Vitamins for Vegetables: An Experiment in Homemade Fertilizer

In a self-designed science project, this 11-year-old author and gardener uses vitamins as fertilizer and plant food, with outstanding results.


| May/June 1989


Last year I decided to try to learn if plants given doses of vitamin-rich water germinate and grow faster than ones not fed vitamins. I figured that since vitamins are good for people, they might be good for plants, too.

Before I started my experiment, I looked for some books or magazines that told of research with plants and vitamins, but I couldn't find anything in print. So I had to find things out for myself. I started off feeding eight plant trays with different vitamin mixes and one plant tray with only water.

I made a table showing the vitamin solutions and water used. I made notes of when all the seeds were planted and when they germinated. I also measured the plants' heights every morning and every night.

The vitamins I used were A (50,000 I.U.), B1 (200 mg), B12 (200 mg), B100 (200 mg), C (1,000 mg), E (400 I.U.) and pantothenic acid (500 mg). I diluted each vitamin with two quarts of water. All of the vitamins except A and E were crushed and dissolved in water. I had to boil water to get the A and E vitamins to melt.

Vitamins and Indoor Seedlings: The First Experiment

I started the seeds in peat pots, after pouring vitamin water into the dry pots to expand them. I put the seeded pots under a light (I used an old photo-copying stand). All of the plants were put in the same room and kept the same distance from a woodstove that provided heat. I poured the same amount of vitamin water on my seeds every day. I used one tray for each vitamin, one tray that received only water, and another in which I used a mixture of all seven vitamins.

I planted all the seeds early on January 16, and by the next morning, some of the green peas in the pantothenic acid and vitamin E trays had already germinated (I had soaked all the pea seeds overnight before planting). By that night, the pantothenic acid-tray peas were nearly two inches tall. By January 21, the peas watered with the B 12 mixture not only had germinated but also had well-formed roots coming out the sides of the peat pots. However, the pea plants in the vitamin A tray did not germinate until January 23, and the plain-water peas not until January 27.

LAR
1/2/2018 6:11:46 PM

Fascinating! I make my own fertilizer for indoor plants from coffee grinds, powdered eggshells and iron. I was trying to see if there was any research or information regarding Vitamin C in fertilizer since it's fairly acidic. I found this article very informative and useful and may try using these tips this in the summer when I plant my outdoor garden. I may also try following some of the steps that produced the best growth for specific plants! Wow...thanks to Robert Williams III for doing this! And thanks to Mother Earth News for publishing.






mother earth news fair 2018 schedule

MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!

LEARN MORE



Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).


Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265