How sweet it is (or can be!)

Last week, was a lot of dirty talk—well, talk about dirt, the soil 
and why it is so important to producing healthy plants.

We can't stress this enough—the soil is truly the foundation 
for all the work we do at the farm.

One of the main reasons we are so concerned with treating the soil 
and keeping it healthy and rich is, of course to ensure the good taste of our vegetables.  
Matt from Local Landscapers who works closely with us at the farm says: 
"Providing crops with optimal soil contributes to 
 the "brix level" which is a measure of sugars." 
photo by Steven Krause
A good organic gardening resource describes "brix" this way: 
"We like to know the brix of our fruits and vegetables for a couple of reasons. 
The first reason is that brix is a rather nice summary of how well 
we’re doing with our soil management practices. 
When we balance the soil nutrient ratios, increase organic matter content, 
build our soil food web and so on, plants get healthier and brix goes up in the plant juices.
As your brix rises, your food tastes better. It stores longer and is more nutritious. 
photo by Steven Krause

Dave's Garden, considered by many to be one of the "best website for gardeners," 
clarifies this further: "What makes good Brix? Good soil. 
Soil that is high in the proper nutritional elements will produce plants 
that are high in Brix, which in turn produce fruits and vegetables high in Brix. 
You cannot grow plants in poor soil and expect to produce 
vegetables and fruits with high Brix (which means that taste good!)."

Peppers last month looking like Christmas ornaments
A refractometer is a tool commonly used by winemakers to measure Brix
Technically speaking, it is an optical device that refracts (bends) light 
passing through a liquid. More simply, it works like a prism, 
reacting differently to light (by giving a reading on a scale) 
depending on the amount of sugar that is available.

Matt thinks it can be just as effective for us at the farm, so we will experiment with that.
Wild as it sounds, it might help us predict
 the precise right moment to harvest,
  allowing us to pick these tomatoes knowing they will be perfect 
later that day when you order the dish!
photo of tomato salad by Steven Krause
from Plats du Jour: the girl & the fig's Journey Through the Seasons in Wine Country

While the taste of this summers' fruits lingers, this is more than enough 
incentive for us to toil at the farm, work the soil and prepare the beds. 
Maybe next year's tomatoes will be even sweeter....

What are you doing in your fall and pre-winter garden 
to prepare for your spring planting?

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