No method of insect control will ever work as long as poisoned crops outgas ethanol and ammonia in small parts per million. Those two powerful fermentation chemicals are the mark of a dying, decaying plant and serve as attractants to all plant-eating insects.
Basically, weeds and insects are not problems in themselves, they are symptoms of problems that must be addressed by balancing the soil and helping the natural processes of the earth restore it to optimum health.
A Sodium meter is of great use to Western growers because of an excess of salt, and to Eastern and Middle growers because of a lack which, among other things, has an effect on the flavor of fruits and vegetables.
In a personal conversation with Dr. Callahan, the authors of the Handbook found that he had tested ‘every known’ pesticide at LSU and found that every one of them was toxic to the soil. We are familiar with the fact that the common commercial fertilizers are ultimately bad for the soil, but just why are they bad? Briefly, the whole NPK approach is in error. Von Liebig simply drew the wrong conclusions and unfortunately his work became the word of the day. Dislodging his errors is difficult. Part of the problem is the materials used to obtain the nitrogen, potash, and potassium, which while they might facilitate the release of immediate energy for the use of plants, actually destroy the soil organisms that, along with the minerals, sunlight, air, and water are the digestive system of plants. One hundred pounds of muriate of potash per acre releases the equivalent of 100 gallons of Clorox sprayed over the same soil — to name only one. The soil organisms haven’t a chance against such an onslaught. When the soil flora and fauna die, they are no longer there to flocculate or loosen the soil. As their numbers fall, the soil degrades and compacts. The lack of bacteria results in lower humus, the soil becomes so hard that it is nearly impossible to plow and finally, the field is abandoned to be scoured by wind and rain.
The soil is actually growing the plant, and any nutrition the plant receives is coming from outside itself, therefore one must feed the soil as well as the plant. Foliar feeding is good as long as the soil organisms are fed as well. It has been found that legumes grown in deficient soil are not producing the nodules of fixed nitrogen that they are genetically programmed to create.
Dr. Carey Reams said this model was flawed, and that pH is actually a measure of resistance. As an analogy, it is easier to run straight down a football field than it is to run the length of it dodging the players from the other team. If the pH is low, you have less resistance, and if it is high, you have more. At the same time, Canadian researchers found that pH is highly dynamic and swings from hour to hour and day to day.
Something else that changes from day to day is the phase of the moon. We see the undeniable effects of the moon on the tides but tend to ignore the other effects. But all liquid has tides. The moon affects the growth cycle of plants. On a full moon the ground will be warmer and the air cooler, and the opposite at the new moon. The full moon has a greater gravitational pull and actually ‘loosens’ the soil somewhat. Other cycles of nature affect plants. Droughts will cause grains to head out while still quite short, as nature tries to continue the species by creating seed earlier. Sweet fertilizers like calcium, potassium, chlorine, and nitrate nitrogen produce growth. Sour fertilizers like phosphorus, sulfate sulfur, manganese, and ammonium nitrogen produce fruiting responses. The farmer can learn to apply the proper fertilizer at the most advantageous time for the plant. If a plant is grown for leaf it makes sense to apply the sweets, and if grown for fruit, apply the sours. This is far more complicated than I am making it sound as fertilizers can be combined to get a particular response. The point is farmers can, by paying attention to the cycles of nature, combining nutrients and being timely in their applications, control to a great extent the growth and fruiting of their crops.
In addition to the field machines listed above, there is another, the refractometer. This is a simple, inexpensive, hand-held device that measures the dissolved solids in a liquid. Plant juice solids are mainly made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen by which we quickly see that they are carbohydrates or sugars of various sorts. The refractometer is a tube with a prism with a plastic cover at one end and an adjustable eyepiece at the other. The light passing through the liquid being tested is refracted or bent in relation to the number of dissolved solids present in the liquid. Juice is squeezed from the plant with a small press, usually, a modified pair of pliers as considerable force is sometimes necessary. A drop is placed on the prism, the cover is lowered, and looking into a light source, one determines where the blue and white backgrounds come together, taking a brix reading from the 0 to 30 scale inside the meter. Readings should be taken at the same time of day and from the same part of the plant. Weekly readings are most helpful to keep track of progress. Higher brix readings indicate a greater nutrient load in the plant. The chart printed in the book gives the range for a number of plants like apples, at 6, very poor and at 18, excellent. High brix crops taste sweeter, resist frost better, and produce more alcohol during fermentation. Possibly making better wine…
Foliar feeding is spraying nutrients onto the plant leaves. Jointly, Michigan State University, (one of my alma maters), and the Atomic Energy Commission, (an unlikely joint venture if ever there was one), determined that foliar feeding is eight to twenty times more effective than putting the fertilizer on the soil. Foliar feeding seems to bypass some of the problems of soil feeding such as nutrient competition, nutrient tie-ups, leaching and soil interactions. All nutrients are absorbed as readily, but some are more easily translocated, like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, and zinc, where others like calcium, boron, iron, magnesium, and molybdenum, remain in the leaves. Foliar feeding is best when soil fertility is good and can otherwise have mixed results. It is used to move the plant from growth to fruiting, to counter leaching from steady rains, to give a bit of added push and to keep the plant’s energy optimal.
Ley Lines are areas of magnetic intensity due to the magnetic field of the Earth not being distributed evenly across the Earth, which is disruptive to agriculture. Cows do not like to stand where the ley lines cross, and silage does not keep as well at those junctures.
But, in 1966 this changed. Cleve Backster, at the time our nation’s foremost lie detector examiner, had been up all night at his school for polygraph examiners and on impulse, he hooked up the electrodes of a lie detector to a leaf of his dracaena plant, a tropical plant with large leaves. He poured water onto the roots of the plant to see if the plant would be affected by this and to his surprise, the plant gave a reading similar to a human experiencing a short emotional stimulus. What happened next set him on a life-long quest for information and answers. He took a match, determined to burn the leaf with the electrodes on it to see if the plant would react again. But, all he had to do was picture the flame in his mind and the plant reacted, causing a large upward sweep of the detector pen. When he merely pretended to burn the leaf it showed no reaction at all. Backster and his collaborators, all over the U.S., using 25 different plants, obtained similar and even more astonishing results. This was the first time in modern times that anyone could prove that plants are not insensate, that they react on a level that we still do not completely understand to the environment and the creatures in it.
The Soviets researchers have made many of the same discoveries of the ability to communicate with plants and plants with us. Using instruments of thirty and more years ago, which are not as sensitive as those of today, they were able to detect minute amounts of energy, they found that plants can become exhausted from too much sunlight, and they can be chloroformed and revived in the same manner as humans.
Nothing of the sort! That plants are able to perceive the surrounding world is a truth as old as the world itself. Without perception, adaptation does not and cannot exist. If plants had no sense organs and didn’t have a means of transmitting and processing information with their own language and memory, they would inevitably perish.
That we still have no good idea what plants are capable of was illustrated by an experiment with corn. Soviet researchers placed some corn in glass pots to grow and did not water one of the plants for several weeks but it did not die. Somehow water was transferred from the watered plants to the dry one.
These Soviet scientists faced the same up-hill battle with their government as those in the U.S. have and still do. Despite numerous and varied experiments proving all manner of hitherto unknown properties of plants many, especially those who have money interests in industrial agriculture, have worked hard to pour scorn on this work even to the extent of having computers and research files confiscated by the government.
Bose wrote a number of books which delineated his experiments in detail so that others could duplicate them. He demonstrated the characteristics of nerves in plants as it a reflex arc like the one that we use to pull our fingers off a hot stove, he found that plants shudder at the moment of death, he found that too much CO2 could suffocate plants, they get drunk on alcoholic beverages as we do.
…we should abandon all our preconceptions, most of which are afterward found to be found to be absolutely groundless and contrary to facts. The final appeal must be made to the plant itself and no evidence should be accepted unless it bears the plant’s own signature.
George Washington Carver once asked the peanut,
You have three things to go by, compatibility, temperature, and pressure.
Working day and night for a week he subjected the peanut to numbers of tests, finding that the peanut had actually seven different oils, and coming up with two dozen different products at the end of that week.
In 1950, Dr. T.C. Singh began a series of experiments with music and dance on the behavior and production of plants. He broadcast music via loudspeaker to six varieties of rice growing in different villages and found that he was able to get harvests 25 to 60 percent higher than the regional average. Around the same time, a Canadian engineer and farmer broadcast Bach to a test plot of wheat and got a harvest 66 percent higher than the average with heavier seeds. Since the wheat was growing on an inferior soil he concluded that the music was as good as nutrients. Since then numerous experiments have been done with music and plants and some of the findings are quite strange. For instance, one researcher, Dorothy Retallack, found that the tone ‘F’ on the scale if broadcast continuously for eight hours per day killed all the plants, dry and dead, within two weeks but the same tone broadcast to a control group for three hours a day which were doing somewhat better than a third control group which had been left in silence. In another experiment, she broadcast a classical radio station to some squashes and a hard rock station to some others of the same species. In one of the glass cases, the squashes grew toward the classical music source and in the other case, the squashes grew away from the source of the hard rock even trying to climb the sides of the glass case to get away from the sound.
Plants respond to a variety of stimuli cannot be disputed. Besides sending us messages in the minute amounts of radiation, they also
seem to respond to particles we cannot codify as in Backster’s experiments with the electroencephalogram. They respond to music, voice, and electromagnetism. In the 1720’s, a French writer and astronomer, Marian, noticed that his mimosa plant closed its leaves when the sun went down. He put the plant in a closet but the plant did not close its leaves until, again, the sun went down. The plants, he concluded, must be able to sense the sun without being able to “see” it. Two and a half centuries later, Dr. John Ott, the head of the Environmental Health and Light Institute in Sarasota, FL, took six mimosa plants down a 650-foot mine shaft at noon. The plans promptly closed their leaves. No one knew why. It was found that seeds sprouted faster and the plants grew faster if they were electrified, transpiration also increased. Scarlett verbena and some oriental poppies have been seen to flash at one another. Some way electricity and electromagnetic energy were involved but to this day, although we use electricity and electromagnetic energy in myriad ways we still have no real understanding of what it is and how it works. What we do know, from many experiments over many decades, is that if we electrify growing plants, we will get better results, sweeter and more succulent strawberries, wheat with heavier seed heads and compliments from the bakers who used it to make bread. It is intriguing that the current must run in one direction, with the growth of the plant. If it is reversed, the plant shrivels. Tomato plants hung with silver Christmas tree bulbs and fruit trees hung with bright metallic pieces had earlier fruit set and better harvests.
Dr. John Ott, the inventor of time-lapse photography, did many experiments with radiation on plants finding that plants and animals behave in strange ways when subjected to television radiation. Bean plants in front of a TV had roots that grew up out of the soil and when he put a TV in his greenhouse, 15 feet away from breeding rats they produced litters of only one or kits. It took six months for the rats to return to normal breeding patterns. Remember that Dr. Ott did his experiments on televisions from an earlier era. The authors do not make this point but we must wonder if TV sets of today emit the same harmful radiation. With the constant bathing in radiation we all experience today and the strange increase in what used to be rare diseases perhaps it would behoove all of us to do more research on the effects of radiation, the good and the bad.
In 1959 Andre Voisin published his seminal work, “Soil, Grass, and Cancer”, in which he said that we have forgotten that our bodies are made of soil and all health comes from the soil. He provided copious examples that by itself, chemical analysis of food is insufficient to evaluate the essence of the food.
I think that it is not merely a question of healing the animal or man stricken by disease, it is necessary to heal the soil so as not to have to heal the animal or man.
A number of researchers, experts in soil and plant chemistry and animal health, were coming to the conclusion that diseases of plants, animals, and humans were caused not by disease organisms but by poor and incomplete nutrition. They were finding that healthy plants, farm animals and some groups of people like the famous Hunza people simply did not get sick. There is a difference between true health and just not being currently sick and organisms simply did not come down with diseases, (or get infestations of insect pests) if they had optimum health.
The decades after WWII brought many changes to American agriculture, unfortunately, most of them were detrimental to the soil and to everything eating the plants grown therein. The use of pesticides, especially DDT which entered the germ of the seed and could not be removed, increased dramatically as did the use of artificial fertilizers. Many soils, which had been mined for their nutrients were worthless as farmland and could be farmed only with the application of these elements poisonous to the soil. J.I. Rodale started his magazine, “Organic Gardening” and then the magazine, “Prevention”, in which he showed thousands of people how to grow nutritious food. The lengths that the United States government and the chemical agriculture interests went to lie to the American people read like a criminal rap sheet. Rodale was a victim of this witch hunt and had to fight in court, spending a quarter of a million dollars to win the battle to continue publishing his health-promoting magazine.
Of great interest to our organization is the findings of Andre Simonton, that foods radiate at certain wavelengths depending upon a number of factors, one being the freshness of the food, another being the vitality of the food. Understanding that every particle down to a photon of light has a specific wavelength and that these minute wavelengths can be measured by modern methods lets us qualify foods in real time. Fresh milk measures at 6,500 angstroms but loses 40% of its radiation at the end of 12 hours and 90% at the end of 24. Pasteurization killed the radiation completely. The same is true of fruit juices and garlic juice, when Pasteurized, coagulates like blood and has no radiation. Frozen foods retain their radiation when thawed, foods in the refrigerator tend to acquire more radiation as they mature and dehydrated foods are re-vitalized when rehydrated. Water has the same property. Some water, like that at Lourdes, radiate at 156.000 angstroms and, taken away in a bottle, eight years later still measures 78.000 angstroms. Some vegetables have higher radiation when raw but some, like potatoes, are higher when cooked. It will be possible, we already have the technology, to be able to measure the vitality of a food in a moment.
One of the more interesting faculties of plants is their ability to create minerals where none were before. Seeds sprouting in distilled water have more minerals in them than before sprouting and, of course, they could not get them from the water. Pierre Baranger, a professor of organic chemistry at the Ecole Polytechnic in Paris, experimented for many years and finally had to come to the conclusion, and announced it to the world in January 1959, that plants transmute minerals from one to another. By 1963 Beranger had incontestably proved that legumes sprouted in a manganese salt solution transmuted manganese into iron where none had been before. Places on the earth that have been farmed for millennia should be depleted of certain elements but they are not and Barenger claims that it is because the plants are transmuting abundant elements into the rarer ones for their use.
Dr. Andersen starts with an explanation of soil chemistry that takes us on a journey into the molecular structure of minerals and how and why they combine and re-combine in the soil. The second chapter in the book, “Chemistry”, may seem a bit difficult at first because it explains the actual chemical action in the soil but he is a remarkably clear writer. This chapter introduces the reader to the names of the chemicals used in agriculture. For instance, in the name anhydrous ammonia, anhydrous means without water making the chemical very aggressive in its quest to combine with water which is why it “burns” when it gets on human skin, it is simply removing the water and killing the skin cells. It has unfortunate properties in the soil as well. In chapter 9, “Clay Chemistry”, he mentions that anhydrous ammonia was used during World War II to harden the soil on runways to make the soil hard enough to land planes on.
All living cells produced energy and as such, plants are electromagnetic organisms which depend upon appropriate electromagnetic energy to grow and reproduce.
Reams Biological Theory of Ionization. Reams taught that the function of nature is electromagnetic and primary to the chemistry of plants. He said plants grow through the process of ionization-similar to an electroplating machine and fertilization is electromagnetic in the balancing of positive and negative charges. Fertilizers, the minerals in them, work with opposite charges in the soil providing a release of energy which balance and build the electromagnetic fields in the soil and fuels plant growth. Dr. Reams found through experimentation that plants with proper mineral balance were not bothered by insect pests. He taught that diseases, insect problems, and weeds were indications of nutritional imbalance. Chapter 12 very practically tells us what various weeds are saying about the mineral imbalance in the soils where they grow. There is also a chart of brix levels and an illustrated description of how to use a refractometer (brix meter). (Bees will not collect nectar from plants with a brix of 7 or less as it does not have enough energy to compensate the bees for the energy they use collecting it).
What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.
That’s what we are doing, together, changing our method of questioning, re-interpreting old answers, and asking not, “What can we do”, but “What is the best we can do?”
This calcium is what makes cell walls strong and enables plants to withstand wind and rain, harvesting and storage. Grains, wheat, barley, and oats are all supposed to have solid stems. Cutting these grains should leave a field of stubble that shows white stem interiors, but all too often the stems are hollow. So often, in fact, that most farmers these days have not seen solid stems. Similarly, many farmers have not seen a kernel of corn fully filled out, plump and rounded.
Phosphate is a catalyst in photosynthesis. It takes the carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and water from the soil and combines them (and lots of other stuff) within the plant to make carbohydrates, sugars and the whole gamut of nutrients for which plants are so justly lauded. Phosphate grows foliage, stems and leaves, sometimes so well that it is possible to have a field full of foliage and no flower or fruit. Potassium will also grow foliage if there is a deficiency of phosphate but there is a problem with that. If there is an excess of potassium it will replace calcium in leaves, stems, and fruits, causing black spots, and since it is not a blight, no amount of chemicals will get rid of it. These foods go straight to the table, and the excess potassium upsets the potassium/calcium balance, which is not good for humans or livestock, causing health problems. This knowledge alone should spur people to demand healthier food grown on balanced soils. The rate of phosphate to potassium in the soil should be 2:1.
An interesting discussion in this book is about the number of atoms
needed in amending an American acre, which is 43,560 square feet or 4,840 square yards. There are 5 million atoms in a drop of water (a standard drop, naturally, why do you ask?), which means that there is a lot of energy in that drop. Each pint of water has 10,000 drops, a gallon has 80,000. So, if the active ingredient you are using on your field is a teaspoon per acre at 15 drops per spoonful that is very little. Five million atoms times 15 drops equal 75 million atoms in a teaspoonful. In the top six inches of an acre, there are two million pounds of soil. A single drop would put only 2 ½ atoms per pound of soil and a teaspoon full would give 37 ½ atoms per pound of topsoil. Please note that some herbicides are distributed over acreages at dilutions such as this, and at a pound per acre would be disastrous. So, if you put a pound of material on an acre, the equation is something like this: 10K drops in a pound of liquid and 5 million atoms per drop equaling 50 billion atoms, which is evenly distributed over an acre give plenty of atoms per pound of soil. If this is a paramagnetic material, it would have to be evenly distributed to create an energy field with no leaks, as it were.
The energy fields in and around the earth are quite complex. The earth spins in a counterclockwise direction. (How do we know this? Because the sun ‘moves’ from east to west, not west to east). As the earth spins, it creates a magnetic field which creates an electrical field which bathes every living thing. Then there is an anionic field 110 miles about the earth which we call the Van Allen Belt. The sun sends out (lots) of particles which hit the Belt, and are deflected at an angle which then hit the earth. This cozy arrangement is what provides the power for all life on earth.
The RBTI method of growing things takes into account the magnetic fields of the earth. Spinning things create magnetic and electrical fields and these fields bath the earth and us constantly. Growing crops in rows oriented east/west outperform crops grown north/south. Roots tend to grow toward the north (in the north, and this can be reversed by putting iron filings, taconite (a low-grade iron ore) and a bit of compost on the south side of the plant. The lines of magnetic force converge toward the pole (hence the compass turns that way) and these magnetic forces provide energy for growing plants. This interesting tidbit: Iowa 110 Day corn takes 110 days to mature in Iowa, but much longer for the same cultivar to mature at the latitude of Mexico, due, our authors say, to the greater magnetic forces in the north.
Flocculation! No, not a bad word but a property that allows soil particles to cling together. It is destroyed by long droughts and a lessening of magnetic energy in the soil. Carbon governs magnetism and increasing carbon in the soil increases magnetism and this keeps soil from literally blowing away.
As anions gain more energy and move from 1 to 499, they reach the energy level of 500 and become cations, they change their direction of spin and have an entirely different effect upon growing plants. During the anionic phase, plant growth is accelerated, the green stems and leaves grow. During the cationic phase, the plant shifts into seed production. All things grow because of a loss of anions and cations. Plants gain during growth and give up during decay.
Carbon in the soil holds water – four pounds for every pound of biologically active carbon. The moon causes tides in all water, even us, and if there is water being held by carbon in the soil, a tide happens there as well. Our authors liken it to the earth taking a breath as the moon draws the water and opens the soil. In that two million pounds of soil in the top six inches of an acre, 1% organic matter will contain 20,000 pounds of carbon, which will hold 80,000 pounds of water (10K gallons). It takes 28K gallons of water to cover an acre one inch deep. The problem of lack of biologically active carbon is immediately obvious. A two-inch rain would inundate the field and half would be lost to run-off. Carbon in the soil is not the pure element. It is bonded with water and nitrogen to form organic acids — basically sugars/carbohydrates. Some, like plant residues, go back to the air readily and others, like linens and humates, last in the soil. One of the problems with minimum tillage is that it is difficult to get carbon into the soil. The authors recommend tilling at least the top two inches to
get the carbon down to the bacteria. When there is sufficient carbon in the soil, roots travel more rapidly.
Manganese (Mn) is one of the heaviest elements necessary for the production of plant growth. It takes 12 atoms of nitrogen to capture one atom of manganese. Practically speaking, it can take up to 500 pounds of calcium to capture one pound of manganese per acre. Our authors suggest that one of the reasons we have so much prostate and breast cancer in our country is because there is not enough manganese in the food. Since it takes so much of the other elements to capture the manganese (due to its much greater atomic number) this would also indicate a lack of the other elements in our diets. Chromium (Cr) has an atomic weight of 51, and like manganese, it takes many other elements to bind it in the soil. Chromium is essential to diabetes prevention. We need re-mineralization as much as the soil.
The nutritional value of the fruits and vegetables we eat has decreased since 1978.
Hardpan is that layer below the topsoil that cannot be easily penetrated. The only good thing about hardpan is that it does keep toxic agricultural chemicals from getting into the deep aquifers. The cons are more numerous: it stops the downward growth of roots and the deep absorption of water into the earth; it prevents moisture from coming up from the subsoil at night when the soil is trying to take its deep breath and renders crops dependent upon rainwater and irrigation. Hardpan is full of salts which harden it and keep it hard much the same way salt hardens homemade play dough. Proper mineralization and the addition of biological carbon to the sail will eventually break up the hardpan.
Soft Rock Phosphate apparently contains all known elements save nitrogen. If N2 is added to Soft Rock Phosphate, plants can be grown in it without soil. This soft rock colloid is formed from the mining of hard rock phosphate as a by-product. Size is one of the measurements of a colloid, and this material is as fine as a powder. It is put into holding ponds where it sinks to the bottom of the pond making a layer many feet deep. Put on crops, this substance alone will result in yields far greater than getting with conventional fertilizers.
We all have a tendency to put our crops in by seed or transplant, and add fertilizer at that time. But, like infants of all species, small plants do not need adult amounts of food. Better to add amendments as the season progresses. Measuring the conductivity of the soil on an on-going basis can help growers access the need for amendments, especially calcium and phosphate. The plants need the greatest amount of food as they are fruiting or going to seed, and we are told, this is not the time to go on vacation. Stay home and check the soil.
The process of photosynthesis is one of converting carbon dioxide, water and sunlight to sugars. When these sugars are adequate in the plant, the mineral levels are also high. This can be measured easily with a hand-held instrument called a refractometer, or a brix meter. The brix index of any particular fruit, vegetable, grain or legume is directly related to the amount of nutrition that plant delivers to our bodies – the higher the brix reading, the better the food. Crops with high brix levels, that is, high sugar levels, are better able to withstand frost because the sugar slows down the process of crystallization; they do not provide nutrition for insect and fungal invasions; the leaves and stems are firmer because they are plumper with water; they last longer in storage; and they tend to dehydrate rather than rotting. Dr. Carey Reams developed this system of checking the health of plants, and determined the brix levels of various fruits and vegetables, noting them in four categories – poor, average, good and excellent. This list was unknown until 1982 when it was published in Acres USA.
While we think of a brix level we usually think of sugar content, but it is much more. Without the necessary high mineral levels, the brix reading remains low. Phosphate is especially noted, as the highest brix readings always come from vegetation with the highest phosphate levels. Brix levels fluctuate, and cloudy days can drop the levels rapidly. Excess potassium and nitrogen can also lower brix readings. Generally, if brix readings are above 12, the plants are not bothered by insects. However, calcium levels must stay above 2000 lbs per acre for this to happen.
The authors warn against the use of salt fertilizers, muriate of potash and anhydrous ammonia especially. Sulfur must be used with great caution as it can only be used by plants when it has been transformed into a usable state by bacteria in the soil and then only in the presence of water. Dolomite limestone carries a warning, too. It should never have more than 5% magnesium, and when it does have more, it has been known to destroy entire fields.
Vauquelin, a French chemist found that hens excreted in feces and egg more lime than existed in the oats he fed them. In 1822, another French man, Choubard, germinated same watercress seeds in an inert dish (glass) and found that the young plants contained minerals that did not exist in the seeds. In 1844, Vogel found that watercress plants contained more sulfur than was in the seeds when none was added. In 1875, Von Herzeele concluded that there was a transmutation of elements occurring when he grew plants in a well-studied medium (sic) and found discrepancies in the weights of magnesium. In 1960 these studies were published by Baranger, but he was scooped by Louis Kervan, who in 1959 published the results of his years of experiments and announced to the world that not only molecules but atoms themselves can be transformed. Naturally, Kervran was ridiculed but he also received some strong support. Ultimately, scientists from around the world and the governments of Russia and China invited him to come and train their scientists.
Elements are the simplest form of matter, the building blocks of all matter. They are composed of sub-atomic particles which are all the same from one element to another – it is the atoms that are different and unique. Iron found on meteorites is the same as that found here on Earth and that will hold true for all elements.
The outer electron shell of an atom shell wants to be full—if you have an element with six or seven of eight places full it will want to gain one or two electrons. If you have a shell that has only one or two electrons in the shell it will want to lose one or two to empty that shell. Chlorine has a shell with seven so it wants to gain one making it a negative/anion, whereas calcium and potassium want to lose their outer electrons and become positive/cations. As I have said before, it’s not rocket science but it is soil science.
Professor Kervran did a long experiment on humans working in the heat of the Sahara Desert. It is dangerous to stay too long in the sun and heat of the Sahara but these men were working on hard metallic platforms all day in the hot summer sun. The systematic research was done with the help of a military doctor and his assistants. One team was followed for six months. Everything they ate and drank was measured and everything they excreted was measured, weighed and reported. The balance sheet showed that during great heat the potassium excreted through perspiration greatly increased. The workers were given salt tablets to suck on during the day to increase their sodium. More potassium was excreted than the workers were consuming. (note, excess potassium kills). Then there was the thermal balance sheet. The men worked in temperatures greater than body temperature and the men averaged 4,085 kilocalories per day in of ingested food for the six months reaching more than 7,000 kilocalories per day in high summer, Due to the heat, perspiration did not drip but evaporated immediately and the workers averaged 4.12 liters of perspiration per day. It takes 540 kilocalories to evaporate one liter of water. With the imbalance in heat the workers should have died of hyperthermia, that is, they should have cooked from the inside out 540 X 4.12= 2,225 kilocalories, and 4,085 – 2,225 = 1860 kilocalories per day so where did this excess heat go? Kervran “came to the conclusion that it was sodium which, disappearing to become potassium, created an endothermic reaction (thus causing heat to be absorbed.)” He said that we instinctively consume more salt in dry or hot conditions. He mentions the emphasis placed upon salt in the Bible and notes that
salt bars were used as money in the Sahara.
This transmutation of sodium to potassium was confirmed in another experiment with the Marine Militaire. This took place over eight months in laboratories where it was found that a man making a major physical effort during three hours, in a temperature of 39 degrees C with a humidity of 60%, would experience an increase of three times his usual rate of potassium in proportion to sodium, in his urine. Many studies have been done since on the behavior of sodium and potassium in heat; when sodium enters the body it is transmuted to potassium, taking the heat out of the body to perform the transmutation and cooling the body. (And, if one stops to really think about it, how could evaporation alone actually cool the interior of our bodies. Some of us are many inches thick, maybe as many as eight or ten to our abdominal core. How could surface evaporation possibly cool us fast enough to keep our temperatures around 98 degrees F? Think about how long it does take to cool a pot of soup on the stove. Even if you sprayed the outside of the pot with cold water it would take many minutes. I was totally skeptical at first but I had to admit that logically it has to be an endothermic sodium to potassium transmutation that takes the heat out of our deep muscles and organs. And, by the way, our brains use about 20% of our blood supply so how do we cool that dense, moist organ?) During a fever our bodies maintain the higher temperature of the same sodium to potassium transmutation and then the body gets rid of the excess potassium in the urine.
While the transmutations of elements in our bodies are endlessly fascinating our focus is on plants. As early as 1850, Von Herzeele found that germinating seeds without a supply of calcium had an increase of calcium in the young plants analyzed 30 days after they germinated. P.Baranger at l’Ecole Polytechnique de Paris thought that Von Herzeele’s experiments were not precise enough and redid them with doubly distilled water as single distillation was not pure enough and obtained the same results. The germinating seeds produced their own calcium. Hens without calcium in their diets can transmute mica which contains some silicate of potassium to calcium in less than a day going from soft shells too hard, complete shells in 20 hours. Potassium can also be created from calcium. That is, Ca – H = K. Calcium and potassium are only one proton away from each other, Ca being 20 and K being 19. With the addition of one H (with one proton) to the Ca we get the K and if we take away one H from the Ca we end up with K again. For a good periodic chart to reference, click here
. Calcium in lime walls at the seaside exude saltpeter or potassium nitrate which can be scraped off the wall. (Saltpeter is one of the ingredients of gunpowder along with sulfur and charcoal).
Calcium can also be made from Si or silicon: Si + C = Ca, or silicon plus carbon equals calcium. That silica changes into limestone, which is high in calcium, has been known since antiquity. Horsetail, an herb rich in silica has been used for re-calcification. It also helps heal tuberculosis by re-calcifying the lung caverns. Spectacular results have been seen in repairing broken bones with the use of organic silica. A chick just hatched has a skeleton of bones made of calcium although there is insufficient calcium in the egg to produce those bones. There is, however, a lot of silica in the membranes that produce the egg. It has never been proved that calcium migrates from the shell to the chick.
The chapter on the magnesium-calcium relationship says,”The harvesting of crops involves the removal of the soil’s magnesium. Nevertheless, it is rare to find an author who advises restitution of magnesium to the soil. Quite simply because in most fields magnesium is inexhaustible. There is a magnesium autogenesis which has remained one of the enigmas of agronomy.” Sea animals which make their shells from calcium while living in the sea which has an average calcium saturation of 0.042% (not much) still make their shells within a day or two after molting. Since the shell of a crab of 17X10 cm weighs 350 gm we can see that the crab is busy transmuting magnesium dissolved in the seawater into calcium for its shell. A molting crayfish was placed in water from which all calcium had been precipitated and the crayfish made its calcium shell anyway. Experiments with calves show that a deficiency of magnesium reduces the calcium in the blood and muscles causing tetany or convulsion and finally death. Giving the calves calcium did not bring the calcium level up but administering magnesium did. Researchers studied a group of calves given an overdose of Mg and another with a deficiency and found after 4 weeks that the supplemented group weighed 75kg and the deficient group weighted the only 65kg. The equation for this transmutation is 12Mg+8O =20Ca in which the reaction is reversible.
Earthworms inhabit good soils by the hundreds of thousands per acre. Their glands secret CO3Ca, sic. (we write this CaCO3 ) or limestone, and this changes the Ph of the soil where earthworms abide. They leave 23 tons of digested soil on the surface of an acre of soil per year and a greater but unknown amount below the soil surface. These castings, as they are called, are equal to a farmer spreading manure four times a year. They are five times richer in N, two times richer in Ca, two and a half times richer in Mg, seven times richer in P and eleven times richer in K than the surrounding soil. In short, they are manufactories of minerals. As an aside, Spanish Moss, Tillandsia, grows on copper wires (and trees) and has 17% Fe2O3, iron oxide, in ashes but almost no copper. With no contact with the soil and no such elements floating around in the air or rainwater where does the iron come from?
Inside our intestines bacteria live which transmute carbohydrates to nitrogen. Researchers put a man on a complete fast and he rejected 11.9 g of N per day, (1/5 to 1/10 as fecal matter). When given sugar only 6.3 g were excreted per day. They concluded that the smaller amount excreted was due to the bacteria in the gut making N out of the carbohydrates in the sugar and needing less from the body reserves. Carnivores, which consume few if any carbohydrates do not produce N, nor do they excrete it. Instead it is used in their bodies to make the carbohydrates necessary for life. Conversely, herbivores, which consume only a small amount of N in their food excrete generous amounts of it. A two year old ox excretes 13 times more N than a man of the same weight. Remember, it is the bacteria which perform these transmutations, we humans are not nearly sophisticated enough. Plants make nitrogen (and amino acids are made of N). In A.Moyse,s book, “Respiration and Nitrogenous Metabolism, he cites an experiment done on leaves plucked from their parent plant. He put them in the dark in a controlled medium. The leaves began to decline at day four, which decline accelerates after the sixth day and death occurred at day ten. The total N in the leaves on day one is: 13.64mg and the total N at death is: 22.8 mg in the form of mineral nitrogen, NH3. That is a 70% increase in nitrogen and at the same time 82 mg of carbon disappeared. Moyse did not know where the carbon went but he wrote,” The direct origin by liberation of the pre-existing amides in the proteins and the indirect origin by conversion of the aspartic acid are not sufficient to explain this increase.” Yes, that is how these researchers really talk, always a hit at cocktail parties. Manures have a reduction of proteinic nitrogen and an endogenous formation (literally, proceeding from within), of NH3, from the carbohydrates of straw and cellulose.
Sulfur has 16 protons in its nucleus and oxygen has 8, so 2 oxygen molecules make one sulfur molecule. They are next to one another in the periodic table and share some properties. Sulfur is very corrosive at high temperatures, (oxygen is always corrosive at normal temperatures—oxidation). Sulfur is as vital as nitrogen and is fabricated by living organisms. This can be easily proven experimentally in plants and, of course, we all know that eggs produce sulfur because when they rot and combine with H we get the noxious-smelling hydrogen sulfide.
Manganese and ironwork hand in hand in the fields where farmers and researchers have noted that an excess of manganese produces the same effects as a lack of iron. Excess manganese impeded the assimilation of iron and vice versa. They aren’t sure what causes this effect but because plants require specific bacteria for the absorption of manganese and iron, they are studying the use of these bacteria to enrich manganese ores. Iron and manganese are separated by a single proton. In 1963 (yes, that long ago) Professor Pierre Baranger verified that during germination manganese disappeared while an equal amount of iron appeared. Baranger germinated seeds with a soluble manganese salt added to the water. He found that a great part of the Mn disappeared and an equal amount of Fe appeared, the weight of the disappearing Mn being 25 times the weight of Mn in the seed. The seeds have enough energy in their diastases (enzymes that catalyze or break apart), to remove the Mn thus creating good conditions to germinate in. Some plants cannot fabricate Mn during some phases of growth and must find it in the soil but only in the presence of the manganic bacteria although an overly acidic soil will inhibit the
absorption of Mn.
Kervran notes that oats take out of the impermeable, clayey soils more sulfur than there is in the soil – unfortunately, the condensation of three different books into this one does not give enough specific information to deeply understand what is going on. His point is that after years of cultivation, more sulfur, zinc, and manganese are taken from the soil than there are present in the soil, and none is added back. Thus, he questions where those minerals come from since they are absolutely present in the harvested crop. He says, “Biological transmutation explains the basic process of biological agriculture, whatever the specific method. The biodynamic method, as well as other methods involving active processes, use decoctions (rich in oligo-elements) to balance the acidity of the soil. The oligo elements are indispensable to the enzymes; the enzymes are in turn responsible for the biological transmutations. (Oligo, or oligonucleotide, is a short nucleic acid polymer used in the synthesis of DNA).
Leaving a field fallow has been a hallmark of agriculture from the beginning. People noticed that the fallowed field regained its fertility. A Swiss, Phiffer, author of “Fecondite de la Terre, saw that daisies grow where there is no limestone and when the ashes of these flowering plants are assayed it is found that they are rich in lime. The plants die and enrich the soil, year by year, with lime. No one has determined from whence it comes. Geraniums grew in a sand of pure silica, watered with rain or distilled water with no organic element added produce lime in addition to other elements. The sand used had naturally occurring bacteria, not sterilized sand.
According to Kervran, the lighter elements will transmute and only with elements with which they can gain or lose a proton and some combine H. So, Mg increases by Na11 + H1 which becomes Mg12. M12 +O8 becomes Ca20 in a reversible transmutation.
Back around 1960, when people my age were in 7th grade, there was an educational movie about plants, and in the section about photosynthesis, when it got to the part about what actually happens during photosynthesis, a little man was on the screen pulling down a window shade over the plant in the background and saying, “and then for reasons known only to God”…photosynthesis occurs. By the time we were all in high school the details of photosynthesis were in our biology textbooks.
But, and contrary to all expectation, the best way to upset plant metabolism and invite insect infestation is to put pesticides and artificial fertilizers on the plant and soil. Excess nutrients are produced in a plant when it is forced to produce more than it needs as with the use of high ammonia fertilizers. The double-edged sword of pesticides and fertilizers merely invites insects to the buffet.
The book is divided into three main parts, pesticides, and imbalances, and unfortunately, this includes pests that used not to be problems for growers like psyllids, mites, numerous cereal diseases, including viral ones, withering diseases, and the viral diseases of fruit trees and the grapevine. The basic conclusion is that the relations between plant and insect are nutritional.
So, since the intensive agricultural practices including pesticides and chemical fertilizers lead to inhibition of protein synthesis, the second part of the book is called “deficiencies and parasitic diseases”. It is no accident, we are told, that the symptoms of viral diseases are confused with nutritional deficiencies but the symptoms are from the deficiencies. The chemical shift from mineral and elemental products like copper and sulfur to chemical pesticides is implicated. This section of the book is dedicated to the research of Constantin Vago. Vago’s research suggests that there might be a general law applying to both plants and animals that would explain ‘disease’ in the same way for both.
The goal of this book, our author states, “is to explain the reasons for the failure of chemical pesticides, whether fungicides, insecticides, or (above all) herbicides.”
The classic explanation for outbreaks of pests is that the predators of the pests have been eradicated. But this seems not to be true. Some pesticides do kill predator insects but studies on mites show that the pests proliferate as a result of pesticides and increase in the fecundity, longevity, fertility, and ratio of females to males in the insect population. Fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides all have an effect on the nutritional makeup of the plant. Studies with grapes show that treating with pure water causes fewer attacks of Oidium (Uncinula necator) and grey mold (Botrytis cinerea). Captan, which is harmless to natural predators, causes attacks of mites, increases susceptibility to Oidium on apple trees, and causes crown gall on cherry trees.
At the moment of flowering, plants lose their capacity to perform photosynthesis, they even decompose and use some of their protein to add soluble nutrients to the reproductive organs. The flowering period of the plant is a primary period of vulnerability to attack. The age of the plant, temperature, and humidity are also factors. Very young leaves are not attacked because they contain a large amount of albumin and an “almost total lack of soluble compounds in the water,” while older leaves have a high proportion of sugar compared to starch and have low levels of nitrogen compounds since they are tied up in proteins.
The Colorado Potato Beetle has rendered a great service to humankind. The studies done on the beetle have taught us much about how the soil conditions relate to the feeding activities of the beetle. It was found that traditional methods of potato cultivation such as using manure and compost encourage resistance to the beetle and even to disease due to the biochemical state they produce in the plants. Any deficiency, especially in micro-nutrients, leads to an inhibition of the protein synthesis, with a corresponding rise in free amino acids (which insects eat). Even with everything in place, if the pH is off and the plants cannot absorb the nutrients, attacks will still occur.
The trophobiosis theory (from “trophic”, of or pertaining to food—Greek) was Chaboussou’s statement that “all vital processes depend on the satisfaction of the needs of the living organism, whether animal or vegetable.” Insects do not all have the same nutritional needs but they all do draw from the pool of soluble nitrogen (free amino acids) and reducing sugars. (Reducing sugar: any sugar that, when in solution, has an aldehyde or ketone group). When the process of protein synthesis is greater than protein breakdown the plants have the greatest resistance. And, determining the ratio of N2 compounds to reducing sugars could serve as a method for determining susceptibility to attack.
Originally, it was thought that pesticides acted only on the surface of plants — among these were copper-based products and the arsenic compounds that were to be eaten by the insects. More recent chemicals, systemic insecticides, and herbicides are meant to be absorbed. The use of foliar fertilizers and herbicides show that plant tissues are penetrated by the liposoluble compounds that are helped by the lipids in the cell walls of the plants. This explains how metallic salts can penetrate the plant and why plants have differing susceptibility to these chemicals. Pesticides are taken up by the plant in varying degrees depending upon the time of day, temperature, and the nutrition level and age of the plant. The chemicals are taken up through the leaf, through the root and through apoplastic pathways (through the gap between the cell wall and the cuticle that gives solutes access to the cell). Pesticides can also travel from cell to cell by the same pathways that allow cells to communicate: symplastic pathways. Researchers, we are told, are struck by the drastic consequences, such as sterilization of the soil after cupric treatments or the elimination of earthworms after dithiocarbamates. But worse than these is the rendering of crops susceptible to parasites. This happens through the seeds by coating them and through the trunk and main branches of fruit trees and grapevines during the application of both fungicides and insecticides. Even in winter, a tree can absorb sprayed chemicals.
DDT and 2,4-D, both common pesticides that have trophic effects on plants. (DDT was banned in the US in 1972 but the ingredients were exported to, among other places, Mexico where they combined them and used them on crops exported to the US until the UN banned its agricultural use worldwide, effective 2004). As early as 1960 it was known that applications of these pesticides increased insect and mold attacks within days. Eight to fifteen days after DDT on flower stalks there is an increase of aphid attack due to the rise in non-protein nitrogen and an increase in sugars in the stalks. Across the board, all types of chemical amendments usually applied to crops cause similar reactions, in the plants, to one degree or another, of increasing amino acids, decreasing protein synthesis and increasing soluble sugars rendering the plant susceptible to attacks from insects and infections. While it has been noted that some plants increase growth due to a hormone type reaction of the pesticide, the author did not note any nutritional gain, nor consider the effects of pesticide residues on human health.
The author begins the second part of the book with the statement, “From this point on we shall look, (from a rather different perspective) at the repeated failure of chemical pesticides to protect fruit trees and grape vines.” Normally, we would consider that a rather biased opinion, but it is backed up by much research. It is not that the pesticide is ineffective, but that it offers nutritional stimulation of the virulence of the pest by altering the biochemistry of the host plant. We are told that we must not aggravate the “parasitic complex” of plant, virus, and vector. We can have a disease, caused by an insect on a particular plant. Through intensive cultivation, bacterial diseases are becoming more difficult to control. This is due to two things: the use of new chemical pesticides, often in multiple applications without a serious examination of their effects on the biochemistry of the plant and the excessive use of chemical fertilizers, most especially nitrate fertilizers which generally increase the soluble nitrogen in the plant tissues making them vulnerable to insect and disease attack. Remember that protein synthesis is the end product of amino acid synthesis, there can be considerable amino acid content in the plant without a corresponding synthesis of complete proteins.
Of special interest to the members of the BFA is that chemical fertilizers and fungicides interfere with micronutrients. Copper is discussed extensively because, while copper has little effect against bacteria, it still offers a “prolonged positive effect” against bacterial diseases. This could be because the copper has a beneficial influence on the metabolism of the plant. Primavesi et al. found that in rice, a copper deficiency creates an excess of nitrogen which opens the plant to attack. The N/Cu changes from 35.0 in healthy rice to 54.7 in diseased rice, through a deficiency in copper. They concluded that level of 18ppm of Mn and 2ppm of Cu are sufficient in the soil they studied. Other levels could be similarly effective in our soils. Since boron is lacking in New England soils, we should note that with applications of nitrate fertilizers the levels of boron in the leaves of cherry trees go down, more so with multiple applications.
Some treatments for bacterial disease are taking a different path. Instead of killing the bacteria the aim is to prevent it from attacking and multiplying. It is useless to try to destroy bacteria with toxic agents, and they affect the plants adversely by inhibiting protein synthesis. If there is a fairly direct relationship between the disease and one or two deficiencies, we should be able to detect these and remedy them. Apart from micronutrients, the balance of cationic elements must be considered such as the K/Ca ratio. Boron will keep Ca in soluble form and it is only active in combination with magnesium, manganese, and molybdenum. The author cites a case where foliar sprays with a micronutrient base led to an increase on the ration of B/Zn, from 11 to 47, and eliminated the failure of the fruit to set in grape vines. Incidentally, a great deal of this research was done on grapes grown in France to increase the success of their wines.
While nitrogen applied excessively tends to make plants susceptible to viral (and bacterial and fungal) diseases it is just the opposite for potassium fertilization. Its effects vary according to the type of K fertilizer. On beets, the yellow virus symptoms are least where K is highest. Yellow virus increases the content of reducing sugars and K counteracts this, reducing the plant’s sugar loss and increasing yields where K is in the nutritive solution. A potassium deficiency can lead to the decomposition of proteins.
It is the herbicides that through their specific and drastic effects, provide the greatest insight into the relationships among these three factors of disease, the pesticide, the plant and the virus. McKenzie et al. (1968) in controlled lab experiments on resistant or semi-resistant corn to the maize dwarf mosaic virus showed that the MDMV increased as a direct result of the application of atrazine from 19% at 1ppm to 100% infection at 20ppm. Since all herbicides are toxic far all plants, i.e. protein synthesis inhibitors, all such herbicides may be causal factors in the spread of viral disease, as in the example of the atrazine.
The concept of disease is changing.
After more than two centuries of research in every domain of pathology, aiming to define pathologic processes as morbid entities, there is a new trend that acknowledges the difficulty of trying to explain numerous pathologic states on the basis of the isolated unit called ‘disease’.
Vago’s work began with the study of the problem of silkworms being grown in an area bounded by chemical factories. These worms get a virus called NPV. When fed washed leaves 13% of the worms got NPV when fed unwashed leaves 23% of the worms got NPV. When healthy leaves were fed, that is, those that had not been exposed to the air coming from the chemical factories, only 2% of the worms got NPV. Vago understood that this disease was unleashed by the contamination of the leaves with sodium fluoride which was the main effluent from the factories. But Vago felt that the disease went farther than mere poisoning. He fed the worms on various diets short of nutrients and found that these deficient diets also promoted NPV. Using a control group in which no NPV was present he fed the worms on leaves that had been soaked in a 0.01% solution of NaF, the same amount found in the effluent from the factories. The healthy worms developed 85% NVP infection, while the group fed uncontaminated leaves had only 8% NVP.
It appears possible to trigger an acute virosis without previous infection and in the controlled absence of any sign of virus…the underlying factors may be linked to diet, to poisoning by certain chemical substances or to climatic and conditions.
These two considerations suggest that the factors behind the triggering of the virosis are physiological disturbances. In spite of the varied nature of their external effects, these may have in common a specific mechanism at the cellular level.
The unleashing of viroses by noninfectious factors seems to us to have the form of a complex. The first stage of this complex consists of various pathological processes, while the second stage is represented by the virosis.
This explains the difficulty of eliminating viral diseases if one does not take into consideration the physiological state of the plant, and especially true if pesticides and artificial fertilizers are applied to the plant.
Chlorine has a tendency to reduce the synthesis of proteins allowing free amino acids and at the same time, promoting the decomposition of proteins in the plant which invites aphids and viruses but the question is, which comes first, the aphid or the virus? In extensive studies on aphids and potatoes, the researchers could not actually find a virus vector between the aphid and the potato. They concluded that conditioning the plant to promote a good rate of protein synthesis by balancing nutrition and minerals was more effective than the use of nitrogenous and chlorinated pesticides.
How the devil can all these diseases, already catastrophic enough, blackmail cereal crops in such a fantastic, ceaseless way? What sort of curse has been placed on these fields? Is there no way out of this infernal spiral?
I couldn’t help thinking of all the Biblical patriarchs who lamented in similar ways…
Beginning in the early 1980s there was an increase in the numbers and kinds of viral infections of cereal crops and a previously rare condition involving ‘parasitic complexes’, that is, a group of viruses of differing kinds attacking the crops simultaneously. Even the Procida pesticide company was bewildered, and decided that there must be “other aggravating factors not accounted for simply by natural and climatic conditions.”
Chaboussou says that these factors are increased fertilization, in particular, the massive use of nitrogen fertilizers and the equally massive use of chemical pesticides, especially herbicides and fungicides. Other researchers found that the causative factors in Helminthosporiosis (brown stain) were early and dense sowing, nitrogenous fertilizers and fungicide treatments applied during the course of vegetative growth. A non-persistent chemical (supposedly) acting on the surface of the plant as a fungicide can alter the cereal’s physiology and it’s susceptibility to its various parasites.
There is a belief that the various fungi have developed resistance to the fungicides. But how much credit should we give these “alleged resistances” in the face of our knowledge of how the plant is adversely altered by chemical applications that leave them vulnerable?
That Chaboussou and others are on the right track can be seen in the re-conversion of crop fields to ‘organic’ or traditional farming methods. Weeds such as couch grass, thistles, wild oats, and foxtail grew on the sprayed farms. When they switched, these weeds disappeared over time. Deep plowing took care of the couch grass, greater emphasis on leguminous plants and companion planting cleaned and enriched the soil. Halting pesticide use lead to an excellent state of the crop and took care of the aphid problem, and this led to better livestock and the elimination of septicemia and mastitis, and ticks, which our author says, would be unreasonable to neglect if this shows a certain level of physiological resistance in the animals. (Interesting, but unproven, alas.) Finally, the savings were excellent, the organic methods using two to three times less energy than the “conventional” methods. All this, of course, results in the improvement of the nutritional value of the food.
Rice is one of the most important food crops in the world feeding billions of people every day. It would be unthinkable that this crop should ever fail or even be diminished. Primavesi et al. found that there is a high, statistically significant correlation between yield and levels of Ca and Mg. The pH has an impact on the severity of disease: healthy rice grows in water at pH 5.4-5.8; rice suffering from Pyricularia grows in water at pH 6.8-7.9. Nitrogen-rich fertilizers increase the susceptibility of rice while potassium lowers it, maximum yield is obtained with an average level of K and higher levels of K are found in healthy rice that in that with Pyricularia. All of this is no surprise. Addressing environmental factors (the pH), mineral deficiencies and nutritional deficiencies, and eliminating the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers could enrich rice crops worldwide, and feed more people adequately. If anything points up the purpose of our campaign to raise bio-nutrient dense food, this issue is at the forefront.
In practice, optimum nutrition can be seen from two angles, the major elements, like N, P, and K, Ca Mg and others and the micronutrients, Cu, Fe, Zn, Mo, Mn, Li B, and so forth. The first thing we must do is avoid deficiencies, and then learn how to correct them. Traditional anti-fungal methods do just this. Potassium seems to be the element that offers the most resistance to plant parasites. There are over 40 enzymes connected to K, and accordingly, a lack leads to an increase of reducing sugars and amino acids. There are at least 30 diseases or disorders associated with calcium which has an effect on the circulation of carbohydrates.
It is, we are told, important to remember that all synthetic fungicide applications increase total nitrogen levels in the plant being treated. And, what happens in the soil, after repeated applications, may be a factor in the frequent boron deficiencies found in orchards and vineyards. It is no surprise that some of the preparations used against fruit scab contain what are essential nutrients for plants such as copper, sulfur and potassium permanganate which also provides manganese. Potassium plays a major role in protein synthesis, but it must be balanced with calcium and these balances can be tricky. In one species, Mentha piperita (peppermint), it was found that if calcium were dominant, it stimulated proteolysis (protein breakdown) and the production of asparagine, which encourages fruit scab, and when potassium is dominant, it stimulates protein synthesis with a high glutamine content. Which shows us that even when we think we have everything in order and all the necessary elements present, we must also have the necessary ratios.
As another method of disease control, Polyakov, in 1971, tried soaking seeds before planting in micronutrient solutions. One experiment used sunflower seeds and copper, manganese, cobalt, and boron, in 0.1% solutions for ten hours (2 liters being sufficient for seeds to plant 2.4 acres). All of these elements used separately caused a reduction in the Sclerotinia or grey mold.
After all, this, restating the premise: a predominance of protein breakdown increases the plant’s susceptibility, and a predominance of protein synthesis increases the plant’s resistance or immunity. Increased vulnerability is caused by abandoning mineral products like copper and zinc in favor of chemical pesticides especially dithiocarbamates. Deficiency leads to inhibition of protein synthesis leading to accumulation of soluble substances which improved the nutrition of parasites leading to rapid multiplication and virulence of bacteria and viruses. This is the trophobiotic theory. It explains why symptoms of deficiency coincide with those caused by diseases. At the same time, it explains why chemical fertilizers can cause the deficiencies which have such drastic underlying consequences for the plant. According to Vago, both plants and animals are susceptible to disease because of metabolic problems.
To conclude, our author says, a theory only acquires value through the results it provides. In this respect, we can already say that the results so far obtained concerning the protection of various plants from different diseases serve to confirm our ideas and encourage us to continue along this path. These results are based on achieving well-balanced fertilization and stimulation of protein synthesis through the use of complexes of micronutrients.
We are also told that we need to overcome the idea of “the battle”. We must not try to annihilate the parasite with toxins that have been shown to have harmful effects on the plant, yielding the opposite effect to the one desired. We need to stimulate resistance by dissuading the parasite from attacking. All of which implies a revolution in attitude, followed by a complete change in the nature of research.
James Nardi starts with the bacteria and fungi in the soil, the nitrogen fixers, the digesters of plant and mineral matter and the largest populations in the soil. In a square meter of soil, one could find 1010 bacteria, 109 protozoa, 5 million nematodes, 100K mites, 50K springtails, 10K rotifers and tardigrades, 5K insects, myriapods, spiders and diplurans, 100 slugs and snails and one, just one vertebrate—possibly the farmer or the dog.
The bacteria and fungi live on plant roots, decaying matter and live in every small space in the soil. Nardi mentions a researcher in Britain who calculated that the surfaces lining all the tiny pores and passageways in a couple of tablespoons of soil add up to a quarter of a million square feet–the area occupied by a city block. But, we are warned, if there is no humus, no organic matter in the soil, if the clay particles are forced together then there is no room for these micro-organisms to flourish.
As we climb the ladder of evolution Nardi leaves the microbes of the plant kingdom behind and considers the invertebrates, that 97% of the animal kingdom that have no backbone. They can be predator or prey, herbivores or fungivores, scavengers, shredders of plants, munchers of dung. They are the nematodes, earthworms, rotifers, mites, and others numerous. Possibly the earthworm is the most familiar of these creatures as they are so sociable, turning up in shovels of dirt, hanging out in the early morning to catch the first rays or drowning in the driveway after a heavy rain. Darwin devoted his last book to earthworms, noting that the worms can examine a leaf to determine which end of the leaf will be easier to drag into its burrow. Earthworms are more effective than plows at moving earth, opening the soil to oxygen and water and providing habitat for smaller creatures. We are told to disturb the earth as little as possible but the earthworm never stops rearranging and reordering the soil for the benefit of all creatures, including us. There are many other soil movers and diggers, some that live on the surface of the soil, some that live in the layers of decaying plant matter that should be covering the soil and some that rummage through these layers from the top: all are looking for food, mates, reproduction chambers and to escape being someone else’s meal.
The list of creatures that disturb the soil is very long, but think of beetles, ants, termites, wasps, hornets and bees, crayfish, moles and voles, chipmunks, woodchucks, snakes, birds, wombats (yes, their burrows can extend a hundred feet), mice and badgers (the best diggers), prairie dogs, meerkats and gophers. Think of thousands of bison trucking their way across a prairie, digging it up with their hooves and leaving it open to sun and sky, or dung beetles dragging a fragrant ball into an earthen burrow with one precious larvae tucked inside each nutritious sphere. When you remember that 30% of the production of a plant goes back into the soil to feed the life there (Arden Anderson, Science in Agriculture), then you have a picture of a fertile garden of Eden for creatures large and small but a garden in which the denizens are forever cultivating, pruning, tending and seldom relaxing.
The latter part of Nardi’s book is a short course on how to get along
with the creatures and plants of the soil. He talks about the many things we do that directly and adversely affect the soil and its inhabitants. Acid rain, for instance, caused by the pollutants from power plants and automobiles puts soils at risk, as does excess sodium, both explained in part three of the book. James Nardi makes all of this easy to understand and relate to our soils. Naturally, he cautions against using artificial fertilizers which deplete the soil. He mentions that in 2005 it took three times the amount of artificial fertilizer to get the same results as gotten in 1975. The problem with these fertilizers is that they ultimately remove organic matter from the soil that gives the soil it’s spongy, water holding capacity and turns large granules of soil into those small, packed together grains that have no spaces for water, oxygen or humus and, hence, no flora and fauna in the soil, all of this leading to erosion and dramatic loss of topsoil.
Another warning he gives is against invasive plants, one of which, garlic mustard, has no mycorrhizal association and a chemical given off by the roots disrupts such associations in its vicinity. And, to carry coals to New Castle, an invasive species of earthworm, when introduced to forests, decomposes leaf litter in a matter of weeks when the normal cycle would be several years thus depleting the nutrient load for other forest floor and soil dwellers.
Composting is the answer to many of the ills we have visited upon the soil and its denizens. He advises cover cropping to restore organic matter and composting, complete with instructions, for smaller spaces. I might add, that disturbing the soil as little as possible beyond opening it to let in air and water is now thought to be the best way to handle the problem of disturbing soil life.
When we look over a field we might see some birds, a woodchuck or a rapidly disappearing rabbit but the sight of those few vertebrates, those surface dwellers we have seen all our lives, do not hint at what lives below. If we think of that subsurface as a city, filled with happy citizens going about their work of rotting, consuming, ionizing, reproducing, predating, and growing plants we will have the correct metaphor for the life beneath the surface. The first Europeans who came to this county had in mind that they were going to create a Godly place, The City on the Hill, they called it, that place where all was in accord with divine ideals. How strange to find it beneath our feet and to understand, finally, that we must work in concord with these unseen creatures, as much a part of the Creation as we are and possibly more important.
Part of his book deals with the health of the soil as it pertains to the health of plants and, consequently, our health. He is very clear on why we should avoid pesticides, the research proving that the chemicals cause cancer is now decades old and incontrovertible. Perhaps his most controversial proposal is mentioned only briefly: farmers who are farming organically are still using poisons, albeit organic ones, to control insects and diseases and not actually addressing the issues of soil health and nutrient density in their crops. For many farmers organic farming has become more a political philosophy than a standard of quality and integrity and, unfortunately for us, this is reflected in the produce in our grocery stores that may have no pesticides on it but also has very little nutrition.
Dr. Arden also talks about the importance of healing the spirit. He clearly states that he is a Christian and says that he believes that spirituality, not religious dogma is the key to understanding God and the Creation, and quotes 1 Cor.3:16-17 on the body as the temple of God.
He lectures and writes on soil health and teaches farmers how to correct the soil to reduce or eliminate weeds, insect pests, and plant diseases.
The soil that a plant is grown in has an immense effect on what that plant contains in it. A healthy high functioning soil will produce crops that are flavorful, aromatic, nutritious, and should desiccate, not rot.
Historically, agricultural societies rose up in river valleys where annual floods would systemically remineralize the soil on a regular basis, and so the act of harvesting crops from the soil was balanced by natures nutrient replenishment. Since the dawn of agriculture, societies have moved beyond river valleys, but the basic extractive nature of agriculture has not changed. Every year a crop is harvested off of a soil it takes with it the minerals that are most biologically valuable, and over time if this effective mining is not addressed farmers find that their soils have worn out.
In the United States, we had a vast and fertile plain that has served as a breadbasket for generations. Unfortunately, the agricultural practices that have been applied on most of our countries soils have been primarily destructive and we find ourselves in a position where the USDA has been documenting mineral and nutrient declines on the average foodstuff for the past 80 years since the first records were kept.
The dominant incentive in farming currently is yield. Farmers are paid based on the number of bushels and pounds produced, and so treat their soil accordingly. Doing what is necessary to harvest a crop even if it is in many cases destructive to the soil. We have gotten to a place where the soils on many farms simply will not produce under conventional fertility programs, and it seems our populace is also in a similar position. So worn out and tired that degenerative disease and underlying health issues are extraordinarily prevalent.
Crops are currently distinguished by type, but not by quality.
This central issue is one that the BFA is working to address, as the assumptions that are made based on this point have several significant ramifications.
Numerous studies have been done with lab and farm animals feeding them rations that were apparently similar except for the underlying nutrient levels in the foodstuff to dramatic effect. Agronomists among whom Dr William Albrecht is a leading light have grown corn, soy, wheat, oats and other crops out in soils of different mineral levels and then fed those foods to animals and documented growth, disease, vigor and functional intelligence over generations of these animals and seen disease and degeneration in those animals fed crops grown on mineralogically denuded soils, and vigor health and vitality in those animals grown in balanced soils.
The basic premise behind these animal experiments is the operating assumption of the BFA. The nutritive value of the crops we eat has a direct impact on our personal and generational health.
Currently our food supply infrastructure does not discern relative nutritive value of the crops we eat, and we are provided food based on production type and volume specifications only.
From the perspective of crop production, soil fertility at its core is determined by soil life. Conventional agronomy as it is taught in most formal university settings does not prioritize soil life as the central force, and it could be argued that this is causal in the drastic decrease in agricultural soil fertility worldwide. Conventional fertility and management protocols are in many ways very destructive to soil life, and due to this have effected desertification, erosion, pollution of waterways, aquifers, and the environment in general. The following analysis does not accept conventional agronomy as sufficient.
Soil fertility from the growers perspective correlates with the ability of the crop plant to get its nutritional needs met, and to flourish. To understand how this works the first central point that must be understood is that all plants in nature, and in healthy environments have well established multi-speciated symbiotic relationships with soil and leaf life. In nature, plants produce sugar through photosynthesis that is then fed by the plant to numerous species of bacteria and fungi that use that sugar to reproduce and excess minerals out of the soil and air environment that are digested and then fed back into the plant and soluble organic compounds. This symbiotic relationship is at the core of soil fertility and must be understood as the central force at work.
With this symbiotic relationship understood, then soil fertility management becomes a process of understanding what components are critical to the crop system at hand which is not present and then addressing them. In many cases, key minerals that are enzyme cofactors and critical for biological system function are not present or insufficiently present and become limiting factors. Many soils are low in boron, or sulfur, or perhaps cobalt and molybdenum, and because these minerals are missing critical biological functions are inhibited. The BFA recommends that growers use a comprehensive soil test that tests these minerals as part of a systemic fertility plan.
Soil life species are another important limiting factor in fertility management, and due to historical environmental factors, many critical species are simply not present in agricultural soils. Microbiologists estimate that there may be as many as 1,500,000 species of soil fungi and 3,000,000 species of soil bacteria. While not all of these species are found in any one area, or needed by any one plant, the fact that most agricultural soils have no more than 5,000 species present in total in many cases means that critical biological pathways that ensure overall system health are broken. The BFA recommends that growers use biological inoculants on seed, and at planting and transplanting in an effort to address these system issues.
The next step critical to soil fertility function is to ensure that the environment that soil life need to thrive is established in the cropped area. Heavy or deep tillage is a highly destructive process when it comes to soil life establishment and should be minimized in an effort to not regularly destroy soil life populations that may be building up in soil on a seasonal basis.
Other key components that need to be attended to are sufficient carbon or organic matter in the soil which serves as habitat for soil life, and air and water in the soil. The species of soil life that are the critical plant symbiotes are in many cases aerobic, which means that they need air to breathe, and they also need water for their systems to function. It then becomes incumbent upon growers to ensure that after the minerals and biological species are present, that they have the air, water, and carbon they need to thrive. Environmental conditions where these components are limiting factors are conditions where overall fertility is threatened.
Trace Elements are a component of soil amendment that is poorly addressed by most growers and often times will yield significant results with apparently minor amendment additions. Materials like Solubor, Borax, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Cobalt Sulfate, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenate are typical trace element products that can be applied at rates of 4-20 pounds per acre per year and will systemically address key limiting factors that exist in many agricultural soils.
An Agricultural Co-Op