how to grow nutrient dense food.
I believe we are experiencing a human health crisis and it’s not being discussed to the level it should be.

We are eating and feeding our children fruit and vegetables with basically no nutritional value.
And simply put it’s tasteless. Humans have an in build way of knowing if something is good.
It’s your nose and tongue. If it smells good it will taste good as well and it will have a high nutrient level.
(This only applies to raw fruit and vegetables, I know cakes and lollies always smell and taste good 😉).

When last did you bite into a juicy sweet peach or tasted a flavorsome celery stick or tomato?

The result is, we have a couple of generations of people who are allergic to all sorts of things – nuts, bread, milk to name a few.
An obese population who are eating food with no nutrient value so they have to overeat to try and get enough fuel to drive the body’s engine.
Seven out of ten kids are having to go to the orthodontist because their mouths are too small to accommodate their teeth.
When I was growing up in the sixties allergies of certain foods and going to an orthodontist was relatively rare.

Now don’t kid yourself, thinking that because you are eating organic fruit and vegetables you are OK.
Organics is a step up because they do not use toxic chemicals but be assured most of the produce
is as low in nutrient value as the rest.

What's more, you are been charged an arm and a leg for the privilege of buying their produce.

You can do a simple test to find out how nutrient dense the fruit and vegetable are – Do a Brix test.
Buy a refractometer ($25-$50) and do the test, you will find the majority of what you are eating is
POOR (No real nourishment to feed your body)

Obviously the above is for first world countries, for the parts of the continent where growing food is a problem
I believe some sort of permaculture setup would go a long way to fixing the problem.

Now to frighten you a little more –
My question to you is “ What is going to happen to the generations to come?”

OK, enough doom and gloom the good news is, that this can be reversed by managing and working the SOIL.
 
Anthony Saber
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Location: Noosa Hinterland QLD, Australia
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Managing the Soil

What I have learned about soil and my approach to managing it so far.

Following is my opinion of what I have observed. I am no expert and have on formal training in this area.

It is a little daunting as I have an audience of very knowledgeable people (AKA Soil guru Dr. Bryant RedHawk etc)
I also know that a lot of what follows is common knowledge to a fair percentage on this board.

So lets begin..

First of all, one needs to understand that the soil microbes (Soil Food Web) are breaking down organic matter and minerals which in turn are made available for the trees and plants.
They have a symbiotic relationship with the trees and plants by providing each other with what each other needs to live and grow.

Unfortunately, most growers as in home gardeners to farmers do not understand the relationship and believe you need to feed the plants instead
of trying to manage the soil food web.
That said there are certain foods that can be taken up directly by plants.

My KISS Soil Rules
- Observation, look at the trees and plants, look for any signs they may be in need of something to keep them at optimal health.
- Keep soil disturbance to a minimum.
- Water, keep the ground slightly moist at all times.
- Feed regularly ( Compost Tea, Seaweed and Fish extract)
- Mulch, keep the soil covered at all times.
- Check compost tea is at optimal microbial life (Microscope)
- Check the microbe count of the soil monthly (Microscope)
- Collect seed of your strongest plants, to be used the following year.
- When removing plants cut the stem at ground level. Let it rot and do not disturb the roots rhizosphere.
- Have patience, nature is in no hurry.

The main building blocks are -

Rock Minerals and Trace Elements (There are two camps when it comes to minerals. One as in Elaine Ingham who believes that all the minerals are present in the soil and needs to be mined by the soil microbes to make them available to the plants when needed, the other camp says, find out what's lacking (soil test) and provide the missing minerals and trace elements to the soil. I personally start by providing a balanced mineral mix to the soil. If it's not needed it won’t be used by the plants. Plants won’t request it from the microbes.

Sea Water (I live on the coast so it's easy to get - You can dissolve pure sea salt in water)

Well Balanced Organic Fertiliser (Personal preference in the form of pellets)

Fine wood chips (Give some structure to the soil and provide some fungal food)

Compost – (Worm Castings) I am of the opinion that worm castings provide a better overall end product and are easier to produce.
(I am totally committed to this and I am in the process of setting up a large worm farm so I can have access to high-quality worm castings for compost and teas.
After examining soils and composts under a microscope, I am of the opinion that most composts and soil mixes are basically just lifeless dirt.

Compost Tea made from high-quality worm castings (Feed the soil microbes)

Activated BioChar (Mixup some worm castings in water and drench the biochar. (Provide a home for the microbes)

Cover Crops - Get some biomass into the soil

Mulch (Cover the soil to keep it cool or warm and provide food for the microbes when it breaks down)
I am leaning towards using Alfalfa – Lucerne mulch, as it seems to be a way of increasing the protozoa population in the soil.

Microscope(Optional if you want to examine Soil, Compost. Compost Tea)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How I prepare new or revive old beds

I believe the work you do up front will be of ongoing benefit in the future.
Don’t get overwhelmed with the task ahead. Just do one bed-area at a time.

- Check the soil type of the beds-area you are working.
- Loosen up the soil to about a spade length. This is hopefully the last time you will disturb the soil to this extent.
- Mix into the depth of about six inches, the Fine Woodchips, Activated BioChar, Compost, and Organic fertiliser.
- Broadcast the Rock Mineral and Trace elements over the soil.
- Give the area a good watering.
- Drench with sea water Mix 10 to 1
Next day
- Drench the soil with a compost tea mix. (Ensure this is fresh, 24 to 48 hours old.
- If you are planting a cover crop, broadcast the seeds thickly over the ground.
- Cover with mulch.
- Let cover crop grow to just before they seed. Cut the stem at ground level, leave to rot down.
- Now ready to be planted out


Ongoing Soil Maintenance

Is basically my KISS Soil Rules

I know this so-called system may evolve as I learn and experience more over time.

I would like to thank the following people who I have learned stacks from and are totally committed to the same cause.

Our very own – Dr. Bryant RedHawk
Dan Kittredge – www.bionutrient.org
Graeme Sait  - www.nutri-tech.com.au

My biggest challenge now is to produce fruit and vegetable at the highest BRIX level and ensure we are growing nutrient dense food for better health.

Now over to you, to provide feedback and comment…

Thanks for indulging me
Anthony
 
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Overall, I'm Impressed Anthony. There are a few points of contention but those are minor.

Redhawk
 
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Posts: 1911
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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I agree with you that we could improve the nutrient density of our fruits/vegetables/herbs by doing the things that you listed.
But to me that is only 10% of the problem. The real problem is that we are effectively only eating 1 healthy unit of food (fruit/vegetables/etc) for every 100 unhealthy unit of food (corn syrup, flour, processed food). To me half of our plate should be vegetables (conventional or super beyond organic). Also it is alot harder for the avg family to demand a farmer do the things that you listed but it is in the avg person control to buy and eat more vegetables and less "junk" food.

I have family members who complain about pain and ask about the latest mud baths, herbal oil, exercise gizmo and it doesn't work, but when I simple recommend that they drink 1gallon of water the pain is gone. Sadly very few of them actually make this a habit but they keep on complaining about how the junk food they are eating is made by horrible farmers/food processors but they will not even drink water to help themselves.

The same thing goes for sleep, they ask for herbs to help with sleeping and they say they have low energy during the day and they blame it on a myriad of reasons brought about by evil producers, but when I give simple solutions that would fix the problem 80% of the time, Like only use your bedroom for sleeping, no blue light and don't eat late. They find it hard to do for long and then the cycle repeats.

Alot of people just don't want to take personal responsibility for things and then try to ask for a magic pill/herb/diet and blame others for their current conditions when they could make "simple" "cheap" changes that works 8x better.



But seeing as how we are all here on permies,com preaching to the choir. I agree with you that improving the health of our soil is the best way to improve the health and nutrient density of our plants. And the ways that you listed to improve the health of our soil and plants is spot on, And I think very few people would argue that eating healthier more nutrient dense food is bad for human health. 
 
Bryant RedHawk
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I see you have some of those "perfect examples of why health is going to hell in the hand basket" S Bengi.


I have grown to have no patience with people who ask for advice or help and I give it only to see that I was talking to the brick wall and so never bother to offer solutions again.

Here there are people who are proactive and working to heal their bodies and minds through better nutrition (one of my pet projects) so I am very willing to give them some methods and options to try out because I know they will at least give some of them a try.

(my master teacher read some of this site back a few months ago and was fairly angry with me because I was "giving all the milk away for free").
I explained to him that in my culture those who have the knowledge are expected to pass it on to those who ask to be taught, but first they have to show that they are ready to listen.
He is still not so happy with me but he does understand why I do what I do.

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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Location: SF Bay Area
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I always wonder how big people's houses are when they say "only use the bedroom for sleeping", maybe it works for extroverts, but I need to be able to get away from people.

That being said, I totally agree that supermarket food lacks micronutrients and most people could stand to eat more produce.
 
S Bengi
pollinator
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I spend about 8.5hrs working, 1.5 hours commuting and 8hrs sleeping so 18/24hrs.
The other 2hrs in the morning and 4hrs in the afternoon, just getting ready, eating/food,  Electronics/TV, spending time with people. and garden/nature time. At least during the week one doesn't have to spend alot of time in the bedroom, when the living room, "garden", kitchen, bathroom, community and other such rooms are there.

On the weekend when there is no work. I spend alot of time doing the same as above. but I do have that additional 8hrs for Sat&Sun. I spend that doing project, binge watching, reading, doing research, and other activities, sometimes I sleep in.

Also it doesn't have to be a one or zero more of a continium 1 to 1000.
As long as we decrease how much time we are eating in the bed, throw orange peel on the ground. mount a TV on the wall and turn the bedroom into chop shop for random project parts, etc, etc.

I also think that it is okay to go in your bedroom and take a power nap, do some breathing exercise/meditation, the main part is to just get your brain to associate that specific room with being calm and going to sleep vs, hunting for food and staying up doing xyz.  Also we are all unique and if you have a system that works for you, there is no need to go about changing it because xyz work for most people. 

 
Stacy Witscher
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S Bengi - my lifestyle is very different. I don't go somewhere to work, I just homestead, so I'm home more. And I'm very introverted, so I don't hang out in the public spaces of my house when others are home. The only way I could only use my bedroom for sleeping is if I also had a sitting room, so like a suite, and that seems wasteful.
 
Posts: 389
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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Sir Albert Howard became famous, mostly after his death, for having taught the same idea as in the subject line of your thread, Anthony.

I realize that Permaculture is considered to be an advance beyond organic gardening & agriculture, and sometimes to even be in a separate category.  There are various views on this.  But Howard's book The Soil and Health published in 1947, is brought up a lot as one of the true classics of the organic farming field.  Of course, a lot of research, elaboration, and refinement has taken place since that point in time.  A planetary knowledge about various cultures and their amazing soil preservation & renewal practices has developed.

Howard was an English agronomist working in India, and had been writing articles (and later, books) along this soil-health/human-health line since before 1910.  Some of the practical principles he researched and taught were actually ancient.  But Howard is sometimes — and yes, this is disputed by some people — considered the founder of the modern-day organic farming “movement”.  His most popular books are still in-print.

Just thought I’d pitch in a tip of the hat to Albert Howard.
 
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Healthy soil, healthy people. I'm going with Fukuoka's philosophy on this one and accepting that as a fact without microanalyzing it. I've seen fields that have been under industrial agriculture for years and let me tell you, they are basically doing hydroponics. The hard, yellow "soil" can't be providing anything, the plants are growing entirely off of the NPK fertilizers they apply. So of course they are devoid of all sorts of micronutrients required for good health.

People's mouths being too small for all their teeth I think has more to do with growing up on nothing but soft food and never having to do much chewing, giving the jaw very little exercise or stimulus to grow. Native Americans living the traditional way were observed to have universally perfect teeth, probably because they ate coarse foods from an early age. Western food in general is mostly soft, and exacerbating this is parents' fear that their children will choke to death on anything coarser than pudding. When I have children I plan on giving them an assortment of foods that require substantial chewing from the time they start teething onwards.

I use my bedroom for things other than sleeping and I don't worry about it.  Don't forget that people had single room houses for much of history and slept just fine. Ubiquitous fluorescent lighting in public places, and cell phones and tablets glaring in our eyes late at night, there are the culprits of the insomnia epidemic, in my estimation.
 
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I do not agree with Anthony on this either, what he cites may be a problem, but it is a much smaller problem compared to the overarching issues at play. If you talk to anyone who has been in 2nd and 3rd world countries for extended stays, the first thing they will tell you is that the food here is so sweet, and that is because various forms of sugar are in everything; from breads o milk, it is sweetened with sugar. Switch to organic food, or real veggies or milk and suddenly the food tastes bland. That is a real problem for people to overcome.

But beyond that there is access to good food. The USDA took one square mile of Hartford CT and found out that there was 11 stores in that inner city area that sold food, yet only 1 sold veggies. When they asked the store keeps they said that no one bought veggies so they did not stock them. Of the one that did, the only reason he did was because his store had a large clientele that was elderly and tended to want veggies and fruits. In this way it is almost a Catch 22...people do not buy veggies and fruits, so stores do not keep it, so people lose access to it overall.

Even places where it is available though, there are reasons why it is not consumed. My 5 year old daughter prefers veggies and fruits over sweets, but came home day after day from kindergarden ravenous. Finally we found out why. She has to go to the bathroom during lunch, and because she does not have time to eat, go potty, come back and finish up before the schedule ends, she is told to dump her food early, then go potty, then go outsid to recess. RECESS! We found out and had that nonsense changed...my daughter will be served lunch instead of given priority to recess time. Still how many others have had this issue too? Our school wins awards for its nutrional program, but it is only good if they eat it!

Then there is the cost of quality food. Beat me up about this all you want, but being a blended family, we are in the car a lot. Yes it is our fault my wife and I met and wed where we were states apart, so that means every other weekend the kids take 400 mile car rides. We do bring healthy snacks and drinks a long, but sometimes life happens, kids are hungary and the money for a sit down meal that approachs $75 for a family of six is just not there, so we go to fast food places. I KNOW I am not alone in this. In fact when I was at a grocery store and saw a women ahead of me have all quality fruits and veggies, I complmented her on feeding her family such heathy food...then the price for that food came up. It was only a few bags and was over $300. That is a car payment, not a weekly grocery bill!

I am proud to say our church is working on feeding the hungary, and every week bus 150 kids from low income housing to feed them and let them have games and bible teachings. One day, one girl...about 10, commented that she "wished she could have food like this at home"...sadly the church was feeding the kids macroni and cheese with hotdogs. How sad is that? I had hotdogs growing up so much as a kid I grew sick of them, but the reality was, this girld got her best meals from school and a church while her mother did up a frozen skillet fo her kids with a needle of heroine in her arm.  That is reality for so many kids and the poor. 1 out of 5 kids not having food is reality! That is why school lunch programs are so important, and thankfully they are available here m-f all year, vacation or not. But churches must alo step up to and provide dinners after school and on weekends, and food pantries need to do more then give out 20 pounds of cow tongue that people (and kids) will not eat.

There is already some wins. A lot of products now clearly state "No Corn Syrup", and healthy stars and nutrional labeling show people quickly what good decisions are in terms of heath. Even the number of hungry kids has dropped from 1 in 4 kids being hungary, to 1 in 5. So we must celebrate the wins, but we have so far to go...

 
Travis Johnson
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For two years now I have battled fatigue and cannot get a handle on it. I go to bed at the same time everyday, have a slow down period before bed, do not use computers much before bed, etc...I do everything as I should and yet sleep may or may not come. Even if I do get good sleep, it is not enough. My 72 father can outwork me, me needing naps 2-3 times a day, and yet I eat right, eat healthy ect.

SOMETIMES IT IS JUST PLAIN PHYSICAL!

I have cancer, had surgery and radiation, and now reoccuring cancer.

My body aches like you would not believe, no longer staggering when I get up because my feet hurt, but stagger all day long because my feet hurt so bad. That says nothing about my back, arms and legs. Sleep is something other people get; as it is 6 am and I have been up since 1:30 AM...that is pretty typical.

Because I eat right and exercise, not to mention being outside constantly, the Dr's have no idea what to do. They presribe medications, but they are useless, or the side effects are worse then what they are suppose to cure. I try to keep an open mind; I cannot go to a Dr and ask for help and then not let them open up their tool box, which can be pills. Yet at the same time, I cannot go to the Dr's either and not do my part regarding eating right and exercise either. Still I have been enduring Dr visits multiple times per week for 2 years!

I knew of a guy who spent his whole life dedicated to organic farming and died of cancer. I know of another woman on this site who I believe should be paid as a consultant for permicultural layouts as she is that good and thinks outside the box, but has health issues beyond her control as well. It is frustrating when you lose your health.
 
pollinator
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Okay, great discussion.A couple questions: Brix test? Here is a piece of what I got from the Wiki Refractive index
Dissolution of sucrose and other sugars in water changes not only its specific gravity but its optical properties in particular its refractive index and the extent to which it rotates the plane of linearly polarized light. The refractive index, nD, for sucrose solutions of various percentage by mass has been measured and tables of nD vs. °Bx published. As with the hydrometer, it is possible to use these tables to calibrate a refractometer so that it reads directly in °Bx. Calibration is usually based on the ICUMSA tables,[5] but the user of an electronic refractometer should verify this.
--------
I have a refractometer for my aquaculture systems. I'll try it on veggies and fruit. Can you explain how the sugar content of food is a measure of its nutritional value? 
My wife has been wanting to get a microscope for educational purposes to interact with our granddaughter.  This seems a perfect time to combine our efforts and look at our soil. Thank you. Do you have a link for further reading?
Thank you
Brian 

 
Anthony Saber
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Hi all, me again.

I am pretty surprised the way this post has evolved.

All I was trying to say, was that in my opinion if fruit and vegetables get the minerals and foods they require
via the microbes (soil food web) in the soil. The end product will be more nutrient dense and in turn, will benefit
the persons who consume it.

We should be focusing on educating the farmers and growers to aim for a better product.
In turn, the ones that grow better food should be paid more for their produce.
Quality over quantity.

(Dan Kittredge’s organisation is working on a handheld monitor which can be pointed at a
fruit-vegetable and will give you an instant reading (Brix).
Imagine walking around a farmers market and instantly knowing the nutrient value of the produce
I wonder which farmer will sell more?)

I am not knocking the farmers, overall big supermarkets – chains are paying them the bare minimum to grow food.

I am also not negating all the other issues about healthy eating and getting access to healthy food in general
but I will say that is the choices people are making, sometimes through necessity and other through lack of
knowledge.

Anthony
 
Stacy Witscher
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Anthony Saber - when looking at the bionutrient website, they call it a bionutrient meter, not a brix meter. My only familiarity with a brix meter is with measuring residual sugars in alcohol production, and testing frozen desserts, where you want a lot of sugars for nice texture. Why would a brix meter help determine micronutrient quantity?

Personally, I like to be clear that micronutrients (vitamins & minerals) are what we talking about, calories, carbs, protein, and fat are all nutrients, just not the ones the typical westerner is lacking.

In a lot of ways, I feel like I don't have much to offer, because I never ate like that. I have always had some kind of garden, and mostly cooked from scratch. It took me a long time to realize that I wasn't your average American.
 
S Bengi
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Healthy nutrient dense food, that doesn't get overrun by pest/sickness, I think that farmers would love this. It means that they have less ongoing inputs and potentially more profit. And I think we would be hard press to find anyone saying that eating healthier nutrient dense food is bad for human health. So it would be great if we started growing our own more nutrient dense food. Great if the avg person switch from empty calories "high fructose corn syrup/donuts/etc" to at least conventionally grown vegetables, and then after some point move up to organic vegetables and then finally start pressuring farmers to grow more nutrient dense food. As a society we have people at different stages of this continuum, and I hope we get to the point were we are all eating more nutrient dense food by: 1) actually buying and eating and 2)also by farmers creating more "nutrient dense" soil vs BigAgro chemical soils and food.

I know that for some people the idea of eating more greens does NOT work because they are allergic to the cabbage family (thyroid) and the spinach family (nitrates/oxalate/etc) which is where most of our greens come from save for lettuce and dandelion. I get it, there will always be exceptions. But I think that generally eating more vegetables esp nutrient dense ones really does help most people. However alot of people in my circle like to blame the farmers/stores and not themselves when they are the ones actually not even eating the less than perfect vegetable but go full throttle on more "horrible" junk food. These same people might even blame their society and parents saying they taught me this habit of eating junk food (which is partially true) but now they know better but they still don't want to stop but instead ask for others to make better food or make a magic herb/pill but they themselves don't even want to put in the effort of eating " less junky food (conventional grown vegetables) " that is available.

Now in terms of general human health. The term "only use your bedroom for sleep", is kind of a catch all rule of thumb to say don't go in your room and go on your phone/laptop or mount a TV on your bedroom wall vs actually sleep. Because like other have said having blue light in your bedroom right before you go to sleep doesn't really help the process. Only use your bedroom for sleep isn't a magical cure all that is why it was listed togather with a couple other points such as:
1) Drink more water (aim for 1gallon or so)
2) Sleep 8hrs ( if you have to wake up at 6am don't head to bed at 12am, try 9:30PM instead)
3) Don't eat at 10pm then brush your teeth to go to sleep at 10:03pm
4) Don't have the TV on while you sleep or the blue charging light/etc
5) Don't make it a habit of going to bed mad/stress out/rifled up. (stress/emotion management)
6) Physical Activity, just like with babies it is good to "tired out" ourselves if we want good/long sleep
7) Eat nutrient dense food vs just junk food, don't starve ourselves of any nutrient/mineral/vitamin

Obviously the above doesn't solve everything if you are bleeding out please don't think that the above will fix you go to the ER, and if you have been working in an asbestos factoring, doing drugs all your life and now have lung cancers, suddenly doing the things listed above will not do much, I think even going to the hospital for surgery/chemo/radiation will not do much for lung cancers, but it is still worth a try even if it is only a small chance.

 
Anthony Saber
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Brian Rodgers wrote:
I have a refractometer for my aquaculture systems. I'll try it on veggies and fruit. Can you explain how the sugar content of food is a measure of its nutritional value? 
My wife has been wanting to get a microscope for educational purposes to interact with our granddaughter.  This seems a perfect time to combine our efforts and look at our soil. Thank you. Do you have a link for further reading?
Thank you
Brian 



Hi Brian, My understanding of how the refractometer works for Brix is that the thicker the liquid the higher the reading.
In turn the higher the reading the higher the nutrient level.

I would not worry that much on how it works, as you have one at hand give it a try.

Go online and download a Brix chart which is a list of fruit and vegetable and their ratings.
Then take a fruit or vegetable which is on the list and squeeze a drop or two of juice on to the
refractometer. Then read the measurement and compare it to the chart.

But before you do the Brix test, you need to do the taste test. Take a bite of the fruit or vegetable and give it you rating.
This will vary from on the low side TASTELESS to high WOW it's flavorsome.
I am going to let you into a closely guarded secret. Our mouth has an inbuilt Brix Meter ;-)

You will see with out fail flavorsome produce will always have a high Brix reading.

All produce I grow goes through the Brix test. That said I am not growing to the required high level yet
but will endeavor to keep improving.

Getting a microscope will open a whole new world to you and can become quite addictive if you are that way inclined.
I have only had a microscope for a couple on months and it has changed my approach to growing.

Hope that helps
Anthony



 
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Location: Berkshire County, Ma. 6b/4a. Approx. 50" rain
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Kinda surprised no one has mentioned Weston Price and his work early in the 20th century cataloging dental health in relatively un-industrialized communities.

His focus ended up being on diet differences in those communities, with the conclusion being industrialized diets were causing all kinds of dental ailments. The pictures were fascinating to me.

Health is wealth.
 
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Just to expand on the Brix aspect here, the refractometer is often used to measure sugar, but it's function is to measure total dissolved solids. This is what you're measuring when you squeeze the sap from your produce sample. With reference to Dan kittredge, the more blurry the line when viewing the sample through the refractometer, the higher the diversity of dissolved solids.

The number yields the level, the less definitive the line, the more diverse the solids are.

Dan, amongst other soil advocates also pays little attention to soil pH. I know master Redhawk advocates managing soil pH, but it appears this really only applies if your soil is dead. If you have diversity microbes, minerals and moisture, the plants and microbes regulate the pH locally at the root hairs and exchange sites. In the course of a day, the pH might change from 5 to 7 to 9 to 6 multiple times a day.

This isn't to say Redhawk is wrong or doesn't have good results, but emphasis on regulating pH by mineral additions looks to be a losing battle. I don't have all my citations with me, but Dan Kittredge, SFW, Michael astera "An Ideal Soil", and Chris Trump of the KNF lineage all show pH chasing has been a difficult battle for those they consult with.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Ran - thank you for further explaining this to me.

I find color to be useful in determining some micronutrients. But often those are not the ones that are difficult to get enough of. For example, many people say that sweet potatoes are much more nutritionally dense than white potatoes, but the biggest difference is in vitamin A and potassium. Sweet potatoes have more vitamin A, which I have no trouble get enough of, vs. white potatoes with more potassium, which I tend to be lacking. So it seems to me that we need to be specific in the nutrients we are trying to raise.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Ran Nawan wrote:Just to expand on the Brix aspect here, the refractometer is often used to measure sugar, but it's function is to measure total dissolved solids. This is what you're measuring when you squeeze the sap from your produce sample. With reference to Dan kittredge, the more blurry the line when viewing the sample through the refractometer, the higher the diversity of dissolved solids.

The number yields the level, the less definitive the line, the more diverse the solids are.

Dan, amongst other soil advocates also pays little attention to soil pH. I know master Redhawk advocates managing soil pH, but it appears this really only applies if your soil is dead. If you have diversity microbes, minerals and moisture, the plants and microbes regulate the pH locally at the root hairs and exchange sites. In the course of a day, the pH might change from 5 to 7 to 9 to 6 multiple times a day.

This isn't to say Redhawk is wrong or doesn't have good results, but emphasis on regulating pH by mineral additions looks to be a losing battle. I don't have all my citations with me, but Dan Kittredge, SFW, Michael astera "An Ideal Soil", and Chris Trump of the KNF lineage all show pH chasing has been a difficult battle for those they consult with.



Plants use exudates to regulate the pH in the vicinity of their roots, which is mostly where it matters most. If you have dirt, then you have to make a pH adjustment, if you have soil with a pH of 6.8 and you want to grow blue berries or other acidic soil lovers, then you have to adjust the pH or the plant will die before it can become established well enough to take care of it's pH requirements (I've done the experiments three times and every time the non- adjusted soil plants died within one month).

Mineral additions are not pH adjustments, they are done for immediate mineral availability for plants, dirt takes some time to become soil unless you are using intensive biological additions (compost teas and extracts), even then it takes several applications of the tea or extract to get the microbiome charged up to the point it can break down the bound minerals, non-bound minerals are the ones plants can make use of.  Once you have a good soil biology growing, then you would find no need to check or change pH of the soil.  I have stated this in several posts in the past.
Usually I can get a microbiome charged up and working as nature intends within one year or less.
Bacteria are the organisms that use enzymes to break down bound up minerals with they and all the other microorganisms use for nutrients, the left overs are what the plants use.
Where I live, many people are trying to raise pH but the whole area is really in need of acidity instead of alkalinity, they use lime, thinking that will "fix the problem" but gypsum is really what they need to add along with sulfur, if they are dirt farming.

Redhawk
 
Ran Nawan
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:

Ran Nawan wrote:Just to expand on the Brix aspect here, the refractometer is often used to measure sugar, but it's function is to measure total dissolved solids. This is what you're measuring when you squeeze the sap from your produce sample. With reference to Dan kittredge, the more blurry the line when viewing the sample through the refractometer, the higher the diversity of dissolved solids.

The number yields the level, the less definitive the line, the more diverse the solids are.

Dan, amongst other soil advocates also pays little attention to soil pH. I know master Redhawk advocates managing soil pH, but it appears this really only applies if your soil is dead. If you have diversity microbes, minerals and moisture, the plants and microbes regulate the pH locally at the root hairs and exchange sites. In the course of a day, the pH might change from 5 to 7 to 9 to 6 multiple times a day.

This isn't to say Redhawk is wrong or doesn't have good results, but emphasis on regulating pH by mineral additions looks to be a losing battle. I don't have all my citations with me, but Dan Kittredge, SFW, Michael astera "An Ideal Soil", and Chris Trump of the KNF lineage all show pH chasing has been a difficult battle for those they consult with.



Plants use exudates to regulate the pH in the vicinity of their roots, which is mostly where it matters most. If you have dirt, then you have to make a pH adjustment, if you have soil with a pH of 6.8 and you want to grow blue berries or other acidic soil lovers, then you have to adjust the pH or the plant will die before it can become established well enough to take care of it's pH requirements (I've done the experiments three times and every time the non- adjusted soil plants died within one month).

Mineral additions are not pH adjustments, they are done for immediate mineral availability for plants, dirt takes some time to become soil unless you are using intensive biological additions (compost teas and extracts), even then it takes several applications of the tea or extract to get the microbiome charged up to the point it can break down the bound minerals, non-bound minerals are the ones plants can make use of.  Once you have a good soil biology growing, then you would find no need to check or change pH of the soil.  I have stated this in several posts in the past.
Usually I can get a microbiome charged up and working as nature intends within one year or less.
Bacteria are the organisms that use enzymes to break down bound up minerals with they and all the other microorganisms use for nutrients, the left overs are what the plants use.
Where I live, many people are trying to raise pH but the whole area is really in need of acidity instead of alkalinity, they use lime, thinking that will "fix the problem" but gypsum is really what they need to add along with sulfur, if they are dirt farming.

Redhawk



Completely agree, thanks for the post.
 
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