Nutrition and My Husband’s Health
Organic produce has become increasingly popular in recent time; however, some alarming discoveries have made me question whether organic growing is as complete a solution as I once thought. I have been interested in organic gardening for years and choose to pile on the compost and mulch in lieu of conventional NPK fertilizers.
My change in point of view began with my husband’s health. My husband has had ongoing problems with heart rhythm but after he started taking a food supplement the problems vaporized.
Even under the stress conditions that ordinarily would quickly produce difficulties, all is well as long as he takes his supplement. This supplement provides a range of minerals and anti-oxidants, so something missing from our diet has solved his problems.
While thrilled to have found a real solution, I am not happy at depending on an MLM for maintaining his health because those companies come and go. I also was disturbed that something that vital is absent from our diet, since we thought we were eating good foods.
Brix Testing, Big Agriculture, and Organic Growing
I began investigating further. I already knew that the standard big agricultural methods have been depleting soils and producing vegetables with decreasing protein and other nutritional necessities for many years.
I was alarmed to discover that since organic produce has become so popular many of the larger growers are treating it much the same as conventional big agriculture. They adhere to the officially mandated standards but do not make the effort to be sure the soil is alive and fully healthy. Food quality then suffers.
I discovered Brix testing, which is a method of using a spectrometer to measure solids in a drop of liquid from the plant or vegetable. People often refer to that as measuring the sugar in the liquid but in actual fact other solids are also present in the measurement, including minerals and so forth.
Producers of wine grapes routinely use this testing to determine the peak moment to harvest the crop. Now others are beginning to see the viability of the method for other crops.
High Brix Gardening
High brix gardening is similar to organic gardening but diverges in some ways. The whole focus of brix gardening is to create a fully healthy and alive soil with all the nutrients readily available to the plants. This is quite harmonious with the best organic practices, but allows for using certain non-toxic and environmentally friendly additives that are not on the approved organic list.
Soil testing to determine necessary amendments is part of the process. Brix testing then provides a guideline as to whether the plant is indeed getting all that it needs. If not, then foliar sprays and other approaches are used to boost the nutrient levels.
I am new to all this and not even remotely to be considered an expert. I am purchasing a spectrometer to be able to check what I grow, and also what I buy in the stores. Since calcium is vital to making the other nutrients available to the plant I have bought some shellfish fertilizer to add more calcium and many trace minerals to my soil.
The soil I have in my gardens is not ideal, loose sandy soil which was full of grubs and not much else when I began. But I have been gardening for several years here, adding tons of manure, compost, and mulches, so matters have improved a great deal.
I also have added rock phosphates, glacial rock dust, etc. I suspect I will find I still have lots of room for improvement as I work with brix gardening. I will be posting on this project from time to time as it proceeds.
My Brix Gardening Experiment
Kenneth over at Veggie Gardening Tips is an excellent organic gardener and we have been having a nice conversation about this matter, which is why I went ahead and wrote this post. He brings up some interesting points about edible weeds and heirloom varieties as well as the effects of shipping long distances.
I am growing mostly heirloom tomatoes in my hoop house but do include a couple of modern tomatoes in the collection, which may provide some interesting comparisons as I experiment this summer. I shall also plant broccoli in the hoop house, in the vegetable garden I rebuilt last year, and in one of the more recent, less improved, garden plots to provide a different set of comparisons.
The soil in the 800 square foot hoop house has had the most improvement of all my gardens so that is where I will begin my brix project. As time permits, it will expand throughout the other gardens as well.
If anyone out there is already doing brix gardening or nutrition levels in food, please contribute your thoughts on the matter in comments.
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