- Bruce Kirkpatrick

On June 12, 1991, Mt. Pinatubo, the Philippine volcano, let go in one of the most devastating natural disasters in our lifetime. Much of the surrounding area, which had the day before been fertile farm land, was converted into a wasteland, many feet deep in sulfur dioxin laden ash. 

Farmers who survived the cataclysm looked at their ash-covered land and knew that there would be no way to grow crops for many years using the familiar conventional farming methods. Test plots started since the disaster have proven them right. In their hour of urgent need they turned to Dan Carlson and his Sonic Bloom system. Dan has recently returned from the area. He spent his time there conferring with local farmers, university researchers and the research staff of the International Rice Research Institute. Early results of tests conducted there are very promising. It seems that the Sonic Bloom system will be able to grow respectable crops on land that won’t be able to support conventional agricultural practices for many years. Astonishing to many, it’s just another day on the job for Carlson who has been confounding the conventional for over 15 years now. 

The reason Sonic Bloom works so well is still a bit of a mystery. We know that the sound causes the little breathing pores in plants (called stomata) to open. We know that the foliar spray supplies many trace minerals in chelated form as well as amino acids and other necessary compounds. These elements, all organic in form, have been proven by research to be absorbed and translocated by plants at many times the normal rate. 

Carlson markets large sound generators and spray in bulk quantities for farm and greenhouse operations as well as a kit for home gardeners. The kit contains a bottle of spray concentrate that will make over 40 gallons of plant spray, a high quality spray bottle, instructions for use, reprints of some newspaper and magazine articles about Sonic loom, and a cassette tape of music and the patented Sonic Bloom sound. “The music, much of which is by composers like Bach and Vivaldi, is mostly for the gardener” relates Carlson, “It’s the other sounds on the tape that really make the plants react.” The Sonic Bloom sound has been described as sounding somewhere between the noises made by birds and those made by crickets. Most people find the sounds rather pleasant, especially when combined with the music as it is on the cassette tape in the garden kit.

Arguably the worse place in the world to grow crops is Mongolia. It is like the badlands of New Mexico at five thousand feet. Very little has grown there in the past. Dr. Hou Tian Zhen of the Xinjiang Academy of Forestry has become something of a celebrity there, at least in academic circles, for developing a type of poplar tree that can survive the climate, making the people of the area self-sufficient in firewood for the first time in history. Not one to revel in past accomplishments, Dr. Hou next turned his efforts towards finding a method of feeding the people of the area. As a result of his three years of experimenting, he has come to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area to study with Dan Carlson for a year before returning home to implement the Sonic Bloom system on a wide scale in his homeland. Experiments by Dr. Hou showed the Sonic Bloom system to give a 30 to 90% increase in crop yield over conventional methods. 

The sound is thought by many researchers to increase the metabolic rate of the plants, letting them grow faster naturally. The organic spray is formulated in such a way to supply those elements that soils are often lacking. The presence of these trace elements and other compounds in a totally available form reduces the stress that a plant might otherwise experience because of drought or heat or some other situation. 

In the desert of Israel at the research center of Kibbutz Ketura, 450 varieties of rare and endangered trees are helped being kept from extinction by a group of dedicated scientists. They have tried many different programs of fertilization and have found the best results come from the use of Sonic Bloom. 

Success with Sonic Bloom is not limited to nasty areas of the world. Successes in nicer growing areas are equally impressive. 

An established apple orchard in Prescott, Wisconsin, starts using the Sonic Bloom system and sees their apple production triple. The orchard also finds that the number of apples lost to disease and insects is reduced by over 80%. “This is not an unusual situation,” states Carlson, “the Sonic Bloom system raises the trace element and complex sugar content of plants. Those changes make the plant much healthier and less susceptible to attack by diseases and insects.” 

While all plants respond to Sonic Bloom, some seem to have more amazing results than others. Dan has found that plant varieties referred to as “open pollinated” seem to respond the best. Open pollinated is basically the opposite of hybrid. With open pollinated seeds, characteristics breed true from one generation to another. A hybrid variety is one that is the product of the cross breeding of specific varieties to induce certain characteristics, such as size, production, and specific disease resistance. These are the types of seeds that everyone used for many generations. Then the seed companies discovered that there was big money selling seeds that the farmer could not save from one season to the next. Since hybrids do not breed true, the farmers were forced into buying seed every year in order to have these new varieties the seed companies and county extension people told them were better, healthier, and more productive. Not all people fall into this trap. “Hybrid seeds give a predictable response, but much of the genetic potential that the original ancestor varieties may have had has been lost,” states Carlson. “Many of those parent varieties had the potential, with proper care, to be far superior to anything that is commonly seen today.” 

The Indians of the San Juan Pueblo in New Mexico are able to grow phenomenal corn with Sonic Bloom on land that for three hundred years was only sued for making adobe bricks for their houses because it is so hard. Even today, they must dig individual holes to plant each plant. The ground is too hard to be rototilled. The Indians do not use hybrid seed. They use the same seed their grandparents did. At the same San Juan Pueblo, the ancient Indian grain amaranth has been grown using Sonic Bloom for the past two years. The first year, the production of grain was three times the per acre average of all other amaranth growers worldwide, despite the fact that this crop was grown in conditions far below average. The biggest news, however, came the following year when seed from that first crop was replanted. That crop produced twice the grain per acre of the previous crop. “We see this effect all the time,” relates Carlson. “Seeds and cuttings from plants grown with Sonic Bloom consistently outproduce their parents by a wide margin.” A tomato grower in Arkansas will eagerly attest to that, he has been growing greenhouse tomatoes using Sonic Bloom for two years now. A short time ago he stopped planting new seedlings for each new crop and instead planted cuttings from the plants that were currently in production. Tomato varieties that normally took 90 days to produce ripe fruit are now producing superior fruit in 55 days. The plants he’s using now are third generation Sonic Bloom cuttings. States Carlson, “It’s exciting to think how much better the next generation cuttings will be.” 

In an area where all the neighbors’ gardens failed, a home gardener in Colorado uses Sonic Bloom and wins the title, “Most Beautiful Garden in Colorado.” “The satisfaction of being able to grow a garden when your neighbors can’t is something to be experienced,” states Carlson, “and to win a contest like this is the icing on the cake.” But this years for the first time Dan Carlson’s Sonic Bloom system gets to compete in the granddaddy contest of them all, the Chelsea Flower Show in England. “A number of the large estates in the UK are now using Sonic Bloom. Their entries in the contest should cause quite a stir,” related Carlson with obvious pride. 

Growing a garden is a labor of love. Using a system that gives your plants a much more stress free and balanced environment in which to live and grow should make both you and your plants very happy. 

-- Llewellyn’s 1993 Lunar Organic Gardener

SUPER SONIC! Dan Carlson Breaks Barriers with Sonic Bloom 
- Mary Wynne

I had read the articles—Dan Carlson develops Sonic Bloom, a plant growth product which utilizes an oscillating frequency of bird and cricket-like sounds along with an organic foliar spray. I had heard the amusing stories—Dan Carlson grows a purple passion plant one tenth of a mile long using Sonic Bloom and winds up in the Guinness Book of World Records. I even tried Sonic Bloom in my own garden—my hot pepper plants, for instance, produced twice as much per plant in thirty days less time than the previous year. Yet, it wasn’t until I spoke to Dan that I understood the realm of possibilities for his sound-enhanced growth system. In short, he has missions for Sonic Bloom that make landing on the moon seem frivolous. In his own words, Dan Carlson has a “blueprint to end world hunger.” 

According to Carlson, Sonic Bloom is simply “sound aiding in the absorption of an organic foliar nutrient.” The theory behind his product 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 music selections (for the humans) the spray, consisting of 55 trace minerals, amino acids, and seaweed, is sprayed on the plant’s surface. This odd, but highly successful, treatment system has lead to increased publicity and profit for Carlson. 

However, it is clear when talking to this world-renowned inventor that his focus is not on material success or international fame. He is more interested in proving the limitless abilities of Nature to support all existing life and heal the wounds of human error. “It’s exactly what we need at this time. This planet wants to save itself.” Carlson’s “blueprint” begins with a solid foundation and expands into almost mind-boggling proportions. 

“We’re definitely developing some techniques that can carry this from A to Z,” says Carlson. “One is we’ve been working with a sprout company called Sprouts Extraordinaire out of Longmont, Colorado. The reality is we have found that sprouts, alfalfa in particular, increase in weight by 1200 percent in 72 hours. We take a seed, soak it in Sonic Bloom, play the sound, and 72 hours later we have an edible sprout. Our sprouts get almost a 30-day shelf life instead of three or four days.” 

“We believe that within six to eight months, we will produce a shipping container, 8-1/2 feet wide, 8 feet tall, 40 feet long, totally self-contained, that will make sprouts. We believe that it will produce 5,000 pounds of sprouts per week, 260,000 pounds of food per year. You can reuse the water and if you divide 260,000 pounds by 1,200, you will find that you will only need a few hundred pounds of seed to do this. Now think what ten of these containers could do. Ten of these would do 2.6 million tons of food and20 would do almost six million tons of food. And one container would only cost $10,000.” 

Carlson’s plan doesn’t end with feeding sprouts to the hungry. He understands that sprouts aren’t the most nutritionally valuable crop available. He also acknowledges that sprouts would not be culturally acceptable in all parts of the world. His idea also includes the use of other staple crops such as mung beans. Once he is able to bring a reliable source of food to people and show them how to produce the food themselves, his plan mushrooms into a bright new future for millions of people. 

“First, you go into the devastated areas with the sprouts to make people strong enough to then plant the vegetables and grains with open pollinated seeds (amaranth, quininoa, corns) with Sonic Bloom,” continues Carlson. “Then they get to eat the vegetables and grains that are much more highly nutritious and have kept their stress resistance. (Experiments done with Seeds of Change and Sonic Bloom in the Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe showed survival in 130-140 degree temperatures and 2-1/2 inches of rain.) Then, you put in fruit trees and if you watch my video, you’ll see I’m getting fruit on first-year trees. Things like three-year-old Santa Rosa beauty plums are getting 6,000 pounds of fruit on a three-year-old tree. Lastly, the reason I’m living on a nut farm, is that we want to bring in nut trees. But, if you plant enough threes, you also change the weather. The trees will change the precipitation in these areas to feed the people.” 

Carlson also understands that people fed with nutritious food from their own land will not only help those societies to live, but to flourish. “Any child that undergoes malnutrition doesn’t have the mental ability to be as smart as its parents,” he says. “If you go in and bring all this food, you’re going to change the mental abilities, thus allowing these people to lead themselves ‘out of the land of Babel.’” 

The Sonic Bloom plan does not end there. Carlson also believes his product can help to cure one of Earth’s most detrimental environmental ailments – deforestation. In Mexico, Carlson has started a tropical hardwood nursery for rare tropical trees. He has also brought Sonic Bloom to Papua, New Guinea, where he hopes to help improve the teak, ebony, and rosewood harvests while providing slash-and-burn farmers with alternatives to growing food in poor soil. 

Carlson even includes the psychological and spiritual well being of people in his plans. He feels that giving all people, regardless of their age or geographic location, the ability to grow crops successfully will add to their mental health. “The beauty is watching the twinkle in some 35-75 pound child’s eyes when they raise a 400-pound pumpkin,” states Carlson. “We believe that then they will always be involved in agriculture and their self-esteem and self-love will go up like crazy.” 

Dan Carlson has watched his Sonic Bloom create amazing transformations like this for years. Reports of double- and triple-sized harvests come from as far away as Europe to as close as his own nut farm in River Falls, Wisconsin. Oliver Doubleday, a strawberry farmer in rural England, consistently reports triple yields with Sonic Bloom. The Circle K Apple Orchard, just six miles from Carlson’s farm, also reports triple-sized harvests. 

In addition, the orchard is reporting an eight-month shelf life and a vast increase in nutrients. “When we did our analysis, we came up with 1750 percent more zinc, 400 percent more iron, 326 percent more chromium, and 126 percent more potassium. All of these things being key ingredients in longevity, health, and mental activity.” The orchard also finds that the number of apples lost to disease and insects is reduced by over 80 percent. “This is not an unusual situation,” says Carlson. “The Sonic Bloom system raises the trace element and complex sugar content of plants. Those changes make the plant much healthier and less susceptible to attack by diseases and insects.” 

Carlson continues to make discoveries that leave even him in a state of awe. “One of our greatest breakthroughs to make everyone understand how easy it is to feed large amounts of people involved a sucker on a tomato. A sucker is normally a sterile branch which appears in between a side shoot and the main branch. Our tomato plants grow two inches a day so if we allow a sucker to grow for seven days, it’s about 14 inches long. If we then cut it off, put it in the shade, and spray it once a day with a ¼ ounce per gallon solution of Sonic Bloom, in 10-14 days, it becomes fully rooted and starts to grow two inches per day. Fifty-five days later it is 7-9 feet tall. Now normal production on tomatoes is 90 days. “We’re doing this in less than 55, plus we’re producing at least twice as much fruit in almost half the time.” 

Carlson’s stories have not fallen on deaf ears. Not only are his sales and reputation growing, his international prestige is on the rise as well. “Because of my success in England, I am going to be lecturing to Parliament and we have a major university that is doing some testing. I have just returned from Japan where I was the keynote speaker for the Bio-Research committee, which consists of 8,000 organic farmers. The day before I lectured, the people who had success with Sonic Bloom told the great body of organic farmers and researchers their success stories.” The Japanese were so impressed with Carson that he received an award from the Minister of Finance, as well as news coverage in 25 of Japan’s leading newspapers. The Bio-Research committee declared that Sonic Bloom is the best plant growth product they have found and will help distribute it across their country. Keeping up with Japan and England, China is also courting Carlson. He will be leaving in October 1993 to speak to Chinese officials about developing their agriculture.

Unfortunately, Carlson remains virtually ignored by the United States government as well as by the American mainstream research community. “Our problem here is that we are paying farmers not to grow. If you watch my video, I will show you 100 percent increases on many mainline crops. I’m a multi-billion dollar nightmare for our government because we are paying farmers not to grow while I am doubling yields.” Common sense also suggests that without using pesticides, herbicides, and other agri-business dependencies, Sonic Bloom will have the same “hard row to hoe” as solar energy and the light rail system. Nevertheless, Carlson remains the eternal optimist. 

Of course, optimism is nothing new to Carlson. It took him twenty years to perfect the sound frequencies and nutrient combinations needed to make Sonic Bloom more than the average fertilizer. The drive for perfection came from his own close encounter with hunger. 

In spite of his serious efforts and intentions, Carlson is a jovial man who is having a lot of fun with his success. World leaders aren’t the only ones catching on to Sonic Bloom. Celebrities such as Harrison Ford, William Shatner, and Eddie Albert are also reaping the benefits of Carlson’s product. John Denver’s environmental group, Windstar, has also been very supportive of Sonic Bloom. “They came out here (Carlson’s farm) and helped me pick the nuts because after I sprayed them, there were so many nuts I just couldn’t get enough labor to pick them. Then they came back this summer and helped me plant more.” 

Carlson’s success is also moving him into the world of television by way of the ever-popular and star-studded infomercial, the commercial advertising that lasts several minutes to a half hour. He hopes this new marketing strategy will propel Sonic Bloom into a future of bigger and better plants, and stronger and wiser people. 

Like the plants that are sprayed and serenaded with Sonic Bloom, Carlson’s product can do nothing else but grow. To get a glimpse of Sonic Bloom’s worldwide success (after all, seeing is believing), Carlson distributes a 120-minute video filled with the amazing sights (and sounds) of his product.

-- Llewellyn’s 1994 Organic Gardening Almanac