1 year ago


Malibu Surfside News 021617

18 | February 15, 2017 |

18 | February 15, 2017 | Malibu surfside news Sound Off Don’t Panic, It’s Organic Brix: What is it, and why is it important? Andy Lopez Contributing Columnist Invisible Gardener Relative density scale indicates the percent of sucrose by weight (grams per 100 milliliters of water) in a solution or juice of a plant measured in degrees Brix. A refractometer is used for measuring solids dissolved in water; it corresponds directly to the refractive index scale. A refractometer allows you to accurately measure the percentage of sugar or Brix in any liquid with just two or three drops. A refractometer is a “must have” for anyone growing their own food. For most vegetables, flowers, etc, a good Brix level to maintain is 18 or higher. You can use a refractometer to measure the health of all plants, vegetables, flowers, trees and lawn. The higher the Brix, the healthier, disease and pest free is the plant, and the higher nutritional value the plant will have. A low Brix means that your crop will not grow to its potential due to some external limiting factor. This happens when you get a low Brix reading in one part of the plant and a higher Brix reading in another part. A refractometer will also tell you if your plant has watery cells. Watery cells indicate that the plant is very low in the sugars it needs to function. You want your plants to have lots of dissolved solids like sugar. Using a refractometer to keep track of your plants’ health over time will help you determine problems before they crop up, as you can tell if what you are doing is working or not. Healthy plants will have a very high Brix reading. Brix levels are important to know if you want to detect problems early. It has taken me over 55 years to understand that low Brix levels usually mean trouble for your plants. Living in such a wonderful year-round climate, one can see from my location that I have developed into a specific niche, and within that niche grow only specific plant varieties and have done so forever. In Malibu, we do not have to worry about snow, and our plants show it. A good gardener can tell if a plant is getting all its minerals or not by how the plant looks, but sometimes it is helpful to have a tool to guide you. Digital models usually cost more and are harder to use; however, they are worth it once you get good at using it. You can expect the cost to range from $50- $200. If you buy one that is too cheap, don’t expect it to last. I’d buy an analog refractometer around the $100 mark. Refractometers and charts are also available from: Pike Agri-Lab Supplies Inc., RR2, Box 710, Strong, ME 04983; and Rex Harrill, PO Box 6, Keedysville, MD 21756. Once you obtain your refractometer, here’s how to get a reading. First, get the juice from either the fruit, the leaf, or whatever part you want to read. You can also use it for carrots and other below-ground crops. This can be done by placing a small amount of the juice onto the glass and then looking through the eyepiece to read the Brix level. The Brix level is the point (line) where the dark part on top meets the white solid bottom. Where the two meet, you read the Brix number next to it. That’s it! Any questions? Email me at andylopez@invisiblegardener. com. SEND NEWS TIPS TO or call (310) 457 - 2112 MALIBU'S TOP SOURCE FOR NEWS & INFORMATION MALIBU SURFSIDE NEWS Sound Off Malibu surfside news | February 15, 2017 | 19 Social snapshot Top Web Stories from as of Friday, Feb. 10 1. Krasner’s musical talents shine at Yale, beyond 2. Family, loved ones seek justice as attorney general rules no police misconduct in Mitrice Richardson case 3. Friedlich: ‘It’s a true calling’ 4. Beatles lecture draws large Malibu crowd 5. Missing woman’s car found in Malibu Become a member: From The Editor A beautiful outpouring of love Lauren Coughlin I’m impressed. We ended up with a total of 13 beautiful stories of how Malibu residents met. Each story was unique, and it was my pleasure to be able to read them and get such a personal glimpse into that special moment in your lives. To those who submitted, I cannot thank you enough. There were fate-fueled stories such as that of Bob and Jackie Sutton (who began dating as a result of a coin toss), and Ruth and David Gomez (who met at a wedding on Valentine’s Day). There were the stories that showed that good things do come around, such as those of Lisa Jo Cohen and Gregg Angell, as well as Pat Shafer Falkner and Avery Falkner. I could go on, but there’s no point in me rehashing all of the scenarios, because nobody can tell them quite like those who have lived them. On Page 5, you will find the sweet story of contest winners, John and Nanci Iannone. For me, it was the last line that sealed it: “We’re now married 10 years, blissfully ensconced here in the most beautiful place on earth, with a cat in the yard and a purple motorcycle for the canyons, and every anniversary we look up to the skies and thank those two moms who were wise enough to know that all good things really do come to those who wait.” It was truly a beautiful conclusion to an already amazing love story. I know how much effort went into writing each essay, so we are sharing the rest of the submissions in full on www.MalibuSurf All of the submissions will be posted by Valentine’s Day. Malibu Library posted Feb. 7, saying, “Thank you to the patron who returned this long-overdue book, found hidden in a child’s bedroom. That child is now an adult. It was checked out in 1999!” Like Malibu Surfside News: Pepperdine Alumni (@PeppAlum) posted the following Feb. 9: “We’re #PepperdineProud of David Young’s (‘99) company, promoting water collection & compostable waste. Read here:” Follow Malibu Surfside News: @malibusurfsidenews Letter to the Editor In response to last week’s news cover Your touching article inspired me to reflect upon my life and to honor four Japanese-American scientists, mentors, collaborators and friends who played key roles in my development and maturation as a scientist. I owe a debt of gratitude to these special people, who were there for me at four key stages of my life and career. Robin Okinishi taught me electronics and amateur radio in the early ‘60s and hired me as an engineer upon entering college — my first job in advanced technology. Shortly after the U.S. entered WWII against Japan, Robin’s family was displaced from his childhood home in Kauai to a Japanese Internment camp in Arkansas, some 4,000 miles away — a huge distance “justified” by our government, since Robin’s father was a ham radio operator. The late Dr. Doug Tanimoto hired me as a physicist in the laser department at Hughes Aircraft during my graduate years at Caltech. He also supported me as a Hughes Masters Fellow. Doug was instrumental in supporting my transition from Hughes Aircraft in Culver City to the world-famous Hughes Research Laboratories (now, HRL Labs) in Malibu. During WWII, his family was sent to a Japanese Internment camp (most likely the Gila River retention center, in Arizona). The late Dr. Charles Asawa was my first boss and mentor at HRL. He also supported my being hiring at HRL in the laser department, and supporting me as a Hughes Doctoral Fellow at Caltech. (Interestingly, Charlie played an active role in demonstrating the world’s first laser at HRL in 1960.) Charlie also played a key role in my maturation as a laser physicist. Unfortunately, shortly after the Presidential Executive Order of February, 1942, Charlie’s family was displaced from their Los Angeles home and transferred to a Japanese Internment camp in Arkansas. Dr. David Sumida was my lab collaborator, coauthor and co-inventor on various photonics programs at HRL prior to retiring. Unfortunately, after the start of WWII, David’s father and paternal grandparents lost several hotels they ran in Oregon. They were then sent to a Japanese Internment camp in Idaho. As an offspring of holocaust survivors, I can relate to, and appreciate, the inhumane sacrifices that Robin, Doug, Charlie, David and their respective families were forced to make, even as proud U.S. citizens. I am grateful and thankful to my Japanese-American friends and colleagues, who have supported me over 50 years of my life as a scientist. David Pepper, Malibu resident Malibu Surfside News Sound Off Policy Editorials and columns are the opinions of the author. Pieces from 22nd Century Media are the thoughts of the company as a whole. Malibu Surfside News encourages readers to write letters to Sound Off. All letters must be signed, and names and hometowns will be published. We also ask that writers include their address and phone number for verification, not publication. Letters should be limited to 400 words. Malibu Surfside News reserves the right to edit letters. Letters become property of Malibu Surfside News. Letters that are published do not reflect the thoughts and views of Malibu Surfside News. Letters can be mailed to: Malibu Surfside News, P.O. Box 6854 Malibu, CA 90264. Fax letters to (310) 457-0936 or email