Monday, October 19, 2009
I'm researching plant nutrients which I will post here in the future, but my reasoning for looking up nutrients was because I was musing on plant needs and of course, as living things like us, they're needs are more similar to ours than you might expect.
Think of a plant as a human here. Just like any person, plants need beneficial bacteria for nutrition (like the much touted pro-biotics in our guts), and helpful microorganisms that naturally exist and collect inside and outside of us, often called flora/fauna by the scientific community to crowd out and compete with bad bacteria/microorganisms in order to stay healthy.
A good balanced diet and getting vitamins and nutrition this way (compost) rather than eating crap or processed junk foods (harmful purely chemical fertilizers) and popping a million vitamin pills to make up for poor eating habits. (Ha, can you imagine a plant thinking/saying, "Does this fertilizer make me look fat?")
Exercising and having positive stresses is good for humans and keeps us physically and mentally prepared and sharp. Plants similarly, by having to fight against the elements and pests when not overwhelmed are healthier and won't get "fat and lazy" by having too many conveniences, like being sprayed with pesticides all the time so not one bug or insect bothers them and they thus build no response to a nibble. We don't go to the doctor over the slightest headache or fever do we? (Plus, lots of plants make their own aspirin... and so do we, sort of!, see links!)
(Better methods other than pesticides:
Taking food (nutrient dense food like whole grains/compost) in slowly rather than all at once (high calorie fast food/straight chemical fertilizers) is better for both of us.
We both need plenty of water so that those nutrients can float all through our bodies, but not so much that we'll die of dihydrogen monoxide poisoning (http://www.dhmo.org/)
Perhaps this is a stretch but plants too need many varied diverse and interesting relationships (companion planting and beneficial insects) with those they are similar to like humans need other people for support, an ear or to bounce ideas off of.
A good clean home environment (garden bed) that doesn't hide any unexpected guests or intruders (weeds and pests) and makes it easy to just chill and spread out.
If you're a gardener or camper at least, you understand the benefits of a good air movement (who likes to be in a stale room?) and the appropriate amount of sun. Too much and the burn (sun scald/sunburn/skin cancer) on either plants or us isn't pretty.
So, this was an analogy filled post, but I think when you can relate by remembering that plants are living things not far from yourself, you will be able to relatively easily anticipate your plants' needs.