Here are some suggestions for getting started on the high brix path. I'm going to post the link and text of a suggested garden amendments program below the intro.
"The ultimate goal is to be as self-sustaining as possible with limited outside inputs. "
The first step in the transition process is to establish the existing mineral levels and ratios of your soil by testing. The most comprehensive results are obtained when two distinct types of soil tests are used. The first soil test is the standard Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) which provides information as to how much of each nutrient is present in the soil. This test can be compared to a savings account.... how much total money do I have to work with? The second test is a LaMotte test, a water-soluble (soil solution soluble) test using a modified LaMotte extraction which shows how much of each nutrient is available to the crop. This can be compared to a checking account.... how much money do I have to work with today?
Each of these tests provides distinct and different information about your field. The purpose of these tests is to determine which minerals need adding, activating or suppressing and which ratios need to be changed/balanced. Other specialized tests such as paramagnetism and humus can provide further information as to the state of your soil.
The second step is to begin the process of bringing the LaMotte readings closer to the desired amounts and ratios for optimum crop response. Biological activity is the key to making the nutrients more available. Therefore, all fertilizer/chemical inputs must be evaluated in terms of their impact on microbial systems in your soil or on plant tissue. Usually only one or two non-desirable fertilizers must be removed from your current program and a few new kinds of fertilizers may have to be added as well as biological activators like sugar, molasses, bacteria and enzymes.
full text here:
The folks at CSI make the following observation and recommendation:
"It’s important to remember that plants grow from energy, not from fertilizer. Fertilizers contain energy and their specific ingredients make or provide the energy used by the growing crop. Most gardeners, like most conventional growers, apply poor energy (fertilizer) sources to unbalanced, minerally deficient soils and this accounts for their weed and insect pressures and also explains why fruits, berries and vegetables rot so easily – rather than dehydrate – if left in the refrigerator or on the counter for a long time."
The program below is a sample of one groups suggested garden amendment program to get started. Please note that this particular sample program does use some synthethic fertilizers like Miracle Gro and cola. These are not required and can be substituted with an organic alternative. I've posting this program here just to give an idea of the nutrients recommended.
From your local garden center, buy a 50 lb bag of high calcium lime (not dolomite or AG lime) (buy dolomite ONLY IF you have real sandy soil) and one quart of a liquid fish fertilizer (If you can find a fish and seaweed product that would be even better). Note: many garden center products create the problems we’re trying to solve but the ones we recommend will be some of their better products. Apply lime to soil with a spreader and then, using a tank type sprayer or end-of-hose sprayer, apply 16 oz of fish fertilizer (if using 2 gallon sprayer it may take 2 applications to apply depending on the thickness of the fish), four Tbs household sugar, 16 oz (1 pt) of a “cola” type soft drink to the soil and rototill in. (This formula may not supply all the nitrogen your garden needs for this first year, but it will be a good start.)
Dig a row for the seeds, place the seeds or transplants in the row or hole and using a gallon milk jug apply the following solution over the seeds or in the transplant hole before covering: To 1 gal jug add ˝ cup fish fertilizer, 1 tsp sugar and ˝ cup cola. Fill with water, shake and apply this solution over seeds and transplants. Each gallon should treat about a 50 ft row.
Once the plants emerge from the soil, spray leaves once every one or two weeks using either the end-of-hose or tank sprayer. Note: adding a vegetable mix fertilizer containing trace minerals – boron, copper, iron, manganese & zinc – from Miracle Gro or similar product at their suggested rate would be highly beneficial. IF using in the 2 gallon sprayer use at the rate of 1 tsp fish or fish/seaweed and 1 tsp soluble (Miracle Gro type) fertilizer per gallon of water. Spray earlier morning or later afternoon, not in the heat of the day.
more info here:
This message was edited Oct 21, 2008 10:10 PM