We live in an “organic” age where “all natural” and “green” methods have adopted an aura of being the most pure and beneficial for producing things that we are going to consume into our bodies, right? While all of this is true, it doesn’t amount to any growing expert wanting to tell you to not feed your plants. Plants are living things, and as such, they need to be fed nutrients to grow and prosper.
If you were to experiment with not using any nutrients, the first thing you’d have to understand is that you would be limited to only planting in soil. Denying yourself the use of a nutrient solution would immediately make impossible any hydroponic method you might have previously considered. In such a scenario, your plants will be relying on pretty much blind luck. If the soil you have planted them in has a good mix of nutrients pre-existing in the it, then you may get lucky and have a plant that grows and flowers, but you are going to wind up with much smaller, stubby plants that don’t yield very much. You might even notice a good deal of yellowing of the leaves as well, indicating a not so healthy plant.
So let’s look at the flipside. What would we notice if you had added too much of any nutrient to your plants? Over-feeding your plants with nutrients will result with them essentially OD’ing. If this happens, you would notice drooping plants that are obviously unhealthy. Erratic leaf sizes with yellowing are other tell-tale signs. Leaves that droop and yellow and do not have an impressive leaf shape and varying sizes means over-fertilization. We will address what to do to rescue an over-fed plant in another section, but for now we’ll just address how to recognized an over-fertilized plant.
So what’s the morale of all of this, and what can you learn for better growing by looking at the extreme cases of “no added nutrients” and “too many nutrients”? The main thing is that you can clearly see that in either case, the plants do not look healthy. Striking the proper balance in the middle with a healthy nutrient strategy is the way to go.