A number of people have requested information on how to produce high brix food and how to increase the brix of the pastures.
Producing high brix food is not achieved overnight. It takes three to eight years to get the nutrients balanced in the soil so that high brix food can be produced. When you first get your refractometer and start testing your vegetables it is discouraging discovering how poor they are. However, it becomes exciting as you see the improvements in the brix reading, taste how much better high brix food is, and you know you can’t buy this quality of food in the stores.
The best way to know what minerals should be added to your soil is to do a soil test. It needs to be a weak acid LaMotte soil test such as is done by International Ag labs, not the usual strong acid soil tests performed by most labs.
The first year, in the fall of the year, plow the soil and apply soft rock phosphate at the rate of 100 pounds per thousand square feet or 10 pounds per 100 square feet. After applying the soft rock phosphate, apply high calcium lime at the same rate. Do not use dolomite or limestone with more than 5% magnesium. Magnesium releases nitrogen into the air and messes up the soil balance. We get lime from Frederick Farmers Coop in Frederick. It is called Thomasville lime (Old Castle) for $3.05 for 50lbs. Soft rock phosphate is available from Lancaster Ag for $11 for a 50lb bag. They will ship UPS. Lancaster Ag also has garden blends to help gardeners produce high brix food.
Producing nutrient dense, high brix food is more involved than just putting down soft rock phosphate and limestone.
There are also foliar sprays that you can apply to increase the brix. Our tomatoes, potatoes, squash, and cucumbers were low brix and I could not find a foliar spray that raised the brix. I remembered that in the Bible it referred to the land of Canaan as a land flowing with milk and honey. I tried two cups of raw milk and a little honey per gallon of water. It raised the brix of the leaves of the plants from 7 brix to 10 brix. It raised the brix of the clover in the pasture about 5 brix.
A foliar spray that we used on the green beans and the sweet corn that raised the brix and produced 28 brix sweet corn was:
6tbsp molasses – we used feed grade
8oz. cola soda – a source of phosphoric acid
1tsp Hydrated lime
3tbsp liquid fish
1tbsp seaweed powder
14tbsp apple cider vinegar
If you want more information, I encourage you to check out the websites listed below. I also recommend reading the book Nourishment Home Grown by Dr. A.F. Beddoe. Refractometers that test the brix reading are available inexpensively on eBay. Get one that reads in the 0 to 32% range.
Weston A Price Foundation – High Brix farming and gardening
Soil tests and articles – International Ag Labs
Supplier – Lancaster Ag, Lancaster, PA
High Brix Gardens
Brix Book and articles
Test equipment and articles
Check out their user guides – plant sap analysis and compost guides
If you are a farmer, we highly recommend the Carey Reams seminars that Pike Agri has. They are well worth the cost. They take you to levels of agriculture that you did not think possible, such as how to produce alfalfa that is 28% protein, grows 12 to 17 feet tall and produces 20 to 30 tons per acre! Carey Reams was hired by the nation of Israel, when they first became a nation, to show them how to turn the desert into highly productive farmland.