Why does chemistry matter?

Before trying to determine what mineral and nutrients we need to use to fertilize our plants, we first must understand the make-up of a plant.

  • Most plants are made up of 80% water

  • Of the remaining dry matter, 97% is:

    • Carbon 47%

    • Oxygen 43%

    • Hydrogen 4%

    • Nitrogen 3%

These minerals are available in the environment in large quantities. Our job is to create a soil environment that will sequester and cycle these nutrients.

  • The remaining 3%:

    • Calcium

    • Phosphate

    • Potassium

    • Magnesium

    • Sulfur

    • Trace Minerals

These minerals are usually contained the soil. Our job is to create availability of these minerals to the plant by supporting the soil microbes, and creating structured soil. For more information on soil structure, click here.

We take a different approach to the fertility needs (based on the Biological Theory of Ionization) of the soil and the crop being grown. Minerals are categorized based on the rotation of the ion and the effect it has on the growing plant. The energy released from the interaction of the anions and the cations, the anions with other anions as well as the cations with other cations is what allows the plant to grow. Providing the best combinations of cations and anions to match the development of the growing plant is the goal of this approach.

Anionic minerals promote the growth of the plant vegetatively. Stems, leaves and roots will grow and develop when the plant is growing in this stage. Minerals that are considered anionic are Calcium, Potassium and Chloride. These minerals have a counterclockwise spin and measure from 0-499 units on the Millhouse scale of energy.

Cationic minerals are responsible for the reproductive growth of a plant. This group includes all the minerals not mentioned above. (With the exception of Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen and Helium, they are described below.) Millhouse unit measurements range from 500-999 and they are considered to have a clockwise spin.

Oxygen, Hydrogen, Nitrogen and Helium are considered to be categorized slightly different. These minerals can be either cationic or anionic depending on the environment that they are found. They are believed to follow the path of least resistance and convert to anionic or cationic as required.

Energy levels (ERGS) are very important when the growth of a plant is being considered.

The plant's main job is to photosynthesize, creating sugar. A plant with increased sugar levels will result in increased energy but also increased nutrition and nutrient density for the consumer. Nutrient density should be the chief goal in the production of food.

All minerals found on the periodic chart have unique characteristics or personalities. These characteristics are found in all environments and don't change from the soil to the plant to the animal. For example, if an electrolyte mineral causes water retention in the human body, it will also retain water in the plants and the soil as well. Gaining a basic understanding of what each element does helps with understanding why it should or shouldn't be used in plant health.

Minerals needed for plant growth and production:


Calcium is seen as the backbone, the mediator, the mentor, the organizer. All minerals in the soil should balance to the quantity of water soluble or "available" calcium in the soil. Generally, calcium is believed to play the following roles:

  • Improves soil structure "by enabling flocculation of the soil particles."

  • Is the tour guide and mediator of all minerals.

  • Stimulated growth of soil microbes.

  • Mobilization of nutrients into the plant.

  • Increased nitrogen utilization and protein content.

  • Increased root growth, leaf growth, cell wall building and cell division.

  • Increased sugar content in plant.

  • Promotes enzyme functions.

  • Enhances overall plant health resulting in higher quality grain or fruit.


Phosphorous is the workhorse in the soil. All minerals other than Nitrogen should enter the plant in the phosphate form. In cooperation with Calcium, photosynthesis is increased and the production of sugar is greater.

Phosphorus is found in several forms in the soil, i.e.: P1, P2, and P204. P204 is the organic state that is stable in the soil and available to the plants. All other forms of phosphorous require metabolic changes before the plant is able to utilize it.

Characteristics of Phosphate include:

  • More vigorous and rapid growth.

  • Early root development.

  • Better development and quality of grain.

  • Hastened maturity.

  • Increased nitrogen uptake.

  • Increased mineral content.

  • Higher BRIX readings in plant sap.

  • Promotes energy release in cells, cell division, and enlargement, photosynthesis.

  • Contained in the cell DNA.


The following three minerals are needed in plant growth, but likely not in the amounts often recommended. All three are considered electrolyte minerals that, along with other functions in the plant, will draw and hold water.

Potassium is an anionic mineral like Calcium, but use of large amounts of potassium for anionic energy will result in a large vegetative plant, but will likely not produce exceptional levels of sugar due to the increased water held by the excess potassium. Excess magnesium levels in the soil will cause complications with structure and hydration. Excess amounts of sulfur will tie up available calcium.


  • Regulates plant processes.

  • Better stalk strength and lodging resistance.

  • Adjusts water balance in the plant.

  • Increased protein and carbohydrate production.

  • Better sugar translocation.

  • Enhanced enzyme function and cell division.

  • Improved winter hardiness.


  • Key element in chlorophyll.

  • Increased protein production, enzyme production and energy released in cells.

  • Aids in phosphorous uptake, oil formation and starch translocation.

  • Very important in the process of photosynthesis, however is not needed in great quantities in the soil.

  • Excess quantities can cause soil compaction and loss of aeration.


  • Needed for the synthesis of protein and oils.

  • Needed for the metabolism of nitrogen.



Oxygen is the needed mineral in the soil for the aeration and survival of the aerobic micro-organisms.

  • Needed by plants for the production of sugar.

  • Drawn into the plant through the leaves.

Nitrogen - 78% of the air we breathe

  • Is the major component of proteins, hormones, chlorophyll, vitamins and enzymes essential for plant life.

  • Makes up to 40% of the dry matter of protoplasm - the living substance of the plant.

  • Places an important role in leaf and stem growth.


  • Required for the formation of sugars.

  • Basic building blocks of life.

  • Capable of holding up to 4 times is weight in water.

Copper - mineral of elasticity

  • Plays a role in the nitrogen metabolism.

  • Plays a role in disease suppression.

  • Required for photosynthesis.

  • Needed for normal leaf growth and increased stalk strength and elasticity.

  • Required for enzyme functions.


  • Contributes to test weights.

  • Hastens maturity.

  • Chlorophyll formation.

  • Regulates plant growth.

  • Overuse may cause weed problems.


  • Components of cell walls, produces stronger and tougher cell walls.

  • Increase defenses against disease and insects, buffers intake of excess mineral, sequesters trace minerals, promotes photosynthesis.


  • Osmotic and ionic balance in plants (water movement).


  • Involved in the enzyme that reduces nitrates to ammonia.

  • Nitrogen fixing bacteria may also require it.


  • Involved in Osmosis.


  • Involved in the activity for photosynthesis, respirations, and nitrogen metabolism.

  • Involved in the germination of seeds and determination of yield.


  • Required for nitrogen fixation.


  • Necessary for many enzyme functions.

  • Catalyst for the synthesis of chlorophyll.

  • Needed by nitrogen fixing bacteria.

  • Produces a thicker leaf.


  • Necessary for cell wall formation.

  • Membrane integrity.

  • Translocation of sugar.

  • 16 other functions including flowering, pollen germination, cell division, etc.

For more information about the chemicals needed in plant growth, go to