How do minerals and nutrients affect plant growth?
Plants, as well as all living things, need nutrients and minerals to thrive. These chemical elements are needed for growth, metabolic functioning, and completion of its life cycle.

Plants take in Carbon (C) and Oxygen (O2) in the air from their leaves. All other nutrients are found in the soil and are taken up for use in the roots. Macronutrients are consumed in large quantities: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (C), sulfur (S) and magnesium (Mg. Smaller amounts of micronutrients (or trace minerals) are needed: boron (B), chlorine (Cl), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), nickel (Ni).

Most soil conditions will provide many plants adequate nutrition. Testing is available to see what nutrients are in the soil and if the PH is correct, which is necessary for the plant to absorb the nutrients. Nutrient deficiency requiring fertilizing and/or soil amending has many causes. Growing certain crops or plants might deplete the soil. In agriculture, crops are rotated from year to year with increasing soil fertility in mind. Some plants, like roses, are considered “heavy feeders” and need frequent fertilization. A problem that a plant exhibits can often be diagnosed as having a deficiency of a certain element. Iron chlorosis, a deficiency in iron, may be one reason why a plant’s leaves turn yellow or brown between the veins.

Replenishing nutrients in the soil can be done by adding organic material such as compost, dehydrated manure, compost tea or fish emulsion. Traditionallly, most “all-in-one” chemical fertilizers have an “NPK” rating (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) and can be purchased in liquid or granule form. In addition to other properties, Nitrogen helps plant foliage to grow strong. Phosphorous helps roots and flowers grow and develop. Potassium (Potash) is important for overall plant health. The plant needs will determine the ratio of each nutrient needed.

Can I grow vegetables in the shade?
Most of the your summer vegetables need full sun to produce fruit. You can grow leafy or stem vegetables in 3 to 6 hours of sun a day. If you are growing a vegetable for root or fruit then you need full sun but if you want to eat the leaf then sit in the shade and enjoy.

What is wrong with my plant? It is dying, yellowing, wilting etc.
Most of the time home gardeners over water their plants. Once plants are fairly well established it encourages better root growth to limit the watering. During the hottest parts of the summer we water our plants 3–4 times a week. Water in the morning or late evening and try to not get the leaves wet. A long slow drink is a better way to water than frequent short watering.

What is eating my leafy greens?
You can use organic insecticide to kill and repel insects. Early morning is a good time to see what’s nibbling your greens and other veggies. Look on the leaves, under them and on the stems.

When can I put my houseplants outside?
Put them in shade at first then move them into sunnier locations once they have been out for a couple of weeks. Then bring them back into house.

Can you help me pick out suitable fertilizer for my plants?

How do I keep my planting pot looking colorful and lush?
Planting pot living in sunny locations can dry out very quickly, so one day of missed watering could be disastrous for your plants. The best way to check if your pot are dry is stick your finger into the soil. If it feels dry one inch below the soil surface, then the plants are very thirsty and need to water them at once.

Another way to keep your planting pot in tip-top shape is by adding a top dressing of slow-release fertilizer. We recommend organic fertilizers, such as worm castings, mineral pallet fertilizer or compost. You may also use a liquid fertilizer.

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