Gardening for Maximum Nutrition

Updated 06/12/2017
Organic Gardening


Building great soil is the key to having a great garden!




Why are we concerned about nutritional quality?

1.   The nutritional content of fruits & veggies has trended downward  over the last century 

  • Commercial considerations make "yield" (profit) the primary consideration in breeding and fertilizing rather than best nutrient content, which is harder to measure
  • But breeding & fertilizing for "yield" brings reduced nutrition (See Albrecht Principles)
  • 2.   Commercial agriculture, using chemical NPK fertilizers in excess, leads to:

    • Loss of organic matter
    • Loss of soil microorganisms
    • Loss of top soil
    • Water pollution
    • Depletion of soil minerals brings reduced nutrition
    • Increased vulnerability to pest attack - Truly healthy plants do not attract pests!

    3.   There are large variations in the nutritional quality of 'organic' fruits & veggies

    4.   Animals living on these nutrient poor foods are not as healthy

    5.   Traditional societies living on local, whole, nutrient-dense foods were healthy and lived long lives. Our modern diet makes us subjects of a giant food experiment, and we are not faring so well, as we suffer from more degenerative diseases at an ever younger age.

    6.   Varietal differences are important. - the highest nutrition will be more likely found in heirloom varieties.

    • Varietal differences in flavor indicate differences in nutritional content - More nutritious food tastes better.
    • Over history humans unintentionally bred their food crops for higher nutrition, as the families who selected tastier and healthier foods had healthier children. Every family had its own varieties, selected according to the likes of that family. But the children in some families lived to survive the gauntlet of childhood disease while the children in some families died out. The families with higher survival rates had their varieties survive. Thus our food crops were improved. 
    • Then about 150 years ago plant breeders began selecting our food crops for profit. Modern hybrids are bred to yield well on depleted soils given modern chemical fertilizers that do not provide the full range of needed minerals. Hybrids grow big but do not build essential nutrients as well because of mineral shortages.

    7.   But biggest difference in nutrition comes from the quality of the soil. William Albrecht was at the forefront of highlighting this connection between soil and health.

    So how do we tell if we have more nutritious food? BRIX TESTING
    (pronounced 'bricks') testing reflects nutritional quality

          Brix as used here refers to the total dissolved solids in the juice squeezed out of a plant's leaves or fruit. Distilled water is 0 brix.  About the richest brix you will see is 30-35. Although you will hear that brix measures "sugar," brix actually reflects the total solids - the sum of the sugars, minerals, hormones, oils, amino acids, proteins, flavors, and whatever else. For instance, 100 pounds of 24 brix grape juice would yield 24 pounds of solids. Brix is measured with an ordinary hand refractometer, which many people call a brixmeter. See High Brix Gardening    More info on brix  

          High Brix Gardens is a new Website devoted to high brix gardening:   www.highbrixgardens.com   
        What is Brix?   (See Food Quality Issues)
        The Path to High Brix - Mineral Descriptions
    See also http://highbrixhome.com/ (product supplier). 

    The Quest for Nutrient-Dense Food--High-Brix Farming and Gardening 
    An Interview with Rex Harrill by Suze Fisher

    Important points to remember:

      1. The taste of any fruit, vegetable, or grass gets better and better as the brix increases. Taste reflects nutrition, as the plant has everything it needs to produce maximum nutrition (phytonutrients) as well as sugar.
      2. The highest brix fruits, vegetables, and grasses keep better - they will dehydrate while their low brix counterparts rot.
      3. Sucking insects seem to find higher brix plants less tasteful even as higher order animals, like man, find them exceedingly tasty.
      4. Animals on high brix pasture are much healthier

    Refractometer SourcesBrix chart

        Pike Agri-Lab Supplies  
        call them for a catalogue - 1- 866-745-3247 

        Or inquire of Charlie at chardowner@yahoo.com, and he'll email more info. He has Chinese Westovers with quite good optics, a two year guarantee, and at rock bottom prices. This is his company:

        National Industrial Supply
        2767 Maricopa Street
        Torrance, CA 90503
        Phone: 310.748.6858
        Fax: 310.833.7306


        See also http://www.westonaprice.org/farming/nutrient-dense.html Refractometer sources are listed at the end.

        More info on refractometers

    What is needed for growing topnotch produce - "High Brix levels result when all plant nutrients are available, in an efficient form, to the soil microbes which are responsible for rendering nutrients into a form that the plant can readily use. That translates into a non-labile form of organic nutrient that is at about 6.2 pH and that efficiently feeds a healthy colony of the right type of microbes in the soil." John Marler  See High Brix Gardening 

    To reach their full potential to produce high brix results plants need:

    1. All essential nutrients (minerals) - Although trace minerals are needed in very small amounts, they may be missing from your soil
    2. In a proper balance - Too much nitrogen or potassium boosts production, but lowers nutritional value
    3. With adequate carbon - to hold water, feed SMO (soil microorganisms) and provide backbone of organic compounds
    4. And adequate water of good quality to keep the SMO and plants happy
    5. In an available form - SMO & humus hold nutrients in an available form
    6. Throughout the season - (side dressings, nutrient drenches, and foliars) Soluble fertilizers applied in the spring may have leached away or been bound up by summer

    Guidelines for Fertilizing Organically/Ecologically 

    Maintaining growth throughout the season is important for obtaining high brix results. It can be done in three ways:
    • Side dressings are by definition fertilizers that contain a full complement of nitrogen, phosphate and potassium (See Making Your Own Soil by A.F Beddoe) and other minerals (such as COF). Side dressings are scattered lightly around growing plants every three or four weeks to boost nutrition.
    • Nutrient drenches are, in effect, soluble side dressings dissolved in water and used to fertilize plants throughout the season to support growth. See also Foliar Spray info below.
    • Foliar Sprays - Fine-tuning with foliar sprays and nutrient drenches to supply nutrients in short supply - use Brix testing to evaluate what you are doing. (See Brix Testing) For insect resistance, maintain a Brix of 12 or higher in the juice of the leaves of most plants. Test before spraying, and then two hours after spraying. An increase of 2 points indicates you gave something the plant needed. (See Andersen and AgriEnergy Resources)
      Benefits of Foliar Feeding
      Liquid & Foliar products used in raising brix:

    The fellow who told me he had such good results with Coca-Cola suggested pouring 2 each two-liter bottles into a backpack sprayer. He then said to add a cup of fish emulsion (the kind with seaweed) and fill it to the 3 gallon mark. This gives you sugar (to feed the microbes), phosphoric acid, fish solids, and seaweed.

    Benefits of growing superior crops

      1. Superior nutritional quality of produce
      2. Improved health of plants, land, water, producers, consumers
      3. Excellent keeping qualities of produce
      4. Minimal pest problems



    More on Organic Gardening and Eco-Farming

    The Quest for Nutrient-Dense Food - High-Brix Farming and Gardening
    An Interview with Rex Harrill by Suze Fisher

    Help with questions - Join the BrixTalk Yahoo Group at 

    Books that cover this topic well are hard to find, but these may be useful:
         (Another useful list http://bionutrient.org/library/recommended-reading

    **Nourishment Home Grown, by A.F. Beddoe, DDS, 2004 Edition, Advanced Ideals Institute.
    This excellent book covers the 'Biological Theory of Ionization,' a phrase coined by Dr. Carey Reams, and the use of the refractometer to measure quality of produce (brix). This book will give you much food for thought, as well as practical gardening info. Includes some helpful tips on growing fruit trees. This book explains how small, carefully applied chemical nutrients can enhance the results in an otherwise 'organic' garden.

    **The Ideal Soil: A Handbook for the New Agriculture (an ebook, also hard cover) by Michael Astera -  www.soilminerals.com "Discover the Secrets of Soil Mineral Balance!" See his blog here http://thenewagriculture.blogspot.com/ 

    **the intelligent gardener, growing nutrient-dense foods, by Steve Solomon with Erica Reinheimer. A simplified way of figuring out soil remineralization to get high brix results. More info Grow Abundant Gardens and here

    The Albrecht Papers - some papers from William A. Albrecht, the father of soil mineral balancing - see Albrecht Principles.

    Super Nutrition Gardening, by Dr. William S. Peavy & Warren Peary, 1993, covers much basic information in an easy to understand format, but does not cover compost teas or use of refractometer. Too much reliance on pH for guidance.

    Secrets to Great Soil, A Grower's Guide to Composting, Mulching, and creating Healthy, Fertile Soil for Your Garden and Lawn, by Elizabeth Stell, 1998. Good source of basic information, but beware of chemical fertilizers mentioned. Does not cover use of refractometer. Minimal info about compost teas. Beware of instructions for sterilizing soil. Never sterilize good compost, as the microorganisms in good compost are the best defense against soil pathogens. I have had little trouble with "damping off" of young seedlings when my homemade seed starting soil includes good compost.

    The Vegetable Gardener's Bible, by Edward C. Smith, 2004 This is a lovely book with decent basic information about gardening, heavy emphasis on compost and misguided emphasis on correcting pH, rather than supplying the minerals plants need for good growth. You can create problems if you follow the directions for correcting pH. The book has an extensive section on combating pests, which shouldn't be an issue if you have well balanced soil with plenty of trace minerals, humus, and biological activity. I would not rely on this book for fertility recommendations. It does have a nice section on individual vegetables and their requirements, including companion plantings and rotation considerations.

    Gardening for Maximum Nutrition, by Jerry Minnich, 1983, inspired the title of this workshop, but has little information about building excellent soil, much less the use of a refractometer. There is much information about the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables, but it also contains misinformation, such as promoting soybeans (which contain many anti-nutrients and should generally be avoided) and low fat eating (with no appreciation for the importance of fats in the diet or the excellent qualities of pasture raised animal products), while equating carotene from plants with the vitamin A from eggs and butter (the conversion is always very inefficient, often inadequate, and many people don't make the conversion at all).

    Four-Season Harvest, by Elliot Coleman, 1992, has valuable info about making compost and extending the season of harvest, cold frames, etc, but little about building excellent soil, much less the use of refractometer.

    Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew, 1981, has useful info about increasing production in a limited space, and quite a bit about improving soil quality, but I am wary of his recommendations to use things like vermiculite, peat moss (compost, leaves, etc. are better), and wood ashes (easy to apply too much potassium and throw off soil).

    Rodale's Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening has lots of valuable basic information, but my 1992 edition has nothing about Brix.     X

    The Organic Method Primer, Update by Bargyla & Gylver Rateaver, 1993, a large & expensive resource by the outspoken professor who taught the "first-in-the-world" course on organic method in any tax-supported, public institution back in the 1960's, starting the organic movement in California. This very useful volume does include the use of brix to evaluate quality.

    Books Aimed at Farmers:
    These books have more in-depth info aimed at farmers.  They spend a lot of time convincing the skeptic, but less time on practical techniques, leaving the beginner confused and full of questions. Perhaps that is because high quality soil fertility is a complex subject, which requires a fair amount of study.

    Science in Agriculture, by Dr. Arden B. Andersen, 2000, explains much of the science behind soil fertility. Chapter 16, Foliar Spray Programming, explains the use of the refractometer in field trials of foliar sprays. See also Dr. Andersen's blog and Interview of Dr. Andersen

    The Biological Farmer - A Complete Guide to the Sustainable & Profitable Biological System of Farming, by Gary Zimmer, 2000. Aimed at farmers, but well laid out and easy to understand. Brief coverage of brix testing.

    The Non-Toxic Farming Handbook by Phil Wheeler has chapters on use of refractometer and foliar sprays, but the book is aimed at farmers, and the information still left questions in my mind.

    Also The Ideal Soil: A Handbook for the New Agriculture

    Gardening Tips for Organic Vegetable Gardening http://www.oeffa.org/tips.php 

    Richard Wiswall's book "The Organic Farmer's Business Handbook" - haven't read it but others have recommended it. 

    Farms with a Future: Creating and Growing a Sustainable Farm Business, by Rebecca Thistlethwaite

    Bionutrient Food Association recommended reading list


    Seed Saving 

    Beginner's Guide 

    Seed Saver's Exchange 

    Mother Earth News on saving seeds. Includes some reference books

    Quality Seed Companies - High quality, organic seeds germinate better and give better growth.

    Peaceful Valley Farm Supply  www.groworganic.com

    High Mowing Seeds www.highmowingseeds.com/

    Territorial Seed Company www.territorial-seed.com/

    Johnny's Selected Seeds  www.johnnyseeds.com/

    Another list

    More organic and heirloom seed companies (printable file)

    Find the seeds you have been looking for with this search engine:

    Organic Fertilizer Products & Sources (See "Organic Fertilizers")
    Another helpful list

    Basic Info

    Helpful websites  

    Garden Stores

    * Ohio Earth Foods, 5488 Swamp St., N.E., Hartville, OH 44632, 330-877-9356  www.ohioearthfood.com 

    * Titgemeier's Feed & Garden Store
         701 Western
         Toledo, Ohio

    * Dexter Mill (garden fertilizers, supplies)
         3515 Central Ave
         Dexter MI
         (734) 426-4621

    * Dirt Works - Earth Friendly Products  http://www.dirtworks.net/Organic-Fertilizer.html 

    * Downtown Home and Garden (has Azomite)
         210 South Ashley Street
         Ann Arbor, MI 48104
         (734) 662-8122

    * AgriEnergy Resources

    * Black Lake Organic Optimum Mixes (B.L.O.O.M.TM)includes useful info on numerous organic amendments. Interesting concept - their BLO Membership Community

    * Agricola's 4-8-4 - for nutrient dense crops - http://www.soilminerals.com/Agricolas4-8-4_MainPage.htm 
    Complete mineral balanced fertilizer

    * Fertrell - organic fertilizers  http://www.fertrell.com/

    * Gardens Alive from Indiana  www.gardensalive.com/  One of the largest organic pest control and fertilizer suppliers, with an excellent reputation for customer service.  

    * Garden IQ www.GardenIQ.com (Nitron Industries)  

    * Peaceful Valley Farm Supply  www.groworganic.com

    *   International Ag Lab - HighBrixGardens - Source of excellent products for raising brix. Use the "Contact Us" form to find out more. See The Path to High Brix
        IAL Products http://www.aglabs.com/products.html 

       See also High Brix Home http://highbrixhome.com/ - retail source

       Fertilizer Brokerage - Service of IAG for organic and biological farmers

    * Perfect Blend Organic Fertilizers www.perfect-blend.com/ 
    Perfect Blend is a complete organic fertilizer made from manure supplemented with essential minerals by a new patented procedure that preserves all its nutrients. Further Info  Available at Lowe's

    * T & J Enterprises - Affordable Organic Gardening Products

    * Biosol - All-Organic Natural Fertilizer  http://www.rockymtnbioproducts.com/biosol.htm 

    * JHBiotech -Biotechnologies for a Safer Future http://www.jhbiotech.com/plant_products/organic_products.htm

    * UAS of America, Inc. 
          Used and highly recommended by Rex Harrill 

    * Proactive Agriculture - we believe that the importance of balance reflects the outcome in agriculture and in life.

    Calcium  Sources  Click here for more sources of calcium 

    Standard dry sources that are widely available (see phosphate sources below):
      *High calcium lime (~5% magnesium)  
            Special from IAL - carbonized limestone (TRIO) - for quicker availability
      *Dolomitic lime (too high in magnesium for most gardens - contributes to sticky soils)
      *Gypsum (calcium sulfate) used for soils too high in pH, magnesium, or sodium and needing sulfur.

    Liquid calcium sources: Click here for more sources of liquid calcium 

    * Calcium-25 http://www.calcium25.com/
    Calcium-25 is a unique crop yield-enhancing product, and is composed of only naturally-occurring ingredients: calcium and certain amounts of  plant waxes that occur on the leaf surface... (May contain calcium chloride, so use properly, sparingly)

    * GSR Calcium http://www.gsrcalcium.com/   
    An Ohio source http://www.hworganicfarms.com/GSR-and-PhosRite.html

    * Baicor Calcium (chelated) - recommended by Mike Kraidy 

    See also Bountiful HarvestAmaze 

    Phosphorus (phosphate) Sources (high P:K ratio)  Phosphate guidelines

    Soft rock phosphate, (aka CalPhos) available from Ohio Earth Foods. More info here
    Also called colloidal phosphate. The best natural source of phosphorus and calcium. It is comprised of the bony structures of prehistoric marine creatures mined in Florida from the best deposit in the country. Not the same as the hard rock phosphate, sold by most nurseries and farm suppliers, which is not nutritionally as readily available. Both an immediately available and a long-term source of phosphorus. LancasterAg.com is a potential source for larger quantities of lime and CalPhos - see their Pallet Program

    Peruvian Seabird Guano (10-10-2), also Bio-Green (10-10-2.5) from Ohio Earth Foods, may be available from local hydroponics supplier

    See also Amaze, Fish hydrolysate, Furtilizer,  

    Rock dusts/Trace Minerals - find local sources:
    Remineralize the Earth:  Rock Dust Primer.  More at www.remineralize.org/ (includes link to list of commercial sources of rock dust)   See also Rock Dusts

    *  Minerals and fertilizers from SoilMinerals.com

    * FloraStim products have their base in naturally occurring marcasite clay which is mined from a source in Sylverna, Mississippi. This is an ancient marine deposit that is rich in nutrients and contains billions of microorganisms per lb of material that can live in a very large PH range. The products for soil are Flora-Stim, and Vita-Stim (liquid). We suggest a soil test on the soil that tests for trace minerals. If no test is done general rule is 300 pounds per acre the first year, 200 pounds the second year per acre and 100 thereafter per acre. This should be applied on top (not worked in) of the soil allowing the rain to take it in. If you have a garden a 50 pound bag will do 5,000 square feet. This is just hand broadcasted on top. It works down to 28 degrees in temperature. Price on Flora-Stim $18/50# bag plus shipping. For more info email darrow@tbscc.com.

    Supplier in northwest Pennsylvania:

    Richard & Sylvia Darrow   
    Pure Earth Products
    Restora-Life Minerals for soil and animals
    19144 Rt. 89
    Corry, PA 16407 - 9554

    * Planters II Trace Mineral Fertilizer
    http://www.planters2.com/  or  www.tandjenterprises.com/ 

    * Azomite www.azomite.com/ - a natural source of minerals and trace elements. 
    Ann Arbor source

    * AdzumPlus http://www.earthplusproducts.com  Here's an interesting old post about AdzumPlus 'How to Improve Top Soil'

    * Global Repair http://www.globalrepair.ca/lawns.htm
    and http://www.globalrepair.ca/fertilizer.htm
    A variety of amendments, including Blacksand, Greenrock & Compost Rock Flour 

    * Trace Minerals from Peaceful Valley

    Sea Minerals   - How to Improve Topsoil 
    * OceanSolutionTM ( www.oceangrown.com or www.ocean-grown.com) is a concentrated liquid solution that provides essential nutrients from the deep ocean for healthy seed and plant growth perfect for farms, orchards, pastures, hydroponics and home gardens. Two other formulations designed for foliar sprays and soil remediation are available.   http://www.ocean-grown.com/testimonials.html Instructions  X

    * Sea-90 , from SeaAgri, Inc (www.seaagri.com) , is a full-spectrum mineral fertilizer that delivers 90 plus elements present in the sea's natural and ideal ratios. Directions

    * Ocean TraceTM  Organic Sea Minerals are a dense and powerful liquid nutrient derived 100% from ocean water and is a great nutrient for crops and farm animals.

    * C-Gro ( www.c-gro.com/ ) is an all natural soil amendment extracted from seawater that contains critical nutrients, presently absent in soils.  A balance of elements in the soil will reduce plant disease, accelerate plant maturation and increase production.

    * Sea-Crop ( www.sea-crop.com) - recommended by Vinny Pinto as the best.

    * Sea Water www.sea-solution.com 
    Our mission is to restore balance to the plant and animal kingdom by developing sustainable technologies for food production that maximize the nutritional content of crops, and thus improve the human condition. Sea Water is dedicated to providing growers with the inputs and methodology necessary to produce high quality food and juices at affordable prices to the consumer.
    Growing your own wheat grass (and other sprouts), by Sea Water distributor, Grow Greens (www.growgreens.com

    * Earth Tonic www.progressearth.com/index.php/products/detail/4/tonic - biodynamically enhanced sea mineral concentrate.

    Liquid Fertilizers 

    (Detailed list of foliar fertilizers)

    * Agriculture Solutions - a fertilizer company dedicated to helping people raise the mineral density of their crops through foliar sprays and liquid fertilizers.

    * Advancing Eco-Agriculture, 4551 Parks West Rd., Middlefield, OH 44062, https://www.advancingecoag.com/ 

    * JungleFlora - plant growth accelerator/soil conditioner - available on Amazon
    A good organic product - living, thick, brown liquid that can develop pressure in bottle, so keep it cool, with cover slightly loose to allow release of pressure. 

    * AMAZE - This is a 5-16-4-5Ca clear liquid foliar fertilizer.  The unique thing about this product is the mixture of Calcium & Phosphorous in a clear solution. 
    From International Ag Labs http://www.aglabs.com/products.html 

    Maxicrop Kelp Liquid/powder http://www.maxicrop.com/

    * Neptune's Harvest Fish Hydrolysate/Seaweed Extract  
    Neptune's Harvest - http://www.neptunesharvest.com/

    Neptune's Harvest fish hydrolysate is an all organic, highly nutritional protein fertilizer, made utilizing naturally occurring enzymes present in fresh North Atlantic fish.  We produce this using a cold process employing enzymes (natural biological catalysts) which break down fish, or fish frames (the part left after the fillet is removed for human consumption) to simpler protein complexes.  This process is called Hydrolysis.

    No synthetic materials are mixed into the fish hydrolysate, and the only manipulation the product undergoes is grinding and hydrolysis.  This process yields a stable, non-odorous, liquid fertilizer that is an easy to use, safe product.  The nitrogen in Neptune's Harvest fish fertilizer is derived from fish protein in the form of amino acids which when added to the soil, slowly break down into basic nitrogen compounds.

    Fish emulsion is made from heated fish waste after protein and oils are removed. It is an inferior product to fish hydrolysate.

    * Other hydrolysate sources:

    * SCHAFER'S ORGANIC FISH FERTILIZER http://www.sf-organics.com/ 

    * Peaceful Valley has a long list of liquid fertilizers www.groworganic.com 

    Microorganism Sources (Inoculants) - There are three basic types of soil microorganisms - bacteria, fungi (mycorrhiza) and archaea.  All three are needed for a healthy soil. Some inoculants contain one type of microbe, some contain several types of fungi and bacteria. Few contain the archaea. EM are tough microbes that thrive in anaerobic situations - good as a primer in tight soils.

    * Micorrhizal Online http://mycorrhizalonline.com/

    * BioOrganics Mycorrhizal Inoculants at http://www.biconet.com/soil/
    Lots of info & products at that Website www.biconet.com Bio-Control Network - Bio-Rational Solutions for an Ever Shrinking Planet.

    * Correct Planting Routine(R) Mycorrhizal inoculant plus aerobic biologicals, vitamins, minerals, herbs and more -  http://www.biogreenorganic.com/  Click on 'Catalogue of Products' - aimed at lawn and tree care care - professional products include a liquid calcium and an organic wetting agent that can be helpful. The "Technical Overview" is on target. "Healthy soil is dictated by four dimensions which are the following: Magnetic Balance, Mineral Balance, Oxygen Circulation and Biological Balance."

    * BioVam http://www.tandjenterprises.com/  
    BioVam page

    * Soil Secrets - In New Mexico - mycorrhizal inoculants with humic acids http://www.soilsecrets.com/ Includes some good basic info on humus.

    * SumaGrow is an economical, environmentally-friendly consortium of beneficial soil microbes carried by liquid humates. Recommended by someone in Texas.

    * Fungi Perfecti - http://www.fungi.com/shop/fungi-for-healthy-gardens.html mycorrhizal inoculants, and also edible mushroom kits

    * Bountiful Harvest http://www.bountiful-harvest.com/ 
    Source of liquid Biostimulant, Plant Food, and Super-Cal (liquid calcium).  

    * NitroMaxTM - agraconew.com/nitromax.htm liquid designed to increase natural nitrogen cycle in soil, living dormant culture

    * SP-1 from AgriEnergy Resources - A blend of microbial products formulated to supply the greatest diversity of bacteria, fungi, algae, enzymes, carbon substrates, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to help support the growth of soil microbial life.

    * Sustainable Growth Texas - Pasture Walks: www.sustainablegrowthtexas.com  - 
      Steve Diver, used to work there, but works independently now, they use biodynamic products.

    * Tainio Technology & Technique, Inc 
    "We are dedicated to providing you premium agricultural products that are safe to our environment."

    * EM America, now TeraGanix - source of Effective Microorganisms

    Also SCD Probiotics - www.scdprobiotics.com/ -  originally  Efficient Microbes   

    Used to make bokashi 

    * Biozome - The Natural Plant Feeder - a source of archaea  http://www.biozome.com/ 
    Further comments on Biozome

    * Jubilate  - from HighBrixGardens.com - call or email them for more information. Jubilate contains minerals in rock powders, bacterial and mycorrhizal inoculants, carbons for biostimulation, and other ingredients to help plants grow. Archaea are also included.

    Soil Conditioners & Carbon Sources (humates)  X

    Basic carbon sources are compost, organic mulches, etc. See Ramial  Wood Chips, also Ramial Chipped Wood: the Clue to a Sustainable Fertile Soil

    These specialized sources maybe helpful. Molasses and sugar are also used as carbon sources that are quickly available to feed the microbes.

    * AgriBoost http://www.allenet.com/ - a combination of ground minerals with high CEC & water holding capacity, a sandy consistency

    * Soil Conditioners (3 types) from Agriculture Solutions 
      Humic Soil CleanserTillerman's Friend  & Microbial Infusion

    * Aerify - Liquid Soil Aerator and Clay Loosener http://natureslawn.com/

    * Nitron A-35,  the "original enzyme catalyst formula" (a soil conditioner) from GardensIQ or Biocontrol Network:  http://www.biconet.com/  Nitron's website is GardensIQ

    Nitron A-35 "activates and releases soil nutrients. Nitron's Formula A-35 is the key to unlocking your soil. A-35 acts as a catalyst and compliments soils natural enzymes. It activates and releases nutrients in the soil as well as those added with fertilizer. Nitron's enzyme catalyst will aid in the release of nutrients and trace elements to plants in any type of soil."

    * International Ag Labs -
              *DroughtBuster a multi-carbon liquid with added humectants which work to help better manage soil moisture - a new product. See www.HighBrixGardens.com 
              *RL-37  http://www.aglabs.com/newletters/rl37.html - Blend of humic acid, liquid seaweed, & natural plant fatty acids, a detoxification product for soils with nutrient imbalances, herbicide residues, and toxins produced by anaerobic conditions. See also http://www.aglabs.com/products.html for other foliar products from IAL. Check out their newsletters.
              *Z-Hume http://www.fullcirclecompost.com/Z-Hume.cfm 

    * Neptune's Harvest - liquid humates
              HM-191 http://www.neptunesharvest.com/ 
              LC-12 http://www.dirtworks.net/Humates.html 
              SP-85 appears to be an older version of humates from Neptune

    * NTS Fulvic 1400TM - http://www.nutri-tech.com.au/products/humates/nts-fulvic-1400.html - interesting info on product in Australia.

    * Environmental Care & Share - http://ecands.net/index.php - ....Organic Soil Conditioning  

    * Also at Ohio Earth Foods

    * See also Terra Preta, Biochar, NutriCarb, Carbon Farmers of American 


    Benefits of Compost Tea

    High quality compost tea provides the microorganisms that take the minerals in the soil and put them in a form that the plant is best able to use, that is, chelated with humic acids. The microbes, if properly nourished, turn organic matter into the humic acids that chelate with the minerals. A good balance of minerals needs to be in the soil for the microbes and plants to thrive.

    High quality compost tea can also provide the minerals needed by the plant in the chelated form that is easily utilized by the plants. So using it as a soil drench gets those nutrients to the roots, giving the plant a boost. Using the compost tea as a foliar puts minerals on the leaves where they can be utilized, and also protects the plant with a layer of good bacteria. By using the high quality compost tea regularly you can give the plants a boost to produce maximum quality (brix). Example of use of compost tea 

    As an alternative you can buy inoculants to add the microbes to the soil - 3 basic kinds - archaea, bacteria, and myccorhizal fungi, but you have to be sure to feed the microbes what they need - organic matter with adequate sugars, protein materials and minerals, and adequate water. And then mix up drenches or foliars based on recipes in a book like Beddoe's, Nourishment Home Grown. Or you can buy special formulas such as Jon Frank, at HighBrixGardens, uses - there's a list at http://highbrixhome.com/ - see the order form. Michael Melendrez, of www.SoilScreats.com, has found that adding some humates (presumably because of their available nutrients) along with the mycorrhizae jumpstarts the formation of more humic acids from the organic matter, which boosts fertility and improves tilth of the soil. Worm castings from your worm bed can be a good source of these humates, as well as lots of microbial action.  (back to SMO's)

    The Path to High Brix:

    High Brix crops results when crops have high levels of soil mineral nutrition along with the transformation and chelating agents of soil acids. Soil acids are the result of the natural deterioration of organic materials into a tea.  The tea is the material that is then transformed by soil bacteria and fungi into fulvic and humic acids [humus].

    The path to high Brix is actually a very simple formula. Build active humic and fulvic acids in your soil. These are the acids that chelate minerals, including N-P-K, secondary minerals such as CA, MG, S, as well as trace minerals, and work to provide microbes and plants with the chelated minerals. Fulvic acid is transcellular - it can feed plants by passing through the cellular structure of the root system. As the plants accumulate minerals and nutrition - from the fulvic / humic soil matrix - plants start to build sugars. They also start reaching towards achieving their genetic potential. As the plants build mineral content and sugar content, we are able to read this change with a refractometer. The basis of sugar increase in a plant is directly related to the nutritional values available to the plant from the soil in which it grows. Synthetic forms of nutrients are unable to stick around long enough to provide plants with the slow nutrient feed that a plant requires to boost mineral and sugar content. Mineral rich soils are useless to a plant if there is no transfer mechanism - the transfer mechanism being the weak acids, in the form of fulvic and humic acids, that chelate the minerals from the soil into a form that is useful to the plant.

    All organic material will, sooner or later, turn into fulvic and humic acids [finished compost]. There are several factors, including pH and a homogenous nature that can accelerate the transformation. Other factors, such as the labile nature of manure, condemns most manure applications to being very ineffective from an efficiency viewpoint in building fulvic and humic acids. It takes, for example, 6 to 8 tons of manure per acre to equal a single ton application of a high efficiency organic fertilizer. Some folks work high cellulose content mixes into their soil. They are disappointed that the benefit to their soil does not happen in the year of application. This is due to bacterial action necessary to break the cellulose down. [For further elaboration see Producing High Brix Plants]

    Best regards,
    John Marler
    Perfect Blend Organics

    Companion Planting

    * The National Sustainable Ag Info Service 
    Companion Planting: Basic Concept and Resources
    Includes a useful chart of companion plants

    * The Three Sisters




    Improving the 
    Nutritional Quality of Produce  

    Join our Northwest Ohio High Brix Gardening group