Plants may not be able to get up and take a walk around the garden, but they are not nearly as passive as we might imagine. In fact, plants adapt physically to their surroundings in number of surprising ways.
For example, there are plants that defend themselves from predators with spines and thorns, not to mention unpleasant chemicals (the stinging nettle comes to mind). Studies also suggest that some plants can emit chemicals into the air to suppress the growth of competing species.
One of the more interesting self-preserving behaviors of plants is their ability to acquire nutrients from their surroundings to overcome any imbalances. Recent research shows that fine roots will actively “attack” rock particles when there is a mineral deficiency in the soil.
In contrast, plants don’t have to work nearly as hard to survive in properly mineralized soil. The problem is that most of the earth’s soils are seriously depleted of the minerals that plants want and need to thrive. This is a result of natural weathering as well as the overuse (and abuse) of synthetic chemicals and fertilizers.
The problem is that missing soil minerals are…missing. No amount of organic matter will make up for mineral deficiencies that ultimately lead to infertile, or dead, soil.
What about fertilizers? Chemically synthesized fertilizers are designed to feed plants fast, covering basic macronutrient requirements and contributing to rapid leaf growth. (In that sense, they do their job very well.) But there are a multitude of secondary nutrients, micronutrients and trace elements that aren’t available in most commercial fertilizers and which plants require to reach their maximum potential.
The solution is remineralization using natural materials such as crushed volcanic basalt.
Rich in micronutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium and manganese, volcanic basalt helps increase root growth and boost crop yields. Basalt also contains soluble silicon which contributes to the strength of cell walls and makes crops more resistant to pests and disease. It also strengthens stems, helping plants stand tall and capture more light to maximize photosynthesis.
Not surprisingly, vibrant, healthy plants grown in remineralized soil have greater brix levels than plants that are nutrient deficient. As a measure of dissolved plant sugar and nutrients, higher brix levels indicate balanced and healthy growing conditions. Healthier plants also produce more fragrant flowers with greater concentrations of essential oils and better-tasting, more nutritious fruits and vegetables.
So go ahead and give ‘em a hand…your plants, that is. A dash of basalt will make their jobs easier and your life healthier.