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High Brix Gardening

No rain, but dense fog this morning as I roll out at 6:00 am to pick up the newspaper and check my little kitchen garden.

Those luscious yellow-orange blossoms on the zucchini have all been chewed off the stems overnight. The blossoms lie on the ground, and I gather them up to sautee. This was not the plan, though.

It’s obvious the soil needs some work. In 1967, I began a line of inquiry that led to today’s High Brix Gardening. As a young pregnant woman, I was involved in Lamaze and La Leche League. The big question in my first earth-mother phase was: what do I feed my son after he weans himself? That question led me to study nutrition. Following the related threads, I was led to read about agriculture, history, and organic gardening.

One of my heroes then was Louis Bromfield, novelist, bon vivant, and agrarian reformer. Using organic methods, he restored a worn out farm in Ohio, then a ruined jungle plantation: Malabar do Brazil.

“The White Room” was an essay in which he described his beloved spiritual retreat, a bare, white room in the plantation house where he wrote and contemplated the vagaries of life.

As I remember, the room contained little more than a chair and a desk facing a window with a view of the wilderness. His essay inspired my ever-after desire for a white room of my own, an uncluttered retreat for writing and thinking. My own dream now realized, my white room overlooks the woods.

There are several related lines of agricultural thought that include Biodynamics and now High Brix Gardening that restores micro and macronutrients to the soil to create more nutritious and disease and pest-resistant plants.

Have you ever plucked a dead-ripe tomato off the vine to bite into its richness and enjoy the juice dripping down your arm? Much of today’s grocery-store produce tastes like cardboard compared to “real” fruits and vegetables.

I refuse to poison the little beasties who’ve decapitated the zucchini blossoms. Instead, I’m Vita Mixing egg shells and kitchen trimmings into “cold compost.” We’ll see how successful my efforts will be. Soil preparation requires thought and time, and I have little of the latter.

Only an hour left this morning. I’ll spend it in the white room instead of the garden.

First things first.


1 Fran aka Redondowriter { 06.16.08 at 12:45 pm }

Oh, boy. I get to see you again — this time in Denver. Have a safe trip.

2 Terry Loncaric { 06.24.08 at 11:35 am }


I love your website and know firsthand about the healing power of writing.

I work as a writing coach/mentor with emotionally disturbed and learned disabled students. One of my students, with autism, created 20 haikus. He said he couldn’t do it. I kept telling him he had a rich imagination. It was miraculous to see the words spill from his imagination to the page.

During my past two years in a high school setting, I have had a chance to inspire and touch many students’ life. Basically, I just guide them to find their own natural talents. However, I do take them through the rigors of the editing process. I teach them that writing is ultimately an act of courage.

I am a teaching assistant embarking on a second career after 25 years as a feature writer, arts reporter, and print journalist. My writing continues to inform my decisions in the classroom. I previously taught a class in arts criticism at Columbia College in Chicago.

I embrace many of the beliefs you share and write about so beautifully in your website. We both have a Zen perpective.

That’s why I wanted to connect with you!

It’s always empowering to network with other creative people with healing spirits.

Secondly, I’d like to find a home for an essay I wrote on “Embracing Fear and Dread” as a writer. You are welcome to post it without payment on your website. The only thing I ask is the permission to submit it elsewhere. I would be honored to be included in your website.

Your writing is crisp, and your perspective that writing is inherently a spiritual act is one that I deeply embrace.

Under separate cover, I’m sending my article/esssay and hope you can post it. I’d greatly appreciate it.

Warm wishes,
Terry Loncaric
680 Independence Drive, #4
Palatine, IL 60074

(847) 202-1865

3 Jon C. Frank { 07.19.08 at 8:33 am }

I also enjoyed reading the account of how Mr. Bromfield was able to restore the land and even the water cycle on his farm–a wonderful example and vision.

To get high brix you must create the right environment via nutrient levels and ratios. When this takes place the plants will be have a higher brix and the bugs will leave your zucchini alone.

Best wishes for your garden and the health it leads to for you.


4 Ellen Moore { 07.19.08 at 9:56 am }

Jon, I’m thrilled to hear from you, as you’re one of my heroes, along with Bromfield. I’ve haunted your website
for inspiration. So much solid information!

The bugs (and puny plants) are telling me I have a long way to go with the kitchen garden. As you mentioned, the high brix concept can be applied to human and animal health, and has metaphorical implications as well. I’m working on creating a physical and emotional environment that will nourish the heart and soul. Small change by small change.

Thank you for making so much information accessible.

Ellen Moores last blog post..A Change of View

5 Hank Wessels Madelia, MN { 12.06.08 at 8:57 pm }

What an interesting subject many of you gardeners are writing about. I too, am a writer of garden columns, answering many questions on gardening here in the Midwest in Madelia, MN For a sample of my columns please email me at
Hank from Madelia, MN

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