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The Secret Sounds of Plants

İ1995 Stephen Jones

This article first appeared in the Australian publication, Nexus (Sonic Bloom; A Growing Success Story. by Stephen Jones) and has been modified slightly for republication here.

Sonic Bloom is a radical plant growth method involving application of a specially developed organic foliar nutrient spray together with an oscillating sound frequency.

The theory behind the technique is that plants open their surface pores or stomata when stimulated by certain sounds. During and after a serenade of pulsed chirps and whistles (for the plants) mixed with various classical musical selections (so that humans can enjoy the music too) the nutrient, c

World-record crops (including a listing in ³The Guinness Book of World Records² for the largest indoor plant) have been grown using this method. But in the minds of some people, the concept seems too bizarre for reality. Could this truly be the answer to end world hunger and reforest the planet, or is it just a fantasy in the mind of the inventor, Dan Carlson? After all, Sonic Bloom was invented years ago; if it works so well, why didnıt we hear about it sooner and why arenıt more people using the system? The answers to these questions unfold in this latest update from Stephen Jones, organic pip-fruit grower and importer to Australia and New Zealand.

Since reading about Sonic Bloom in the fascinating book, Secrets of the Soil, I visited the inventor in the US and met with some growers who had been using the system. Thoroughly impressed, I decided to bring back to New Zealand the sound generator and enough of the ³magic potion² to try it out on our 3,000 organic apple and pear trees. It worked wonderfully, and I found myself with superior, disease free, crisp juicy apples. Several months later I introduced the method to commercial growers and home gardeners throughout Australia and New Zealand.

Thanks to a few enterprising people, distributors were found and there were enough free-thinking conventional commercial growers willing to embrace the Sonic Bloom method. Many of them had been inspired by documented trials undertaken by the US Department of Agriculture, Albion Laboratories, Acres, USA, Professional Farmers of America, Landowner Magazine and a host of American growers. However, there were doubts in the minds of many people as to how well Sonic Bloom would perform ³ down under.² Initially, I donıt think that we encountered anyone who thought that it could live up to or exceed all the claims lauded by its inventor.

Commercial growers and home gardeners were soon reporting their successes with Sonic Bloom. Some were thrilled to grow crops successfully for the first time ever and to grow abundant, superior tasting fruits and vegetables. Stories abound of unbelievable yields, and growing such things as strawberries, beans and tomatoes beyond the normal growing season. Others tell of fruit trees and vines fruiting in abundance for the first time after years of no yields whatsoever. Almost everyone reported how they had encountered little or no pest or disease problems. For home gardeners, though, perhaps the greatest benefit was the unbelievable taste of fruits and vegetables treated with Sonic Bloom. Suddenly they found themselves with strawberries, tomatoes and apples tasting like they used to many years ago. Even Parker strawberries ­ a large Californian variety noted for its bland taste and appearance ­ take on even bigger proportions and look and taste fantastic. The flavor is back!

After Easter, and armed with an Australian film crew, we toured New Zealand and Australia to capture on film a small sample of commercial growing successes encountered after one seasonıs use. We began south of Auckland with Barry Gregory, a capsicum grower. His capsicums grew so well that he actually had to stop using Sonic Bloom for a month while he increased the height and strength of the growing frames to handle the extra growth and weight of the fruit! At the time of filming, Barryıs yields were already up 50 percent and the plants showed no signs of slowing down, even though it was late in the season and the glasshouses were not heated. Wherever there was room for a flower or a fruit on the plants, there were some. The fruit were quite large and still very sweet tasting.

We then traveled further north and filmed Brent Baldwin on his persimmon orchard. There we witnessed and filmed first year persimmon trees bearing fruit, something which Brent and his foreman of 15 years experience had never ever seen before. Persimmons normally do not bear fruit until four or five years. His established trees were looking green, too, and Brent estimated that his yields were up considerably on last yearıs and were perhaps two to three weeks earlier in maturity. This was a big factor for persimmon growers where frosts just prior to harvest can wipe out a yearıs work and income. Last year, without Sonic Bloom, Brent lost NZ$40,000 worth of produce to frost.

A ridiculously early flight brought us to Christchurch on a cold Sunday morning where we were greeted by Colin Marshall, a successful organic grape grower. The sight of his vineyard soon made amends for the temperature, however, and we filmed many different wine varieties absolutely loaded with delicious bunches of grapes. Colin has two year old plantings loaded with fruit. Ordinarily, such vines do not fruit until the fourth year. Normally slow growing varieties were rocketing away and Colin noted that his vines have had hardly any disease problems at all this season since he began using Sonic Bloom. Colin and his wife Norman are keen home gardeners, too, and we were shown potatoes and carrots which they had never previously been able to grow there, as well as beans, silver beet, and zucchini. The Marshalls couldnıt believe the amount of vegetables that they have been able to grow with Sonic Bloom, and their neighbors and friends are reaping the benefits from the surplus grown, some of it out of season. Their silver beet, for instance, was enormous! I pulled one stalk out of the ground which must have been at least 1.2 meters high, and it fed six of us for lunch. The taste of the silver beet and the carrots was sensational. You just canıt beat a chemical free, Sonic Bloom treated carrot for sweetness!

Northern New South Wales was our next stop, and we had the pleasure of meeting Stephen Fueglar, sugar cane and soybean grower. We counted up to 260 soybean pods per plant where 35 to 40 is normal, and his crop was estimated to be one month earlier in maturity compared to his neighborıs. The sugar cane was still months away from harvest but early indications looked promising.

From there we traveled by road through the picturesque town of Alstonville to meet Brian, a commercial flower grower. Very experienced and successful, Brian did not think that Sonic Bloom could improve on what he was already doing, but luckily for us he was astute enough to try it at least. We had arrived the week before Motherıs Day, so the green-houses were filled with a sea of striking color: thousands upon thousands of chrysanthemums and carnations all waiting to be picked and packed for florists.

Since using Sonic Bloom, Brian has reduced the time it normally takes to raise the plant from seed to cut flower stage. His previous ten-week cycle is now down to only six weeks. By treating seeds with the organic nutrient and running the sound unit, germination is speeded up to the point where he is transplanting large seedlings after 17 days instead of four to six weeks. Not only has turnaround time been reduced dramatically (therefore allowing for more crops per season) but also the plants are yielding twice as many blooms. Instead of two plants making one bunch of cut flowers, one plant will now make one bunch or more of cut flowers.

Before leaving, Brian showed us some nine-month-old eucalyptus trees which he grows for decorative foliage. These six-inch seedlings had grown to 14 feet in nine months after only five sprays. Thatıs pretty amazing in my book!

Queensland then became the focus of our attention, and we found ourselves on top of Mount Tamborine with Evelyn Green, a delightful lady growing organic produce for the neighboring Songbirds Restaurant, set amongst the rainforest and visited by many overseas tourists. The vegetables are hand-picked from Evelynıs gardens by the chef and his helpers and served at the tables within an hour or two. Evelyn is now able to grow tomatoes outdoors right through the winter with Sonic Bloom.

From the lush rainforest we journeyed into drought country to visit Alan McDougall, a silver beet, zucchini and exotic vegetable grower. Then the only grower in his area, Alanıs property has very poor soil and a dam that has run dry owing to no significant rainfall for the past four or five years. Despite these adverse conditions, Alan has been able grow exceptional quality vegetables, and much of his success he attributes to Sonic Bloom. He has never seen silver beet grow and mature so quickly, nor zucchinis continue to produce so heavily for so long. Interestingly, zucchini virus, which used to plague his older plantings, has miraculously disappeared since Alan introduced the method.

We went to Noosa to view some strawberry plants which had produced outdoors for nine months of the year with no sprays other than Sonic Bloom. Though there was some leaf damage from a recent hailstorm, the plants and their new runners were growing vigorously. What is normally a pale, fleshly, bland- tasting strawberry transforms itself into a rich, red, juicy and flavorsome fruit. Bowls of these strawberries were displayed at various agricultural shows in 1995, and most samplers could not believe these fruit were the Parker variety because they were so sweet and juicy with excellent color. Many commented that this is how they remembered strawberries tasting when they were children.

An hour or so out of Noosa brought us to a citrus orchard and Kurt, an organic grower who had tried Sonic Bloom and cited a triple-yield increase despite several months of drought. From there we visited a pawpaw farm and palm nursery all rolled into one, with an absolutely majestic setting of exotic palm trees, mountains in the background, and a kilometer of lake frontage. Pawpaw harvesting had only just begun, but early indications suggested a 20 percent yield increase and better taste. For a pawpaw grower, a 20 per cent increase is very significant, especially when you are already the top-producing grower. We suspect that with continued use of Sonic Bloom, these yields will increase even more next season.

The palm nursery was impressive, and the exciting news from the seed room was that some varieties of palm seeds, which can take six months to germinate, have been germinated with Sonic Bloom in as little as three-and-a-half months. We are encouraging the owners to treat the parent trees from which they gather the seeds. This will not only result in more seeds, but those seeds should result in superior seedlings. If overseas experience is anything to go by, the seeds will germinate and grow faster and become better specimens than their parents.

For me, the Queensland tour ended with Laurie, a macadamia nut grower, who, despite no irrigation and a five-month drought during the crucial growing period, ended up with a crop instead of nothing at all. In these harsh conditions, macadamia trees would normally abort their fruit. We can hardly wait to see the effects of Sonic Bloom on his trees next season when the carry- over benefits from this year and the full spray program next year should see Laurie with a dramatic yield increase. As in the overseas experience, we expect his trees to set 20 or more nuts per raceme instead of just a few. The financial gains to be had here are astounding.

There were a host of other successes which we would have loved to film, such as the two-year-old pine-tree trial in southern NSW by Des Priestly, a tree nursery and land owner as well as respected authority on forestry. The Sonic Bloom-treated trees attained almost double the height of the untreated trees after only four sprays of the nutrient. (The untreated trees still got the benefit of the sound, of course.)

The implications of this sort of rapid growth for reforesting the planet are enormous. I know of no other way in which we can quickly replace the thousands of square miles of rainforest which are indeed the lungs or our planet and are being ripped out at a frightening rate.

Bruce Loveday, a Queensland mango grower, produced his best crop ever last season despite a crippling drought. Bruce experienced a marvelous crop increase and exceptionally sweet fruit. ³I normally apply 730 liters of water per tree per week during the growing season, but this year I was only able to supply them with 70 liters per week, with none at all some weeks.² The hidden factor, Bruce believes, is the Sonic Bloom. ³A couple of old blokes who are mango freaks said my fruit was the best they had ever tasted.²

Time prevented us from filming the South Australian medicinal herb growers who are reporting significant increases in nutritional values of Sonic Bloom-treated plants. One grower makes one of the anti-cancer medicines using the kernel of the black walnut and wormwood. This remedy is featured in an earlier issue of NEXUS Magazine (see vol. 2, no.22). The grower claims that the extract from the nuts of Sonic Bloom-treated trees is a rich, thick, dark-colored liquid, quite different from the normal thin pale brown extract derived from trees not treated with the process. He has analyzed the extract and discovered that the treated extract is four times more potent! This means that he can now combine 25 percent less of this expensive extract with the other ingredients comprising this remedy.

In South Australia there is a cancer clinic in which part of the therapy is in diet, and so patients are fed on organic Sonic Bloom-treated produce. The higher nutritional values of such food is believed to assist greatly in the cure of cancer when combined with other treatments.

There were other crop successes which we wanted to cover, but many people were not willing to share their experiences. Sadly, there are growers out there who are having tremendous successes with the method but are reluctant to share their findings for fear of losing what they see as a marketing edge. Factors like earlier maturity, higher nutritional content, superior taste and substantial yield increases can make a huge financial difference to any grower. We initially thought that word of mouth amongst growers would be our best advertising, but the reality is that growers are fiercely competitive and many wish to keep their secrets to themselves for as long as possible.

However, I feel that everybody would benefit from more widespread use of Sonic Bloom. The overall quality and image of fruit and vegetables could be raised to such an extent that customers would buy and eat much more than they currently do. How many customers spend good money on fruits and vegetables at the supermarket only to find the quality poor or the taste terrible. In addition, if every grower in Australia and New Zealand used Sonic Bloom, the quality of our produce would be so high that consumers around the world would seek out everything we could produce and pay a premium for it.

After Australia, I felt compelled to visit Hawaii where Sonic Bloom has also made its mark. The Hawaiian Islands are indeed a tropical paradise, yet most of their fruit and vegetables are brought in from the US mainland while vast tracts of land lie vacant ­ something which I find astounding given the climate and rainfall. Sonic Bloom has made its presence felt here in several ways. Years ago, Dan leased land here and tried the technique on a wide range of fruit and vegetables with astounding success.

Most of my time was spent on the island of Kauai where escapist movies like Jurassic Park and South Pacific were filmed. To balance that out, a reality by the name of Hurricane Nicki came along and totally devastated the entire island in September 1993. People were homeless and without electricity for months. Hardly a power pole was left standing, and those trees which werenıt blown over had lost all their branches. You donıt need to see the video of that hurricane or imagine the 220 mph winds that swept the island to know that Kauai got hit really hard. Evidence of that real life horror story is still present today with unrepaired buildings, shipping containers on front lawns, and Norfolk pines with short new branches from top to bottom trying desperately to reclaim some dignity.

It was wonderful to see the considerable number of organic farmers and the variety and high standard of fruit and vegetables being grown, proving that Hawaii could and should be producing most of its own needs.

One of the major lettuce buyers is now urging his supplying growers to use Sonic Bloom after one of the growers began using the system on his speciality lettuces. They have found that not only do the lettuces taste better, but they are getting at least double the supermarket shelf-life. Everyone wins from this, of course, but the big winners are the consumers.

Ron Mitchell, sprout grower on the Big Island, has been using the method for some time now and reports faster maturity and superior sprouts with an incredibly extended shelf-life. ³We are getting up to three-and-a-half-weeks shelf-life, which is unbelievable. Lettuces are just great, too. We provide a credit and buyback offer with our clients, so shelf-life is real important to us.²

Suzanne Farrow, of the multi-award-winning Keopu Mauka Lani Coffee Company, visited Ron Mitchellıs complex, saw the small black Sonic Bloom sound generator box and became really excited. In her words, ³the skin on my arms and legs just jumped, and the words of Jeanne Dixon come flooding back.² (Jeanne Dixon is one of the worldıs greatest psychic predictors, and was a friend of Edgar Cayce. Among other things, she is the person who called President Kennedy and warned him not to go to Dallas. He doubled his guard ­ and the rest is history.)

Suzanne tells how she went to a Jeanne Dixon talk in Phoenix back in 1974 where Jeanne predicted the invention of a black box which would revolutionize food production throughout the world. Abundant, healthy crops would be able to be produced on a fraction of the land normally needed. Jeanne had prayed that it would be invented in America. Could the Sonic Bloom generator be the black box that she had prophesied? Suzanne thinks so, and her enthusiasm for growing coffee has been given a new lease of life.

Other coffee-growers around the world are also keen to use Sonic Bloom after Dan Carlson spoke at the recent Specialty Coffee Association meeting in Minneapolis. This worldwide association represents 26,000 square miles of coffee plantings, and almost everyone is searching for sweetness and fullness of flavor in their coffee.

We are truly grateful for those wonderful pioneering growers who were prepared to embrace what, to many, seems a radical new technology, and then share their experiences with Sonic Bloom for the benefit of all. They can see its promise for the world and feel that more people should know about it.

Dan Carlson has refused to sell his patented method and secret recipe to any corporation in the belief that the concept would be squashed or put on the shelf, never to be seen again. Being an inventor and not having the backing or advertising budget along the lines of Coca-Cola or McDonalds means that, up until now, Sonic Bloom has not been seriously marketed in the US, let alone the rest of the world. Since the US government pays many farmers not to grow and requires that agricultural products be registered at great expense on a state-by-state basis it is likely that Sonic Bloom will be more widely used everywhere else in the world before it gains proper acceptance in the country where it was invented.

The good news is that Sonic Bloom appears to be on the verge of being an overnight 20-year success story as people around the world are becoming more open-minded to this type of technology while others are demanding better quality food and less environ-mental damage. Even governments around the world are taking notice of what Sonic Bloom has to offer (a summary of its benefits was recently tabled in the Australian Parliament.)

Thanks to the support of a dedicated bunch of crusaders, including NEXUS Magazine, Sonic Bloom may indeed help save the planet and its inhabitants.

Nexus readers will recall the amazing article which appeared in the December 1993-January 1994 issue (vol. 2, no.17), entitled ³Miracle Plants from Sound Waves!²

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