12-14-2012, 09:06 AM #1
Hit The Brix
A start... more to come...
All this fantastic info copied from C-Ray @ UDG... not sure where he gt it... but
Thread Opened... Thanks to C-ray for sharing all this!
What Is Brix?
Common optical refractometer can be used to measure high brix in produce and juices.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. Refractometers come in two basic styles, optical and digital. Both types work great. Here is how a refractometer is used: squeeze out some sap from a plant, put 2 drops of the juice on the prism, close the prism cover, point to a light source, focus the eye piece, and read the measurement. The brix reading is indicated where the light and dark fields intersect.
What part of the plant is used for taking a brix reading? Whatever part you eat if it is ripe. If it is not ripe take the most recent mature leaves that have had full sunlight for at least 2 hours. Ideally measurements should be taken at the same time of day as you compare throughout the growing season.
A refractometer measures the amount of bend or refraction in the rays of light as they pass through the plant sap. This is why a brix chart is more properly called a Refractive Index of Crop Juices.
What causes light to refract as it passes through plant sap?
1. The amount of carbohydrates in the juice.
2. The amount of dissolved minerals in the plant sap.
3. The amount of covalent bonding.
What proof can be offered to show that higher brix readings equal higher quality?
High Brix Foods Have Greater Carbohydrate Levels
Carbohydrates are the fuel the body uses for basic metabolic function. This has tremendous implications on digestion and human health. This is covered more fully in Food Quality & Digestion.
High Brix Foods Have Greater Mineral Density
One of the health rules that Dr. Carey Reams taught was that:
"All disease is the result of a mineral deficiency."
This rule clearly shows why it is so important to eat foods with high mineral density. One of the most important nutrients that increases with high brix readings is calcium. According to Dr. Reams calcium levels in produce rise and fall proportionately with the brix levels. This has been independently confirmed by Bob Pike in his research on tissue testing. Disorders and degenerative diseases resulting from a calcium deficiency could fill several books.
In addition to increased calcium levels, high brix foods also supply more trace minerals such as copper, iron, and manganese. Trace minerals function as co-enzymes in the digestive process. Co-enzymes work with enzymes as activators of those enzymes. These trace minerals have higher atomic weights. Due to greater mineral density and the inclusion of heavier trace minerals high brix foods weigh more per unit than lower quality produce.
Digital refractometer makes measuring high brix in foods easy.Minerals in foods are in a naturally chelated form. Naturally chelated minerals are bound to amino acids that have a right-hand spin. Amino acids with a right-hand spin are referred to as L-Amino acids. L-Amino acids are biologically active. This translates into easy assimilation into the body compared to inorganic minerals taken in pill form. Amino acids that have been compounded by man have a left-hand spin, which is known as D-Amino acids, or they are a mixture of the L and D form of amino acids. The D form is not biologically active and is rarely found in nature. The L and D forms of amino acids are mirror images of each other. This is the reason why mineral supplements that have minerals bound to an amino acid and claimed to be chelated need to be checked which form the amino acids are in. When it comes to supplementing with vitamins and minerals it is BUYER BEWARE. The indiscriminate use of vitamins and minerals can create a dangerous situation whereas the correct use of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes can be very beneficial to the body. When consuming high quality fruits and vegetables the there is no need for the BUYER BEWARE warning.
High Brix Foods Taste Better
Quality foods that are high in calcium, enzymes and minerals provide good nutrition to the body.Why won’t little Johnny eat his peas? They taste terrible. Little Johnny instinctively knows that sweet tasting peas are better while poor-quality peas are instantly rejected. Have you ever eaten a 22 brix grape? Once you have you won’t forget the taste. A candy bar will be held in disdain by little Johnny compared to 22 brix grapes. Ask any old-timer if they like the taste of fruits and vegetables now compared to when they were young. I am sure you won’t be able to find a single person that feels today’s are better. Taste is built upon the upon the carbohydrate and mineral levels in the produce. When they decline so does the taste. What about aroma? That seems lost as well. Todays average 2-3 brix hydroponic greenhouse tomato looks like a tomato but it has virtually no aroma and is nearly tasteless. It is a poor caricature of what a tomato should be. As a culture Americans are so used to eating low quality produce we don’t even know what really good produce tastes like.
High Brix Plants Are Insect And Disease Resistant
Here we see the handiwork of our Creator. Plants in poor health emit an electo-magnetic frequency that insects tune in to. This in effect calls them in for a feast. Plants in good health emit a different frequency that insects do not tune in to. Nature has been designed to use insects to get rid of poor quality plants that are unfit for human consumption. In the same way a poorly balanced soil will produce plants susceptible to disease. Properly balanced soil will produce plants resistant to disease. William Albrecht put it this way:
“Insects and disease are the symptoms of a failing crop, not the cause of it. It’s not the overpowering invader we must fear but the weakened condition of the victim.”
Animals Instinctively Prefer High Brix Foods
Animals have a greater sense of instinct than does mankind. Their instinct for survival can be seen in the multitude of stories arising from the recent tsunami. Wild animals were not caught by surprise—they had fled for higher ground hours before the waves hit the shores. This same level of instinct carries over to their choice of foods. The foods of highest mineral density and health are preferred over poorer quality. Here is something to ponder over. Wild deer will not graze genetically modified corn stalks unless close to starving. This is why conservationists who are planting corn specifically for the deer population will avoid planting genetically modified corn. Production agriculture has found that it takes twice as many acres of genetically modified cornstalks to get the same amount of weight gain on cattle as compared to conventional non-GMO corn varieties.
Here is an easy experiment to prove this point. Buy whole field corn sold in the birdseed section of your local supermarket and some popcorn. Whole field corn will weigh somewhere around 55 lbs. per bushel while the popcorn will be around 66-68 lbs. per bushel. Offer both corn samples to some chickens that are not overly hungry and see which corn they eat first. They first go after the popcorn with great enthusiasm and then the field corn with less enthusiasm. Why? Popcorn has greater mineral density as indicated by test weight. Cattle have the same instinct. They will always prefer the forage with the higher sugar content. This has been proven many times by seeing which hay cattle eat first when offered a choice.
In conclusion Brix has become the gold standard to measure plant quality. Measuring the brix level on plants is quick, simple, and fairly inexpensive. Unfortunately some of the largest detractors of the Brix=Quality movement propagate a system of agriculture that produces low-brix plants. These plants need ‘crop protection’ in the form of herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. These pesticides disrupt the delicate microbial balance in the soil and contribute to the continued production of low-brix foods. Another quote from that eminent soil scientist, William Albrecht, seems in order:
"The use of (pesticide) sprays is an act of desperation in a dying agriculture."
The good news is that more and more people are demanding higher-quality food and numerous farmers are getting off the pesticide/GMO/low-brix merry-go-round and beginning to produce food that can have a tremendous impact on improving our health and nutrition—and it all starts with our digestive system.
Click here to download the Brix Chart as a PDF.
Refractometers (A.K.A Brix Meter)
Refractometers are a simple optical instrument that measures the amount of light refracted in a liquid. Refractometers measure on a "Brix" scale and measuring the Brix level of fruits and vegetables is very important because it is a great indicator of flavor and quality.
The higher the brix level of your fruits juices is, the higher the dissolved solids in the foods juices such as sucrose, fructose, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, hormones and all the other goodness that the plant puts into the food is. It is estimated that in a healthy fruit or vegetable, approximately 80% of the brix is represented by the natural sugars which give the food its great flavor and goodness. It is believed by many people to be the best indicator of quality available in one quick and simple test.
Refractometers are a standard piece of equipment for many Agronomists and is a standard tool used in the fruit and citrus industries. Juice factories and vineyards especially use refractometers so they can measure the level of flavors in the juices and blend them to consistent brix level every time. Many companies are also now offering big bonuses to farmers who can produce high brix fruits because it means they have to add less artificial sweetener to the juices which are devoid of any nutritional value (unlike natural sugars).
THE STAGES OF TESTING AS A GARDENER OR FARMER
IN THE FIELD
Start by testing your finished produce when it is ready for harvest. Recognize that HIGH QUALITY produce comes from HIGH QUALITY plants. Test the leaves of your plants that are not ready for harvest. If they continually test high as the days go by, the harvest will ultimately test high.
Start your testing earlier next season. You are no longer operating blindly. Adjust your fertilization to increase leaf brix. The QUALITY of your produce will be far higher. An excellent step-by-step program using pH & electrical conductivity to adjust leaf brix upwards has been developed by Bob Pike. This method removes much of the traditional guesswork that formerly dominated the "try this---try that" school of how to increase brix.
OBSERVE THAT INSECTS, VIRUS, BACTERIA, AND FUNGUS ONLY ATTACK LOW BRIX PLANTS
Chemical control of plant pests is a multi-billion dollar industry. Each year, the chemical companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars advertising their products purportedly to control insects, viruses, bacteria, and fungus. The chemical companies spend more millions conducting and sponsoring field tests that attempt to prove the special worth of their particular products.
However, their tests assume that all pests voraciously attack all green plants. That premise brings forth the following questions:
What kept the pests from multiplying, and then devouring, everything green millions of years ago? Why is the Earth not a bare rock now?
Understandably, the chemical companies shy away from these questions. Most are well aware that pest problems occur in fields fertilized with NPK.
The true answer is that pests are extremely selective in what they eat. Selectivity is well known. For instance, a cabbageworm dropped in a cornfield starves to death in the midst of plenty. Similarly, corn-smut fungus spores landing in a cabbage patch quietly die.
HIGH-QUALITY organic growers have, for generations, calmly stated that pests leave their produce alone. They are telling the truth. However, the truth of their observations is often clouded by the pests that LOW-QUALITY organic growers battle with garlic sprays and other concoctions.
Simply stated, unhealthy plants attract pests. Parallels are well known in nature. Predators are drawn to the weakest, most unhealthy, animals in a herd.
Another thought is that the syrupy nature of high brix plant juices is simply too difficult for sucking insects, such as aphids, to ingest. In all likelihood they depart in frustration to seek out the watery chemical grown produce of the neighbor’s field.
Finally, some students of BRIX=QUALITY theorize that alcohol plays a major part in plant/pest interaction. Apparently, insects, unlike warm-blooded creatures have no mechanism in their blood to prevent sugar from rapidly fermenting to alcohol. Therefore, they reason an insect feeding on a HIGH BRIX plant would suffer toxic effects from sugar fermentation in their blood. They reason, further, that predators easily catch toxic (or tipsy) insects¾ removing them from the gene pool.
Some alcohol theorists add yet another concept: namely that formed alcohol tends to dissolve the waxy seal exo-skeleton creatures employ to prevent fatal dehydration in hot fields.
Whatever---the reasoning goes on to suggest that insects feeding indiscriminately on HIGH BRIX plants fail to survive evolutionary pressures.
Although there is scant official research to validate any of these theories, there is wide agreement among non-toxic farmers the world around that healthy plants are immune to insect attack and disease.
OBSERVE THAT HIGH LEAF BRIX READINGS PROTECT AGAINST FROST
Pure water freezes at 32 degrees Farenheit. However, a 5 brix water-sugar mixture freezes at 26 degrees; a 10 brix mixture at 22 degrees; and a 15 brix mixture won’t freeze until it reaches 17 degrees. Plant frost damage (killing) occurs when ice crystals rupture plant cells. Many HIGH BRIX growers find their production season extended because the first few light frosts no longer harm their crop.
While a sugar-water mixture is not exactly the same as brix, consumers would be wise to recognize that the last local field-grown produce is almost assuredly the highest brix and therefore the highest quality. Such growers are worth seeking out.
Note: Some refractometer models are calibrated to directly show the temperatures needed to freeze certain liquids.
Price your output accordingly
Once you understand that your produce is sweeter and more nutritious than average, you should be prepared to show your customers why it is worth more.
A drop of plant juice starts drying immediately. Wind and sun speed the drying. If you suspect that your test drop dried enough to affect your result, clean your refractometer and start over. It only takes a moment
Experts suggest that you re-check most tests when you first start using your own refractometer. The ability to duplicate your work by crosschecking is a powerful confidence builder.
Be alert for fading of the demarcation line in the viewing screen. Fading means the sample is drying on the prism. Do not confuse this with fuzziness (blurring---see below) f the demarcation line. You may want to gain experience at spotting fading with your refractometer. Place the smallest drop on the prism that will give a demarcation line. Then examine the screen for a minute or so. Fading should occur fairly soon as the moisture evaporates.
Dehydration is necessary when preparing certain foods. For instance, you must remove many gallons of water from maple sap to make a gallon of maple syrup. A refractometer user could determine in advance exactly how many gallons to evaporate by checking the brix of the fresh sap.
Some refractometer users also know raw sap with HIGH BRIX produces far better, tastier, and more abundant syrup.
Stored fruit & vegetables either rot or dehydrate. Rotting in storage is an unmistakable sign of poor quality. Dehydration is an absolute sign of HIGH QUALITY. The purveyors of low-quality fruits and vegetables seem willing to resist this fact until the end of time. Many consumers are terribly confused on this point because they have been conditioned to cut off rotting portions of a fruit or vegetable and eat the remainder.
Please understand that testing the juice from a dehydrated item of produce can be misleading. Your refractometer will indicate a higher than true brix. While seldom a problem when selecting foods, checking leave tissues in a field of heat-stressed plants can result in erroneous readings. You should avoid using a refractometer to check any plant with any possibility of lack of turgor¾ i.e., droopy leaves. Even when drought is not apparent, it is best to check leaves as early in the morning as possible.
ADVANCED USE (blurry line)
A less-than-sharp demarcation line (blurry/fuzzy/diffused) on the screen is an indication of varied atom distribution¾ i.e., an excellent mixture of minerals. For instance, many veteran refractometer users grow forages for animals and also have access to standard lab tests (so as to make possible direct comparisons of brix vis-à-vis other lab tests). They are adamant in insisting a sharp demarcation is an indication of increased simple sugar and therefore lesser high-quality protein (and other life-enhancing substances) at any given brix level.
Conversely, they suggest a blurry/fuzzy line predicts more, and better quality, proteins (*). Interestingly, the fuzzy line concept appears to be supported by the ability of astronomers to use refracted light to determine the elemental makeup of distant stars. Starlight, properly refracted, is spread out so that the lines left by various elements can be identified. It is suggested that you think of your readings as, say, 12S (sharp) or perhaps 14D (diffuse). In almost all cases, blurry tastes better.
You will quickly, and easily, learn to judge the mid-point of any blurring. Your correct reading lies there.
Blue intensity matters on those models that have a blue background field. When different items reveal the same brix but one has a less intense blue, it will taste sweeter and be higher in calcium, which neutralizes acids. However, the blue background can be overcast by the deep green chlorophyll color of some leafy plants. Do not be discouraged if your field of view appears to "greenout." Simply rotate your body away from the light source and watch for the demarcation as the light intensity diminishes.
Although your mouth readily tells the difference, the refractometer cannot easily distinguish starch from sugar. There is an additional chart in the book to convert starchy food readings to sugar equivalents.
Some produce resists efforts to get a drop of juice for testing:
Consider that it may be very high brix and that the juice is really thick.
Try cutting a very thin slice (1/16" to lay on the prism---it really works!), or
Crush a leaf and lay that on the prism, or
Grind the food in a processor and squeeze the chopped result.
Be wary of dehydrated produce.
Some foods are made to order for testing:
You can plunge the prism end of many refractometers into citrus fruits. Then pull the instrument back and flip the plate down to get the reading. (The plunge method works well on other very ripe fruits and any tomatoes).
(*) Protein quality is a subject of much interest to farmers. Should you ever visit a farm show devoted to biological growing, as opposed to chemical growing, you are almost sure to find a booth where they have common ear corn sealed in air-tight jars. As could be expected, corn grown with their products will be as good as the day it was picked. On the other hand, ears of corn identified as grown with ordinary N-P-K technology will be seriously decomposed. This "oddity," which is far more common than you may suspect, is generally attributed to "funny" protein. When pressed, the speaker will describe malformed proteins and how they appear when too much nitrogen in the form of N-P-K is applied to the growing crop. Much money is spent on "research" to discover ways of using yet more chemical additives to keep poor quality food from decomposing right on supermarket shelves. One must wonder if any of those funds found their way to explore this phenomenon whether we might learn much about good agriculture and good food.
CARE & CLEANING
Refractometers require little, if any, special care. Normal wind, rain, cold, or heat will not damage them. (However, you should remember that temperature extremes might require using the correction chart).
Clean off plant juices with a moist paper towel after use (avoid grit or sand).
You should not drop one, but accidents do happen. Check the calibration and continue using the instrument if there is no physical damage. Physical damage requires a return to the factory.
Note: you can purchase prepared standard calibration liquids if your work requires extreme accuracy. Perhaps you have contracted to pay a certain premium if a grower achieves a higher-level brix and there is some question as to whether the specified mark was reached. A calibration solution can help referee.
THE ORIGIN OF THE WORD BRIX
Professor A. F. W. Brix was a 19th Century German chemist (b.1798, d.1890). He was the first to measure the density of plant juices by floating a hydrometer in them. The winemakers of Europe were concerned that they could not predict which of various grape juices would make the best wine. Being able to judge quality ahead of actual bottling was of immense importance in an industry where a bottle of the best wine might sell for hundreds of times more than a bottle of everyday wine. Professor Brix was greeted as a great hero when he emerged from his laboratory to claim his most generous prize. He was also honored by having the measuring process named after him.
BRIX is a measure of the percent solids (TSS) in a given weight of plant juice---nothing more---and nothing less.
BRIX is often expressed another way: BRIX equals the percentage of sucrose. However, if you study the contents of this book, you will soon enough understand that the "sucrose" can vary widely. For, indeed, the BRIX is actually a summation of the pounds of sucrose, fructose, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, hormones, and other solids in one hundred pounds of any particular plant juice.
BRIX varies directly with plant QUALITY. For instance, a poor, sour tasting grape from worn out land can test 8 or less BRIX. On the other hand, a full flavored, delicious grape, grown on rich, fertile soil can test 24 or better BRIX.
I suggest that you remember that sugar is only one of the components of brix. Also remember that many other substances can falsely indicate "brix" readings (although those readings are valid in their own right). Try rubbing alcohol, whiskey, vinegar, or wine. Interestingly, cooking oil, molasses, syrup, and other thick liquids require a refractometer calibrated to read 30-90 brix. Honey is checked with a refractometer calibrated to measure the water within it instead of the solids in the water.
When you look through the lens you will see a scale from 0 upwards. If the line between the white and blue is very fuzzy, that is a sign that you have good available calcium levels. You can easily read the brix levels in the eye piece.
Either use our spreadsheet (overleaf) or design your own to keep a track of collected data. It takes a series of data collections to begin seeing patterns, don’t jump to conclusions after one test!
Understand that your brix readings will be affected by the time of day so try to always take them at a regular time each week. The best time is between 11:00am and 4:00pm. The readings at the end of the day will be higher because plants collect sugars in their leaves as they photosynthesis during sunlight. As the sun goes down around half of the sugars (containing the minerals) are sent back down to the roots to attract and feed the micro organisms in the soil.
High water levels in the soil affects brix readings, unless the brix is very high and very stable. Make a note of the month and if it has been very sunny or wet etc so you can see these patterns.
If you are getting very high and very low readings on the same plant at different times of the day it could be that the brix is unstable meaning you are getting there, but not quite there yet with your soil health. Consistent readings over 12-14 (leaf tests, not fruit ) means you are growing food capable of nourishing the cells of your body, and if the readings stay up after picking for a day or two then you have pretty stable brix which means the food holds it’s quality, and “shelf life” after picking, for longer.
Use the sheet included inside the refractometer case to see what are generally regarded as low, medium and high readings for individual crops. It tells you if it is a leaf or fruit test that you need to do.
I prefer to take readings on the day I do my foliar feeding so that I can retest an hour after foliar feeding to see if the foliar spray I used was beneficial to the plant. If it is, the brix goes up. Whatever makes the brix go up is what is missing, the limiting factor...very often calcium. After trialling a foliar spray on a few plants, then I may spray that over the entire crop or garden.
Question: I've paid close attention to the "fuzzy" line effect, which does seem to really matter, i.e., if two items have the same brix reading, the fuzzy line item will taste better than the one with a sharp line. Why is that?
Answer: First, simple sugar mixed in distilled water will give a razor-sharp demarcation line, whereas high-quality amino, proteins, oils, and other life goodies tend to widely refract.
Dr. Reams and his associates, after countless tests, insisted that the brix of the biological mineral-rich crops they supervised was always in the range of "50% sugar." It has been my experience that "organic" produce, whether poor or good, tends to fall in the biological category. On the other hand, the Florida Department of Agriculture insists that the sugar component of commercially grown citrus is 75%. This is a huge difference.
Now you must understand that the plant creates simple sugars as it's basic building blocks. It then combines those sugars with various essential minerals to create vitamins, hormones, amino acids, complete proteins, taste factors, and those various other goodies. I call those the factors of *life* versus the simple sugar building blocks.
It is very important to understand that this is a dynamic process. I.e., the plant is making sugar and then making the conversion to life factors all in the same day.
So, if the plant's ability to convert sugar into life factors is hampered by a lack of needed mineral (mostly the case with commercial produce) then the sugar tends to "back up," both in the leaf and in the fruit. That rather easily explains how you can have two items of identical brix with one being "fuzzy" and the other being "sharp." The former is because the instrument is reporting a large and varied atomic distribution richly composed of those aforementioned "life factors." The latter, sharper brix, of course, is a visual validation that much simple sugar is present.
Our taste buds are incredibly accurate registers---they well know the difference between simple sugar and large amounts of the substances needed to sustain life.
the nice thing about high brix gardening is can be performed with organics and/or chemis, once the basics are understood
so we are going to be exploring the work of 2 men in particular, and some others who followed in their footsteps.. those men are Carey Reams and William Albrecht.. they were the ones who really brought the understanding about soil balancing to the masses.. one main difference in their approaches is the way they tested the soil.. Albrecht advocated the Mehlich-3 test, a medium strength extractant, to get an idea of the total availability of minerals in a soil sample; while Reams promoted the Morgan test, which is a mild acid meant to simulate which minerals are actually available to roots throught the acids they release..
first let's look at the Reams approach
Carey Reams’ Testing & Evaluation Methods
by Arden Andersen, Ph.D., D.O.
The Reams soil test was developed to reflect, in the test values, characteristics actually observed in the field, including soil compaction and tilth, weed and pest problems, crop quality and yield, and overall stability of soil and plant nutrients. No other testing system can make such a claim.
Because of the drawbacks inherent in traditional soil testing, Reams adopted a system that closely resembled the biologically soluble level of major nutrients. Reams understood that just because a nutrient was present did not guarantee that it was of any value, analogous to being in the middle of the ocean and suffering from a lack of water. He tested calcium, phosphate, potash, nitrate and ammoniacal nitrogens, ERGS (conductivity in micromhos or microsiemen), and various trace elements.
Using this method, now known as the Reams test (which makes use of the LaMotte testing kit and the Morgan procedure), Reams established the following nutrient levels for a minimally balanced soil:
Calcium ~ 2,000-4,000 lbs.
Magnesium ~ 285-570 lbs.
Phosphate ~ 400 lbs.
Potash ~ 200 lbs.
Nitrate nitrogen ~ 40 lbs.
Ammonium nitrogen ~ 40 lbs.
Sulfate ~ 200 lbs.
ERGS ~ 200-600 micromhos / microsiemen
pH ~ 6-7
Sodium ~ 20-70 ppm
Reams developed his ratios by observing nature and evaluating the soil in conjunction with such observation. Consequently, using the Reams soil test, many soil characteristics can be identified before one sets foot in the field. For example, if the calcium level is less than 2,000 pounds per acre, there will be possible energy-reserve deficiencies, weakened skin and cell strength, bruising susceptibility of fruit, soil compaction — especially if there is a narrow calcium-to-magnesium ratio (7:1) — weakened stems or stalks, and grass/weed problems. Further related to the calcium-to-magnesium ratio is the fact that a narrow ratio reduces nitrogen efficiency, requiring additional applications of that nutrient.
When the phosphate-to-potash ratio is less than 2:1 for row crops and 4:1 for forage crops, it will be difficult to sustain crop refractometer readings above 12 brix at the crop’s weakest point. There also will be less than maximum production and crop vigor, as well as broadleaf weed problems and the possibility of insect and disease infestation.
The nitrate nitrogen levels indicate the potential growth status of the nutrient reserves in the soil. If this level gets too high, there will be problems with blossom drop and in getting fruit to set. High nitrate nitrogen levels also increase the potential for frost damage and winter kill, especially if the phosphate levels are less than desirable.
A low ammoniacal nitrogen level indicates poor biological activity and stability. The nitrate nitrogen levels on the Reams test are relatively easy to achieve with applications of chemical nitrogen. The ammoniacal nitrogen, however, will not remain until a very active microorganism system is established. The ammoniacal nitrogen seems to be one of the last factors to come into line when regenerating a soil.
Sulfate, the next item on the test, is not to be confused with elemental sulfur. Elemental sulfur can cause rot at maturity of fruit and can tie up or interfere with calcium. Sulfate, on the other hand, can help enhance calcium availability, is needed in certain protein and enzyme complexes, and sometimes can aid in mellowing the soil. However, it is possible to apply too much sulfate, which seems to be happening in some areas in an attempt to “hammer down” soil pH with large amounts of gypsum and sulfuric add. This practice causes additional salt problems, calcium demand and microbial stress.
ERGS (energy released per gram of soil), measured in micromhos or microsiemen, represents the amount of energy available to the growing crops and microorganisms. The reading must be interpreted in relationship to the inherent conductivity of the base soil due to salts and nonnutrient minerals. If the overall reading gets above 1,000, there is generally a salt problem, energy loss and waste, and increased potential for root burn and nematode proliferation. If the ERGS level drops below 200, little or no crop growth is occurring. Late-season crop finishing is directly correlated to the ERGS level.
Soil pH is an indicator of energy resistance. It varies throughout the growing season and is a reflection of what types of microorganisms are flourishing. Extremes in pH can indicate problems — with vegetative growth if pH is too low, or with fruiting if pH is too high. Soil pH will vary throughout the growing season and should be monitored to track this change — maximum nutrient exchange occurs between 6 and 7 pH. It is also a handy indicator in checking foliar sprays. Ideally, the final spray will be between 6 and 7 pH. Some people contend that foliar sprays should be between 4 and 5.5 pH because research has shown that plant sap is close to this level. It is — under inferior nutritional standards and low refractometer readings. It is also easier for the chemical people to get higher-analysis spray solutions when the pH is this low, but that does not mean it is ideal for the plant or the efficiency of the spray.
Sodium is a fairly ubiquitous element, yet it can often become problematic when in excess concentrations. As sodium concentration surpasses 70 ppm, the soil will become increasingly dumpy and compact, exemplify poor water-exchange characteristics, require greater calcium levels for balance, and show excessive ERGS levels.
Reams observed that if he took care to balance the soil sufficiently to achieve these test values, his crops would be free of insect, disease, and weed infestations; they would be nutritionally sound, give excellent yield, be profitable, and be repeatable. Reams knew he could not achieve these results if he ignored the microbiology. Consequently, he taught that it was essential to learn basic biology applied to agronomy. He found that destitute microbes responded to sugar or molasses and calcium. In fact, the microbes responded to the same things he postulated to be necessary for the crops.
The key to Reams’ program, though, was energy. He realized that nature could not be described within the confines of any mechanistic theory of chemistry. Nature is energetic and thus encompasses chemistry and every other science.The major conceptual aspects of Reams’s teachings involve the use of fertilizers. Reams advocated applying several tons of high-calcium lime and a ton of soft rock phosphate per acre, as well as several tons of chicken manure. These recommendations are conceptual relative to today’s applications. They were developed several decades ago in different conditions, and subsequent experience has shown that if smaller amounts of these materials are applied, we often get better results. The challenge in most areas is determining what to use to get the calcium and phosphate in line.
Reams used soft rock phosphate rather than acidized or hard rock phosphate. Although he was not opposed to hard rock phosphate, he preferred to use soft rock because it was colloidal. Colloidal particles are the key to biological systems. They do not tie up as readily as do noncolloidal materials. Reams found that, over the long term, the only way to achieve the phosphate availability of 400 pounds per acre in a 2:1 ratio with potash on the Reams soil test was by using soft rock phosphate.
Reams used calcium carbonate, never dolomite. He observed that sufficient magnesium would be available if he balanced the calcium, phosphate and microorganisms and then applied fertilizer quantities of sul-po-mag. Magnesium, he found, interfered with nitrogen. Large amounts of magnesium require large amounts of nitrogen and vice versa. An excess of magnesium relative to calcium also causes the soil to compact, thus further degrading the microsystem of the soil.
In traditional agriculture, plant-tissue testing is done in addition to soil testing to evaluate the need for nutrients. Reams placed little credence in plant-tissue analyses for two reasons. First, they test symptoms, not causes — plants are reflections of the soil. Second, they are evaluated using sub-optimum health standards. Farmers may find that their crop possesses adequate levels of nutrients according to the tissue analyses, yet the crop still has a low refractometer reading, insect and disease infestation, poor shelf life, and so on.
For tissue analyses to be of value, the standards that the farmer is seeking to achieve for his crop must be increased to represent the actual crop quality that is found when plants are nutritionally sound and not dependent on chemicals to protect them from insect pests.
At present, there are no standard correlations between tissue analyses and refractometer readings. In establishing these correlations, distinctions must be made between leaf, vein and petiole evaluations. The lower the nutrient balance, the greater the variation will be between the parts of the plants, both in the refractometer readings and the nutrient analyses.
Multiple nutrient interactions also must be considered. For example, magnesium regulates nitrogen in the plant’s system. If the magnesium level decreases too much, there will be an excess of free nitrogen in the system; this free nitrogen carries water with it, resulting in a diluted nutrient concentration, a lower refractometer reading, and lower plant health.
Using the Reams soil test, we can predict accurately whether soil compaction is present in the field. This can be determined by evaluating the calcium-to-magnesium ratio. If this ratio is less than seven pounds of calcium to one pound of magnesium, compaction will occur. Even at a 7:1 ratio, if there are more than 70 parts per million (mg/liter) of sodium, there will be compaction. As these ratios come into line, compaction decreases until it ceases to be a problem. People often blame compaction on heavy equipment and frequent traffic across the soil. These things do cause compaction of soils with calcium-to-magnesium ratios of less than 7:1. They do not cause compaction of soils with calcium-to-magnesium ratios of 7:1 or more and less than 70 parts per million of sodium. Compaction is a phenomenon of physics (particle attraction/repulsion) and aeration.
Take two magnets and hold them together, north pole to north pole. Then release your grip on the magnets and observe what happens. The magnets separate by themselves. Proper mineral ratios in the soil reflect the same phenomenon. You can press the soil particles together, but as soon as the compression is released, the particles repel each other.
Now take a sponge, place it on the floor, and step on it. It compresses. Lift your foot, and the sponge returns to its original form. Pick up the sponge and inspect it closely. Notice that it contains as much air space as sponge material. The air space allows the sponge to be compressed and then to return to its original form after the compression passes. This is what happens in the soil once biological activity and humus are restored. The soil will function like a sponge, even under the heaviest farm equipment. The biological activity and humus are restored in direct proportion to the restoration of the calcium-to-magnesium ratio.
The calcium-to-magnesium and phosphate-to-potash ratios constitute the bulk of information from the soil test. One must remember, though, that the soil test indicates only what was happening when the soil was tested. Traditional opinion suggests that soil be tested only once a year, at the most. Ideally, however, a farmer should use the Reams test each week of the growing season, charting the variations in nutrient levels.
Initially and every few years, it also is beneficial to compare the Reams test results to those of a conventional soil test from a reputable firm to establish a guideline as to the reserve nutrient levels in the soil. The combination of these two tests provides a directive concerning the approach to take in fertilization. For example, if the coinventional test indicated several thousand pounds of calcium but the Reams test indicated only several hundred, we would know that there is poor microbial activity. Initially, our fertilization approach would probably favor those materials that would catalyze the releasing of calcium rather than the building of a calcium reserve. Such materials might be sugar, molasses, vitamin B12, humic acid, fermentation products, enzyme materials, liquid calcium products, hydrogen peroxide, compost, or simply aeration of the soil.
If, on the other hand, both the conventional and the Reams test showed only several hundred pounds of calcium, we could assume that there was very little calcium with which to work. In this case, we would apply a few to several hundred pounds of calcium carbonate (high-calcium lime) in either ground or pelleted form, in addition to the catalyst materials previously mentioned, to gradually build the calcium base.
Even in the first example, if economics permitted, we would probably apply a few hundred pounds of calcium carbonate per acre. In traditional practice, calcium is treated as a soil amendment and is applied by the ton rather than by the pound. We are treating calcium as a nutrient and applying it as a fertilizer, in fertilizer quantities. This is not to say that one cannot benefit from applying a ton or two of calcium carbonate to the soil, but this would be our second choice. Keep the quantities low in the spring or just before a crop is planted. This timing will lessen the chance of reducing the yield. Several applications of a few hundred pounds of lime will give better results more quickly than single large applications.
Farmers often ask how they can decrease their magnesium, potash or other excess nutrients. In some cases, certain nutrients will actually decline when the overall nutrient balance comes into line as the microorganism population is regenerated. One such nutrient is sodium. Often, high sodium levels will actually drop due to soil regeneration. This is due to complexing and perhaps transmutation of the sodium.
To correct the imbalance, raise the other nutrients. If you have a 2:1 calcium-to-magnesium ratio, correct it by raising the calcium. If you have a 4:1 potash-to-phosphate ratio (very common in American agriculture), correct it by raising the phosphate. Sugar is an important component to add to acid phosphates. It helps buffer the phosphate and make it compatible with microorganisms. Especially relative to phosphate is microorganism activity — it is imperative to stimulate this activity in order to get the 2:1 phosphate-to-potash ratio on the Reams test.
It is advisable to couple any soil test with field history and characteristics to further correlate the soil-test nutrient levels to their meanings. The more complete the picture formed from these data, the more effective will be one’s fertility recommendations. Accurate record keeping is essential, as is soil testing at least once during the growing season to establish nutrient status under load.
Nutrient draw from the soil is greatest during the latter part of the growing season. This is when we want to know how the soil is performing “under load.” An analogy would be to evaluate the capacity of a water-well aquifer while the pump is pumping full capacity, versus while the pump is idle. No single item will show you the entire situation. All items must be combined with astute field observation and common sense. No number is perfect unless all the numbers are perfect.
Last edited by JM; 03-08-2013 at 10:24 PM.
You ALWAYS Reap what you Sow...
12-16-2012, 12:19 PM #2
In this episode my guest is Mary Johnson and our conversation is an introduction to the idea of Nutrient Dense Farming.
Dan Kitdredge: http://oneradionetwork.com/sustainab...vember-8-2012/
we are aiming for a plant sap brix of 12 degrees or above.. many fungi grow optimally at a brix of around 4 or 5 degrees, but once the brix gets to 7 or more then fungal growth within the plant tissue slows considerably and at 12 or higher degrees brix fungi cannot grow, too many sugars and dissolved solids.. this is a general rule but there are always exceptions to the rule, for instance when a plant is overloaded with nitrates and cannot digest them they will float around in the sap and give a false high brix reading.. also when the brix is 12+ then insects will actually die from sucking on the sap, since they do not have the facilities to digest simple sugars so they will ferment and make formaldehyde in the insect guts.. these are the basics, but I will cut-n-paste some articles from some real farmers to reinforce this stance, in the case that folks think I may be making this up.
Dr. Reams' Basic Agricultural Concepts
Please note that not all of the following ag rules are fully accepted by either academia or the toxic chemical industry.
1. Carbon is the governor of moisture. One part carbon will hold four parts water.
2. The more carbon in a seed, the quicker it will sprout.
3. Manganese is the element of life. It brings the electrical charge into the seed.
4. All elements in a molecular structure are the same size under the same temperature and pressure.
5. The center core of an element tells whether it is an anion or a cation.
6. Nature will follow the line of least resistance.
7. The greater the density of the soil without humus, the greater the specific gravity of the soil.
8. The lesser the density of soil nutrients, the smaller the yields.
9. The greater the density of soil nutrients, the greater the yields.
10. The process of osmosis is not limited by time.
11. The less time it takes to grow something, the better the quality.
12. The higher the sugar and mineral content of plants and trees, the lower the freezing point.
13. Top quality produce will not rot, but it will dehydrate.
14. All organic fertilizers are cationic.
15. Plants live off the loss of energy from the elements during the synchronization of these elements in the soil.
16. See everything you look at.
17. Like things attract each other.
18. For every cause there is an effect.
19. Phosphate controls the sugar content of a product.
20. The higher the phosphate content of a soil, the higher the sugar content of the crop. The higher the sugar content, the higher the mineral content. The higher the mineral content, the greater the specific gravity of a given bushel, box, bale, etc. The greater the specific gravity of the product, the healthier the animal.
21. All elements, except nitrogen, go into the plant in the phosphate form.
22. The ratio of all crops (except grasses) for phosphate and potash in the soil is two parts phosphate to one part potash (2 P2O5 to 1 K2O). If the soil report is actual phosphorous and potassium, then the ratio is 1:1.
23. The ratio for all grasses is four parts phosphate to one part potash (4 P2O5 to 1 K2O. Again, if working with actual P and K, then the ratio is 2:1.
24. Potash determines the caliber of the stalk and leaves, the size of the fruit, and the number of the fruit which set on the trees.
25. Nitrogen is the major electrolyte in the soil.
26. Nitrogen is the sun in every molecule.
27. Only that plant food which is soluble in water is available to the plant.
28. Cationic substances go down.
29. Anionic substances go up.
30. The higher the sugar content, the better antenna plants form to get more nutrients from the air.
NOTES: These rules are published by Dr. Dan Skow in his Mainline Farming For Century 21
right on, my pleasure.. free the weed!
I am proposing the following brix classification for cannabis (degrees brix):
0-6 - poor
6-12 - average
12-18 - good
18-24+ - excellent
I've been getting readings between 10 and 15 on some plants in veg in pretty substandard conditions so there is lots of room for improvement in my case.. when I got my refractometer around a month ago the first readings were 7 to 10, so it is quite encouraging to see the plants coming along.. these are actually quite stressed plants waiting for their new home to finished completion.. it is a good learning experience, for every gardener, to use a refractometer and see what is improving plant vitality and what is not..
ultimately we want to maintain our vegging mommas in the highest brix condition possible, so any cuts are going to be vital and good to go, and when send our mommas to flower they will be vital ital..
this is supposed to be a great book:
NOURISHMENT HOME GROWN
OVERVIEW: This the the only RBTI Garden Book of it kind. If you want to know the why and how of raising high brix and nutrient dense food in your home garden, this is the only book that tells you how it is done.
Take control of your health by taking control of your food and how it is grown. Go beyond organic using Reams Biological Theory of Ionization technology to grow real life giving and life maintaining food.
Learn to take proactive action in your supermaket produce section by using your refractometer to determine which item of produce has the highest sugar and is best for your health.
Plus, you will also learn why the Reams Biological Theory of Ionization is the only dietary system to perfectly address the pandemic of disease.
—Author: Dr. A.F. Beddoe, D.D.S.
and for the super serious student there is this one:
BIOLOGICAL IONIZATION AS APPLIED TO FARMING AND SOIL MANAGEMENT
OVERVIEW: This book is the source text for all serious students of Reams's Biological Theory of Ionization as it applies to farming and soil chemistry. It is based totally on Dr. Carey Reams's technique of using his approach to mathematics and physics for ideally managing soil chemistry and energy to regulate plant growth and development in order to produce the highest quality food possible for human consumption. The only text of its kind.
—Author: Dr. A.F. Beddoe, D.D.S.
available at the same link.. I have not read either but they should probably be at the top of my wish list
France’s Luc Montagnier: Water has a Memory
France is moving to cutback its generous reimbursements for prescribed medicines, and the pharmaceutical lobby has stepped up pressure to hog what is left in the social security pot at the expense of alternative medicines.
Part of this lobby’s traditional armoury is to label as voodoo science, quackery or at best a placebo, alternative therapies such as homeopathy.
But a French knight in shining armour may now be riding to homeopathy’s rescue.
The conventional medicine machine has unexpectedly found its views being seriously challenged by Nobel prize winner Dr. Luc Montagnier, the French virologist who won the prize in 2008 for his work on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
Professor Montagnier, founder and president of the World Foundation for AIDS Research and Prevention and a French medical hero for his HIV discoveries, said recently: “I can’t say that homeopathy is right in everything. What I can say now is that the high dilutions (used in homeopathy) are right. High dilutions of something are not nothing. They are water structures which mimic the original molecules.”
His stance will reassure many members of the public in France where homeopathy is popular — 36 % of doctor’s patients reportedly resort to such alternatives, and 0.3 % of total French health spending and some 1.2% to 2% of reimbursements are for homeopathy. Indeed a visit to any large pharmacy in towns around France will reveal how well-entrenched homeopathy is. These chemists offer a wide selection of homeopathic remedies and other alternatives together with trained staff well able to advise on alternatives to conventional medicine. Laboratoires Boiron now France’s only homeopathic medicine laboratory claims to be the world’s leading manufacturer of such remedies.
As part of a remarkable progression in his career, the 78-year-old Montagnier, announced in January this year he was taking up a position at Jiaotong University in Shanghai, China (widely known as ‘China’s Massachusetts Institute of Technology’), where he is to work in a institute bearing his name.
According to Dana Ullmanm (a Californian–based MPH, America’s leading homeopathy protagonist and founder of www.homeopathic.com) his research: “will focus on a new scientific movement at the crossroads of physics, biology, and medicine: the phenomenon of electromagnetic waves produced by DNA in water. He and his team will study both the theoretical basis and the possible applications in medicine.”
Montagnier’s research, writes Dana Ullmanm, is investigating the electromagnetic waves that he says emanate from the highly diluted DNA of various pathogens. Montagnier asserts: “What we have found is that DNA produces structural changes in water, which persist at very high dilutions, and which lead to resonant electromagnetic signals that we can measure. Not all DNA produces signals that we can detect with our device. The high-intensity signals come from bacterial and viral DNA.”
Dr Montagnier’s decision to move to China (where he can tap research funds, unlike France where he cannot because he is officially retired) emerged in an interview published in Science magazine on Christmas Eve last year (2010). In it the professor expressed support for homeopathic medicine. Although homeopathy has persisted for 200+ years throughout the world and has been a leading alternative treatment used by doctors in Europe, most conventional doctors and scientists have expressed scepticism about its efficacy due to the extremely small doses of medicines used.
Homeopathy is a practice created by Samuel Hahnemann that believes that incredibly minute quantities of substances dissolved in water can have powerful effects. Homeopathic medicines work on the principle that a toxic substance taken in minute amounts will cure the same symptoms that it would cause if it were taken in large amounts. Scientists completely reject this, claiming there is no evidence to show that water can retain or transmit information and that homeopathic treatments have never been proven in full clinical trials.
Luc Montagnier’s views shocked his professional colleagues when he raised them at the Lindau Nobel laureate meeting in Germany in July 2010. (The meeting, attended by 60 Nobel prize winners and 700 other scientists was convened to discuss latest breakthroughs in medicine, chemistry and physics).
According to a report in the London Sunday Times at the time he told his head-shaking audience that solutions containing the DNA of pathogenic bacteria and viruses, including HIV, “could emit low frequency radio waves” that induced surrounding water molecules to become arranged into “nanostructures”. These water molecules, he said, could also emit radio waves. He suggested water could retain such properties even after the original solutions were massively diluted, to the point where the original DNA had effectively vanished. In this way, he suggested, water could retain the “memory” of substances with which it had been in contact — and doctors could use the emissions to detect disease.
Montagnier’s move to research the contested Memory of Water theory has stirred significant controversy on the Internet (try Googling ‘Dr. Luc Montaignier ‘Memory of Water’) and there is little doubt that if he succeeds in China, other scientists — as is their right and duty — will be stepping up efforts to disprove him.
Indeed according to Le Monde the ‘Memory of Water’ debate was one of the most stimulating scientific controversies of its time at the end of the 20th century. At one stage says Le Monde it prompted a Nature magazine article by John Maddox, James Randi & Walter W. Stewart in 1988 which derided it as a ‘delusion’ because the claims could not be scientifically reproduced (a basic requirement of all science and one, we add in editorial parentheses, very conveniently forgotten by the ‘scientists’ currently propagating the vastly expensive climate warming scam, see here , here and here).
His critics have not disarmed Professor Montaignier, who according to the Le Monde piece stoutly defended the originator of the controversy, his now deceased French colleague Jacques Benveniste. “For me Jacques Benveniste (whose work was initially decried as the Benveniste “heresy”) is a great scientist … and it is really shocking how he was treated. He died in 2004 as you know, probably exhausted by all his struggles, and I think one day soon he will be completely rehabilitated(…)”. See article on this in London’s Guardian newspaper March 2001.
And read (in French but passably translated by the Google machine) the views of one if his critics Alain de Weck, Emeritus Professor of Immunology and Allergy at the Universities of Bern (Switzerland) and Navarra (Spain): “It is not without some perplexity that I see Prof. Luc Montagnier take over and establish himself as the spiritual successor of Jacques Benveniste…” The “water memory” theory of Professor Benveniste, a French researcher at INSERM- l’Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, spawned a major controversy in the scientific community. Jacques Benveniste claimed to have demonstrated the effect of a product provided by a water molecule that was previously in contact with the product (hence the “water memory” tag).
DNA Sequence Reconstituted from Water Memory?
Water carrying only the electromagnetic signature of a DNA sequence can make a replica of the sequence out of simple building blocks, Nobel laureate HIV researcher shows.
Dr. Mae-Wan Ho
When Noble laureate HIV researcher Luc Montagnier discovered that certain bacterial and viral DNA sequences dissolved in water causes electromagnetic signals to be emitted at high dilutions, that was bad enough (see [1, 2] 'Homeopathic' Signals from DNA and Electromagnetic Signals from HIV, SiS 48). Now, new results from his lab appear to show that the DNA sequence itself could be reconstituted from the electromagnetic signal. That has so stunned the scientific community that one prominent supporter was nonetheless moved to remark: “Luc is either a genius or he is mad!” But some quantum physicists are taking that very seriously, and are linking Montagnier’s findings to decades of research demonstrating the sensitivity of organisms to extremely weak electromagnetic fields.
A story that goes back ten years
Luc Montagnier tells the story that began 10 years ago when he discovered the strange behaviour of a small bacterium, Mycoplasm pirum, a frequent companion to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection; and like the HIV, has special affinity for the human lymphocytes (white blood cells) . He was trying to separate the bacterium of about 300 nm from the virus particles of about 120 nm using filters of pore size 100 nm and 20 nm, starting with pure cultures of the bacterium on lymphocytes.
The filtrate (solution that went through the filter) was sterile, and no bacterium grew in a rich culture medium that would normally support its growth. Furthermore, polymerase chain reactions (PCR) based on primers (short starting sequences) derived from adhesin, a gene of the bacterium that had been cloned and sequenced, failed to detect any DNA in the filtrate.
But, to Montagnier’s surprise, when the filtrate was incubated with lymphocytes that were not infected with Mycoplasm (according to the most stringent tests), the bacterium was regularly recovered.
So, was there some information in the filtrate responsible for directing the synthesis of the bacterium? That marked the beginning of a long series of investigations on how DNA behaves in water, which led to the discovery that the M. pirum DNA was emitting low frequency electromagnetic waves in some diluted solutions of the filtrate in water, and this property of M. pirum DNA was soon extended to other bacterial and viral DNA [1, 2].
The instrument used to detect the electromagnetic (EM) signals consists of a solenoid (a coil of wire) that detects the magnetic component of the waves produced by the DNA solution in a plastic tube as it induces an electric current in the wire. This current is amplified and analysed in a laptop computer using special software, and the resultant signals plotted out on the computer screen.
Electromagnetic signals traced to DNA sequence
In summary, ultra-low frequency (500 – 3 000 Hz) electromagnetic (EM) signals were detected in certain dilutions of the filtrate from cultures of micro-organisms (virus, bacteria) or from the plasma of humans infected with the same agents. The same results were obtained from their extracted DNA. The EM signals are not linearly correlated with the initial number of bacterial cells before filtration. In one experiment, the EM signals were similar in suspensions of E. coli cells varying from 109 down to 10. It is an “all or none” phenomenon. The EM signals are detected only in some high water dilutions of the filtrates; for example, from 10-9 to 10-18 in some preparations.
In the case of M. pirum, an isolated single gene, adhesin (previously cloned and sequenced. 3 435 basepairs) could induce the EMS, suggesting that a short DNA sequence is sufficient to induce the signals. Similarly, a short HIV DNA sequence of 104 basepairs is enough to produce the EM signals.
Some bacteria do not produce the EM signals (at least in the range detected by the instrument), as in the case of probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus, and also some lab strains of E. coli used as cloning vector.
These studies have been extended to viruses, but not all virus families have been investigated. Similar EM signals were detected from some retroviruses (HIV, FeLV), hepatitis viruses (HBV, HCV), and influenza A cultures. In general, EM signals are produced by 20 nm filtrates of viral suspensions or from the extracted DNA. In the case of HIV, RNA is not a source of the EM signals, but rather, the EM signals are produced by the proviral DNA present in infected cells. In bacteria, however, the EM signals are produced by 100 nm filtrates, and not by the 20 nm filtrates. This led Montagnier’s team to suggest that nanostructures of water are carriers of the information. Although highly purified water was used, the presence of trace contaminants in the nanostructures cannot be ruled out. The production of EM signals is resistant to treatment with the enzymes RNAse, DNAse, protease, or with detergent. However, it is sensitive to heat over 70 ºC and freezing (-80 ºC). This sensitivity is reduced when dealing with purified short DNA sequences. To produce the EM signals, succession (vigorous shaking) is necessary, as well as stimulation by the electromagnetic background of very low frequency, either from natural sources (the Schumann resonances, which start at 7.83 Hz) or from artificial sources, such as the mains.
DNA sequence recreated from its electromagnetic signature in pure water
In the new experiments, a fragment of HIV DNA was taken from its long terminal repeat and used for generating EM signals. This fragment was amplified by PCR to 487 bp and 104 bp. Dilutions of the DNA were made and the production of EM signals under the ambient electromagnetic background was detected.
One of the diluted solutions (say, 10-6), which gave a positive signal, was placed in a container shielded by 1 mm think mu-metal (an alloy that absorbs EM waves). Close to it, another tube containing pure water was placed. The water content of each tube had been filtered through 450 nm and 20 nm filters and diluted from 10-2 to 10-15, as for the DNA solution. A copper solenoid is placed around the tubes and they were exposed to a low intensity electric current oscillating at 7 Hz produced by an external generator. The magnetic field produced by the external generator is maintained for 18 hours at room temperature. EM signals are then recorded from each tube. At that point, the tube containing pure water also emits EM signals at the dilutions corresponding to those giving positive EMS in the original DNA tube. This result shows that the EMS carried by the nanostructures in the water originating from the DNA has been transmitted to the pure water in 18 hours. No such transfer of EM signals was achieved when the time of exposure was less than 16 to 18 hours, or when the coil is absent, or when the generator of magnetic field was turned off, or the frequency of excitation was less than 7 Hz, or when DNA was absent in the ‘donor’ tube.
Now for the most crucial test: could the EM signals transmitted to the pure water that never had DNA in it provide sufficient information to recreate the DNA sequence? To do the test, all the ingredients necessary for synthesizing the DNA by the polymerase chain reaction – nucleotides, primers, polymerase enzyme - were added to the tube with the pure water that had gained the EM signal. The amplification was done under ordinary conditions, and the DNA produced was then run through an agarose gel electrophoresis.
A DNA band of the expected size (104 bp) was found. It was 98 percent identical to the sequence of DNA from which the EM signals originated (only 2 out of 104 basepairs were different).
The experiment was highly reproducible, 12 out of 12 times; and was also repeated with another DNA sequence from the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme disease.
Bringing bacterium back to life from its DNA signals?
This suggests an explanation for Montagnier’s original observation made ten years ago that the bacterium could be reconstituted from a sterile filtrate incubated with human lymphocytes. The EM signals of all the bacterium’s DNA were in the sterile filtrate. The nanostructures induced by M. pirum DNA in the filtrate carried information representing different segments of its genomic DNA. Each nanostructure, when in contact with the human lymphocytes, directs the synthesis of the corresponding DNA by the DNA polymerases in the cell. There is then a certain probability that each piece of DNA recombines within the cell to reconstruct the whole DNA genome of Mycoplasm. From there, the synthesis of the rest of the bacterium – membrane lipids, ribosomes, and proteins – could take place, thanks to the host cells. One single reconstituted Mycoplasm is sufficient to infect the lymphocytes. “All the steps assumed in the regeneration from water can be analysed and open to verification.” The researchers wrote .
They remind us that indeed, Craig Venter’s group had claimed to have created life by first reassembling an entire Mycoplasm genome from pieces bought off the shelf (see  Synthetic Life? Not By a Long Shot, SiS 47). So at least that step is not impossible.
The finding also dovetails with evidence that molecules intercommunicate by electromagnetic signals, which bring them together for biochemical reactions (see  The Real Bioinformatics Revolution , SiS 33). However, it raises the fundamental question of how water could store and receive electromagnetic information of such precision that a DNA sequence could be reproduced without a template, which is how it is normally done.
The answer takes us on a fascinating journey through decades of research on the exquisite sensitivity of organisms to ultraweak electromagnetic fields, and the quantum electrodynamic theory of water (see  Quantum Coherent Water, Non-thermal EMF Effects, & Homeopathy, and other articles in the series, SiS 51).
1. Ho MW. ‘Homeopathic’ siganls from DNA. Science in Society 48, 36-39, 2010.
2. Ho MW. Electromagnetic signals from HIV. Science in Society 48, 40-43, 2010.
3. Montagnier L, Aissa J, Del Giudice ED, Lavallee C, Tdeschi A and Vitiello G. DNA waves and water. Journal of Physics: Conferences Series, 2011, in print arXiv:1012.5166Ms
4. Ho MW. Synthetic life? Not by a long shot. Science in Society 47, 16-17, 2010. Science in Society 33, 42-45, 2007.
5. Ho MW. The real bioinformatics revolution. Science in Society 33, 42-45, 2007.
6. Ho MW. Quantum coherent water, non-thermal EMF effects, & homeopathy. Science in Society 51 (to appear).
Homeopathy offers hope
Karen Wehrstein, National Post | Jan 28, 2013
Every now and then, someone in the media falsely claims that there is little or no evidence supporting the practice of homeopathy. They either cherry-pick their references — as Timothy Caulfield did in Tuesday’s National Post — or lump homeopathy in with less well-established and non-standardized practices, such as “faith healing” or “energy healing,” implying it has less significance than it does.
What most Canadians aren’t aware of is homeopathy’s true stature and importance worldwide — and how fast it is gaining acceptance and both in Canada and abroad.
Homeopathy is so well trusted that 300 million patients in more than 80 nations use it. In countries such as the U.K., Brazil, parts of India, Mexico and Cuba, homeopathy is integrated into the health system and covered by public health insurance. In Europe, three out of four people are familiar with it. In Cuba, mass dosing of preventive homeopathic medicines is now used routinely by the public health system for epidemic control. One of the world’s most popular over-the-counter flu medicines — Oscillococcinum — is a homeopathic remedy.
Homeopathy is arguably the fastest-growing system of medicine in the world. The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India reported in March 2011 that India’s market for homeopathy was worth approximately $5.35-billion, and growing by about 30% annually. In the U.S., where the FDA recognizes the 1938 American Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia as the official reference guiding the manufacture of homeopathic medicines, their use has increased fivefold since 1990. Homeopathy is now a regulated health profession in Ontario, and homeopathic medicines are classified by Health Canada.
A massive study showing that homeopathy is more cost-effective than any other forms of medicine, traditional or alternative, was commissioned by the government of Switzerland and published in 2011. Perhaps other governments struggling with spiralling health-care costs should take heed.
There are, in fact, many promising studies on homeopathy, across a broad number of fields. Of the meta-analyses — studies measuring the number and results of existing studies — that have been published, the majority show findings promising enough to recommend further research in the field.
The largest single study of homeopathy ever published was conducted under the auspices of the Cuban Ministry of Health in 2007. The populations of the three provinces of Cuba most threatened by the hurricane-triggered disease leptospirosis — a total of 2.3 million people — were all given two doses of a preventative homeopathic medicine in advance of the time of worst danger. The result: “The homeoprophylactic approach was associated with a large reduction of disease incidence and control of the epidemic.”
There is no magic or witchcraft in homeopathy. Anyone of any (or no) religious or spiritual tradition can practise it with training, and the patient does not have to believe in it for it to work (else it wouldn’t affect infants, animals and microbes). In homeopathy, positive results require the use of standard and repeatable procedures based on consistent principles, which are the core of the curricula of homeopathic colleges.
Homeopathy’s big stumbling block to acceptance is that its medicines are diluted so much that people outside of the field can’t understand how they can possibly have an effect. There are, however many scientists who do have that expertise. So many, that there is an entire journal devoted to the field, the International Journal of High Dilution Research. And they seem to be getting intriguingly close to providing definitive answers.
Opponents of homeopathy claim that homeopathic medicines are “just plain water” with no medicinal properties. But increasing numbers of scientific findings are making it harder to maintain such as stance. One study has found that solutions prepared in the traditional homeopathic way — through repeated dilutions by mechanical shaking — have properties unlike plain water, with elements of the dissolved material. Another study suggests the solutions have an affect on living cells in vitro. Yet another study shows that solutions can be distinguished from each other, using the right equipment to determine their contents. And emerging research suggests that homeopathic solutions actually contain nanoparticles of the original dissolved material.
It’s not quacks or junk scientists researching high dilutions. Dr. Luc Montagnier, Nobel laureate and co-discoverer of the human immunodeficiency virus, presented at a national American homeopathic conference last year, discussing his work on the ability of DNA in high dilutions to emit electromagnetic waves.
The question is: How do we tackle a phenomenon that defies our notion of reality and yet clearly shows promise? The scientific process knows how: Test it, investigate it, measure it with ever-more-sophisticated instruments — while always staying open to the possibility that even widely-held notions of reality may be proven wrong. Rigorous open-mindedness — being prepared to give up your preconceptions when evidence contradicts them — is the core of science.
And that’s how the rest of us need to approach this issue, if we are serious about using every option available to alleviate human illness in our health-care system.
Karen Wehrstein is the executive director of the Canadian Consumers Centre for Homeopathy (homeocentre.ca), an organization formed in 2011 to educate the public about homeopathy and advocate for freedom of choice in health care.
homeopathy = nano technology
biodynamic agricuture = quantum physics
welcome to the future
The Six Challenges of Dependence on Soluble Fertilisers to provide Plant Nutrition and why Humus Provides the Solution
Unfortunately almost all growers and Ag advisors around the world have a flawed view of plant feeding. YLAD Living Soils have researched over many years how plants take up nutrients and water and understand how to grow a healthier plant more resistant to fungal attack, frosting, droughts, disease and pests.
Worldwide research reveals that:
- When all plant nutrients are soluble and available within soil water, which is almost every ‘bought’ fertiliser, the plant takes in nutrients through its water roots. This happens 24 hours a day whether the sun is shining or not and whether the plant is making new substances or not.
The natural reaction to this ‘free’ nutrient by the plant is to try and dilute it down to a normal level by taking in yet more water… hang on now, it gets even more nutrients so it takes in more water, so on and so on. The cell structure becomes bigger and bigger like a balloon until it can expand no more.
The roots of these particular plants will be very bare and white with very few microbes feeding off the plant exudates. I call these types of roots ‘naked’. When a plant has ‘naked’ roots it has no means of ‘feeding’ itself and must rely on you to provide ‘food’. This is a very costly exercise as the cost of fossil fuels increase so does the cost of man-made fertilisers.
- What we have now is one big watery plant lacking essential nutrients to build plant sugars. This plant actually does not transpire as freely as our naturally fed plants as it wants to hang onto its water to keep diluting the nutrient salts.
- New research from Illinois University has been able to measure the amount of a particular nutrient taken up by the plant in the soil water and there is very little surprise to know that nitrogen is taken up 2.7 times more than calcium or phosphorus. It is this oversupply of nitrogen that adds more water to this already ‘big watery plant’.
- Products such as bio-solids and raw manures also act as a soluble nitrogen source producing plants that are watery with incomplete protein chains more susceptible to frosting. When this occurs we have lower quality protein, less and less developed flavors and a big watery bitter plant being force fed!
- However the worst is yet to come, this big watery plant is attractive to fungal growth. In nature, insects and pests are there to ‘remove’ the unhealthy problems from the system, they are the cleanup crew, however in this system they are not there to ‘mop’ up the pests or disease.
- Soluble fertiliser application begins the destruction of soil biodiversity by diminishing the role of nitrogen-fixing bacteria and amplifying the role of everything that feeds on nitrogen. These feeders then speed up the decomposition of organic matter and humus. As organic matter decreases, the physical structure of soil changes. With less pore space and less of their sponge-like qualities, soils are less efficient at storing water and air. Water leaches through soils, draining away nutrients that no longer have an effective substrate on which to cling. With less available oxygen the growth of soil microbiology slows, and the intricate ecosystem of biological exchanges breaks down.
- With the nutrient level of our plants and food dropping it is now time to address how we can reduce or ‘hang on to’ soil nutrients and allow the plant to take up its ‘food’ in the balanced ratios, producing more nutrient dense food and healthier crops.
Firstly, beneficial bacteria help to retain and provide water through multiple mechanisms. The cellular content of a prokaryotic bacterial cells is anywhere from 60-80% water. That means the majority of what is being added to soil when inoculating with beneficial bacteria is water. Also, the bacterial biomass provides a giant buffering and retention system for the water that becomes available when needed. When water is available, the bacteria divide and incorporate it into their cell bodies. When conditions become dry, the bacteria can re-release this water this water to make it available to the plant.
Secondly, bacteria store and retain water in biofilms. Beneficial biofilms are polysaccharides (sugar) secreted by beneficial bacteria that they use to retain nutrients and water. Polysaccharides can bind many times their weight in water. This is water retained in the soil that would otherwise wash through or evaporate. The water is concentrated in the rhizosphere around the root zones, where the microbes are concentrated. The plants do not create this emergency water reserve, they provide the roots and the microorganisms store the water.
Thirdly, beneficial microbes produce water as a by-product of their normal functions for such metabolic activities such as bacterial photosynthesis and products of cycling nitrogen.
When you breathe onto a mirror you will see the water that your body expels as a by-product of its metabolism. Having billions of bacteria constantly ‘breathing’ in the soil is analogous to this process, producing water in the soil.
Fourthly, the decomposition of organic matter releases water, and this process is driven by microbes in the soil
These findings and conclusions of the researchers can be tested by comparing roots in soils inoculated with beneficial bacteria to roots in a sterile soil.
What is the Solution?
Since populations of free-living soil microorganisms are strongly carbon limited Wardle(1992) rhizosphere carbon input from plant roots via rhizodeposition is the driving force for the well-documented ‘rhizosphere effect’, which stimulates microbial growth and activity in close proximity to plant roots (Hiltner 1904, Semenov et al 1999).
A plant fed with colloidal Humus, which is a very special substance that holds the normally soluble plant nutrients from leaching or locking up, the correct ratio of minerals are taken up by the plant. We need an active rhizosphere (area surrounding the roots) with high numbers of beneficial microorganisms obtaining nutrients held in the humus via the feeder roots.
Given the chance in a natural situation a plant will only feed when the sun is telling it to do so and take up just enough ‘food’ to grow the plant. All nutrients are converted into plant material and high quality proteins, flavors, sugars and starches.
For over ten years YLAD Living Soils have proven the above research to be true and can assist you with biological and humus programs to grow a healthier plant delivering higher quality.
Root exudates can also have protective functions against pathogens from where it is released into the rhizosphere in significant amounts.
YLAD Humus Compost assists plant growth and microbial growth by the production of growth stimulating compounds encouraging root growth, making it easy for roots to travel through the soil and take up necessary nutrients, in the right balance at the right time. Roots are the digestive system of the tree and plant and a healthy root system determines the microbiology that lives around the roots, beneficial microbes will outcompete pathogens, meaning less disease issues.
YLAD Living Soils over their last 10 years in business have been promoting the essential balance of physical, chemical and microbiology with proven results, both independent and farmer trials. Soil microbiology ten years ago was rarely spoken about and no value placed on the huge role it plays in creating soil structure, nutrient cycling, plant health and disease suppression.
When a soil lacks microbiology and the ability to recycle and supply these nutrients to the plant, the plant then becomes very dependent on the farmer ‘feeding’ water-soluble N & P, which can lock-up, leach or evaporate. When this oversupply of N & P occurs the microbiology cannot perform their role of fixing nitrogen (for free), solubolising phosphorus and staving off disease organisms.
Nitrogen seems to be a nutrient that farmers rely on most, believing that only when they supply large amounts of soluble N will they obtain high yields and quality. Over the past 10 years this has proven incorrect showing that there are alternatives to achieving a similar or better results. These alternatives not only supply short term gains but contribute to long term benefits such as improved soil structure, organic carbon increases and meeting environmental parameters.
Douglas W Speed SR.- Florida - Soil Microorganisms and H2O – Microbes Create Emergency Water Reserve . What takes place in the Root Zone of a Plant
Petra Marshner – Nutrient Cycling in Terrestrial Eco-Systems
Rod Turner – The World’s Best Compost and Why
this is pretty awesome, the vision statement from my heros Hugh Lovel and Shabari Bird
Living, self-regenerative humic soils in balance with the atmosphere of our beloved planet.
The global population having nutritionally dense food supporting their well-being and their spiritual development.
We are committed to educating and supporting farmers around the globe in the practice of Farming the Atmosphere , bringing order from Chaos as well as invigorating the soil/food web.
We are passionate about farmers thriving and being honored as the foundation of all culture.
Farmers are at the foundation of life on this beautiful planet. We foster learning in community environments, we foster affordable learning modalities using webinars, tele-seminars, seminars, consulting by phone and in person and publishing articles in journals enhancing the understanding of Quantum/spiritual/energetic/homeopathic/radionic agriculture. We also are committed to train a group of consultants and teachers who can further this commitment.
Integrity means Whole and Complete. We endeavor in all our actions to live in integrity. We share ourselves and our knowledge willingly and joyously .We are now elders who are keen to pass on the knowledge and training of the great teachers we have been so fortunate to have in this life .Our greatest teacher is Nature. We celebrate our connection to all of creation including the future generations who will inherit the benefit generated.
Our daily prayer includes
If it be Thy will,
Let the powers of nature converge,
To increase and enhance beneficial energies,
And transform any detrimental energies into beneficial ones,
For now and in the future for as long as is appropriate,
In deep gratitude. Amen
Some of our teachers who have inspired us.
Peter Escher, Rudolph Steiner, ehrenfried Pfeiffer, Harvey Lisle, Hugh Courtney, Jack Horner, Christopher Bird, Glen Atkinson, Shri Brahmananda Saraswati (Dr. Rammurti Mishra), Adnan Sarhan, Wallace Black Elk and Grace Spotted Eagle, Victoria Chipps, Shanaadi, Hawk Little John, Hope Cymerman, Gabriel Cymerman, Aunti Lani, Jeremiah Cymerman, Edgar Cayce, Sun Bear, Jaya Bear, Wabun Wind, Ron Evans, Dr. Southerland; Jan Adams, Bob Stevens; and our parents: Ray and Christine Boland and Isabel and Walter Lovel
in the video the lady says "the plants that sing helps the growth of other plants".. would love to hear my plants sing
You have to be in a good mood and very receptive..You have to slow down your thoughts ,the less you think and do the more you feel.it is very subtle but very present.
Last edited by JM; 02-27-2013 at 05:56 PM.
You ALWAYS Reap what you Sow...
- When all plant nutrients are soluble and available within soil water, which is almost every ‘bought’ fertiliser, the plant takes in nutrients through its water roots. This happens 24 hours a day whether the sun is shining or not and whether the plant is making new substances or not.
12-16-2012, 05:43 PM #3
This sounds familiar....... :D
We definitely need to start gathering data to determine whether our theory about how this relates to canna plants holds true - the theory being that a high brix reading of a canna leaf in early veg stage has a direct correlation to high potency and most medicinal benefits at the end of flowering. I'm willing to bet the farm that it does... and if it does, it will make breeding selection exponentially easier and faster.All worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care.
And for my part, I shall not wholly fail of my task if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit and flower again in the days to come. For I also am a steward.
12-16-2012, 10:44 PM #4
funny i was just looking at this the other day http://www.plantsthatproduce.com/ret...oney_01QT.html
says it increases brix levelsI plan ahead so i can do nothing right now
12-24-2012, 01:32 PM #5
bump vids added
You ALWAYS Reap what you Sow...
12-27-2012, 07:20 PM #6
You ALWAYS Reap what you Sow...
02-05-2013, 11:03 AM #7
Originally Posted by lwheidt
I attended the national biodynamic conference and one of their principles they hammered home is that one should use the best practices available first. The biodynamic farmers arentt just using their preps as a substitute for good techniques and science.
High brix is no doubt importanf to all gardeners.
One of the principles of biodynamics is homemade compost from local sources and they believe great compost brings the best results. And good compost should give the plants a good brix number without needing any other nutes.
oo I'll bet that was amazing, I am so jealous.. I attended a biodynamic conference 1998 in penticton bc and it was a once in a lifetime event, lots of heavy hitters there.. steve diver, gunther hawk, peter proctor and some more local ones.. was funny at the big meal, which sadly had no biodynamic food, each table had a bottle of bd wine and some table wine, looking around I noticed a lot of table wine still on the tables..
you must have some interesting stories to share,, who were your favorite speakers and what were some interesting tidbits that you learned? did you pick up any books? any interesting vendors there?
in regards to compost, did they talk about making custom compost to fill the voids in the soil tests? any interesting super secret compost tips?
Originally Posted by nature
the composting happens between the soil and debris on top,very thin layer.no need to haul anything away just to haul it back, just keep adding more debris atop the earth as the earth EATS it.To anyone who wants to grow things with minimal input read ONE STRAW REVOLUTION, by Masanobu Fukuoka
I hear what you are saying but to me that's more like mulching.. it is very effective though, especially in dry places..
on the other hand making a biodynamic compost heap is a true art form, it's alchemy... one thing I've read along the way that has really stuck with me is that compost should include a sampling of every kind of plant on the farm, even the houseplants.. this next part is a bit of a doozy so brace yourselves.. the nature spirits that reside in every kind of plant are slightly different, so add a bit of them all into the compost heap and as they are liberated from the plant matter they will be absorbed into the lime (that should be added to compost), and when this compost is spread throughout the farm the nature spirits are too spread around the farm enlivening the whole farm.. it's the point of bd, to bring life to the farm.. of course we can just make regular ol' compost and call it a day, but what fun would that be?Last edited by c-ray; 12-29-2012 at 11:12 AM.
think of it has cutting out the middle man.it is mulching, if you mulched with all the plants(matter) you have as you say,the composting will still happen.Nature has been composting ever since there has been living and dying,both one and the same,life is death,death is life. also the thin layer of composting between the soil and matter,is neutral,the composting bacteria do not like anything but a neutral or slightly alkaline environment so no lime needed(in most cases)its like cutting out two middle men or even more.its not about what you have to do its about what you don't.I see were your getting at thought the fun part,keep it interesting.but sometimes something fun turns into a chore,that when its no fun anymore lol.
let's see if I can put this another way.. if you were a beer aficionado would you rather drink a mug of raw hops, water and malted barley, or a mug of some well made pale ale? think of the farm as a compost aficionado and it will all make sense.. see making compost heaps is an absolutely vital process for the biodynamic farm and farmer, just as much as applying the preps yearly is.. these are the 2 things that make a farm biodynamic and not just another organic farm.. it's the law of toyland.. [QUOTE]
I had a hell of a time at the Biodyanmic Conference in Madison, Wisconsin last month. It was a really amazing event. The people were all so nice! Its rare that I want to meet new people, but at the conference I was making friends left and right.
I am still learning about Biodynamics, but the main things I've learned are so amazing. I am a "spiritual" person and I find the straight line traditional garden to be a little bit boring. I worked at an organic farm and I couldn't believe how different it was working for someone else. I always try to enjoy myself while gardening, and it sucks that so many people garden like they are at work.
Biodynamic people love what they do and it shows in their results. There were some interesting presents such as Dennis Klocek and author Charles Eisenstein. The theme was sacred archiculture and that is mostly what I got out of the conference.
In other words, there is a huge group of people who garden and farm and who want to improve the world and not just destroy it. Chemical ag is a gross disgusting abuse of the natural world and I no longer want anything to do with it. I wish organic food was a human right. I think a lot of people on UDG should step it up and give up on the poison path. I would rather make less money and not poison everyone. The biodynamic conference pretty much tied up all my thinking and made me realize I'm not alone. There has been a whole generation who lived and died and who left more nutrients in the ground after a lifetime of farmer.
I think its a matter of love. If we love each other and love the Earth, how can we do what we know is wrong? I love marijuana. I love growing plants. And, as of this year, I will never poison my plants or my friends ever again. Period.
http://wikisend.com/download/280456/bach biodynamic planting calendar 2013.docx
What is Biodynamic Agriculture?
The following definition of biodynamic agriculture was written by Hugh Lovel, author of A Biodynamic Farm, in December 2012
BIODYNAMIC AGRICULTURE: Bio (life) dynamic (processes); Biodynamic agriculture involves working with life processes. This does not mean physical substance or chemistry are ignored. The biodynamic approach to agriculture emphasizes life processes which have potent organisational (syntropic) effects to engage minerals and chemical reactions. The use of what are called ‘biodynamic preparations’ establishes, increases and enhances life processes. The question is, what is a LIFE process and what are the life processes we are talking about?
Nineteenth and twentieth century physics focused on life-LESS processes. With these energy flowed from higher concentration to lower concentration, as without life all energy flows from order toward chaos in a process called entropy. However, it became recognised in the mid twentieth century that order also arises out of chaos. It does this cyclically at boundaries or urfaces, which means energy flows from lower to higher concentration over time periods that begin and end in a process called syntropy. Life processes are syntropic, and a variety of these can be distinguished in regard to plants, so let’s look at what these are.
In the soil, the processes involved in life are mineral release, nitrogen fixation, digestion and nutrient uptake. These are related to the lime complex commonly referred to as the CEC or as cations. Because biodynamics comes from an awareness of the influences of the context on life processes, these processes are correlated with the planets between the sun and the earth, namely mercury, venus and the moon.
However, plants live both in the soil AND the atmosphere, and in the atmosphere the processes are quite different and complimentary to the soil processes. What goes on in the atmosphere is photosynthesis, blossoming, fruiting and ripening. These processes are related to silica and to the planets beyond the sun and the earth, namely mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
In large part, biodynamics involves getting a dynamic interplay going between what goes on above ground and what goes on below.
Plants draw in energy and carbon-the basis of life-via photosynthesis. By doing so, they build up sugars and carbohydrates in their sap during the day and a portion of this drains down to plants’ root tips and are exuded into the soil around the tender young root growth of the plant. This feeds a honey-like syrup to the soil foodweb which uses the energy to release minerals such as silica, lime and phosphorous along with various trace mineral co-factors that provide for nitrogen fixation.
Nitrogen fixation is VERY energy intensive as it takes roughly 10 units of sugar to fix one unit of amino acid. Moreover, nitrogen fixing microbes don’t just gift the nitrogen they fix to plants. However, protozoa and other soil animal life eat mineral releasing and nitrogen fixing microbes, thus excreting a steady stream of freshly digested milk-like nourishment rich in amino acids and minerals chelates, which the plant takes up from the soil. This milk-like nourishment is the basis for chlorophyll assembly in the leaf and for the duplication of the DNA and the protein chemistry basic to plant growth.
From the biodynamic point of view it is enormously important that the soluble salt levels in the soil are as low as possible while the insoluble but available nutrients stored in humus are abundant. Partly this is because when the plant takes up amino acids instead of nitrogen salts the efficiency of the plant chemistry is dramatically increased and photosynthetic efficiency is multiplied. Also, soluble salts in the soil are toxic to the nitrogen fixing and mineral releasing micro-life in the soil as soluble salts amount to their waste, in which case they shut down and fail to function as might be expected of any organism which had to live in its own waste.
The bottom line is the more dynamic the interplay between what goes on above ground and what goes on below, the more robustly plants grow, the more efficiently they utilize the resources at their disposal, the more fully they achieve their genetic potential and the more strongly they express syntropic (life) processes.
Basically the aim of biodynamic farming is to achieve self-sufficiency where the farm no longer requires outside inputs to be fertile and productive. This means that any inputs a farm requires along the way of becoming self-sufficient should be considered as remedies for a farm that has fallen ill. This method has proven itself over the past 85 plus years as many ‘biodynamic’ farms have come close enough to this ideal as to be virtually self-sufficient while producing high yielding crops of the highest quality and exporting somewhere in the range of 8 per cent or less of their total biomass production annually.
A growing number of wines, specialty foods and even cosmetics are showing up on store shelves with the label ‘biodynamic’ or touting biodynamic ingredients. But what does this mean exactly?
Biodynamic® farming is sometimes referred to as being “super” organic and sustainable. Its approach is to treat each farm as its own ecosystem, using holistic remedies for soil, integrating livestock and creating a biologically diverse habitat. The core beliefs of the method also depend upon seasonal cycles and cosmic rhythms. Its practices, however—which range from planting according to lunar cycles to incorporating alternative methods into the farming—have been considered by some to be too eccentric for the serious business of agriculture. (The one standard practice that gets the most attention involves filling the horn from a cow with fresh dung, burying it in the fall and digging it up in the spring. The organic material that remains in the horn is used as a soil treatment.)
Biodynamic farming is growing as this type of production finds traction in the U.S. and abroad and garners more attention from manufacturers for the rich flavors many believe the method of agriculture produces. It was the flavor profile of the biodynamic Ceylon cinnamon from Rainforest Spices in Costa Rica that convinced Ben and Pete Van Leeuwen to buy it to use as the key ingredient in their new Ceylon Cinnamon ice cream. Their two-year-old company, Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, in Brooklyn, N.Y., has five ice cream trucks and one shop. “It truly was different from the seven or eight other cinnamons we tried,” says Pete. “The flavor jumps out at you, like natural FireBalls or Red Hots.”
Consumers are also beginning to embrace biodynamic agriculture because they care about food quality and the environment and believe its standards to be beyond traditional organic and sustainability farming. Gena Nonini, owner of the biodynamic 100-acre Marian Farms in Fresno, Calif., chair of the Demeter Biodynamic Trade Association (DBTA) and an early biodynamic pioneer, thinks more consumers are also crossing over to the biodynamic category because of health concerns, including parents who are worried about what their children are eating. “And if things didn’t taste good, people wouldn’t pay the money,” she notes.
According to the U.S. Demeter Association (the biodynamic certifying body), there are 100 certified biodynamic farms and 48 more in transition in the U.S. with the highest percentage being California wineries. “Our membership has quadrupled these past four or five years,” says Elizabeth Candelario, Demeter’s marketing director. Beyond wine, biodynamic meats, eggs, produce, cheese, pasta, dairy, nuts and even distilled spirits and beer are being made everywhere, from California to Tennessee to New York.
Here we take a look at the principles and history of this method, as well as its growth in the U.S.
The Basics of Biodynamic Farming
According to the Demeter Association, the Demeter Biodynamic Trade Association and Demeter International, biodynamic farming is similar to certified-organic farming as it is free of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. In order to qualify for Demeter Biodynamic® status (the words Demeter and biodynamic are registered) a farm must first meet the same three-year transition requirement that the National Organic Program (NOP) certified-organic farming requires. Here are other key points:
1. Each farm is its own ecosystem. The farm depends on a minimum of nutrients imported from outside the farm and, ideally, generates its own fertility through cover-cropping and the use of manure from animals that live on the farm. Nonini adds that integrating animals into the farm is also important to create a diversified horticultural environment. In addition to livestock—cows, horses or pigs—earthworms working underground play an important part in the life of the soil as do bees above ground with pollination.
“I say that the farm is a symphony, the farmer is the conductor and the universe provides the sheet music. It’s up to the farmer to get that music to play harmoniously.”
2. Farmers must be attuned to seasonal and cosmic rhythms and cycles. For farmers to pursue biodynamic certification, Demeter International explains, “[You must have an] active interest in the laws of nature and the will to work with them creatively in your daily activities. It is also important that you are open to a holistic view of the natural world, which goes beyond the knowledge gained purely from natural science.”
The DBTA notes that organic farming focuses in terms of substances that are or are not added to the crops, but biodynamic farmers think beyond that in terms of forces and processes. This belief can manifest itself on the farm, for example, by noting the effects of the new and full moons on planting seeds and plant growth. As Nonini explains, “Think about the high and low tides. What causes that? The moon has a big impact on weather activities here on earth. You can’t see the forces coming from the moon but you can see the results. You can’t see gravity, but you can see the effects. Biodynamics takes into consideration natural forces and processes that we can’t see and don’t have the instruments to measure today, but are there.”
3. Farmers must use all nine of the specially created biodynamic preparations to help keep the farm in balance. While other types of farming may include a whole-farm approach or have a strong commitment to sustainability, a key distinction for being biodynamic is that farmers must use a series of preparations to homeopathically treat compost, soil and plants. These include Horn Manure (this is where they bury a cow horn filled with fresh dung in the fall and dig it up in the spring), Horn Silica (same thing as horn manure but it is buried in the spring and dug up in the fall to take advantage of the seasonal solar influences), Yarrow, Chamomile, Stinging Nettles, Oak Bark, Dandelion Flowers, Valerian and Horsetail. These formulations are used in very small amounts. The horn manure, for example, is mixed with water and a quarter cup of it is sprayed over an acre of soil.
The History of Biodynamics
In the early 20th century European farmers, concerned about the deterioration of their crops and livestock health caused by factory farming, sought help from the famous Austrian cultural philosopher Rudolf Steiner. In 1924 he held a series of lectures on the farm as a living organism, questioning the long-term benefits of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. To reduce dependence on outside materials, he encouraged incorporating livestock, composting, perennial plants, flowers and trees for fertility and pest control. His adherents coined the term “biodynamic.”
To renew the soil, Steiner devised the nine alchemical preparations (mentioned on p. 39), which were made from herbs, mineral substances and animal manures and guided by cyclical rhythms of nature and the phases of the moon. The biodynamic association Demeter (named for the Greek god of agriculture) was formed in 1928 to focus on this work with proponents noting that the practices were rooted in the Old Farmer’s Almanac, Native American land management and even at Stonehenge, which some historians believe was an agricultural yardstick for planting and harvesting.
Since Demeter International was founded, it has grown to represent around 4,200 Demeter producers in 43 countries.
Wine Opens the Door
The wine industry is where many of us first experienced biodynamics. Jeff Cox, the “wine guy” at PCC Natural Market in Seattle, Wash., carries 15-20 biodynamic wines and is seeing more enter the market. “A lot of people pooh-pooh it because it sounds metaphysical, talking about the phases of the moon,” he says, “but there are a lot of things in this world you can’t quantify. The depth of flavor and character in the bottle—you can’t attain that through conventional agriculture.” For customers who can afford wines in the $15 to $20 range, he believes, “It’s a no-brainer once they taste it.”
Alsace, France, is a region that has been at the forefront of the movement. Emmanuelle Kreydenweiss, the winemaker for Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss in Andlau, France, has farmed biodynamically since 1989. “We noticed there was more acidity, complexity and finesse, freshness and purity in the wines,” she says. “The wines have something more, which you cannot precisely tell but you can feel, something like energy, authenticity.”
At first Kreydenweiss’ customers were a bit suspicious of biodynamics, she explains. “But really our customers did not react badly. They appreciated the fact we could offer them healthy wines and they could taste the quality.”
Alain Moueix is the estate manager at Château Fonroque, a Saint-Emilion winery that’s leading the way in Bordeaux. “When I started in 2004 nobody cared, but today more people are showing interest, everybody is talking about the environment. You don’t have to be extreme to be biodynamic,” he states, downplaying the eccentric aspects of Steiner’s theories. “It is pragmatic to learn to live with nature. We won’t control it, ever.”
Fresh and Packaged Foods
In the late 1980s, when Steffen Schneider, the general manager of the 400-acre Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent, N.Y., told customers the farm was biodynamic he was met with blank stares. “Biodynamic is the frontier, the new niche for people who want to be able to distinguish from organic, which is becoming more industrial and less meaningful,” says Schneider. Today, Hawthorne Valley sells dairy products up and down the East Coast, as well as sauerkraut, ginger, carrots, cheese, baked goods, pork and beef. “There’s more demand than supply,” he adds.
Demand started to take off three years ago for the biodynamic berries, vegetables, mushrooms, eggs and cheese produced at Bill Keener’s 300-acre Sequatchie Cove Farm, 35 miles outside of Chattanooga, Tenn. “The locals thought we were nuts,” says Keener, of making the transition to biodynamic. “Slowly but surely, the ones with open minds are coming by to help us and see what we’re doing.” Keener says his soil has steadily improved and a handful of Southeast restaurants now carry his rare-breed beef and pork. And, in 2007, Chattanooga’s 27,000-square-foot, independently owned Greenlife Grocery opened, making Sequatchie Cove’s meat widely available to the public.
Nationwide, Marian Farms sells dried fruit, nuts, oak-aged brandy, lemons, oranges and grapes. Estate-made vodka and rum are in the works. Nonini is also working directly with Mark Ellenbogen, a partner in Bar Agricole, a restaurant opening in San Francisco in late spring focused on local and biodynamic products. “We’re supporting farmers up front,” says Ellenbogen, “giving them money for what we need. It’s just the quality of the products coming from these farms, whether you subscribe to the philosophy or not.”
Other packaged foods where biodynamics are playing a growing role include tea. Zhena Muzyka, CEO of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea, based in Ojai, Calif., is passionate when talking about the tea leaves, flowers and spices she’s sourcing from biodynamic farms around the world. When blending the leaves with essential oils, she noticed, “the flavor came to life far more than with organic.” She holds blind tastings to prove it to customers, who also like hearing “it’s the least carbon footprint of any method in the world.”
In just four years, another biodynamic tea producer, Ineeka Tea, has gone from selling in zero stores to being sold in 3,000 retail locations nationwide. The Chicago-based company recently launched Himalayan Green Tea Bier made with biodynamic green tea. Sarah Trench, a spokesperson for Ineeka, said about biodynamics, “It’s a near and dear philosophy, not something we broadcast as a marketing tool. We only recently started putting the Demeter logo on our tea tins because there was more recognition.”
In the expansion of biodynamics, the economics of farming plays a big role, says Nonini. There are still only a relatively small number of producers who are doing it and to convert to biodynamics takes a commitment of time and money. “In the organic realm, there is a huge spectrum of practices,” she notes. In biodynamics, “you either are or you are not biodynamic.” Because of the small numbers of growers, there is potential for a supply bottleneck and, Nonini adds, because of their small numbers, “we don’t have a lot of variety yet. We are doing our due diligence to encourage people, but biodynamics is a paradigm shift. It isn’t something you can just pick up.”
Across the board, other producers agree, saying biodynamic farming is more labor intensive, yields are generally smaller, and they were not doing it for attention or the money. And there is still a lot of consumer education needed. “Unfortunately, it’s often considered some weird sect dancing in the nude at full moon,” says Lee Greene, who imports biodynamic Volterra pasta and extra virgin olive oil from Tuscany for her Chicago-based company, The Scrumptious Pantry. “In reality all it is about is empowering nature to make its own choices, for the sake of more authentic taste.” |SFM|
An Ancient Call to the Future: Biodynamics & 'Homeopathic Compost' Revitalize Family Farm [pdf]:
Practical Biodynamics: A Head-Heart-Hand Practical Philosophy
All things practical, have, if they are to be fruitful, a solid foundation in thought. Some might simply say that we need common sense. Good farming, good gardening - has always had a strong mental component. Farmers and gardeners need to think through what they are doing, as things take time to ripen, things take good timing to turn out well. Biodynamics has a strong mental, philosophical framework. It is flexible, adaptable, but certainly, the principles are what make it distinct and successful.
Introduction - Concepts
Since 1924 and the founding of biodynamics, approaches to explaining biodynamics have varied. In the context of trying to define biodynamics (as a system of agriculture) - at least initially - we might use the following, developing levels of potential understanding as a starting point of discussion. They may seem too theoretical at first, but, dear Reader, venture into them - and you will find an excellent basis for your practical work.
Biodynamics can be understood conceptually as:
1. an agro-ecological renewal of agriculture, using various natural methods, stemming from Rudolf Steiner and his anthroposophical spiritual science;
2. a holisitc, ecological philosophy of farming and gardening, of nutrition, of land-stewardship and of living and working successfully with nature;
3. an awakening of one's consciousness as a farmer and gardener to the many levels of life in nature, including a new, conceptually expanded understanding of physical phenomena, energies and beings at work in nature;
4. a recognition of biodynamics as a kind of complementary medicine (anthroposophical medicine) for agriculture, for farms, for the earth - with a specific, learnable, systematic approach;
5. the realization - at the heart of biodynamics - of the sacredness of all things and beings and the necessity for increasingly selfless participation (to the degree on can) in the search for health, healing and harmony, in other words biodynamics not only in the sense of 1-4 but also in the sense of a path of service;
6. experiencing biodynamics as a school for training one's mind, one's heart and one's sensibilities towards spiritual awakening to improve one's capacities as a farmer and to improve one's abilities to serve and to see nature as she is;
7. becoming acquainted with the earth as a physical, living, sentient and conscious being.
There are many, significant biodynamic principles, both philosophical and conceptual (as above) as well as very practical. Biodynamics is not meant to just be a new way of thinking, but it is meant to be a new way of thinking!!! It is also meant to touch the heart of each practitioner, but in such a way that it really inspires to work ethically, with a healing (diagnostic-therapeutic), helping approach for ultimate health and productivity in practice. It is a head-heart-hand practical philosophy of farming and gardening.
Some of the most basic principles of biodynamics can be summarized as follows:
1. The Earth is physically complex, physiologically alive, sentient and conscious (self-aware) organism embedded in a living, sentient, conscious universe;
2. Each and every unique farm and garden is an integrated part of this physically complex, physiologically alive, sentient and conscious Earth organism and is of course smaller and differentiated, but equally physically complex, physiologically alive, sentient and conscious.
3. Developing and managing healthy, productive and successful farms and gardens (however large or small) is primarily (primarily, means "at first" and in terms of priorities!) a medical question, like taking care of a patient. What is healthy? What is not healthy? and What can be done to return health and productivity where it is no longer? are the three key questions to a medical approach to agricultural management. We can call this a diagnostic-therapeutic approach.
4. Biodynamics as a philosophy and as a practice stem from Rudolf Steiner and his anthroposophical spiritual science. Understanding biodynamics as anthroposophical medicine for the earth, for farms allows the practitioner to become increasingly independent in his/her diagnosis of health and illness on farm and to become equally increasingly capable of proscribing and applying effective measures (medicine, therapies) to the farm towards health and productivity.
5. In oder to come to terms with how to diagnose health and illness on farm in the context of anthroposophical medicine, one must learn step by step how anthroposophical science views the whole individual (and the individual farm) and how health and illness is understood and how medicines and therapies are used to rebalance imbalances, to invigorate organs, organ systems and indeed the whole immunological system of an individual - including in our case the individual farm.
Bringing such thoughts & concerns into our daily, manual labor
Such lofty thoughts - such concerns about health and illness and finding optimum productivity naturally - are something that we think about, that shows itself in how, what, when we do things in our gardens and farms. Our daily work is informed consciously or less so, with the management system we choose. If we choose a management system focused on primarily health building measures - as the basis of true, sustainable productivity - then it is something quite different, than if we are only concerned with maximum production for the moment we are in - regardless of what negative side effects or long term effects such a total focus just on the moment might bring with it.
What we do, day for day, both outwardly and in terms of our thoughts and feelings (which are just as real as what we do with out hands) is of consequence. One thing builds on another. We are constantly building our gardens and farms in a certain direction. Hopefully not in a chaotic, short-term, abusive manner, but in a harmonious, long-term, healthy fashion. Our daily work matters. Recognizing that our philosophy determines our management system and our management system our daily work - we realize the significance of thinking, philosophizing, conceptualizing, meditating over our work, what it is about, what meaning it should have and how to develop methods that match our values.
Biodynamics offers practical methods, but not methods for methods-sake or to be somehow cool, spiritual, ecological - but because it is deeply, genuinely concerned about the health and productivity of our gardens and farms - for the sake of our soils, animals and people - and the long term well-being of humanity and the earth. Spirituality in this context is not just a fashionable word to throw around, but signifies a real effort to connect one's authentic self with the authentic substances, forces and beings in nature and in the cosmos. It is the disconnect that is part of our modern world, is part of so many of our lives, that leads to the abuses that we all seek to remediate. Our daily practice, however modest, can help us reconnect ourselves and our soils, plants and animals with the living, sentient and conscious earth / universe. This in the end in the source of vitality and quality - our essential goals.
The Agroinnovations Podcast ( http://agroinnovations.com/podcast )
Episode #128: Biodynamic Agriculture
June 28th, 2011
We are joined by Hugh Courtney of the Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Biodynamics. We discuss the life and ideas of Rudolph Steiner, the life and practice of Josephine Porter, biodynamic preparations and how they are made, the application of these preparations on the land, results one can expect to see, and ways to preserve biodynamic techniques.
You ALWAYS Reap what you Sow...
02-05-2013, 11:08 AM #8
Nicolas Joly, this guy is hardcore!
((nature knows what to do,the only thing we can do is to not disturb nature.))
interesting man,confirmed that chemicals and modern agriculture effectively kills the music(the soul)of the plants grown and then we consume this dead substance.just like proper bud makes you feel good,inside warm feeling,it sings like he said,the opposite is true as soon as chemicals are introduced.anyone who thinks chemical grown plants are as good as natural is selling there own soul,don't let em drag you in the pit!
thanks for clips cray
Biodynamics has an organic farming method, born in 1924, which suggests that the use of artificial fertilizers will have a detrimental effect on our soils and eventually our human spiritual development. It appeals to me because it values old-time farming practices, such as using compost, cover crops and manure.
By giving back to the earth these farm-produced fertilizers, a rich humus soil is created and maintained with very little cost.
Food is carbohydrates, proteins and fats made up of mostly carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. Guess what? These four elements are given to every farm freely in the form of the rain and air above our soils. Add a little sunshine and ‘poof’ ‘ plants can’t help but grow, just like they’ve been doing for eons. They don’t need artificial fertilizers, which, although promoting quick growth, lead to an unhealthy, unbalanced plant that is more susceptible to insect and disease problems.
‘Farms need cattle’ my dad used to say, and old-timers knew the importance of keeping animals on the farm. Biodynamics echoes this by pointing out that with the right number of barnyard animals, the farm will become a self-sufficient individuality. This means their manure not only fertilizes enough land to grow all of their food, but food for the farmers and crops to sell, too.
Farm animals transform plant growth and can fertilize more land than is needed to feed them. By moving the cattle around the farm, and carefully making hay and compost, a farm becomes a self-contained entity, capable of exporting some of the free carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen which is in the air and rain above it. Biodynamics reminds us of the old-timers’ advice ‘make do with what you’ve got.’
Planting by the signs is another old-time farming practice biodynamic farmers and gardeners employ. The planets and stars are constantly changing position and probably affect plant growth more than we know. Seventy-five years of biodynamic research has proven its effectiveness.
Homeopathic doctors use very small quantities of specially prepared medicines to cure people of diseases. Modern scientists have discovered the affects of radiations. Before the mid-19th century, instinctual peasant wisdom suggested that, by certain practices, people could make themselves and the land more fit to grow crops. In biodynamics, we concentrate the forces of certain substances to make powerful remedies to heal the earth.
Cow manure has great plant growing potential in it, as any old-timer will tell you. We strengthen this by burying cow manure in cow horns over the winter months, to create a homeopathic fertilizer. We stir one-third of a cup of it into three gallons of water for an hour, alternating deep vortexes one way for a half a minute, and then the other way for a half a minute. The we sprinkle the water on an acre of land in the evening, in a seemingly ancient ritual, which inoculates the soil with life-promoting enzymes and beneficial forces, and helps turn the soil into a rich, dark brown humus.
To balance this powerful earth energizer, we need to work with the sun forces. So we grind pretty quartz crystals, mix the powder with water, and bury it in cow horns during the summer months. One half of a teaspoon is again stirred homeopathically for an hour, and sprayed on the plants in the morning to promote ripening and nutritional qualities.
Compost plays a key role on the biodynamic farm, and again we make use of healing homeopathic remedies. The herbs yarrow, chamomile, stinging nettle, white oak bark, dandelion and Valerian are sewn up in animal organs, or otherwise prepared, and buried in the earth for a year. Then they are inserted into our compost piles in small doses to give their enhanced qualities to the entire compost heap, and eventually the land it is applied on, and food grown there, and the people who eat it.
The most important thing is that food grown on live soils gives health to humanity.
In nature, everything is interrelated. Biodynamic farms keep hedgerows, wetlands, forests and meadows not only for their beauty and wildlife, but because they harbor forces beneficial to the cropland. We try to imagine the forces hidden behind what our senses perceive.
Biodynamics has fostered the development of a new marketing strategy, too. People used to be able to make a living selling garden produce, and now, through Community Sponsored Agriculture, they can again.
A group of thirty or forty customers cover the farmer’s annual budget, and they in turn receive weekly baskets of produce during the growing season. The farmer is thus salaried and guaranteed an outlet for the farm’s produce, which gets to the consumer without any extra costs for the middleman.
All in all, biodynamics offers a new way, or maybe an old way, of growing the most nutritious and health-promoting food available today, and getting it to the consumer as easily as can be arranged. The earth needs healing and biodynamic farmers are helping to do it.
Biodynamics – excerpt from Best of the Barefoot Farmer Vol.II
question, since it seems silica is the most abundant element, why is it not everywhere that we should supplement it? almost everyone's giving calcium but you need silica to make use of the calcium.Guessing that the quarts supply's this mineral when it react to the calcium in the horn.but since fluoride is needed to bind the silica to the calcium to make it bio-available,does one just assume that the fluoride is there already?I started using pro-silicate 6 months ago and I've noticed a difference in plant health and strength. It seems like once silica is given the leaves seem thicker, the stems have more strength and I also notice that the fine hairs that grow on the plants seem scracthy and they irratate my skin a little bit. I'm planning on using Diatomaceous Earth this year outside as my silica source. Diatoms all the way lol.
Diatomite forms by the accumulation of the amorphous silica (opal, SiO2·nH2O) remains of dead diatoms (microscopic single-celled algae) in lacustrine or marine sediments. The fossil remains consist of a pair of symmetrical shells or frustules.
diatomaceous earth has lots in it.
April 5, 2009
By Hugh Lovel
On a recent trip to Japan where I visited several organic farms as well as a golf course I noted that no matter how good their other practices none were composting well enough. All omitted clay from their compost mixtures. The same is commonly true on organic farms elsewhere, though I know of cases—most of them biodynamic operations—in Europe, India, the USA, Australia and New Zealand where composting is excellent.My research shows that organic farming pioneer, Sir Albert Howard, (1873-1947), advocated soil, a good source of clay, as part of his compost mix. In my own case, one of the oldest and most experienced compost makers I’ve known is Fletcher Sims, who started composting on the Texas High Plains shortly after World War II—in which this pint sized Texan was a B-17 tail gunner in the old Army Air Corps. One of the secrets of excellent compost Fletcher shared with me was the incorporation of somewhere in the vicinity of 10% clay, either as soil or as rock powders that would make good clays. Fletcher also used compost inoculants either made with biodynamic preparations or using microbes derived from biodynamic preparations. And he developed world class compost turning machinery for aeration and moisture control.
I realize most growers think of compost as a means of recycling nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK) and they tend to measure compost quality in terms of its NPK analysis—which would be diluted if clay were added. Since organic agriculture was a reaction against the simple minded abuses of chemical agriculture, it adopted a natural and far more complex approach to the NPK mind-set, nevertheless retaining the belief that soluble N, P and K were essential to robust growth and high production. The difference was they replaced the miracle grow mentality—that the soil was there to hold the plant up and nutrients should be supplied in soluble form—with the use of crop rotations, lime, gypsum and other rock dusts along with microbial inoculants, composts, trace minerals, and organic carbon concentrates such as kelp, fulvic and humic acids.
On the other hand, Brazilian soil scientist, Ana Primavesi, pointed out in her brilliant rebuttal of the NPK mindset—which she called the Nutrient Quantity Concept or NQC—that basic agricultural research went awry back in the mid nineteenth century by analysing plants for their chemical components and then analysing poorly performing soils to determine their deficiencies, which then could be addressed with soluble inputs. She suggested we should all along have examined thriving untouched natural soils, such as found in rain forest or grassland ecosystems, in order to determine what goes on in a naturally thriving soil. Interestingly these soils often show up on soluble soil analyses as being deficient in soluble N, P or K even though total soil analysis using strong acids shows these elements present in what are thought to be unavailable forms. Thus she argued a new approach—which she termed the Nutrient Access Concept or NAC—was required. The question she asked is what is so different about thriving natural ecosystems versus farmed soils?
NPK vs. Micro-organisms
The first thing that comes to mind is the tremendous diversity of species, and as far as the soil is concerned this boils down to extremely diverse, high populations of micro-organisms in the soil—fed, of course, by the recycling of vegetative matter from above. The most immediate way this occurs is from the nightly cycling of a wide array of carbon compounds by root exudation from a diversity of plant species, each feeding a different community of micro-organisms in its root zone. Of course, mono-cropping defeats this since large plantings of single species causes microbial diversity to crash, which is why multi-cropping and multi-species cover cropping are sorely needed. Diversity of crop species, however, is a topic for another day.
What comes to light out of all this is that composts should be thought of as a means of restoring micro-organism diversity to soils. In other words, composts are micro-organism inputs, not NPK inputs. The well-known soil microbiologist, Dr. Elaine Ingham, has been arguing this for years, and has set up laboratories in a number of countries for testing the levels and diversity of micro-organisms in soils and composts. And since truly good compost is such a rarity she has popularized the concept of compost tea brewing, which—when done successfully—can brew high populations of diverse soil microbes to be applied in liquid form repeatedly throughout a crop cycle for a fraction of the cost of applying mediocre composts at high enough rates to assure the numbers and diversity for sufficient release of a full array of nutrients.
Time after time it has been shown that repeated applications of well-brewed compost teas can shift the availability of nutrients in soils as long as these nutrients were present in the total test—or in the case of nitrogen if the right mix of nutrients is present for nitrogen fixation and microbial release. Aside from equipment design and microbial food source issues, the difficulty usually is finding a reliably robust and diverse starter culture for successful compost tea brewing. Essentially one must start with a good compost culture.
Where This Leads
Let’s step back a moment and review. Although organic farmers often think of composts as NPK inputs, composts should really be thought of as soil micro-organism boosters. Unfortunately, most composts are rather mediocre at doing this, although there are good ones which often enough are biodynamic. Why do biodynamic composts sometimes hit the bull’s eye? Is it just due to the biodynamic preparations? From my 30+ years experience with biodynamics I’d have to say no. Biodynamic preparations may help considerably, but I believe the real reason is that biodynamic growers have a greater tendency to understand that lime and silica stand at the poles of the mineral kingdom while clay mediates between the two. Remember, all the most successful compost makers—whether biodynamic or not—use some form of clay to make compost. Most biodynamic compost workshop leaders I’ve known emphasize the importance of clay in composting. Otherwise lime and silica do not have enough middle ground where interaction between these two polarities can occur. This seriously limits both the mineral and the microbial activity of the compost pile and tends to ensure the compost goes off toward one or the other extreme.
Let’s look at this from the viewpoint of the biochemical sequence in plants, since this is also the basic requirement for good soil microbial activity. Clay, by definition, is aluminium silicate—which means that clay is the soil’s silica reservoir. But because aluminium doesn’t turn loose of silica all that readily, nature boosts silica release with a trace of boron—which is chemically akin to aluminium but far more reactive.
[Aluminium silicates come in a wide variety of forms from the simple Al2Si2O5∙OH4 of kaolin (the basis for porcelain) to a much more complex montmorillonite such as (Na,Ca)0.33(Al,Mg)2Si4O10(OH)2∙nH2O as would be found in rich black cracking soils with a cation exchange capacity of over 50.]
As far as plants are concerned silicon is the mineral basis for cell walls and connective tissues. Thus silicon provides containment and transport for all sap nutrients and protoplasm. In other words boron provides sap pressure and silicon provides the transport and containment system. Now we can we consider calcium, which American farm guru Gary Zimmer calls the trucker of all minerals. He’s right, of course, but let’s not forget that calcium trucks down a silicon highway. Calcium, assisted by molybdenum, is the basis of nitrogen fixation and amino acid chemistry. Nitrogen, allied with calcium in the form of amino acids, reacts with every other nutrient element, the most important being magnesium, which is the basis for chlorophyll and photosynthesis. Chlorophyll traps energy and shunts it via phosphorous into carbon structures, which go where potassium, the main electrolyte, carries them.
Thus the biochemical sequence for plants is B, Si, Ca, N, Mg, P, C, K. If, in making compost, we focus on N, P and K we leave out the beginning of this sequence. If we refuse to dilute the NPK content of our compost by adding clay we will make poverty compost that never gets its biochemistry rolling with B, Si and Ca. Thus the micro-organism content will not be up to the task of eating into the soil and fixing nitrogen—which tends to escape during the composting process.
When we look at compost as a micro-organism booster for digesting the soil so that sap pressure, transport, nitrogen fixation, photosynthesis and growth occur and our plants have plenty of root exudates to keep ramping up the microbial activity around their roots—then we need to put about 10% rich clay in our compost. This breeds high populations of the micro-organisms that eat soil. By putting clay—or a rock powder that makes a good clay—in our compost we can breed soil eating microbes in abundance.
Fletcher Sims reckons that 2 to 3 tons per acre (5 to 7.5 tonnes per hectare) of this sort of well-made compost should be sufficient to boost the microbial activity of a decent soil enough for a robust crop of corn or potatoes—even though we are talking mono-crop farming. Contrast this with 10 to 20 tons per acre (25 to 50 tonnes per hectare) of mediocre compost being barely adequate—a five to one difference in application rates.
The rest of the story can be worked out—keeping the pile aerated and moist, getting carbon to nitrogen ratios somewhere between 15 and 30 to 1, supplying major and minor nutrients to meet specific soil needs in appropriate forms and amounts, and using biodynamic preparations and/or compost inoculants. But understanding the importance of clay as the appropriate medium for culturing the micro-organisms most needed in turning soil into plant food can take a little more understanding than currently prevails—since this is non-existent in the NPK school of agriculture.
If the larger size earthworms are lacking in your piles, keep in mind that earthworms don’t have teeth, they have gizzards and they need grit. If your soil is lacking in grit, try freshly crushed rock powders that contain some coarser particles. An earthworm’s digestive tract is one of the best microbial culture vessels in the soil, and earthworms spread micro-organisms around pretty well, so it pays to give them what they need. Moreover, if your compost heap is too dry for earthworms, it’s too dry for the micro-organisms you need in your soil. Once earthworm activity slows down your compost is ready to spread, which makes them good indicators. Another indicator animal is ants. When they produce that formic acid smell that seems fresher than lemon they are doing their job of clearing toxicity from your compost.
This picture was taken at a model organic farm in Japan, but there was no clay in the compost. The concrete pad and covered sheds were necessary because of high rainfall, which is not usually a problem in Australia, but of course, it kept clay from getting into the compost.
In many ways the diversity and management of this farm was admirable, but the emphasis of nitrogen over silica due to the lack of clay in the compost shows in this patch of aquatic weeds in the rice. This particular weed can be symbiotic with rice, as it was where I saw it last year on a Japanese biodynamic farm. There growth was subdued, and its leaves were small, narrow and quite pointed—a sure sign of high silica in the soil.
This scene, taken behind the composting shed, shows a paddock freshly sown in buckwheat—so called because it often takes only 8 weeks from planting to harvest and can follow wheat. Buckwheat rushes to flower by its third week, showing a particularly close relationship with phosphorous—as its roots host phosphorous solubilizing bacteria. This can be very helpful since wheat removes soluble phosphorous from the soil. Attention to good crop rotations was one of the admirable features of this farm. Also note the border areas with their lush diversity of species. The Japanese countryside can be spectacularly beautiful.
Here we see the turning of a small compost pile in Tolga, FNQ. The field broadcaster in the foreground (sometimes called a biodynamic tower) broadcasts the archetypal patterns of all the biodynamic preparations into the ethers around the clock and around the seasons. Biodynamic preparations are organizational in their action, and organization is the basis of life. Contrary to the belief of some, this is an organizational (etheric) device rather than a disorganizational device hooked up to the electric mains.
Here is adding a little fresh green matter from the garden to an otherwise slow pile.
Moisture is maintained by watering each layer as the compost is turned.
Finally, the finished pile, the tools used and a pile of finished compost that filtered through the pitchfork as the pile was turned. Tolga has heavy red clays so leached of their calcium that the magnesium left behind makes them extremely sticky when wet. Two years of gardening with the addition of soft rock phosphate, gypsum, boron humates and cover crops of maize with soybeans has changed this situation dramatically. The rich chocolate colour of the finished compost shows how the clay has absorbed the digested organic matter forming clay/humus complexes which are ideal for rich microbial diversity. The finished compost between the wheelbarrow and the stack will go on two beds being replanted, while the vegetation ripped out will return to the compost site with quite a bit of clay still sticking to its roots. The fresh material will be incorporated into a newly turned pile in thin layers.
You ALWAYS Reap what you Sow...
02-05-2013, 11:10 AM #9
Consciousness and Catching Carbon
Home Made Fertiliser: Part One ©
By Hugh Lovel
"Is it then so great a secret, what God and mankind and the world are? No! But none like to hear it, so it rests concealed." * Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
My 40 year love affair with the twin disciplines of biochemistry and farming have me convinced that nitrogen is the carrier of intelligence, the basis of sensitivity and its vehicle in the chemistry of consciousness. I did not invent this hypothesis, though I predict increasingly we will see it tested along with its corollary, that the human brain is a quantum computer. A growing understanding of quantum non-locality and entanglement seems to be closing the curtain on an era of institutionalised denial of telepathy, clairvoyance, astral travel and prayer.
At the bottom line, how we get nitrogen in our diet from infancy onward has an enormous, though poorly recognised, influence on the psychic clarity and integrity of our consciousness. This is a message of empowerment for those who want to take a hand in their own and their family's personal self-development.
Materialists believe we are our bodies while those who believe in a higher spiritual reality view their bodies as vehicles for spiritual development. In either case there must be a chemistry and physics of consciousness, sensation and desire. This requires an extremely sensitive, fast reacting and versatile element at the particle level that can tap into memory so that every time it reacts it does so in the same way. This element is nitrogen, the basis for our DNA and the amino acid chemistry in our brains. Nitrogen is so sensitive to the potential of sharing electrons that it easily is the cleverest, best informed of all elements. As such it is the ultimate narcissist, triple-bonding with itself to form an inert gas.
Biological nitrogen fixation depends on seducing nitrogen away from its self-absorption, which requires nature to work cohesively and intelligently in an extremely fine way—seeing as how nitrogen is so sensitive. What is more, biological nitrogen fixation consumes considerable energy, making it dependent on photosynthesis and the optimum function of all other aspects of plant chemistry. Basically biological nitrogen fixation is dependent on catching carbon.
Industrial nitrogen fixation also relies on carbon. It uses hydrocarbons—usually methane—as a source of hydrogen to make ammonia. At the dawn of the 20th century methods involving extreme temperature and pressure were discovered for forcing nitrogen into chemical combinations.
This accomplishes by brute force what microbes manage with a tickle. It consumes methane at a rate of ten parts for every one part of ammonia produced. Neither energy efficient or ecologically friendly, most of this 'cheap' nitrogen is applied as urea, with the result that roughly half vaporizes as nitrous oxide, and nitrous oxide is a 300 fold more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
The real rub, however, is artificial nitrogen fertilisers consume as much as 30 times their weight in soil carbon to become biological. The result over time is the average carbon levels in most of the world's crop land is now below 1% when formerly it ranged around 3% and in better soils more.
Forests have long proven their capacity for natural nitrogen fixation and carbon capture. After all, carbon is the basis of life. The teeming diversity of forest ecologies rivals the world's great fish nurseries for robust vitality quickened by the intelligence of natural nitrogen chemistry, but forests build carbon onto the land rather than into it as do savannahs and prairies. When grasses photosynthesize roughly a third of the carbon they take out of the atmosphere is fed to the soil by way of root exudation.
This is how grass ecologies feed the soil microbiology that fixes nitrogen and elaborates nutrients.
Fire, arguably humanity's most formidable landscape management tool, can return the bulk of forest carbon to the atmosphere. However, firing grass lands only burns off the carbon on the surface, while what was built into the soil via root exudation and herbivore dung keeps on building. Hence rich virgin grass lands such as Africa's Serengeti, the Asian Steppes, the American Great Plains and Australia's Liverpool Plains have been generated by grass and periodic grazing.
While the above information may surprise or distress us, it should not distract from the social consequences associated with chemical nitrogen fertilisation. Lest we forget the role of nitrogen, with the use of raw nitrogen chemistry modern society marinates in a stew of instant gratification that increasingly is salted with personal ambition, illusions and petty jealousies. We see this in the rise of fast foods and the loss of intellectual, political and economic integrity. Long term diseases remain intractable while immediate concerns such as trauma are dealt with brilliantly. Science has become myopic and compartmentalized and its investigations divorced from meaningful context. Increasingly more and more is catalogued about less and less, and we race ahead at 200 km/hr with blinkers on in front of our eyes, only catching glimpses of the landscape out of the sides.
There is no denying the power and immediacy of our global culture. It is full on, but it is far from being whole or even wholesome. It is divorced from its roots in the household of nature. Time and again I hear one or another version of 'What's wrong with you? Are you nuts or something? Why garden and grow things to nourish your soil when you can just buy fertiliser and put it on? Besides, you idiot! You could just go to the supermarket.
What a waste of time and energy!'
Alas, there's good reason to prefer eating from ones garden when its nitrogen intelligence comes from the living, cohesive web of nature that surrounds us, sustains us and shares its beauty and humour with us. Consider the value of food whose protein chemistry derives from biological nitrogen fixation and digestion as a result of intriguing tastiness rather than hasty rapacity.
In days gone by we thought chemical fertilisers were cheap, and their stunning results encouraged us to wish away whatever hidden costs, no matter that earthworms disappeared simultaneously with the teeming food chain that supported them. Our soils got hard and sticky as magnesium stayed behind while nitrates leached away our silicon, calcium and trace minerals. Our soils fused when wet, shed water when it rained and we continued to get less for more.
It makes no sense to rely on soluble fertilisers when, world around, food production is and will increasingly be limited to water availability?
Water, along with carbon dioxide and nitrogen, comes from above—but we don't seem very wise in our use of nature's free gifts. Between hardening our soils and deepening our creeks we've managed to speed most of our rainfall away, making flash flooding and erosion a norm—and then what follows is drought. The use of salts on crop land has scalded soil microbes, burnt up soil carbon and made crops thirsty, watery and weak—which invites pests and diseases and further draws us into a dangerous dance with poisons. The results can no longer be ignored—progressive degradation of our best land along with a rise in degenerative disease. Our only sensible choice—the only choice left—is to learn to work wisely with what nature freely gives us.
Droughts and Floods
Even as our need for rain increases we have ignored the affinity hydrogen has for carbon. This is quite a strong affinity, as shown by the current theory that petroleum hydrocarbons were formed from carbon and hydrogen inclusions within the earth's mantle that subsequently cooked up in fracture zones.
Though weather is hard to predict, it is clear that carbon at the earth's surface attracts rainfall. When rain forests are cleared and their luxurious carbon quilt is removed rainfall decreases; and the same is true for agricultural land when surface vegetation is ploughed under and the land is left bare. Moreover, in the last 150 years somewhere around 70% of the world's carbon rich topsoils have been lost, and the indiscriminate use of nitrogen fertilisers has depleted the carbon in most of what remains—driving off carbon as carbon dioxide and making rainfall even more problematic.
About half of the carbon dioxide vented into the atmosphere since the industrial revolution has dissolved into the oceans and reacted with calcium or magnesium to form carbonates which settle to the ocean floor. The other half has added to an insulating blanket around the earth that seems to have raised global temperatures. Large expanses of permafrost in Russia and North America have thawed adding even more carbon to the atmosphere as methane.
The result is more evaporation in the equatorial oceans even though only a slight rise in surface ocean temperature has occurred, and this extra rising moisture and warmth increases the expansion of the troposphere near the equator.
At the equator the lower atmosphere—known as the troposphere—is roughly 15 km deep from sea level to its boundary at the tropopause, and it is laden with moisture whether or not there is cloud formation. As the troposphere cools at the tropopause it condenses, flowing down a gradient called a thermo cline toward the poles where the atmosphere is only about 7 km deep. Near each pole it funnels down a vortex resembling a large, standing tornado and circulates back toward the equator. Along the way back from the poles its moisture precipitates in winter storms. Typically these weather systems show a high degree of organization, dropping more moisture in carbon rich areas than in others.
Accelerating the thermo cline towards the poles ramps up world weather. Thus more and stronger winter storms are indications of global warming. There is now more moisture in the atmosphere than ever in historical times—unless we count the time of Noah—and it has to fall somewhere. By decimating forests and other vegetative cover while burning the carbon out of our soils with nitrogen fertilisers we ensure that more and more rain falls in fewer and fewer places. Thus with deforestation, desertification, mining, urbanization and current agricultural abuses we are seeing more of both droughts and floods.
If we want rain to permeate and cling to our soils we need to re-build soil carbon and nitrogen fixing capacity. Life in the soil is based on carbon, and life opens the soil up and makes it absorbent. Besides, if we want to slow down global warming, don't we want to sequester more sunlight as soil carbon complexes, especially when abundant soil carbon is fundamental to biological nitrogen fixation?
When plants take up amino acids from soil animal digestion of nitrogen fixing microbes their chlorophyll is simply assembled without nitrogen salts in the way. Then their protoplasm is dense and photosynthesis is efficient.
When plants take up nitrogen as chemical salts—ammonium, urea or nitrate—this waters down photosynthesis, no matter that it makes plants look lush and robust. If we want to cool the planet down, nitrogen fertilisers must be used sparingly and wisely so they do not deplete soil carbon and kill off the intelligence of the soil.
We cannot reverse the present situation overnight, but we gradually and deliberately must learn to give up nitrogen fertilisers, restore nitrogen fixation in our soils and put our current atmospheric surplus of CO2 and water to intelligent use in building life and complexity back into our environment, our soils and the food we as a society depend on.
Working with farmers I often call the process of restoring and improving natural nitrogen fixation and release 'getting nitrogen right'. When we get nitrogen right everything else seems to fall into place. It helps to use some savoury inputs like sea minerals, but the key to getting nitrogen right is self-sufficiency. Whenever we get nature to work cohesively and self-sufficiently we engage the interest of nitrogen.
One of the fundamental dictums of self-sufficiency is what we take away from our gardens or farms should not exceed ten percent of our total biomass production. The other 90% of what nature produces in our garden or farm ecology—our crop residues—must recycle back into the soil to sustain and enhance its life.
Taste a pellet of chemical nitrogen at your fertiliser store. You might be quick to spit it out, and its flavour should yield an insight into why chemical nitrogen shuts down biological nitrogen fixation. Nitrogen is engaged whenever we make things tasty. Digestion, the first embodiment of intelligence, is an animal activity that provides nitrogen as freshly digested amino acids for the things we grow. From protozoa, nature's most basic animals, on upward, intelligence is engaged in moving around, tasting and digesting the most appealing bits and excreting freshly digested amino acids.
It is not too inspiring that scientists of the past century tended to think of nitrogen fixation as something legumes did, ignoring that legumes were but hosts for certain microbes that fixed nitrogen. Strangely enough, no one seemed to ask how legumes made themselves such beloved hosts, and it went ignored that legumes draw oxygen into the soil and elaborate calcium and other minerals in order to feed nitrogen fixation.
Scientists in ag colleges assumed the amount of legume nitrogen fixed could be measured by assaying legume nodules and if no nodulation occurred no nitrogen was fixed. Since grasses did not nodulate it was assumed they must not be involved with nitrogen fixation no matter that they supply much more carbon to soil microbial life than legumes.
Nevertheless, by 1975 microbiologists studying soils independent of the ag colleges had identified hundreds and hundreds of different strains of microbes that free fix nitrogen in the soil given enough sugar and calcium.
Even as hundreds and thousands of nitrogen fixing species were identified and catalogued—most having nothing to do with nodulation—agricultural schools and researchers were captive to the false doctrine that chemical nitrogen fertilisers were the energy efficient way to feed the world. Funded by industry, the ag colleges taught it made no difference what form of nitrogen was applied and that chemical nitrogen was equivalent to biological nitrogen. They failed to mention that nitrogen fertilisers shut nitrogen fixing microbes down with what amounted to their own waste, and they studiously avoided the fact that many grasses host nitrogen fixing microbes as endophytes living within the tissues of their leaves and stems.
This was agricultural science at its worst, wearing blinkers in the service of industrial profits while supporting the 'wisdom' to supply artificial nitrogen to virtually every agricultural crop. This approach sold an enormous amount of nitrogen, but how much rorting in the name of science can growers and consumers afford?
We have to learn nature's delicate mechanisms for giving crops the biochemistry they need to make things tasty. In the past nature set this up with enormous patience. Now, to speed things along, we need to assist nature in restoring arable land. What follows are helpful hints for what we can do.
Vermiwash and Vermicompost
Also known as earthworm leachate, home made vermiwash is most valuable as a food source for the beneficial microbes that activate our soil reserves and our inputs.
To make vermiwash, set up covered earthworm compost tanks with a good mix of brown/tough and green/soft wastes along with soil and any available manures, keeping in mind that from amoebas to zebras, everything that digests excretes. It is especially important to get as much compostable material as possible from one's own locality so nature works as an intelligent, cohesive whole to draw in nitrogen from its surroundings. For the home gardener this may mean their own shredded leaves, lawn clippings and household kitchen wastes fortified with a few seasonings such as rock powders, bone meal, ashes, sea minerals and, of course, earthworms. In every case thoroughly mix in, perhaps as a slurry, somewhere around 10% good soil that contains clay. Think of your compost tank as a gigantic heap of food for the ideal mix of microbes to make your soil thrive by elaborating minerals and intelligently engaging nitrogen. To culture what makes your
soil thrive, use your soil in the mix.
For gardens and market gardens this may mean collecting old bathtubs, caulking screens in the drains and plumbing them at a slight slant on blocks or on the edge of a low wall so that light watering produces a rich, brown leachate that drips into buckets placed under the drains. Keep in mind the importance of having a clay substrate—preferably living clay/humus rather than refined clay like Bentonite. The resulting vermiwash will be a liquid fulvic/humic concentrate that easily combines with other inputs such as the potassium silicate recipe that follows in Part Two of this article.
Since different plants accumulate varying trace elements, the end product can be engineered to emphasize sulphur, zinc, phosphorous, copper, iron, etc. by using local weeds—an art form to experiment with.
Fulvic and humic acids are formed when organic materials like cellulose are broken down into simple sugars and built back up into fulvic and clay/humus complexes. Fulvic acids are carbon complexes with low enough molecular weight that bacteria can use their amino acids and chelated minerals. As for humic acids, symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi and actinomycetes store surplus amino acids and mineral nutrients in stable, high molecular weight carbon compounds which aren't available to most bacteria and which don't reveal their contents on soluble soil tests. This is nature's wisdom at work, as these crop symbiotes are storing future food supplies in the soil like bees store honey in the hive.
Most growers have been taught to believe all nutrients should be soluble, but nature knows better. Ideally nutrients should be insoluble but available. Otherwise they tend to be lost with the result that biological nitrogen fixation is impaired.
Horses for Courses
For more emphasis on composts with higher levels of available nutrients, use more manure and straw and less clay or rock powder, as this will favour bacteria and protozoa and the small, red earthworms found in most manure piles. Then the vermiwash will be rich in the lower molecular weight fulvic compounds which are more accessible. On the other hand, a humate rich leachate characteristic of larger earthworms requires a more actinomycete/fungal dominated mix made from woody materials, siliceous rock powders and a higher percentage of clay. Moderate doses of rock phosphate and other rock powders—for example, crushed basalt or granite—can be very helpful as these are rich in boron, silica, calcium, phosphorous, potassium and other trace minerals. Be sure to include enough grit for earthworm appetites, as earthworms have no teeth. Instead, like chickens, they have gizzards to grind their food. And it also helps to include mineral rich wood waste like shredded bark. This tends to yield more fungal dominance and more nutrient dense stable clay/humus complexes.
Cover the earthworm tank(s), with something rich in carbon, such as plywood, which will attract life force but shed rain. Water each tank, perhaps with a litre or two of water each day, so the vermiwash drains out and is caught.
Fully digested material, perhaps with earthworms, can be removed for other uses such as potting nursery plants or kicking off new tanks. A mix of new raw materials should be added regularly to keep the process ticking over. The resulting vermiwash can be used by itself or combined with other inputs. Ideally biodynamic preparations should be included, perhaps as the versatile, easily applied biodynamic pre-mix.
Consciousness & Catching Carbon. Homemade Fertilizer. Part II
By Hugh Lovel.
“Prediction is difficult, especially the future.” —Niels Bohr
Part One of this two part series presented the premise that the nitrogen chemistry of our DNA and particularly our nervous system lies at the basis of awareness, sensation and desire. Furthermore, the quality of dietary nitrogen is enormously influential for our consciousness. Providing nitrogen of sufficient quality to sustain and especially to elevate our consciousness requires plants catching carbon in sufficient abundance to feed nitrogen fixing microbes so that complex aminos rather than crude nitrogen salts form the basis of our diet. In brief dietary support for raising consciousness depends on catching carbon.
Well integrated, high energy agricultural ecosystems provide plants nitrogen in complex forms that support clarity, refinement and integrity. This in turn supports animal and human telepathy, clairvoyance and telekinesis. Establishing such soil, plant and animal ecosystems requires fine tuning fertility, soil balance and cropping to catch sufficient carbon for nitrogen fixation. And, we know we are on the right track when the food we grow develops an inspiring savouriness.
Artificial fertilisers, synthetic nitrogen and monocropping do the opposite, depleting soil carbon to feed a crude, selfish consciousness that wastes valuable resources and fails to consider the greater good. Food so grown leaves a lot to be desired in terms of taste and smell.
Using insights into how plants grow along with fertilisers we can make at home and on self-sufficient, diversified farms we can get on the right track. Then our noses and tongues will help us fine tune getting nitrogen right.
At present we cannot rely on the food in supermarkets, hotels and restaurants for dietary nitrogen that improves psychic clarity and integrity of consciousness. For the most part we have to grow our own or find growers who know what to do. Of course, in an uncertain world where food distribution is increasingly subject to interruption and contamination, growing our own food or supporting those in our local community who do may be the our best option anyway.
To get nitrogen right in our home gardens and local farms we can make such liquid fertility boosters as mentioned in Part One—Vermiwash derived from earthworm compost and Potassium Silicate Watering Solution, which can feed and strengthen the soil life surrounding plant roots so that it delivers complex nitrogen.
From this simple beginning we can progress to better and better understanding of how plants grow so they wake us up with their quality. This takes fine tuning, and not all soils or crops need the same things nor are all homemade fertilisers appropriate or needed in the same amounts.
Why Be Concerned?
Aside from how actively supporting our own food ecology would ground our environmental awareness and attune our respect for nature as a whole, there is the broader issue of realizing our human potential. As a result of self-awareness, humans strive to become more than what they are. Even though materialism assumes that our existence just happened, there is this undeniable striving. As for those who believe in a higher reality, they knowingly seek inspiration, enlightenment and greater realization of who and what they are and can be. How to find a path toward more highly informed, integrated and energised existence?
Walking our talk in the world of substance requires abundant energy. When it comes to our force of personality or strength of character—that which we call guts—where does this come from if not the food we eat and the air we breathe, united by the guidance of our souls? From the viewpoint of materialism such force can only come from things—including warmth and light—that we take in as nourishment to our bodies. On the other hand, those who believe they incarnate from higher realms must ask themselves what the realm of substance offers.
With this in mind, let us explore the premise that the amino acid chemistry of nitrogen provides the basis not only for genetic memory, as with DNA, but also for awareness, sensation, desire and intelligence. Building a bridge from thought to action depends on our dietary nitrogen and its versatile interaction with the entire spectrum of elements between the opposite poles of silica and lime.
Lime, Silica and Body Chemistry
On the one hand the lime polarity is associated with muscles, bones, cell nuclei and DNA—where DNA’s four amino acids are all ring compounds. On the other hand, the silica polarity is associated with skin, hair, nails, transport vessels and cell walls where the three sulphur containing amino acids are found. Studies using photo multiplier techniques show the amino acids at this silica polarity emit and absorb photons at the rate of billions per second in a process called biophotonic luminescence. It is thought that this siliceous luminescence is what unites our cells and coordinates their activity so that our bodies behave as a single organism despite the wide variation between cells and their genetic expressions.
Looking at bodily organisation as a dynamic interplay of photons, it seems we are luminous beings co-ordinating our various silica, nitrogen and lime activities via biophotonic luminescence. However, from the viewpoint of substance rather than process we are carbon based life forms filled largely with water which contains a smattering of silica, nitrogen, lime and trace elements.
The Biochemical Sequence
A study of plants and their life processes reveals a hierarchy of what must function well enough for the next thing and the next thing to work properly. When we improve such things as soil fertility the first elements in this hierarchy must be addressed before other issues later in the chain can be improved.
First above all, sulphur is the catalyst for life processes to connect with the chemistry of carbon. It should be no surprise that our sulphur containing amino acids are found in our cell walls, connective tissues and transport vessels where amorphous fluid silica works via biophotonic luminescence with nitrogen, carbon and water.
Once life processes join up with carbon, the biochemical sequence starts with boron stirring up crystal lattice silicon to create fluidity. Only a trace of boron is needed to create sap pressure sufficient to transport nutrients such as calcium and amino acids from the soil foodweb to the plant sites where growth occurs.
And since growth requires energy, the plant’s first priority is photosynthesis where magnesium comes into play in the formation of chlorophyll and phosphorus transfers the energy captured into making sugars out of carbon dioxide and water (CO2 and H2O). These sugars and higher by-products travel via the siliceous transport and containment system to wherever potassium, the electrolyte messenger, sends them.
Some fertilisers apply in nearly all cases, while others should be used only as needed. In working out prescriptions based on soil tests, knowing this biochemical sequence helps us efficiently address shortages and imbalances in soils so we can grow refined, complex, value packed food.
Sulphur comes first as the catalyst for life chemistry. Depending on time and place, sulphur falls freely with the rain, but that does not necessarily mean that soils and plants won’t be hungry for it. Sulphur engages virtually every other element and somewhere in the vicinity of 50 parts per million (ppm) of soluble sulphur is desirable on soil tests.
Small amounts of sulphur are present in humates and vermiwash, and applying these tends to assure sulphur is biologically available. But if soil tests indicate soluble sulphur is inadequate it is a good idea to apply it as gypsum (aka calcium sulphate, plaster).
Especially in high organic matter soils, sulphur may be present at high levels in total tests and still not be especially soluble. Then what needs boosting is the sulphur process as it is present but inactive. The herbal biodynamic preparations, particularly the yarrow remedy, emphasize this sulphur process, and homoeopathic applications impart the processes associated with the substances rather than the substances themselves.
As sulphur works on the margins of leaves, it works more strongly in plants with deeply incised and highly ramified leaves. Herbs with finely cut leaves—such as certain legumes, thistles and umbellifers—concentrate and organize sulphur. These plants can be grown and harvested for mulch or composted for a sulphur rich vermiwash to improve the sulphur process where needed.
Sulphur, along with potassium, silicon and zinc as co-factors, prepares the way for life to launch its interplay with substance at the edges and boundaries where organization arises. The more extensive and interactive these boundaries are the more abundantly they give rise to life out of chaos—as boundaries are where syntropy and entropy meet. Thus yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a plant with an exceptionally strong sulphur process.
Bone Meal or Bone Ash
While calcium is of huge importance and occurs right after silicon in the biochemical sequence, it would be inappropriate to add it to optimum levels only to find there was no room for rock phosphate (calcium phosphate) or gypsum. Thus in fine tuning fertility the next thing to look at is phosphorous, as we know natural phosphorous inputs will also contain lime and silica.
As mentioned earlier, phosphorous is important for energy storage and release. It provides the energy bridge between silicon and calcium and is the transfer element for storing energy in the leaves as well as releasing energy from root exudates. Since nitrogen fixation heads the list of energy intensive processes in the soil, it is small wonder that many nitrogen fixing soil microbes also solubilize phosphorous to assure adequate energy release from root exudates in support of nitrogen fixation.
Since nitrogen requires a lot of energy to provide the basis of consciousness and motivation, the human brain is rich in phosphorous. This allows the brain to produce silicic acid in extremely fine dilution and direct it down nerve fibres to tense muscles. Then calcium and magnesium, along with the electrolytes potassium and sodium, are essential for the muscles to relax again, and thus phosphorous must be abundant in muscles for the release of muscular energy. Usually phosphorous is the missing link when muscles seize and cannot relax, and the same biodynamic preparation herb—valerian—is used for switching on the phosphorous process in the soil as well as for relieving cramps and muscle spasms in herbal medicine.
The occurrence of a red wine colour in petioles and leaf tips is an indication of insufficient available phosphorous, but seeing this symptom does not tell us how much P is actually in the soil or what should happen to make it available if it is present—hence the need for total tests in soil diagnosis.
Particularly on pastures where humification is tying up soluble phosphorous, soluble tests may only show a few ppm while an aqua regia (total) digest may reveal a thousand ppm or more. Although many soil organisms can release insoluble phosphates, plants may need to be sufficiently primed with soluble phosphorous to release enough bound energy to fuel microbial release of more phosphorous from reserves.
Of the major nutrients, phosphorous best shows the need for both soluble and total tests to see what is actually there. If phosphorous is plentiful in soil reserves we only need to prime the pump with a small amount of soluble phosphorous along with a food source such as vermiwash and/or molasses—and copper, zinc and manganese as co-factors—in order to start unlocking the reserves. Only when phosphorous is low in the total test should it be added in bulk, and once it is working robustly biological nitrogen fixation and potassium release tends to function smoothly.
Here is where either bone meal or home made bone ash extract can provide sufficient soluble phosphorous along with its co-factors to prime the pump so that phosphorous reserves are released. Bone meal may be available from large animal processors who steam clean bones and grind them up to sell as a dry product. Otherwise fresh bones from local abattoirs or eateries along with the occasional road kill can be cleaned up in the compost pile and then burned and crushed as bone ash.
Waste bones, including heads, may be available in quantities from abattoirs or processing facilities, and it may be more economical on a large scale to grind them up with a stump grinder or wood chipper and incorporate them into compost windrows instead of burning them. Sometimes knackers process carcasses by cooking the meat off them and then processing the bones.
Whatever the fashion bones are obtained it is a good idea to clean the flesh off them prior to burning to avoid waste and objectionable odours. Verily, bones should never be wasted, and phosphorous fertiliser production may require burning them.
Gardeners may find they can process left over bones through their wood heaters. In general, burned bones may come from almost any source, and some will burn more easily than others. Burnt bones can be crushed into powder and extracted with vinegar or other organic acids using moderate heat to yield soluble phosphates for liquid applications. If a little elemental sulphur is also needed, the vinegar stage is a good place to add small amounts as a percentage of the total dry matter.
This sort of crude phosphoric extract is useful diluted and combined with the vermiwash along with a homeopathic dose of biodynamic valerian preparation to jump start the phosphorous process. Residues from bone ash extraction can be added to composts up to about 8 or 10% of the total raw materials, or they can be dried and scattered thinly under fruit trees and flowering shrubs.
Liquid Digest Fish
This deserves mention if fish frames, scales and related wastes are available. Grinding up fish wastes and letting them ferment in water can yield an end product with an a very good balance between lime, silica and phosphorous along with enough nitrogen to jump start nitrogen fixation in the soil. However, this tends to be quite smelly in the early stages of digestion and needs some Effective Microbe (EM) culture to stabilize its nitrogen chemistry. Nevertheless well digested fish waste can supply all the ingredients needed for nitrogen fixation.
Humified Compost and Compost Extract
Misunderstandings about compost are rife as many imagine that compost is simply broken down organic matter that is ready to be taken up by plants. All too often composters seek to simply digest a mix of protein rich wastes, wood wastes, plant matter and manures with little or no concern for producing an end product that is insoluble but available. In fact, they may test the end product for soluble N, P and K using the assumption that higher soluble analysis is better. Unfortunately such NPK rich composts feed rampant bacterial flushes that grow better weeds than crops and pollute streams and groundwater with run off and leaching. If soluble N is high these products often reek of ammonia and other volatile amines.
In nature composting tends to be far wiser where materials are more scattered and have good contact with soil. Beneficial soil microbes gather up loose nutrients and tuck them away in high molecular weight clay/humus complexes like bees gather nectar and store honey. Actinomycetes and mycorrhizal fungi in particular store loose nutrients this way so they only become available to newly planted crops when root emergence and root exudation occur.
Often what we think of as weeds are nature’s back-up team to sop up loose nutrients when humification has not occurred. We can observe this loose nutrient condition in the first three or four weeks after ploughing down a green manure crop. Initially the bacterial breakdown of vegetation runs rampant, nutrients are released and if we plant before the humus builders take over we get a field of weeds that out competes whatever we plant.
In composting, especially in large piles or windrows, the initial breakdown phase runs rampant producing a lot of heat along with an abundance of simple sugars, amino acids and soluble salts. However, this sets the stage for organisms which clean up this heady brew, toning down the nutrients to non-toxic levels and quelling bacterial activity while storing nutrients in large organic clay/humus complexes that tie up amino acids and minerals in an insoluble but available state. It is these large, stable compounds—generally available to crop beneficial microbes—which provide the most beneficial forms of boron, silicon, calcium, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc and etc.
Most soils have remnants of these beneficial microbes that can be awakened using a humified food source—which is what compost should aim to be. It doesn’t take much to nurse theses beneficial remnants back, and awakening them primes the pump for further humus formation as root exudates feed more and more carbon into the soil. At some point re-enlivened soils become self-fertile and self sustaining with diversified cropping and abundant carbon capture.
Large Scale Humic and Fulvic Extracts
In the near term liquid extracts of humified composts can be of especial benefit to boost this recovery when used as liquid injects on top of seed at planting. Often in broadacre and pasture renovation, liquid inject formulas based on compost extracts can be the most economical way of feeding this all-important microbial population where it does the most good—on new roots as they emerge from seed. In garden and small farm applications this can be accomplished with vermiwash, and such liquid formulas can also be sprayed on stunted areas in pasture and broadacre paddocks.
Sometimes when we are dealing with grazing or broadacre where the scale is too large to address with on-farm composting it can be useful in the short term to buy humates in the form of activated brown coal solids or liquid humic and fulvic extracts. In general these inputs are excellent in rebuilding soil microbial life so the soils become self-sustaining. While these are a compromise with self-sufficiency they can be especially helpful when they incorporate necessary nutrients as determined by a combination of soluble and total soil tests. In this fashion progress toward self-sufficiency can be launched. After all, inputs that get us off the treadmill of future inputs are what we are looking for, no matter the scale of our operations.
Sea Minerals and ORMEs
Unless one lives on or near the ocean sea minerals may have to be bought rather than produced. Nevertheless they got to the sea by leaching from the land.
Only fully evaporated (aka macrobiotic) sea salt contains the fully array of minerals in sea water, as supermarket buyers overwhelmingly prefer free running salt. Thus the sodium chloride produced by evaporation of sea water, is all that is marketed, leaving behind a pot liquor that is dense and almost oily. These sea minerals are a waste product that usually can be obtained in bulk at reasonable prices. At rates from 1 to 5 litres per hectare per year, this bounty of the sea should never be wasted as it contains a well-balanced blend containing every element in the periodic table. Moreover, it contains ORMEs.
Orbitally Rearranged Mono-atomic Elements (ORMEs) occur when large numbers of atoms of certain elements align their electron orbitals so they resonate in unison as though they were single atoms. When this occurs they become superconductors and virtually weightless as well as being difficult to detect. Atomic physics has only begun to shed light on this ancient mystery in the last couple of decades even though allusions to these substances and their seemingly magical properties can be traced back to the priesthoods of ancient Egypt and Suma.
It is all too evident that many of the puzzling features of plants and animals clearly mimic the quantum behaviours of single atoms even though they are thought to involve huge collections of molecules. For example, how can photons impact a concentration of a billion or more chlorophyll molecules in a leaf and have virtually ALL of the photons transfer their energy into making sugar. Seemingly they must act in complete unison to achieve such near total efficiency. Also, how can a solution of zinc sulphate be detected at the tip of a very tall tree almost the instant it is poured on the soil at the tree’s roots?
Living organisms commonly exhibit behaviour at the gross level that was once thought possible only at the level of atomic particles. If large collections of atoms were to re-arrange their electrons so they all resonated in perfect alignment—as evidence suggests—then theoretically they can behave as single atoms no matter how many atoms they once were individually.
We see this sort of mono atomic behaviour with helium when we chill it close enough to absolute zero that all the electrons simultaneously share the same base state, but recent research indicates a similar phenomenon can occur with elements as complex as gold, platinum and iridium. Furthermore there are indications that sea water is ORME rich and ORME extracts can be obtained by raising the pH of sea water to 10.78 using sodium or potassium hydroxide. This results in a heavy, white precipitate which can be separated from the original solution and used in agriculture with results that often seem startling, especially with leguminous crops such as lucerne and soybeans. Small quantities of ORMEs, on the order of 1 L/Hectare, are recommended per application with the understanding that this is something experimental that need not be difficult or expensive.
Calcium Nitrate and Molasses
Lastly, here is another formula that requires buying ingredients in the short term to achieve longer term goals. This is useful when planting in areas where tall, woody annual weeds, such as thistles, amaranths, ambrosias, etc. sprout prolifically. These weeds indicate soil imbalances of too much soluble potassium as compared to the available calcium. Shifting the equilibrium to favour calcium encourages clovers and other calcium and protein rich weeds such as daisies or nettles to take the place of the thistles and amaranths. This can be done when sowing—or even after weed emergence if conditions are dry—by boom spraying 2-5 kg of calcium nitrate along with 5-10 litres of molasses dissolved in 400 litres of water per hectare. A hectare is 10,000 square metres, so calculate your area and adjust the recipe accordingly. This amounts to a homeopathic dosage of approximately 3x potency, as this is barely enough calcium nitrate to flick a stick at. Yet the dynamic tends to shift beautifully and shut down the weeds.
Many organic certification programs do not allow the use of calcium nitrate, and at the conventional rates of 75 to 250 kg/ha this extremely salty fertiliser is far too harsh. However, most organic programs allow a wide variety of trace minerals to be added at considerable dilution in their soluble salt forms as long as soil and leaf tests indicate they are deficient, and it could be argued that this very dilute dosage falls safely within that range. Such light dilution will not harm the soil biology and merely adjusts the calcium/potassium balance so favourable species are encouraged and undesirable ones are discouraged.
Where We Stand
Lest we forget, modern society is fundamentally agrarian. Without agriculture modern society could not exist. Those things that are amiss in our culture, such as crime, disease and environmental destruction, have their roots in agricultural practices that stem from a belief in conflict rather than a cooperative view of nature—as though we had to wrest a living from the soil in some sort of a war with weather, pests, weeds, diseases and faltering fertility. The notion that killing solves our problems is illustrated by the Biblical story of Cain and Abel, and it is just as seductive and unwise today as ever. The wisdom of the ages teaches understanding as the path to forgiveness and forgiveness as the path to perfection.
The emergence of Chaos Theory and the discovery of the Butterfly Effect in the latter part of the 20th century illustrate that even the tiniest of changes in a dynamic system, such as human society, can have profound consequences downstream. Among others, these two scientific advances dispensed with the Kant/La Place cosmology, whose bleak outlook assumed that only the evidence of our senses was real and the course of the universe once and for all was pre-determined.
As humans our awareness of our own awareness suggests we have the opportunity to become more than what we are. In short, we have free choice and our choices matter—which is something to keep in mind whilst being, doing, having and knowing higher consciousness.
Recipe for Potassium Silicate Watering Solution
- Burn a large quantity of high silica plant matter and collect the ash. Any silica rich plant material will do. Rice hulls (not the bran) are brilliant and even bamboo ash works. Mill ash from burning sugar cane bagasse is available at some sugar mills at industrial prices and is rich in both potassium and silica.
- In a 20 litre pot simmer 2 or 3 kilos of high silica ash with half a cup of solubor or boric acid in 15 litres of water while stirring for at least 30 minutes, If high quality ash is hard to obtain it may help to add a kilo of diatomaceous earth. Too much boron can cause burning in plants, so take care measuring.
- After step two, allow the mixture to cool enough to safely strain and filter the lye-like solution.
- While still warm, add a heaping tablespoon of biodynamic horn clay and potentize homoeopathically for at least three minutes.
- Combine potassium silicate with vermiwash at a rate of 250 mls of potassium silicate per litre of vermiwash. Dilute this concentrate at least half and half with water (more is better) and apply to the soil in garden, orchard or vineyard as needed.
- This formula can be overdone, so limit applications to a litre of combined solution per fortnight per plant with pumpkins, squash, sweet corn, cucumbers, capsicums, okra or anything with a tendency to get lush, weak, bug bitten or diseased. For tomatoes, which can be especially lush, the proportion of potassium silicate to vermiwash can be doubled or even quadrupled. Keep in mind these ingredients are all naturally occurring except solubor or boric acid, which are permissible in organic certification programs where boron deficiency is documented.
- Residual ash should be recycled via compost/vermiwash production or incorporated into solid fertiliser blends such as humified composts and scattered on grain, pasture or hay land.
Notes: Australian recipes use the dried foliage of Australian she oaks or bull oaks, while In North America and Europe horsetail herb is preferred.
Generally potassium silicate/boron solution is watered in. When using foliars, keep in mind that as a foliar boron must get to the roots to produce sap pressure.
Boron and silicon have long been the least understood essentials in modern agriculture. Silicon has been ignored while everything that follows starting with calcium depends on it. Use boron/potassium silicate with vermiwash as a mainstay in almost any fertility program.
Boron and silica usually enter plants via actinomycetes and mycorrhizal fungi. These silica polarity organisms are delicate and easily damaged by salty NPK fertilisers. However, vermiwash and potassium silicate watering solution feed and strengthen these microbial symbiotes, which greatly increases nutrient uptake of boron, silicon, calcium, amino acid nitrogen and zinc.
The commonest deficiency in both agriculture and human nutrition is silica, which makes plants vulnerable to diseases, weeds and pests. Potassium Silicate Watering Solution ensures strong cell walls and transport vessels so plants are efficient and resilient. Silica also has a lot to do with photosynthesis, so this assures efficient photosynthesis and protoplasmic density while making plants tastier. Taste and the digestive/nutritive processes related to it play a central role in the nitrogen cycle. Potassium Silicate Watering Solution can be a big help with engaging nitrogen.
Vermiwash and Vermicompost
Also known as earthworm leachate, homemade vermiwash is most valuable as a food source for the beneficial microbes that activate our soil reserves and our various other inputs.
- Collect old bathtubs or similar tanks. Caulk screens in the drains and plumb them at a slight slant on blocks or on the edge of a low wall so that light watering drips into buckets placed under the drains.
- Set up these earthworm compost tanks with a mix of green/soft and brown/tough wastes along with 10% soil containing clay. Include any available manures, keeping in mind that from zebras to amoebas, everything that digests excretes. Include grit for earthworms, as they have no teeth. Instead they have gizzards to grind their food.
- Get as much compostable material as possible from one’s own locality to help nature work in an intelligent, co-ordinated way in regard to the nitrogen in the environment. Home gardeners may use shredded leaves, lawn clippings, kitchen wastes along with a few seasonings such as rock powders, bone meal, ashes, kelp if available, sea minerals and earthworms.
- Since different plants accumulate varying trace elements, vermiwash can be engineered to meet needs such as sulphur, zinc, phosphorous, copper, iron, etc. by using local weeds.
- To culture the microbes that can make your soil thrive, use your soil.
- To emphasize available nutrients use more manure and less clay or rock powder. This favours bacteria, protozoa and the small earthworms found in manure piles. This makes vermiwash rich in low molecular weight fulvic compounds which are more accessible.
- To emphasize insoluble but gradually available nutrients use more woody material such as shredded bark for an actinomycete, mycorrhizal humusy leachate characteristic of large earthworms. Increase the proportion of rock phosphate, clay and siliceous rock powders such as crushed basalt or granite
- Cover with a carbon rich lid that will attract life force but shed rain.
- Water with a litre or two of water each day to get the vermiwash.
- Fully digested material, perhaps with earthworms, can be removed for other uses such as potting plants or kicking off new tanks.
- Ideally biodynamic preparations should be included, perhaps as the versatile, easily applied biodynamic pre-mix.
 Epigenetics is the study of the influences of the surroundings on how each cell’s genes are expressed.
 Chemists call carbon chemistry ‘organic’ chemistry even when this includes poisons. Yet, life as we know it is carbon based. Life processes require catalysts for reactions to occur. Typically heat and pressure make carbon, hydrogen and oxygen react, but sulphur is the key to carbon reactions where life processes are involved.
 This biochemical sequence of sulphur, boron, silicon, calcium, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorous, carbon and potassium is the basis of plant growth.
 Syntropy is where available energy accumulates instead of dispersing as occurs with entropy. For more than a century it was fashionable to believe that all heat driven systems invariably ran down. Entropy was enshrined in what was called ‘The Second Law of Thermodynamics’. However, living organisms quite obviously both accumulate and disperse available energy. Thus they concentrate a stream of order on themselves and grow, even while running down. Only at death does entropy rule.
 At 90% evaporation most of the sodium chloride precipitates and the remaining pot liquor contains all the other elements in solution in the sea. Many of the functions of these elements are unknown, even though such elements as fluorine and caesium, which are abundant in sea water, are promising subjects for research. This pot liquor is referred to as sea minerals. Although beneficial results from use of sea minerals in agriculture are often easily seen, the mechanisms at work are too complex to be clear.
 A large amount of information on this subject can be found by googling ORMEs and Barry Carter.
How Much Moisture and Heat Does a Compost Heap Need?
In a high rainfall season it is not necessary to water the compost heap as regularly as in a dry season. Moisture content should be about 50%. Experimenting with compost you soon develop a gut feeling to determine if it is to wet or to dry. If you squeeze the material and water drips out, it to wet. If you make a ball in your hand toss it up in the air and the material flies in all directions it’s too dry. You can also determine moisture content by weighing a small amount, drying it in a microwave oven and weighing it again. The windrow method requires more water and can use up 300 to 500 litters per m2 for the first 3 weeks.
If you have the right mixture, the microbes will start multiplying and digest the material. The reproductive heat of the microbes causes the temperature of your compost to rise and could rise up to 70 degrees Celsius. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing steam rise from your compost heap on a cold winters day or digging a hole in the heap and feeling that it’s warm. If you heap does not heat up, bring in some explosive material that are really high in Nitrogen like chicken manure.
Why You Should Be Using Compost On Your Farm
Here are sixteen reasons you should be using good quality compost on your farm.
Good quality compost can help you on your farm in the following ways:
1. It can restore soil fertility and soil life to unfertile, dead soils. A wide range of fungi and bacteria grows within compost. Its nature’s way to restore soil fertility. Harness biological energy in fungi and bacteria to do the work for you by feeding the plant.
2. It adds organic matter. Using compost adds to organic matter in the soil, which increases the amount of microbes present. This fascilitates further breakdown of the organic matter. It feeds other soil life present in the soil.
3. Compost is a great way to increase Potassium and Phosphate levels.
4. It restores micronutrients in your soil. In areas in Europe where compost have been used for hundreds of years, there is virtually no deficiency of micronutrients.
5. The temperature build-up in compost destroys weed seeds in organic matter.
6. Compost contains Humic and Fulvic acids
7. In the long term compost will add to the build up of humus levels in the soil.
8. Molecular chelating takes place in which mineral complexes are formed with biochemical molecules (e.g. sugars or amino acids).
9. Improve the soil’s water holding capacity
10. Minerals like lime and rock phosphate can be added to compost acid and microbes will solubilize the material faster
11. Nutrients and fertilizer can be added to compost to ensure a slow release of nutrients when the plant needs it. Some chemical fertilizers can be harmful to biology in compost in the short term, some biological life forms die off but other multiplies again. Start of with small amounts and increase gradually. Monitor biology in compost.
12. Increase in soil life due to compost will assist in the break down of minerals in the soil, for easier absorption.
13. Improve soil structure. Soil will become softer, more workable and plant roots will have less resistance.
14. A good composting process will get rid of unwanted pathogenic micro-organisms and toxic compounds.
15. Compost has 10 times the value of manure.
16. The benefits of compost are still being researched. There seem to be more unidentified benefits that researchers are still trying to uncover.
composting with the pros:
You ALWAYS Reap what you Sow...
02-27-2013, 06:01 PM #10
catchup update up to date as of: 02 27 2013
You ALWAYS Reap what you Sow...