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GENERAL NOTES FOR ALL CHARTS
- Any extended DISEASE FREE figures in parentheses are the plant brix readings at (or above) NO DISEASE OR INSECT will infest the plant. Although they were unfamiliar with refractometers, this was the great secret that such men as Sir Albert Howard and J. I. Rodale inherently knew.
- It is possible to have values higher than excellent (as shown by various disease-free readings). More than likely, future practice will be to show "+" by the excellent values as it now seems that upper limits may never be known. For instance, Bob Pike once lectured about 28 brix strawberries being grown in Virginia.
- As a GENERAL rule of thumb, 12, or better, brix readings confer reasonable plant pest immunity. This is true of both fruit and leaf readings.
- Unknown (unmarked) values are still being researched.
- If you garden, or farm, care about QUALITY, and want POISON FREE food, you will find brix values vital. Maintaining HIGH BRIX values frees you from spraying toxic substances.
You may sometimes find that you have to use a leaf (where the leaf is not the plant part you eat) to get your test drop. While this may help you determine the better of two plants, the majority of data in the quality charts refers to the eaten part.
In Nature, the plant has a single goal: to reproduce. However, it is obvious that the plant must survive to maturity if it is to achieve that goal. In a perfect world, the plant develops 12 or better brix in its leaves. This resource, this goodness, this BRIX is transported to the roots and shared with the healthy bacteria growing in the root rhizosphere. The bacteria, using this gift of energy, "bloom" profusely and create many substances from soil minerals---substances critical for the plant to complete its life cycle.
Later, assuming the plant was successful in defending itself against pests and disease, it will start maturing the parts needed for that primary directive: reproduction. In other words, say, any apple tree will proceed to produce the very best apple that it can. The best tasting apple is the fruit most likely to be selected by an apple lover. Of course, the apple lover also takes the seed that is inside the apple---always with the possibility that those seeds may possibly be planted elsewhere.
Many scientific growers are adopting the Pike Agri-Lab Tissue Test methods where great attention is paid to maintaining leaf values at 12 or better, brix. The sap translocation process is well understood and from long experience it is known that the ripened fruit which follows those high leaf brix values can reach 20 or more brix.
Please remember that we are speaking of a dynamic process. Plants that are deficient in one or more of the minerals needed for optimum health can generate excessive brix in their leaves that may be blocked from translocating to the roots and stem. For instance, 25+ brix values in blueberry leaves have been recorded, but where the fruit ultimately only reached 12 brix. Although these values are high, most readers will readily recognize that optimum conditions were not prevailing.
Sadly, some modern hybrid plants (sweet corn for instance) have been bred to excessively translocate sugar. They can give high ear readings even as the stalks and leaves are giving relatively low readings.
You will find pest problems persist until you achieve higher leaf and stalk readings¾ the target is always 12+. That knowledge becomes invaluable when gardeners or farmers need to monitor plant quality in early growth stages.
You may be a grower, consumer, or both. Although the selling grower’s goals are sometimes at variance with those of the consumer, both benefit from any increase in brix values. Hopefully, both will work in tandem to improve the quality of the food supply.