Quality, Taste, Nutrition, Insect & Disease Control …
So, what do all of the above have in common? …………………………BRIX
Depending on who you are and why you have an interest in AGGRAND products, you may or may not know anything about BRIX. That’s ok. If you already know what BRIX is, I’m probably going to express a few new tidbits about BRIX that you have never been told before.
If you don’t know anything about BRIX prepare to be amazed at the fact that nobody has ever explained this to you before – because it is SOOOOOOOO crucial to improving plant health, eliminating insect, fungus and disease problems, enhancing the taste of fruits and vegetables, increasing the nutritional value of produce, improving the health and sale value of farm animals and increasing overall profits for farming operations.
So, What Exactly IS Brix?
Well, often Brix is referred to as the “sugar” or sucrose content of a plant or the produce from it, but this is a very simplistic and incomplete view of Brix. Although a high Brix value certainly indicates high sugar content, in actuality, Brix refers to the total soluble solids (TSS) in the juice of the produce or sap of the plant. Total soluble solids refers not only to sucrose (sugar) but also to fructose, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, hormones, and other solids found in the plant, fruit or vegetable.
The higher the TSS or Brix value, the healthier and more nutrient/mineral rich the plant or produce is. Thus, as relates to farming and gardening, the produce from high Brix plants will also be high Brix and will offer the greatest nutritional and “energy” value to the one eating that produce. Thus, animals and humans will receive the greatest health benefit from fruits and vegetables having the highest Brix values (and from the meat of animals that have eaten grasses of the highest Brix value).
How Does High Brix Help You?
Why should you care about Brix values, outside of the fact that this information might be useful in making decisions regarding your eating habits? Why does this have any relevance to your farming, gardening or lawncare practices? Well, bear with me for just a moment longer, and I think you’ll see that BRIX is probably one of the most important things you can learn about in your question to grow the best lawn, garden, crops and livestock.
You see, although God might not be up there “scoring” the nutritional value of plants and produce with a Brix value, He certainly understands that we will receive the greatest health benefit from plants and produce that contain the greatest concentration of nutrients. After all, that IS the way He designed it. And, as a result, since He has our best interests in mind, He would want us eating those plants and produce with the highest Brix value and not those of questionable nutritional value (low Brix). Consequently, He built into this whole process an interesting mechanism: Insect Infestation.
Now, I’m going to digress for just a short moment to talk about an insect’s digestive system, but we’ll get back to our primary discussion VERY quickly. You see, in order to properly digest sugar, one must have a liver. God did not design insects with a liver, and, although there may be other reasons that He chose to leave this little item out of the anatomy of bugs, one that is particularly helpful to those of us humans is that a liver is necessary to digest sugar.
So, if an insect, which does not have a liver, ingests sugar, that sugar will eventually turn to alcohol and kill the insect. Interestingly enough, insects “know” this, and plants with high Brix value (and, as a result, high sugar content) will emit different UV light patterns and electrical charges which communicate to insects that they should stay away. Really.
Consequently, this SHOULD be incredibly helpful to us because, IF we paid attention, the presence of an insect infestation would be a clear indication that eating of that particular plant (or the produce of it) would be of minimal nutritional value (because it will not only be low in sugar content, but also vitamins, minerals, etc.). Therefore, simple self-preservation would cause us to either fortify that plant with what it is lacking (good nutrition) or look elsewhere for NON-bug infested (high Brix) plants and produce that would fulfill our nutritional needs.
Unfortunately, it has become the norm to ignore those warning signs and simply kill off all the bugs – either with some toxic chemical or with some natural alternative. Of course, of those two options, the natural insecticide is certainly the better option, but it still does not address the central problem of this situation. The bugs are there for a reason. The plant is not healthy. Make the plant healthy and the sugar content of the plant will rise, the insects will move on to a more attractive food source, and we will have a nutritious and tasty little treat to snack on (high Brix fruits and vegetables actually DO have much better taste than those of lower Brix value).
How Can You Use BRIX to Your Advantage?
As I mentioned earlier, we can measure the Brix value of ANY plant (a simple $50 handheld Brix Refractometer does a good job), and it provides the same information to us regardless of what plant it is. The higher the Brix value, the healthier the plant. The higher the Brix value, the higher the sugar content. So, the higher the Brix value of your wheat, hay, tomatoes, pumpkins, apples, oranges, marigolds, maple tree or grass, the more likely it is that insects will not be feasting on it (or, if they do, they’ll die trying).
In fact, a Brix value of 12 or higher is all it takes to nearly eliminate insect infestation of any plant. The higher the better. Brix values for many plants can actually reach values well over 20 or 30. Some suggest that REALLY good nutrition of a plant can actually raise Brix values into the hundreds, although most people wouldn’t consider this realistic.
Either way, most plants these days (especially chemically grown ones – but also some organically grown ones) have such low Brix value (typically no greater than about 6 or 8 and often much lower) that insects will feed on them all day long (not to mention that, if they are edible plants, their nutritional value to us is about nil). Raising the Brix of a plant is really quite simple. Provide good nutrition, including a balanced diet of macro and micro-nutrients and trace elements.
How do you do that? Well, organic plantcare is a great start since truly natural, organic fertilizers and soil amendments will provide much better nutrition to any plant than chemical fertilizers will. Some fertilizers will raise Brix values more effectively than others. For instance, kelp fertilizers are probably the most effective means to improving the overall nutrition of any plant (and, therefore, the Brix value) because most kelp fertilizers are made from Kelp grown in VERY cold, virtually toxin free and nutrient dense waters, such as the North Atlantic.
Since kelp is a plant itself, the macro and micro nutrients it provides are completely balanced and easily available to any plant. Thus, the addition of kelp to any fertilization program is probably the easiest way to increase the Brix value of that plant. So, adding regular doses of kelp to your fertilization program will increase the Brix of all of your plants, trees, flowers and grasses. The higher that Brix value gets, the less insect problems you will have.
Accordingly, I am recommending to you that, if you have any sort of insect problem, it is a FACT that your crop (or lawn, flower or tree or shrub or garden) is receiving very poor nutrition, and is, therefore, very sickly, even if it doesn’t necessarily LOOK sick at this particular moment. Improve the nutrition the plant is receiving and the bugs will move elsewhere. I promise.
What About Fungus and Disease?
Yep. High Brix helps there too. High brix plants simply do not contract fungus and disease problems. Just like truly healthy people don’t often get sick, healthy plants don’t really get sick either. Raise the Brix – get rid of disease and fungus problems.
Produce Shelf Life
Most people, even those that sort of understand Brix, don’t realize that high Brix fruits and vegetables don’t rot. Really. You know how you buy your lettuce down at your local grocery store and a few days later you almost don’t even want to eat it because it’s beginning to rot? That’s not normal. I mean, it IS normal for most of the produce you’ll find at the store – and even at your local farmer’s market – since many of them are still using chemical plantcare programs. But, it shouldn’t be and doesn’t have to be.
This is actually something you can even test for yourself. As I briefly mentioned earlier, you can purchase an inexpensive handheld device (a Brix refractometer) that can easily measure the Brix of any fruit or vegetable that you buy. So, get some product from various sources with differing Brix values. Then, see how long it takes for the product to begin to rot. The higher the Brix value the longer it will take.
But, the interesting thing to note is, if you can get the Brix value high enough, the fruit will NEVER rot. It will actually just dehydrate. The high Brix levels in the produce will keep it from rotting for so long that the water will evaporate out of the produce first. High Brix produce is worth more because it will NOT go bad.
The Bottom Line
If you’re simply a homeowner or gardener, the bottom line is if you can raise the Brix of your plants, they will be healthier, they’ll look better, you’ll spend less time dealing with insects and disease and your garden will produce immense amounts of incredibly tasty fruits and vegetables that will provide all the nutrition your body needs and will not rot before you can eat or can it.
If you’re a farmer, looking at this from a profit standpoint, there are a number of aspects that will affect you in a positive way, if you raise the Brix value of your plants and produce.
- For those fruits and vegetables that get quality rated, your produce will always receive the highest quality ratings, assuring better prices for your goods.
- Your buyers will pay more for your produce because they will see that it keeps better on the shelf, allowing them to gain more profit from your items.
- You will spend FAR less on insecticide and fungicide applications to control insect and disease problems. More money in your pocket.
- High Brix plants generate far greater yield than low Brix plants. So, your yields will be way up and the produce will be much larger – garnering a better price.
So, the bottom line is, you’ll make more money. Your expenditures will be down, and the price you’ll receive for your produce will be up. Your yields will be way up, which means more product to sell and more money in your pocket. You simply can’t lose in this scenario.
So, How Do You Raise the Brix Value?
In simplest terms, give your plants better nutrition. Organics in general are going to help with that, but the quickest way to get your Brix values up is to foliarly apply a liquid based fertilizer containing a high concentration of kelp extract.
Kelp is a VERY quick and easy way to improve plant nutrition and health and has been proven to raise Brix values considerably in a very short period of time. I hope that you will consider AGGRAND organic 4-3-3 fish/kelp fertilizer and AGGRAND organic 0-0-8 kelp and sulfate of potash as integral components in your question improve plant health, increase Brix values and put more money in your pocket.