30 June 2020
We are well into our season of growing, and this is always an amazing time of year - walking through fields and gardens, seeing plants shooting up, and enjoying all the wonderful earthy smells.
Take your shoes off when you can and feel the soil between your toes. Dig up some plants and look for biology and root health. Witness how the products you used to enhance nature’s possibilities and microbial enhancement have had such an impact on growth.
As I have walked through many fields, I often have found that there is one tool, my go-to tool, that is a true helper — my refractometer. Using this tool I have often been able to help growers determine concerns in their crops, and in many cases, we get to see an improvement after spraying a nutritional foliar.
Here’s a background on the refractometer:
First invented in Germany in the late 1800’s Ernst Abbe developed a laboratory prototype model. This table-top unit had water circulating through it to control its temperature and it was used to measure the refractive index of a liquid. This index is a number that describes how fast light travels through the material.
The tool we use today is a handheld refractometer and it works on the same principles of lenses and prisms. The sample of sap or dissolved solids (taken from leaves of your plants) is placed on the prism and a clear cover is placed over it. The number shown on the sight glass is a measurement of nutrient density and is represented in a number of °BRIX. This is a measurement of the carbohydrate level in a plants sap which is the product of photosynthesis. A healthy, nutritious plant will have a higher °Brix reading and will tell you about things like pest pressure, and the overall health of the plant.
The line between the clear and dissolved solids will tell you about calcium. If you have a straight, solid line, you most likely have a calcium deficiency. Click here to download our Brix Chart
When on the topic of photosynthesis and calcium, I have to mention TrueStim - our leading photosynthesis stimulator. It is strained through a 100 mesh for easy foliar application. TrueStim is loaded with calcium, as well as over 70 trace and ultra-trace minerals and inputs to improve resistance to adverse conditions like disease, stress, and drought. This foliar application can increase yield, calcium availability, and improve photosynthesis. Using a refractometer before and after a foliar spray with TrueStim, you will see a great improvement.*
As we walk through fields and gardens with growers and we look at their °Brix readings I am able to share with them the facts that this handy meter shows. That is one of the joys of walking the fields, experiencing each growth stage and observing plants’ needs in order to help them grow to their fullest potential.
My wife, Anna, her 10-year-old son, and I just drove to Saskatchewan and back and it was so great to see all of the new growth along the way there and back. So many fields in the early stages of summer and so many great farms to see. Each farm tended by wonderful people such as yourselves that hope to harvest abundantly this fall. Take some steps in your field and try a refractometer. We cannot control the weather, but we can be in charge of the nutrition we provide to our plants. If you see low °Brix or you see a calcium deficiency, take the time to apply what the plant needs to correct this, and watch them thrive from a change in the right direction.
And, as always, I am only a phone call away.
*Remember Wait 24 hours before checking your brix levels after foliar spraying and plant as it takes this time to absorb the foliar*.