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Frequently Asked Questions About the High Brix Garden Program
What is a High Brix Garden?
A High Brix Garden is a place where people can grow their own high quality nutrition. Food in this class, will grade on the A and B range for nutritional density as measured on a refractometer.
How long will it take until a garden begins to produce High Brix foods on a regular basis?
It is possible to produce some High Brix produce in the first year. Each year on the High Brix program the soil continues to improve, as does the food quality. By the third year most of the produce should be in the A and B grade.
What does International Ag Labs Provide to the gardener?
International Ag Labs provides a basic soil test including a measure of the microbial activity and a soil index. We also make fertility recommendations based off the soil test. The fertility recommendations are then custom manufactured in our warehouse as a broadcast to be spread on your garden. Additionally we provide a nutrient drench that is watered into the soil around plant roots. Finally we include a foliar spraying program.
Do we get the soil report?
Yes. The soil report is sent along with the fertility schedule showing when to apply nutrient drenches and when to foliar feed the plants.
What is the soil Index?
The soil Index is an indicator of the overall health of the soil. It ranges from 0 – 100. To grow High Brix we look for a Soil Index reading in the 60’s and 70’s.
What does the annual broadcast supply to the soil?
The annual broadcast is used to “feed” the soil each year. It is composed of soil amendments such as limestone, gypsum, and compost. It also has rock powders to help remineralize the soils. To this base fertilizers are added, if needed, to supply missing nutrients in the soil. Last but not least trace minerals and microbial inoculants are added to round out the annual broadcast.
What are nutrient drenches?
Nutrient drenches are liquid, organic based fertilizer solutions. Most have a nutrient base of liquid fish. They are applied with water at the base of the plants once a month.
What is the purpose of the nutrient drench?
Nutrient drenches in the High Brix Garden program perform 2 improvement functions. First they help the soil maintain its electrical conductance. This provides the soil with plenty of energy to keep the plants growing at full speed. Secondly nutrient drenches can supply extra nutrients to plants that have special requirements. As an example pumpkins and squash have a high requirement for potassium. This is supplied with the nutrient drench Wild Cat.
Why are foliar sprays used?
Foliar sprays are nutrient solutions that are highly diluted and lightly sprayed on the plants. Plants are able to take in these nutrients through the leaves. Foliar feeding of plants is the frosting on the High Brix gardens’ cake. Well made foliar sprays can have a tremendous impact in raising brix readings in plants. Foliar sprays are also used to direct a plant in which way it should grow. Plants can be told to grow vegetatively or to grow reproductively. A foliar spray that makes vegetative growth (new leaves) is great for spinach but entirely unsuited for tomatoes.
How do foliar sprays increase brix readings?
A good foliar spray will include phosphate in its nutrient package. Phosphates are the energy source in ATP. ATP drives the Krebs cycle in plants. Increasing phosphates in the plant through foliar spraying allows the Krebs cycle to transfer more energy within the plants. This allows the plant to be more efficient in storing energy as sugars from the process of photosynthesis. Some of these additional sugars are sent down to the roots and excreted out of the roots as exudates. Root exudates are a food source for bacterial colonies around the roots. The bacteria respond to the extra food from the plant by making more minerals available to the plant. The additional minerals are taken up into the plant and increase the total dissolved solids in the plant. This registers as a rise in brix.
Does International Ag Labs advocate the use of chemical pesticides or herbicides in High Brix Gardens?
No. Pesticides destroy microbial balance and make it very difficult to achieve High Brix.
Is the High Brix Garden program organic?
High Brix gardens are organic based, but not strictly certified organic. Our primary focus is quality in the soil and in plant health.
When is the best time to start a High Brix Garden?
The best time to start is right now! The only poor time is in the dead of winter when the ground is frozen and a soil sample cannot be taken. If beginning too late for the current growing season just apply the broadcast and grow a cover crop. Hold the drenches and foliar sprays until the next spring then follow the schedule. Then sample annually from fall to fall as the ideal timing.
How do I get started?
Just fill out the Garden Soil Test Order Form, take a soil sample and send both along with a payment to International Ag Labs.
Does International Ag Labs guarantee any result or yield?
No. While we can reasonably expect cumulative increases in produce quality we do not promise a specific yield or Brix reading.