New Sound Around

By Philip A. Wheeler, Ph.D.

From the work of D. R. Carlson, there is no question that sound can stimulate plant growth. He and his Sonic Bloom System were the subject of an entire chapter in Secrets of the Soil, by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. Pioneering work always leads other to thought and experimentation, just as Carlson drew inspiration from George Milstein and used the musical talents of Michael Holtz to develop appropriate sounds/music. Carlson chose to work in the 4-6 kilohertz range, which left a large gap of lower frequencies to work with.

The unlikely candidate to explore and develop those frequencies into a sound system was Robert H. Karbowski. I say, unlikely, because Mr. Karbowski’s main occupation is importing of precious stones (gems) and main avocation is trophy game hunting. However, he obviously had an agricultural interest that resulted in a line of fertilizer materials that can be used in conjunction with the sound device, all under the Veges, Inc. name. Karbowski was issued patent # 5,731,265. After a successful defense of said patent, [some pioneers don’t appreciate further developments], Veges, Inc. began marketing the units.

Not only were the units producing sound in a whole different frequency range, they were approaching the broadcasting and land coverage in a new way as well. Because the sounds are in the low frequency range, they penetrate physical barriers like barns and wooded areas as well as penetrate into the soil. This enables the units to be placed on stands at “ground” level instead of on high poles. The design also allows for stationary broadcasting instead of having to mount units onto tractors for spraying. The sound radiates out from the unit in 360 degrees, providing large area coverage up to 75 acres or more depending on the shape of the terrain.

The mode of action is similar to the original technology, i.e. increased nutrient uptake. But this time, the uptake is increased both by foliar and root. Stomata are opened, which allows for increased uptake of nutrients and moisture in the air. Mitochondria in the cells are stimulated which increases metabolism. Increased metabolism means more production of sugars and greater disease and insect resistance. The sound waves increase chelation of nutrients in the soil, which fosters greater root uptake. As an example, a unit was placed in a sweet potato field by a consultant, Bob Benson, attempting to aid a grower in dealing with a current infestation of armyworms that were actively feeding. By the third day after placement, the worms stopped feeding, fell off the plants and died in the midst of a banquet. Obviously, the plant had changed nutrient characteristics, which changed the physical, and chemical properties of the crop, which meant the insects were no longer needed. No foliar material had been applied with the sound.

Shorting days to maturity has been on of the best examples of changed metabolism. Dave Weber, a grower from Iowa reported the following for the 2001 season: Sweet corn, variety Delectable [85 day], was tasseled at 49 days and eaten at 65 days. Group II soybeans planted on June 28 still made 35 bushel. The top nodes had pods, with some beans in them. Dave played the sound every day, whether foliar feeding or not. He also treated the seed while playing the sound prior to planting. J.B. Meyer of LoVolt reported a garlic test in California that had 12 inches additional growth on the treated plot versus the check.

Results for the Roger Boshammer farm in Chinchilla, Queensland, Australia on about 45 acres of Rock Melons were outstanding. Their program consisted of running the Veges sound machine each morning for 1 1/2 hours with a break for ½ hour and then another hour of playing. The pattern was chosen by dousing as to what pattern would be the most beneficial. The machine was again activated in early evening for 2 hours. Foliar applications of “brewed compost teas” were applied at regular intervals as well. Results [translated to acres instead of hectares]: The overall yield was up by 2000 cartons. This translates into a 60 carton increase per acre or about ½ melon per plant. The crop came in one week early, which can mean a marketing edge. There were no pesticides required throughout the entire season.

The units consist of a wooden sound box containing a programmed sound card and three speakers mounted in the bottom of the unit. PVC collars protrude from the unit to allow for attachment of 3 five-foot pieces of PVC that act as organ pipes to modulate, resonate and roll the sound out of the bottom of the tubes to cover up to 100 acres. Recent innovations include the addition of a solar panel to keep the battery continuously charged and a timer to allow automatic daily operation. The sound produced is very soothing. As soon as a unit is turned off, any birds in the area immediately start “Talking Back” to the unit as though saying “Thanks, do that again when you’re ready”. Tapes have been produced for inside growers that are masked with easy listening music.

Growers like the new technology for several reasons. The unit is stationary when being played, yet can be picked up and moved to another field. The sound is pleasant and innocuous. The unit is not tied to a particular foliar product. With no moving parts, the unit should give many years of maintenance free service. Growers can use general or special materials to feed their crops exactly what it needs at that time. The unit works to improve the crop every day, regardless of whether the grower is foliar feeding or not!

The “frequency” behind this Sound is also imprinted on CD’s or Cassette tapes sold by CSI. Used in a “boom box” the sound works similar to the outdoor unit and is perfect for a greenhouse, back yard or anywhere the sound from the speakers could reach. As with the outdoor unit, play for 1 – 2 hours earlier morning or later afternoon to impact nutrient uptake. Check out the “New Sound Around”.