Why we need fertilizers

  • Fertilizers are essential mineral raw materials from which plants make food (link 7).
  • Thousands of years of weathering, leaching, and crop removal have left most soils deficient in water-soluble minerals.
  • Plants, like people and animals, need balanced nutrition. Plant nutrition consists of 16 nutrients, 3 of which come from the air.
  • The 13 mineral nutrients man can supply are abundant throughout the earth, and are mined for use as fertilizers.
  • Fertilizer IngredientsMineral fertilizers are classified as major, secondary, or micro-nutrients, depending on how much plants use, as follows.
    • Major Nutrients
      1. Nitrogen (N) – gives green color, rapid growth, high protein, and yield.
      2. Phosphorus (P) – affects early vigor, healthy roots, and quality.
      3. Potassium (K) – produces healthy plants, high-quality seeds and fruit.
    • Secondary Nutrients
      1. Calcium (C) – promotes early root growth, high vigor, and seed formation.
      2. Magnesium (Mg) – Associated with chlorophyll, oil, and fat formation.
      3. Sulfur (S) – aids in root growth, green color, and seed production.
    • Mineral FertilizerMicro Nutrients or Trace Elements
      1. Zinc (Z) – aids chlorophyll formation.
      2. Boron (B) – increases yield in root crops, affects seed germination and terminal bud formation.
      3. Manganese (Mn) – aids seed germination and vigor.
      4. Iron (Fe) – associated with chlorophyll formation.
      5. Copper (Cu) – affects enzyme systems in new tissues.
      6. Molybdenum (Mo) – is vital to nitrogen fixation by microorganisms, and nitrogen processes in plants.
      7. Chlorine (Cl) – essential for healthy plant growth.


  1. This is a great article! Thank you for posting it. The Mittleider method is an excellent program for growing gardens. When we used it, we had much greater yield, much better tasting produce and much healthier produce than the gardens we did in regular soil.

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