Plants need vitamins or nutrients to grow and produce fruits, vegetables and flowers. Nutrients found in the soil dissolve in water and are then absorbed into the plants through their root system. Most nutrients are readily available in the soil but poor soil conditions or excess plantings may deplete the soil, causing deficiencies. Adding nutrients or vitamins to the soil ensures that your plants will thrive and give you the best possible produce.
Nitrogen is one of the most abundant nutrients on the earth. However, it also in high demand for all forms of vegetation to grow and produce quality blooms and fruit. According to the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom, most gardeners supplement nitrogen in the soil by using manufacturer fertilizers, compost and manure or growing legumes in rotation crops. Plants that have access to an abundant supply of nitrogen are dark green in color because nitrogen assists in the natural process of photosynthesis.
Phosphorus is an essential nutrient that helps the plant form oils, sugars and starches. All of these are necessary for photosynthesis. This nutrient is often found in manufacturer fertilizers or bone meal. Phosphorus encourages blooming as well as root growth and root rot prevention and helps sustain the plant during times of rapid growth. As if this was not enough, phosphorus is a building block of plant DNA and is responsible for storing and absorbing nutrients.
Potassium is absorbed in massive quantities by plants. This nutrient allows plants to build proteins as well as assists in photosynthesis. Potassium is also an essential part of producing quality fruit, blooms and the build-up of disease resistance. In addition, potassium assists plants in generating tolerances to environmental stresses such as excessively hot or cold weather as well as drought and pest problems. According to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, potassium is generally supplemented through fertilizers, organic materials, including composts, or soil minerals.
Calcium, along with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, is an essential part of healthy plant life. Calcium makes up a portion of the plants cell walls and assists in processing nutrients throughout the plant. Calcium comes from organic materials, as well as dolomitic lime and gypsum. Calcium is also used to counteract salt damage and acidic soil conditions.