Nutrient Information

Nutrient Function in Plants

Nitrogen (N): The most used nutrient. It stimulates dark green vegetative growth and is involved with amino acids, protein, chlorophyll and genetic material. Nitrogen is made available by soil microbes.
• Deficiency: Older leaves are yellow. New leaves are
• Excess: Plant leaves burn with elongated growth, bud drop, poor fruit and flower production.

Phosphorus (P): Needed for seed, root, flower, and fruit growth. Essential for genetic material, membrane formation, and energy transfer. Soil pH should be between 6.0 and 7.0.
• Deficiency: Reddish to purple leaves. Stunted growth. Dark green leaves with tip burn. Poor fruit, flower, and root set.
• Excess: Restricts the availability of Zinc, Manganese and Iron.

Potassium (K): Improves overall plant vigor and disease resistance. Encourages root growth and fruit quality. Used for carbohydrate metabolism and cell division. Required for stomata guard cells, regulates absorption of calcium, sodium, and nitrogen. Helps roots withstand compacted soils.
• Deficiency: Plants exhibit chlorosis (loss of green color) along the leaf margins or tips, starting with the bottom leaves and progressing up the plant.
• Excess: Restricts availability of Magnesium and Boron.

Calcium (Ca): Stimulates root growth. It promotes firm, thick stems and helps to correct soil acidity. Needed for nitrogen uptake and protein synthesis. Must be present for cell walls and also plays a role in enzyme activation and cell reproduction.
• Deficiency: Symptoms appear in the meristem regions (new growth) of leaves, stems, buds and roots. Younger leaves are affected first and are usually deformed. In extreme cases, the growing tips die. Roots on calcium -deficient plants are short and stubby. In tomatoes and peppers, a black leathery appearance develops on the blossom end of the fruit (a disorder called blossom end rot).
• Excess: Restricts availability of magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, phosphorus and boron.

Magnesium (Mg): Essential for chlorophyll production. Magnesium is necessary for phosphorus metabolism and enzyme activation. It enhances the production of oils and fars and facilitates the translocation of carbohydrates (sugars and starches). Some plants, such as citrus and roses, are heavy users.
• Deficiency: The predominant symptom is interveinal chlorosis (dark green veins with yellow areas between the veins). The bottom leaves are always affected first.
• Excess: Restricts availability of potassium, zinc, manganese, and boron.

Sulfur (S): Stimulates plant growth and seed formation. An essential element, sulfur is used in amino acids, proteins, and several vitamins. Sulfur will lower the pH in the soil.
• Deficiency: Characterized by stunted growth, delayed maturity and general yellowing of plants. Yellowed plants are also characteristic of nitrogen deficiency. However, unlike nitrogen deficiency—which begins in the older leaves and progresses up the plant—deficiency symptoms begin in the young, upper leaves first, often misdiagnosed as nitrogen problems.
• Excess: Can create acidic pH that can be toxic.

Iron (Fe): Promotes green color. Iron is essential for the formation of chlorophyll and is a constituent of various enzymes and proteins. It is restricted by pH and lime. Excess will restrict Zinc, Magnesium and
• Deficiency: Interveinal chlorosis of young leaves and twig die back.
• Excess: Restricts availability of Zinc and Manganese.

Manganese (Mn): Promotes plant maturity. Manganese acts as an enzyme activator for nitrogen assimilation. It is essential for the manufacture of chlorophyll. Low plant manganese, therefore, reduces the chlorophyll content causing leaves to turn yellow (chlorosis).
• Deficiency: Typically characterized by interveinal chlorosis (dark green veins with yellow discoloration between the veins), but symptoms vary depending on the plant.
• Excess: Iron is restricted.

Zinc (Zn): Part of the enzyme systems which regulate plant growth. It is essential for the transformation of carbohydrates and regulates consumption of sugar.
• Deficiency: The first obvious symptom of deficiency is interveinal chlorosis of the upper (youngest) leaves. Afterwards, shoot growth slows down.
• Excess: Restricts availability of iron, copper and manganese.

Copper (Cu): Important for reproductive growth and a catalyst for enzyme and chlorophyll synthesis. Aids in root metabolism and helps in the utilization of proteins.
• Deficiency: Symptoms generally appear on young plants. The first symptoms are yellowing of the youngest leaves accompanied by slightly stunted growth. In extreme cases, leaves become shriveled, twisted, broken, ragged and die.

Boron (B): Essential for seed, root and fruit development. Boron aids in production and transport of sugar and starch. Helps in the use of nutrients and regulates other nutrients.
• Deficiency: The first visible symptom of deficiency is death of the growing tips. This disorder is generally followed by growth of lateral shoots, which may also be deformed or die. Other symptoms include stunted roots, failure to set flowers.

Molybdenum (Mo): Is required for symbiotic nitrogen fixation (nodulation) by legumes and reduction of nitrates for protein synthesis.
• Deficiency: Symptoms are very similar to those of Nitrogen: pale-green to yellow leaves; yellow spots on leaves; marginal chlorosis alongside and tip of blade; thick cupped leaves. The marginal chlorosis exhibited by some plants looks similar to Potassium deficiency.

Chlorine (Cl): Aids plant metabolism. Chlorine is naturally found in the soil.
• Deficiency: Reduced growth; stubby roots; interveinal chlorosis; nonsucculent tissue (in leafy vegetables

Nutrient Sources


Natural / Organic Sources of Plant Nutrients

Nitrogen (N)
• Feather Meal (12 – 0 – 0) Poultry feathers are steamed under pressure, dried, then ground into a powdery feather meal. Feather meal gradually releases organic nitrogen throughout the season as the protein decomposes through microbial activity.

• Fish Meal (9 – 4 – 1) Blended from natural marine products. It is an excellent fertilizer that contains a wide variety of primary, secondary and micro nutrients. It is also a great compost activator.

• Alfalfa Meal (2 – 1 – 2) As a fertilizer, alfalfa meal provides plants with primary and secondary nutrients as well as many enzymes, vitamins, minerals and triaconatol, a natural fatty-acid growth stimulant. Excellent for roses, vegetable gardens, containers and bedding plants. Rich in Magnesium!

Phosphorous (P)
• Bone Meal (3 – 15 – 0) A good source of organic phosphorous, nitrogen, and calcium (24%). Bone meal is made from animal bones at slaughterhouses. It is steamed, then ground into a powder, which allows it to release nutrients sooner. Excellent for root and flower production. Use for shrubs, flowers and roses.

Potassium (K)
Kelp Meal (.6 – .5 – 2.5). Ascophyllum Nodosum kelp meal is the most readily available source of potassium and is harvested off the coast of Norway. It contains over 70 minerals, 21 amino acids, simple and complex carbohydrates, and several essential growth hormones, including cytokinins, auxins and gibberellins, which stimulate cell division, cell elongation, internode elongation and cell enlargement. Kelp enhances seed germination, increases the uptake of nutrients, and helps with frost protection and stress recovery. Kelp is an excellent source of chelated minerals necessary for proper plant growth. Mannitol and alginic acid are major components of kelp and act as agents helping in the formation of humus.

Probiotic™: Connecting the soil to your life


Imagine a baby being born late in the night. The first screams of life fill the hallways of a cold and sterile hospital. The walls are painted white and stainless steel and plastics fill the room. The smell of disinfectants saturates the air, that unmistakable scent of a hospital. The medical team wears plastic gloves and face guards; everything must be of an antibiotic nature, sterile, to prevent any contamination to the child.

The doctor looks at the young mother and says, “It’s a healthy boy. What are you going to name him?”
“Joseph,” she says.

The doctor replies, “What a beautiful name,” and hands her Joseph for the very first time. The doctor says he is in great health. Then he adds, “Let’s start his life out right. Please breast feed Joseph.”

The mother instinctively knows what to do; no lesson is needed. She knows what her baby needs and she provides that “first sip of life” for her precious child. In this cold and sterile environment, full of antibiotics, full of sterilizers, the doctor knows that the child will need to be inoculated by his mother.

You see, mother’s milk is more than just milk that contains protein or calcium; it is loaded with lactobacillus acidophilus. This is our first inoculant. We are administered probiotics upon entry into this world. A coincidence? Is it simply a part of our evolutionary success or God’s plan? It does not matter what you believe. This I do know: it is needed to sustain health from the very start of our life.

Now Joseph is eight months old. He is an explorer by nature. He crawls from the kitchen to the living room several times a day. His older siblings play outside, and they come in and out of the house 20 times a day. The floor is full of soil and other organic debris they bring in on their shoes. Joseph wants to explore and keeps crawling, and he also loves to put his hands in his mouth as most babies do. All of us tend to put our hands and many foreign objects in our mouths.

Why is this? Is it an accident? Or is it by greater design, because it is needed to sustain our life? You see, every time Joseph puts his hands in his mouth after crawling, he ingests a wide variety of microbes that are ubiquitous in garden soils and around our homes. Joseph, not knowing what he is doing, is simply inoculating his stomach with probiotics which are needed to protect him as he develops into a mature, healthy adult. As Joseph grows, he will be able—with the help of probiotics— to fight off disease, because a variety of beneficial microorganisms exist in his mouth and digestive system. A sterile environment is the farthest thing from what we humans need to sustain life on this wonderfully bio-diverse planet.

Joseph is now 14 years old. He has been given the job of weeding the garden in preparation for the family’s vegetable patch. It is early spring. The soil is warm and so is the weather. Around lunch time, his mother brings him a sandwich along with a bag of potato chips and a juice. Like most teenagers, Joseph does not wash his hands and eats his sandwich quickly with soil under his fingernails and all over his hands. He freely eats the chips out of the bag, licking his fingers to taste every bit of salt that he might have missed. Unknowingly, he has further inoculated his body, once again, with more probiotics. This is the most natural thing. All kids do it, and need it, to build a bio-diverse set of micro flora in their intestines.

Soil, plants, animals, and our living bodies all come into contact with thousands, even millions, of microbes daily. Just as Joseph needs microbes to keep him healthy, so does the living soil. Probiotic microbes in the soil keep it healthy and alive. Probiotics break down the organic material that we add to the soil in the form of organic amendments, or fertilizers, just as they also break down a fallen tree branch or earthworms that have died and begun to decompose. The microbes are doing their job, breaking down organic materials so all life on our planet can benefit from their hard work. Energy is harnessed by and from microbes to further perpetuate life.

All living things, from plants to mammals, need microbes for basic survival and energy. Without the digestive enzymes that microbes produce, much of the needed nutrients that we consume would never be assimilated by our bodies and would simply pass through our gut without any benefit, without their energy being absorbed for growth and health. Similarly, the microbes prepare bio-available nutrients in the soil for absorption by plants. If nutrients are in an unavailable form, locked up by Mother Nature, then our plants would not grow either.

Life is about energy exchange, and probiotics facilitate that exchange. They share their energy with all life that is higher on the food chain. In order for us to live a full life, abundant with energy, we need to create an environment that is healthy and full of bio-diversity. I ingest a probiotic blend of microbes every day with my green juice, and I know it keeps me healthy and provides me the ability to fight off diseases and absorb the nutrients from the food I consume daily.

I also know for sure that my backyard needs probiotics as much as I do, to keep it healthy and alive. I do not use “sterile” chemical fertilizers, insecticides, or herbicides that are designed to kill all life. I take a proactive method in my garden, like the one Joseph took throughout his life, like the one we have all taken throughout our lives.

I have great faith in 2011 as being the year of “life,” a year of probiotics, and I hope that we consumers are shying away from chemicals in our diets, homes, and gardens. All of these chemical potions that we are exposed to are “anti” life, but they are sold to us with misleading pictures that suggest they are “pro” life, images of beautiful green gardens that seem safe for us to grow in and play.

The freedom to play in a natural garden, without fear of chemical contamination, should be everyone’s right. Now, opportunities to fill your life with clean and healthy choices are here. I have based my entire company on products formulated with life as the base of my beliefs. I invented Pro-Biotic™ organic lawn and garden products in 1992, way before many people had even used the word. Please join me in creating a healthy life in your garden, where all kids, pets and adults can feel great playing. Our gardens nurture us. Remember: Pro-Biotic® literally means for-life!