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Old September 18, 2019   #16
biscuitridge
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Pureharvest-you are absolutely right,I agree with everything that you have written on the brix subject,keep up the good info,we desperately need more of it. Everyone seems so quick to blast their plants with all kinds of fungicides, mildewcides, chemicals, etc.. it's refreshing to hear from someone that seems to understand a little of how nature works. Thanks for your posts!
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Old September 18, 2019   #17
oakley
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Good read. Bookmarked.

Brix measures solids, sugars. Hand in hand with minerals, =vitamins. Healthy fruit
from good balanced soil. Healthy plants develop an immune system to battle disease.
The symbiotic relationship with plant/soil can be improved many ways.
Irrigation, food, ...balance. Who has time?, but we do our best with what knowledge
we have. 5 days of cold rain?....block the soil around your plants. Drought?...drip irrigation.
Consistent feeding schedule. Finding what works, be it slow release, or
manual. I do my best but FAR from perfect.

I use my refractometer for maple water/sap. Knowing the 'run' watching the weather
works fine but towards the end of the flow, I'm wasting my time if my brix is too low.
Fruit trees, wine grapes. Berries I just taste. Concords no need to follow brix
readings. Taste good, harvest. Asian pears I brix. In my climate it is so hard to find
that perfect 3-5 harvest days. Picking at peak will give a longer storage time.

I'm using it more and more just out of curiosity. My best highly rated tomatoes do
not consistently measure high brix. I did post in 2017 one very high brix reading.
(rare that I brix tomatoes) but...I knew this one tomato was different. First fruits
were 11.5. I did not realize I could get a cell phone pic of the reading. Later fruits
were also higher than usual. (6-7 is standard from my fruit).
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Old September 18, 2019   #18
oakley
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I've had some incredible fruit this year. Market fruit, not mine. Samples at market
are common in NY. I had one watermelon I may have not purchased without
a taste first. Not one person passed it up.
I like a kumquat fine. Bought a 1/2 lb nickel bag from a street vendor last week and walking on I had a taste...(eaten whole peel and all)....about face and bought
5 pounds. Brixed at home reading off the chart high.
You are measuring volume, quality, ...everything that is not water. That mealy
white/pink watermelon (so frustrating getting a bummer one) will read so low
having little food value/flavor.
My mothers cellophane tomato packet she buys and refrigerates...probably will
read so low its embarrassing. Low food value.
So if you have one, use it to test and learn by side by side comparisons.
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Old September 18, 2019   #19
oakley
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One way I've tried to explain it to my own pea brain head is my water filter system.

When researching what system you need, first is a thorough lab test. Send it off and seek
expert advice what is needed/recommended. (similar is soil testing).
With a reverse osmosis system, I have a water reader that lets me know when the filters
need changing. Same simple tester the 'culligan man' uses. It measures particulates that
are unwanted in drinking water. Basic.
(last spring I knew I needed to change my filters but was busy with work...tested and it
read fine but not ideal. I fill reusable water bottles from my tap and freeze. Thinking I was
drinking less than quality until I could change my filters, I bought a small case from the
grocery...it tested barely ideal). Passes FDA standards.

Brix readings are basic also. But will give a reading for quality over a substandard product.
(Not just a sugar like processed sugar mixed in your cookie dough.)
A grocery fruit or veg is manipulated/bred to look pretty and travel well. Why home grown
will always be best/taste better. May not brix as high as the charts, but that is why we look
at our soil health.
The chart is something to strive for.
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Old September 18, 2019   #20
shule1
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Don't forget that proteins (which include amino acids), salts (I don't just mean sodium chloride), acids and other water soluble things also help to determine the brix. A large percentage of the brix might often be sugar, but the rest of it seems would be significant, too, especially from a health perspective. Also, tomatoes could contain synthetic water soluble chemicals at times, which might be factored into the brix.

Last edited by shule1; September 18, 2019 at 11:57 PM.
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Old September 19, 2019   #21
biscuitridge
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They can't contain synthetic chemicals unless man has put them there! Nature doesn't make synthetic chemicals!
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Old September 19, 2019   #22
shule1
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@biscuitridge I agree that tomatoes don't create synthetic chemicals. What I meant is that synthetic fertilizers, synthetic mineral salts, fungicides, etc. could have been absorbed by the plant, and some may end up in the fruit. Of course, not every kind of synthetic chemical would be absorbed equally, and maybe some not at all. I'm sure the plants would break down some kinds of chemicals into other forms (which may or may not be as concerning as the original). Some synthetic chemicals may actually be helpful/beneficial to humans and/or plants while some may be harmful, and others may be of little concern for a particular person.
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Old September 19, 2019   #23
RJGlew
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Some interesting notes on tomatoes & Brix here:

http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/tomatoes.htm
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Old October 1, 2019   #24
PureHarvest
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Another short but really good read on root exudates and soil/plant interaction:

https://onpasture.com/2019/09/30/wha...root-exudates/
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Old October 2, 2019   #25
MissS
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lubadub, I commend you for ingenuity on using your refractometer on your tomatoes. I would think that you would learn quite a bit after learning your readouts and then tasting your produce. I am wondering what your findings will be between plant nutrition and the meters reading.
I have a refractometer but only use it on flowers. I enjoy learning about hummingbirds and what draws them to their favored flowers. Is sugar content the deciding factor?
Good Luck!
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Old October 2, 2019   #26
shule1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissS View Post

I have a refractometer but only use it on flowers. I enjoy learning about hummingbirds and what draws them to their favored flowers. Is sugar content the deciding factor?
Good Luck!
That's a pretty cool experiment! I've never heard of refractometers being used that way.
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Old November 30, 2019   #27
MissS
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Shule, my findings for my yard are that the higher the brix the more use of the flower even if the plant is a low producer of nectar. Of course they do visit all of the hummingbird type of flowers, just the high brix more often than the others.
This was fun and will continue on. I grow many different plants each season and will test each to see how it performs.
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Old November 30, 2019   #28
shule1
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Awesome! Thanks for sharing that, MissS! that should be great to know for selection breeding.
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Old November 30, 2019   #29
Tormato
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b54red View Post
I have no idea how to measure brix scores but I do know when a tomato has a high sugar content even when it is quite acidic. Those are the rich tomatoes with a full complex flavor and they are usually at their best when it is a bit drier than normal and that has certainly been the case all of this season for me. I don't particularly care for the truly sweet tomatoes that seem to have too little of that acid bite to them and no longer grow any of them.

Some varieties that are usually not my usual favorites have been off the chart flavor wise this summer. City water is quite pricey here and I have been watering enough to keep things growing and alive keeping in mind the bill that will be due each month. Even so my tomatoes overall this year have been at the top as far as flavor this year but size has suffered with the lack of rainfall. Production per plant has probably been a little off due to some blossom drop from dry conditions and spider mite damage but still steady production even in the hottest weather. Although smaller than normal my black tomatoes have been exceptionally flavorful in the scorching heat of late summer and early fall this year along with a few of the reds and pinks. Even my ripe bell peppers have been extremely sweet and flavorful this year.

Bill

Ditto on the first paragraph.
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Old November 30, 2019   #30
Nan_PA_6b
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissS View Post
Shule, my findings for my yard are that the higher the brix the more use of the flower even if the plant is a low producer of nectar. Of course they do visit all of the hummingbird type of flowers, just the high brix more often than the others.
This was fun and will continue on. I grow many different plants each season and will test each to see how it performs.

My hummingbirds are pretty picky & really go for the red bee balm, and only occasionally go to the pink/purple. I wonder if the red has a higher brix? And if the general hummingbird tendency to seek out red means that statistically, do the reds have a higher brix?
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