What is Brix?
What is Brix?
More to the point is What is HIGH brix? Brix seems to be a way to tell how well an organic soil is doing. As it relates to Marijuana, flavor and quality are the end results. Much more needs to be done in this area but if you are interested read on.
History of Brix
Professor A. F. Brix was a chemist in the 19th century. He was the inventor of the refractometer, and the concept of Brix. The orchard and vineyard owners were so pleased with his work they all got together and decided to name it after him. Now some people still use the refractometers that he invented twenty years after his findings of brix. A refractometer is used to find the amount of sugar in a fruit.
Source : elah.k12.wa.us/soar/scip...BrittanyB.html
Brix is a term popularized by Carey Reams. When used on plant sap it is primarily a measure of the carbohydrate level in plant juices. The instrument used to obtain a brix reading is the refractometer.
Food Crop Brix Reading Limits - David Menne
Plant sap contains nutrients which feed it, and determine its health and resistance to disease and stress. This is often measured using a Refractometer, as Brix, which equals the % Dissolved Solids in the sap.
A high Brix sap has a reduced Water Activity [ratio of sap to pure water vapour pressures], with a corresponding reduction in freezing point [frost resistance - each additional Brix unit protects by a further 0.5 C], as well as a proportionally greater tendency to retain moisture [heat wilt resistance].
Higher Brix levels prevent bacterial and fungal infestations - and thus storage life. While temperature, pH etc can influence if and how fast organisms will grow, Water Activity may be the most important factor. Brix sap levels in excess of 12% also generally ensure against sap-sucking insect infestations.
But most importantly - high Brix provides proportionally greater nutritional content of the food; and ensures good old-fashioned, true nature-ripened flavour, especially where the Refractometer shows a diffuse or spread reading, indicating a variety of complex dissolved plant proteins and flavour components in good measure.
Source : plantsfood.com/brixvalue.htm
This is a new area of interest to me. Let me drag out the highlights of what is above as I see it applying to marijuana.
"Plant sap contains nutrients which feed it, and determine its health and resistance to disease and stress". A function of how well your organic soil is doing in relationship to the genetics you are growing. Not all genetics can take advantage of a High Brix promoting enviroment.
"But most importantly - high Brix provides proportionally greater nutritional content of the food; and ensures good old-fashioned, true nature-ripened flavour, especially where the Refractometer shows a diffuse or spread reading, indicating a variety of complex dissolved plant proteins and flavour components in good measure. "
I experienced a watermelon like smell when I harvested last season and the same F1 seeds didn't provide that smell before in previous season's grows, I really wondered why the sap smelled that good! At first I thought it was simply that I put Honey in my fish and coffee brew I fed them and that is partly right. Somehow the soil functioned really well with all the microbes and fungus doing their thing.
So that started the quest.
The keys to High Brix is a healthy soil. Minerals are needed. Primary nutrients are needed secondary nutrients are needed. Organic materials are need.
It's not easy to get a grip on but what he writes sounds reasonable. Here is a page on 8 steps to High brix home.woh.rr.com/billkrisjohns...rix.htm#8Steps
I can see I'm more Questing with this topic then FAQ'ing Yet its a good one.
Last edited by wawona; 12-31-2006 at 07:35 PM.
What is Azomite?
What is Azomite?
Plant Nutrition is part decaying matter and it's products and part mineral uptake.
Azomite is a mined rock that provides maybe all the minerals needed.
An Organic Fertilizer full of Minerals & Trace Elements
Azomite is the name of a special rock in Utah. Early this century geological prospector Rollin Anderson found deposits of montmorillonite clay in a valley south of Salt Lake City. U.S. Bureau of Mines analysis showed the clay is similar to Chilean/Peruvian caliche rocks from which much of the world's nitrate was mined. Anderson ground montmorillonite as fine as possible, then put it in his garden. Results were amazing and nearly immediate. Minerals in Azomite Organic Fertilizer are necessary to optimal metabolism in living things. Ground to dust, trace minerals are small enough to pass through cell walls of organisms.
Source : wheatgrasskits.com/azomite.htm?gclid=CNns05LCrokCFSNQYwodanNeUQ
I see that it can be used as a top dressing so those of us who find this late can relax.
I see it's 5 bucks as well... Man...
Azomite Micronized (2 lb)
Trace Mineral Amendment This natural fertilizer (described in Secrets of the Soil as "rock dust") is actually an ancient deposit of aluminum silicate clay and marine minerals. In use for over 50 years as a source of available potash (0.2%) and over 50 trace minerals, including calcium (1.8%), sodium (0.1%), and magnesium (0.5%). Apply at .25-2 tons/acre, or .25-2 lb/10 sq ft. Use as an annual top dressing on citrus trees, where soil pH is 6.5 or lower, at 5 lb/tree, or 15 lb on blight-stricken trees. Azomite can also used in animal feeds at a rate of 0.5% of feed mixture, as a trace mineral supplement and a natural anti-caking agent.
Source : groworganic.com/search.html?sText=azomite&sCategory=&sSort=Best&sD etail=T
What is Greensand?
What is Greensand?
Greensand is an olive-green colored sandstone rock which is commonly found in narrow bands, particularly associated with bands of chalk and clay worldwide; it has been deposited in marine environments at various times during Earth history, such as during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.
Source : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greensand
Greensand, an organic source of potassium; about 7% potash plus 32 trace elements, is found at nurseries, some garden centersand online.
It is best mixed in the soil but, I'm sure it will top dress alright.
What is Blood Meal?
What is Blood Meal?
In our choices of Nitrogen fertilizers Blood Meal is one of the fast ones.
Blood meal is dried, powdered blood used as a high-nitrogen fertilizer. It is one of the highest non-synthetic sources of nitrogen and if over-applied it can burn plants with excessive ammonia. Blood meal is completely soluble and can be mixed with water to be used as a liquid fertilizer. It usually comes from cattle as a slaughterhouse by-product. It may also be spread on gardens to deter animals such as rabbits, or as a compost activator.
Source : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_meal
What is Bone Meal?
What is Bone Meal?
Bone meal is a mixture of crushed and coarsely ground bones that is used as an organic fertilizer for plants and in animal feed. As a fertilizer, bone meal is primarily used as a source of phosphorus.
Source : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_meal
Bonemeal is a product created from the waste resulting from the slaughter of animals, especially beef cattle, by meat processors. It is a white powder made by grinding either raw or steamed animal bones.
This results in a product that contains the same nutrients necessary for the production of, and maintenance of, bone in both humans and animals.
The composition of bonemeal can vary. Phosphorus, in the form of chemical compounds related to phosphates, makes up 20–30% of the powder.
In addition to its mineral content, depending upon the amount of tendon and muscle left on the bones, bonemeal can be a fairly good source of protein.
The nutrients typically present in bonemeal include the minerals calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium and zinc, as well as traces of other elements.
Source : answers.com/topic/bone-meal
I use it mixed in the soil and also as a top dressing.
What is Feeding the Soil?
What is Feeding the Soil?
Feeding the Soil is laying a layer of materials down on a Organic soil alive with microorganisms that use nitrogenous and carbon rich materials to feed on.
When we are not growing in the soil we can add materials and "recycle the soil."
In Farming and outdoor gardening many methods are used including cover crops.
Indoor gardeners can still manage a healthy life cycle of the soil with a little work.
if we act on the time-honored adage "feed the soil," we will discover that applying compost and growing cover crops are sustainable, effective, and inexpensive ways of building fertile soil and growing healthy crops.
Gardeners who improve soil in this manner work in harmony with nature's complex cycles where the remains of decaying plants and animals are broken down and reabsorbed by living plants and animals. This circle of birth, death, and rebirth is the basis for all life on our planet.
Source : seedsofchange.com/digging/cover_crops.asp
Feeding soil is a necessity for healthy plant growth
By Ron Vanderhoff
Healthy soil equals healthy plants. Every gardener eventually succumbs to this fundamental principle.
Soil is alive. These are the three most important words to understand if you're going to have a successful garden. Many of us grew up in an era when we understood soil as just a sterile, lifeless accumulation of bits of rock, minerals, mud and other unknowns. We all thought that the more sterile and lifeless, the better. As gardeners, we mistakenly believed that soil just held our plants upright. It was our applications of fertilizers and chemicals that we sprayed and spread that were the source of healthy plants. And there are still those among us who cling to the ritualistic applications of expensive fertilizers, sprays and synthetic cure-alls in a never-ending attempt to sustain the garden.
But we now know that healthy soil is teaming with millions, even billions, of unseen organisms. Since we cannot see the majority of these organisms — beneficial but microscopic bacteria, fungi, algae and protozoa — we sometimes forget how essential they are. Earthworms, sow bugs, springtails and more are all present in healthy living soil, as are beneficial forms of nematodes and mites.
Rather than discourage life under our feet, we know that these organisms are essential to a soil's fertility, structure and health.
It is the invisible life in our soil that converts organic matter into nutrients, improves soil structure and wards off pests and disease.
Remove these organisms from your soil and your soil will compact, lose nutrition, lack aeration and harbor root diseases.
So, all but a few gardeners still living in the dark ages now know that soil is alive. From a plant's perspective, the more alive the better.
What can a gardener do to create and sustain soil that is living?
A living soil begins by not killing it. As gardening consumers, we are subjected to an onslaught of marketing messages that subtly "teach" us how to behave in our gardens. Here's a list of don''ts, a few ways to kill healthy, living soil.
Do not use systemic insecticides applied around roses or any other plants. This is a very inefficient way to control pests but a very effective way to kill your soil life.
Source : dailypilot.com/articles/2006/12/16/features/dpt-garden15.txt
There are ways to boost populations of these microorganisms.
But the basic don't is to not use chemical fertilizers.
I believe that a living soil manages itself but we make the rules.
I'm hijacking something here and I'll post the source but here are 4 rules.
1. Understand (through testing & observation) and balance the soil, giving attention to its chemical, biological, and physical components.
2. Balance soil chemistry and provide crop nutrition using a balance of soluble and slow-release materials, and a monitor the pH.
Do this by top dressing with organic materials and feeding the soil with liquid organic nutrients.
3. Manage tillage to control the decay of organic materials while optimizing soil aeration and moisture levels. This applies to turning under materials. For us this means mix the top dressing up and into the soil gently so as to not disturb the roots but to rotate materials closer to the moisture and the feeding microherd
4. Feed soil life with green manure crops and other sources of organic matter. This is top dressing and when recycling or building the soil.
Select materials that create good structure and nutrition.
Hijack source : midwesternbioag.com/biologicalfarming/6_rules_soil.html
--- End of Hijack.
It may be a serious move but if we have a soil that is recycled season after season it may pay to have a sample analyzed.
Knowing the state of things can help us manage our long term soil.
This site al-labs-eastern.com/agricultural.html is an example of how to take and where to take a soil sample.
The bonus of a soil that has been around many seasons is Humus.
Humus is a word actually used for two different things, which are both related to soil and thus get used interchangeably.
First, in earth sciences "humus" (see suprahumic.unina.it) is any organic matter which has reached a point of stability, where it will break down no further and might, if conditions do not change, remain essentially as it is for centuries, or millennia.
Second, in agriculture, "humus" is often used simply to mean mature compost, or natural compost extracted from a forest or other spontaneous source for use to amend soil.
The process of "humification" can occur naturally in soil, or in the production of compost. Chemically stable humus is thought by some to be important to the fertility of soils in both a physical and chemical sense, though some agricultural experts advocate a greater focus on other aspects of nutrient delivery, instead. Physically, it helps the soil retain moisture, and encourages the formation of good soil structure. Chemically, it has many active sites which bind to ions of plant nutrients, making them more available. Humus is often described as the 'life-force' of the soil. Yet it is difficult to define humus in precise terms; it is a highly complex substance, the full nature of which is still not fully understood. Physically, humus can be differentiated from organic matter in that the latter is rough looking material, with coarse plant remains still visible, while once fully humified it become more uniform in appearance (a dark, spongy, jelly-like substance) and amorphous in structure.
That is, it has no determinate shape, structure or character.
Plant remains (including those that have passed through an animal and are excreted as manure) contain organic compounds: sugars, starches, proteins, carbohydrates, lignins, waxes, resins and organic acids.
The process of organic matter decay in the soil begins with the decomposition of sugars and starches from carbohydrates which break down easily as saprotrophs initially invade the dead plant, while the remaining cellulose breaks down more slowly.
Proteins decompose into amino acids at a rate depending on carbon to nitrogen ratios.
Organic acids break down rapidly, while fats, waxes, resins and lignins remain relatively unchanged for longer periods of time.
The humus that is the end product of this process is thus a mixture of compounds and complex life chemicals of plant, animal, or microbial origin, which has many functions and benefits in the soil.
Earthworm humus (vermicompost) is considered by some to be the best organic manure there is.
Benefits of Humus
The mineralisation process that converts raw organic matter to the relatively stable substance that is humus feeds the soil population of micro-organisms and other creatures, thus maintaining high and healthy levels of soil life.
Effective and stable humus (see below) are further sources of nutrients to microbes, the former providing a readily available supply while the latter acts as a more long-term storage reservoir.
Humification of dead plant material causes complex organic compounds to break down into simpler forms which are then made available to growing plants for uptake through their root systems.
Humus is a colloidal as substance, and increases the soil's cation exchange capacity, hence its ability to store nutrients by chilation as can clay particles; thus while these nutrient cations are accessible to plants, they are held in the soil safe from leaching away by rain or irrigation.
Humus can hold the equivalent of 80-90% of its weight in moisture, and therefore increases the soil's capacity to withstand drought conditions.
The biochemical structure of humus enables it to moderate – or buffer – excessive acid or alkaline soil conditions.
During the Humification process, microbes secrete sticky gums; these contribute to the crumb structure of the soil by holding particles together, allowing greater aeration of the soil.
Toxic substances such as heavy metals, as well as excess nutrients, can be chelated (that is, bound to the complex organic molecules of humus) and prevented from entering the wider ecosystem.
The dark colour of humus (usually black or dark brown) helps to warm up cold soils in the spring.
Source : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humus
There are the nutrients that are provided by organic materials but we must also provide minerals.
So far Azomite seems to be top dog.
What is Kelp?
What is Kelp?
For us organic gardeners we use liquid kelp or kelp meal but below is a general definition of kelp; something we read less about when focused on gardening. After that I will focus on the kinds of kelp products we have available to us.
What Is Kelp
What is red, brown, green or blue-green, comes in 1700 varieties and waves gracefully from side to side? The answer is seaweed.
The main groups of edible seaweed are classified according to their predominant color.
Kelp's Nutritional Analysis
Seaweeds are used principally in human food, animal food, fertilizer and nutritional supplements. The nutritional supplement most readily found on health food store shelves is a brown seaweed named kelp. Kelp is a principal source of iodine, but that is only a part of the story.
Kelp contains almost every mineral and trace mineral necessary for human existence. It also contains amino acids and vitamins.
Marine plants, such as the brown seaweed plant that is the source of kelp tablets and powder, live and flourish because of sunlight and the nutrients so plentiful in the sea.
The brown seaweed group is usually found in cold waters, although a number of varieties are harvested in the warmer waters of the Pacific off the coast of California. So fantastic is their growing ability, deriving nutrients only from the sun and surrounding water, that when they are harvested four feet from the surface, they grow back within ten days. Because they completely cover rocks between high and low tide, they are sometimes called rock weeds. The best known of the brown algae are the kelps. They generally grow in enormous beds just below the surface of the water. Seaweeds do not have any roots. They cling to rocks with grippers, called holdfasts, which are strong enough to take the battering of even the fiercest storms.
In 1750, an English physician, Dr. Bernard Russell, burned dried kelp and used it successfully as a treatment for goiter, a condition caused by a malfunctioning of the thyroid gland. In 1862 a Dr. C. Dupare successfully used kelp as an aid to treat obesity. These uses depend on the iodine content, which kelp contains in natural form.
Iodine is said to benefit the body in other ways, in addition to promoting the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. It helps provide energy and endurance, and relieve nervous tension. Because iodine promotes circulation, particularly to the brain, it contributes to better nourishment and to clear thought. Iodine also helps to burn food, so it is not stored as unwanted fat.
This grouping is usually a deep-water variety, up to 200 feet below the surface. Red seaweeds prefer shadier locations and warmer water than the brown variety. The color is probably because of the subdued light that barely reaches the deep waters. Irish moss is the best known of the red variety.
This form of seaweed is closest to the green leafy vegetables with which we are familiar. In fact, one species is called sea lettuce. Green seaweed grows not only in the salty seas but also in fresh-water lakes and rivers. They are much smaller than the brown and red varieties, ranging in size down to the one-celled organism. Some green seaweed even grows on trees on land.
Source : naturalways.com/kelp01.htm
Most of us will buy a bottle of liquid kelp of some type. Yet, there are different types we can choose from and even kelp meal for "feeding the soil."
From our garden friends down under : Australia
Seaweed is a wonderful fertiliser, a great soil builder and an excellent compost activator. All in all, seaweed is terrific stuff for the garden. There's a long tradition of seaweed being used as a fertiliser to improve crop production. For example Celtic and Scandinavian farmers have put it onto their fields for centuries.
Kelp is one of many different types of seaweed. One type is powdered kelp. It is convenient for adding to the garden. And what is it about seaweed that makes it such a good fertiliser? Seaweed contains complex carbohydrates and these really get the soil humming with life. This has two really important functions for the garden. Firstly, it stimulates the microbial fungi in the soil and these assist plants in their uptake of nutrients. They also assist in defending plants from soil borne diseases. So adding seaweed fertiliser helps crop protection, and plant nutrition
Of all the fertilisers, seaweed has the broadest and most balanced range of nutrients, to promote early flowering and cropping and increases the sugar content of fruit. All in all, it's very good stuff.
An extract from seaweed is Algin. It's sold in the shops as agar agar. Add it to water and make a liquid paste. Pour it onto the soil and it acts like a natural wetting agent. Excellent for sandy soils.
Land plants have cellulose, which thickens their cell walls and allows them to resist gravity, and they can grow upright. Seaweed is supported by water and has no need for cellulose. In a compost heap, that means seaweed breaks down really quickly. It activates the compost heap. But powdered kelp works just as well.
Seaweed also comes in a liquid form, so spray it on plants and they take in the food directly through leaves. Just ensure it's diluted as recommended, because it's really strong stuff and can burn seedlings and roots.
Another benefit of using seaweed fertiliser over time is it acidifies and adds iron to the soil, which is great news if you are growing acid and iron hungry plants like gardenias, camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons. It's great on native plants as well. If you use seaweed fertiliser on native proteaceae, like banksias and grevilleas, just make sure that it hasn't been fortified with phosphorous, because that can do some harm.
Seaweed contains natural plant hormones, so it's really useful in preventing transplant shock whenever you move a plant around the garden. It's also useful for improving the germination of seeds. For example peanuts, which have a large seed, should be soaked for 24 hours in seaweed fertiliser for a good germination rate. Seaweed also helps to improve the thickness of plant cell walls. This makes them much more resistant to pest and disease attack and also improves frost resistance.
Source : abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s1805258.htm
In my searches I have found two types one being considered the premium liquid kelp
Bull and Ascophyllum kelp.
Cold-processed liquid kelp Enzymatically digested, concentrated liquid extract of California Bull Kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana), harvested from kelp beds in the Pacific Ocean off the Northern coast of CA. Freshly harvested kelp is rapidly processed at low temperatures, using naturally occurring enzymes isolated from the kelp, to digest and liquify the chopped kelp into a dark liquid extract. This cold water enzymatic process preserves all the very important hormones, auxins, giberillins, enzymes, proteins, vitamins and minerals found in Bull Kelp, which is internationally recognized for its high concentration of active compounds that greatly stimulate the growth and productivity of plants. Product is then stabilized with the addition of natural humic acids which have been digested with enzymes and mixed with the kelp concentrate. Contains 21% solids.
Source : groworganic.com/item_F1320_EcoNutrientsLiquidKelpQuart.html
Cold Processed Kelp from pure, fresh, Norwegian Ascophyllum kelp, this product is about twice as potent by weight as heat-processed kelps. Contains 18% solids, 30 ppm abscissic acid (ABA), 40 ppm cytokinins, 70 ppm indole acetic acid (IAA), plus very high levels of vitamins and minerals. Particularly effective when combined with other foliar materials such as fish products
Source : groworganic.com/item_F1306_AlgaminKelpQuart.html
I can't imagine my garden without kelp to be honest..
What is Manure?
What is Manure?
So you thought Poop Is POOP when here's the Low Down...
Good poop, bad poop
What is good for the goose, is not always good for the gander.
There are a few manures that should not be used, primarily those of meat eaters. According to Cornell University, "Homeowners should not use any manure from dogs, cats, or other meat-eating animals, since there is risk of parasites or disease organisms that can be transmitted to humans."
The most common sources of manure are horses, cattle, goats, sheep, rabbits and poultry.
Below is a guide showing how manures measure up, nutrient-wise.
While all animal manures are good sources of organic matter and nutrients, it's impossible to make a precise analysis, mostly because bedding materials vary so much. For example, manure with straw or sawdust will have a different nitrogen composition than pure manure. But it's useful to know whether the manure you're using is rich or poor in a particular nutrient such as nitrogen. chicken manure organic fertilizer
As you review the list, don't be misled by the N-P-K numbers that suggest manure is less powerful than chemicals. It is actually far better because it contains large amounts of organic matter, so it feeds and builds the soil while it nourishes the plants.
This is one of the primary ways that organic fertilizers have a leg-up on chemical ones.
Still, many gardeners can't resist comparing the numerical amounts listed below with what they read on packages of synthetic fertilizers.
Unfortunately, the values of manure and organic fertilizers in general, are often based on the relative amount of nitrogen (N), phosphoric acid (P) and potash (K) they contain. While these are important elements, "it is misleading to make a direct comparison between farm manures and chemical fertilizers on the basis of the relative amounts of N-P-K," says Jerry Minnich, author of Rodale's Guide to Composting.
Just like we need to eat to maintain our health, soil needs continual replenishment of its organic matter to decompose into humus.
Humus helps create a rich, moisture-retaining soil and makes nutrients available to plants.( For more organic gardening tips, read the current issue of my UpBeet Gardener newsletter.)
How common manures measure up
Manure Chicken Diary cow Horse Steer Rabbit Sheep
N-P-K 1.1 .80 .50 .25 .15 .25 .70 .30 .60 .70 .30 .40 2.4 1.4 .60 .70.30 .90
Source : plantea.com/manure.htm
All Manures should be composted when used indoors. The exception might be teas made with an air stone and air pump..
Steer Manure is very high in salts and should not be used IMO.
There is a difference between Steer and Cow.
Another manure I like is Guinea Pig.
One thing I wish to say.. If you get pets to collect poop you better treat them good. I do not wish to suggest a means to their end if you know what I'm saying.
What is NPK?
What is NPK?
There are many sources for information on NPK and I point out that these basic ions, as it would seem, are common to Organic and chemical fertilizers.
To an Organic gardener it's how we get there that matters.
Fertilizers that have high numbers for NPK usually are not organic ones.
What does N-P-K stand for?
N = Nitrogen 4-1-1
Nitrogen is the first major element responsible for the vegetative growth of plants above ground. With a good supply, plants grow sturdily and mature rapidly, with rich, dark green foliage.
P = Phosphorus 4-1-1
The second major element in plant nutrition, phosphorus is essential for healthy growth, strong roots, fruit and flower development, and greater resistance to disease.
K = Potassium (Potash) 4-1-1
The third major plant nutrient, potassium oxide is essential for the development of strong plants. It helps plants to resist diseases, protects them from the cold and protects during dry weather by preventing excessive water loss.
Source : living-learning.com/faq/npk.htm
Last edited by wawona; 12-31-2006 at 07:37 PM.
What is Trace Elements?
What is Trace Elements?
Definition of trace elements
Definition as written by paulgrow:
Minor mineral nutrients that are needed by all plants in extremly small or trace amounts. In order to be useful, these micronutrients must be available in the soil in which the plants are grown. Too little of one or more of these produces deficiencies resulting in plant disease
Source : davesgarden.com/terms/go/941/
Copper (Cu) .
Iron (Fe) .
Molybdenum (Mo) .
Source : ext.vt.edu/pubs/envirohort/426-323/426-323.html
You will find trace elements in things like kelp, Greensand and Azomite as well as others.
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