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Vitamins for Plants  RSS feed

 
garden master
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People take vitamins to help them stay healthy, build their immune system or as a preventative measure during times of stress.
What most gardeners fail to realize is that they should give their plants vitamins for all the same reasons.

Several studies have shown that the vitamins D, A, C and riboflavin help plants reject downy mildew, powdery mildew and scales.
In several threads here I have mentioned that I regularly use multi vitamins on my plants, and for transplanting.
My reasoning is one of my own studies that shows that applications of multi vitamins (dissolved in water) help plants through the stress laden transplanting procedure, especially trees and shrubs.
My study also showed that using multi vitamins on seeds (as a pre plant soak) helped them not succumb to damping off as well as showing rapid growth and stem strength increases.

This year I did some more research along these lines with tomatoes, this time I was wanting to know about flavor and hornworm resistance possibilities.
The hornworm resistance didn't fare so well as we suffered an unusually high level of destructive insect invasion in all our gardens.
The next few years will show if this was a result of climate change or something else.
On the flavor front, the vitamins did increase flavor intensities in both Cherokee Purple and Early Girl varieties, not so much in the Beef Steak variety and the control plants.
Control plants had flavor but not as intense as the subject plants. All plants were attacked by hornworms but the Cherokee Purples tended to have a larger infestation than the Early Girls. 

Zucchini squash grew better, faster and produced very well in spite of being besieged by squash bugs.
Pumpkins also responded as well as the zucchini.  I did not include our butternut plants in this first year of the study because of time constraints from my wife's illness.
Next year I will be able to have subject and controls on all the different squashes we grow.

If you haven't tried giving your plants their vitamins, I encourage you to give it a trial.
I think you will be at least pleased with the outcome and you might just see some improvements along the disease/ pest front as well as in the palatability of your vegetables.

I use one multi vitamin/ multi mineral tab per half gallon of water, directly water the roots not the leaves.
foliar spraying does not seem to be of use when it comes to vitamins.

Redhawk
 
gardener
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Bryant,
Thank you for sharing this. I had read where you mentioned vitamins before. That got me curious and prompted me to read more on this. I had found an interesting article in MEN called Vitamins For Vegetables, about an 11 y.o. boy who conducted an experiment with vitamins A, C, E, B1, B5, B12 and B100. I'll have to find that one again.
I plan on trying this myself. I'm also curious about giving aspirin to sick plants.

(Edit to add: MEN article link.)
 
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Has anybody here tried Superthrive?

My sister used to swear by it.  It is super concentrated vitamins.  A few drops per water can.
No. It is not OMRI certified, but neither are those multivitamin tablets.

I used it once when a bunch of plants were in transplant shock.  They all sprouted back to good health.

 
Karen Donnachaidh
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John,
I have tried it, not on a regular schedule. I think it is like a B -complex.IDK. No great results to report but nothing bad either.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau John, I used to use superthrive every day. When we did a landscape planting, everything got watered in with it so we would not have to replace any plants from shock.

What I use now are the multivitamins that I take daily, once I found through testing that these work just fine, I simply started mixing up my own solutions.
All our orchard trees get a watering in the spring with vitamin/ multi mineral water and our garden vegetables get the same.
The great thing about starting seeds by soaking them is that the treatment last for months so you aren't always trying to keep up with when to use it.

Redhawk
 
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John Polk wrote:Has anybody here tried Superthrive?

My sister used to swear by it.  It is super concentrated vitamins.  A few drops per water can.
No. It is not OMRI certified, but neither are those multivitamin tablets.
I used it once when a bunch of plants were in transplant shock.  They all sprouted back to good health.


This year, I did not have my neighbor's horse manure, and since I am growing comfrey, I made a comfrey tea, with excellent results. The big plus is that comfrey re-generates itself and you can make at least 3 cuts/ year. put all these leaves in a barrel, top with water and let stew. In a few weeks, you will have a serious helper in the garden because comfrey really accumulates what if gets from the ground. Also, NO SEED WEEDS. That alone is a great plus. My garlic, normally pretty poor in my sandbox grew to twice the size and there were no bugs.
I made a late batch that is still brewing and will save it for my fruit trees next year. That stuff is really potent! dilute it before use. cover it, or your nose when you get near.
 
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This is very interesting. Here is an article I found about the boy who experimented with various vitamins (separately and together.):
https://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/vitamins-for-vegetables-zmaz89mjzshe
He used much larger amounts though than you can find in the multivitamin pill. Multivitamins are generally very inadequate for humans. They put cheapest versions of vitamins/minerals in them and even those in very small doses. Otherwise they wouldn't make money and fit it in one pill. For example, when I looked up, if my multivitamin had magnesium, it had just 5 percent of so called daily allowance, and that one was magnesium oxide, which is basically not worth taking as just 4 percent can be absorbed and the rest give people digestive trouble. Now I am taking magnesium glycinate powder without fillers and it takes 6 capsules a day to get 600-700 mg of magnesium, which I use to prevent migraines.
  However if you had great results with multivitamin, it can be a good use to get rid of those not so great ones for humans...
 
pollinator
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You are a scientist Bryan! That sounds really great. Question is if I go to the supermarket and buy the cheapeset vitamins I can find - will this do any good to my plants? Second do vitamins improve the soil on the long run?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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cheap vitamins are usually not a good choice both for humans or plants, many of them do not contain what they claim and/ or they are not in an easy to utilize form.
This above statement is sadly true for just about any form of supplement on the market.

I use vitamins for supplementation of my current diet since we are not to the point of being able to grow a full years worth of food yet.
The vitamins I use are not full of fillers and they have a fairly short shelf life (all natural derived and without preservatives or stabilizers)
That means they go "bad" within about 6 months for best use by humans, these "out of date" supplements are what I dissolve for use with my plants, they are fully acceptable for this use.

I think that as long as vitamins (with minerals added) are of decent quality, they are acceptable to use.
I look at it this way, If I give plants vitamins and minerals, those vitamins and minerals will end up in my food.
Since I am growing food to fuel my body, I want that food to be the best, nutritionally, that I can make it.
That means I need my soil to be full of biology, minerals and all other items that the organisms both in the soil and the plant organism growing in that soil, have everything they need to thrive, not just exist.

What I have noticed, through testing, is that by using these vitamins the nutrient content of our plants fruits are up by over 50% of what control plants show through the same tests.
I have also noticed that control plants suffer far more insect damage than those plants that are given a vitamin watering once a week.
I would give more detailed data but this is part of my current research project.

The way I use out of date vitamins follows a long term, proven set of research that I have been keeping since 1965, when I got interested in better nutrition for people's health.
I thought at that time that if the human body needs a particular set of nutrients, in particular forms, then it stood to reason (in my mind) that fruits and vegetable plants would have a similar set of requirements for them to not only be healthy but to have fruits that would provide the human body with what it needs.
My professors thought I might be crazy but I also might be on to something. This lead me to start notebooks on everything I grew in the garden and orchard, where ever I lived.

Vitamins have been thought previously to not really do much for soil, but this is part of my current research project too, and I will share here, what I find out.
It seems to me that every organism on the earth mother has a particular set of needs to thrive and that those organisms that thrive would have the best nutrient levels, for that is what makes organisms thrive.

Redhawk
 
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Karen Donnachaidh wrote:Bryant,
Thank you for sharing this. I had read where you mentioned vitamins before. That got me curious and prompted me to read more on this. I had found an interesting article in MEN called Vitamins For Vegetables, about an 11 y.o. boy who conducted an experiment with vitamins A, C, E, B1, B5, B12 and B100. I'll have to find that one again.
I plan on trying this myself. I'm also curious about giving aspirin to sick plants.

(Edit to add: MEN article link.)


..
Aspirin work wonders in building plants' immunity against pests and diseases. See this article on it http://www.farmersjoint.com/blog/crop-and-plantation/crops/reduce-pest-attacks-crops-aspirin/.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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I agree. I have in the past year started using aspirin water on plants. I love things that work well and are so inexpensive. I believe it helped quite a bit slowing the onset of late blight on my tomatoes. I had used it every two weeks for a stretch but then stopped. I wonder what results I would have had if I had continued.

Thanks for the link you provided. Here's the Permies thread that brought this idea to my gardens:

Aspirin An Organic Gardener's Dream?
 
Bryant RedHawk
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When you use aspirin, it is important to use "real" aspirin, not a synthetic form, you want it to be along the lines of Bayer aspirin. Not Acetaminophen, which usually only appears on the labels of synthetics like Tylenol.

Plants last year were given two sets of vitamins, one was a Natural multi vitamin/mineral and the other experimental set got individual Nature's Way left over and out of date vitamins D3, A, Super B-complex and a multi-mineral.
The set that was given the multi vitamin/mineral tabs dissolved at the rate of 1 tab per liter of water did fair, they did not perform or show as good a resistance to insect damage as those that got the individual vitamins and multi-mineral.
Both sets however, did out perform the control plants both in vigor and amount of fruit set, quality of fruit taste was also lower in the control compared to either of the experimental sets.

Redhawk
 
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John Polk wrote:Has anybody here tried Superthrive?





The active in Superthrive is an auxin, IBA or NAA I can't remember which. The vitamins are really almost inerts, according to a soil scientist I spoke to. Palm growers in marginal climates find it extremely useful to initiate root growth at soil temperatures usually too cold to get active root development, leading to faster establishment and much improved growth rates. Some palm nurseries use this or an equivalent auxin in irrigation at approximately 1-2ppm active, where it appears to be extremely helpful. It seems less useful for climatically appropriate field plantings. 
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Ben,

I am a soil scientist but also a biologist, the vitamins are not inert unless you are looking at them from the chemists side of soil science which is what most soil scientist are doing.
But one thing that contradicts all soil science is that every root stimulator contains vitamin B-12, now, if vitamins are inert, how is it that the root stimulators for mitigating transplant shock all use vitamin B-12?

Vitamins work, they are not inert, they are taken in by the fungi, bacteria and all the other soil life and they are also taken in through the feeder roots (hair roots are feeder roots, the ones that actually bring the nutrients into the plant).

Superthrive even states that the product is "Essential Vitamin Solution"  here's their website Superthrive FAQ

Redhawk
 
pollinator
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Thanks for this, Kola. I almost missed it, until your soil threads were wikified.

This has me thinking about what natural food and health supplement stores do with their past due goods. I think I will go have a chat with a couple of the local ones.

It isn't really a surprise to me that the group using combo tablets were outperformed by the group using many vitamin specific tablets and the multimineral. I have never had a good opinion of those 3-in-1 printer/copier/fax machines that do none of their tasks very well, like really bad jacks-of-all-trades. Things designed to do a little bit of everything often do a whole lot of nothing very well.

I have a couple of specific questions. My girlfriend grows avocado pits out in water, using blown glass orbs (she's a glassblower) to showcase the roots. This is part of an art installation that currently resides in our living room, but has seen three shows, already, and will be used again this summer.

The pits start in cups, and when the roots start to form, we transfer them to the orbs. We keep them in water until the plants look sad, which doesn't often happen, or more often when the pits fall apart under the weight of the growing plant, at which point they are potted in soil.

My question is, what can I supplement the water with to help the plants thrive? For display purposes, the water needs to remain clear and uncoloured. I am preparing to get an air line with an air stone and pump so that I can periodically recharge the oxygen levels, because as they are, as far as I know, deriving their nutrition from their pits, oxygen and light should be the limiting factors.

What can I do for them before they outgrow the orbs or burn through their pits and need to be potted?

Also, can I use this technique, the adding of vitamins and multiminerals to water, on my houseplants? I will be experimenting with different formulations of compost extract to see if I can get one that works that smells little enough to use indoors, in the winter when we can't really open the windows without freezing, unless you already know how to formulate a minimally smelly oxygenated compost extract suitable for houseplant soil.

I know this question is a bit off topic, so it can definitely be shifted around, but I would love to know if you have techniques suited to improving soil in potted plants.

-CK

 
pollinator
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Chris Kott wrote:

Also, can I use this technique, the adding of vitamins and multiminerals to water, on my houseplants? I will be experimenting with different formulations of compost extract to see if I can get one that works that smells little enough to use indoors, in the winter when we can't really open the windows without freezing, unless you already know how to formulate a minimally smelly oxygenated compost extract suitable for houseplant soil.

I know this question is a bit off topic, so it can definitely be shifted around, but I would love to know if you have techniques suited to improving soil in potted plants.



I noticed these were available through Amazon.com---you may need to do a bit of research to decide which formulation would be best for the plants you are growing, but each has been through decades of testing for plant growth efficacy with potted plants of all stripes:  https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_5_9?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=murashige+%26+skoog+basal+medium+with+vitamins&sprefix=murashige%2Caps%2C202&crid=15TQINXE83SWP
 
Bryant RedHawk
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The aeration for the Avocados will do great for their root growth, as far as anything extra, they are using up their "yolk" so nutrient additions would most likely be unwanted by the tree until it gets potted.
When you pot them up, you want to make sure you have mycorrhizae in the potting mix along with a standard compost tea watering to introduce the microbiology. (I use 6 inch pvc pipe that is 3 feet tall for initial potting of Avocado sprouts so the tap root can develop straight down)

If you were to inoculate the roots, while in those orbs, with mycorrhizae, the roots would become fuzzy and the water would cloud, probably not the way you want the display to look.
The products John's link is about are great for once they are potted up.

Redhawk
 
Ben Waimata
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau Ben,

I am a soil scientist but also a biologist, the vitamins are not inert unless you are looking at them from the chemists side of soil science which is what most soil scientist are doing.
But one thing that contradicts all soil science is that every root stimulator contains vitamin B-12, now, if vitamins are inert, how is it that the root stimulators for mitigating transplant shock all use vitamin B-12?

Vitamins work, they are not inert, they are taken in by the fungi, bacteria and all the other soil life and they are also taken in through the feeder roots (hair roots are feeder roots, the ones that actually bring the nutrients into the plant).

Superthrive even states that the product is "Essential Vitamin Solution"  here's their website Superthrive FAQ

Redhawk





Kia ora Redhawk,

I am never going to try to argue with you, in fact I am saving everything you've written that I can find! Thank you for your insights.

Regarding this subject though, My conversation with the guy who did the research in the UK with superthrive compared to straight NAA and straight Vitamin B showed the NAA alone had the same results as superthrive, Vitamin B alone was same as the control.   So the products being used in UK have just the NAA as the true active, but often with some seaweed or similar base. This is not my opinion, just passing on the story as I heard it.   This does not mean the vitamins did nothing, just that the root growth effect he was trying to achieve in his cool climate appeared to be due to the NAA, not the Vitamin B.

I do not have any experience of superthrive as my farm is organic certified and I can't use it. I do however have a small tree nursery and some forestry that is not part of the certified area, and I sourced a small quantity of NAA to see what it did. Applied as a light spray to a young banyan tree resulted in massive aerial root development. But the tree was of an age where it was going to start producing these aerial roots anyway so not a good experiment. I used some on nursery trees, but again I did not do a control as it was the wrong time of year to really see a difference. Applied to the base of the giant tropical  bamboo Dendrocalamus latiflorus the results were dramatic, producing a massive increase in culm production several months later. I ceased experiments at that stage due to a basic concern about messing with plant hormone levels when I really don't know what I'm doing. Maybe we can show more respect for nature than that.

Buying NAA from the local hort. supplies shop was about 1000X cheaper than buying it as Superthrive....!
 
Bryant RedHawk
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hau Ben,

I try hard to not argue with folks, and don't intend to be confrontational (sometimes I am told I can come off that way but it truly isn't intentional). If I have, I apologize profusely.

"NAA" = 1-naphthalene acetic acid which is a plant growth regulator; Is, I presume, the "ingredient" you are talking about.
1-naphthalene acetic acid is to plants what HGH is to humans, so I would expect it to cause a major growth spurt when administered per the package directions.

As you mention, it is not "organic approved" and while I have a bit of experience with it, I don't use this sort of thing enough to have enough knowledge about how it works to comment on it other than what I said above.

For us, those who try to stay true to organic, (not per the USDA definition) means something like a willow decoction would be a better choice and will produce similar results as those of the researcher in plant growth.
I use vitamins for the soil biology since that indirectly effects the plants health (not particularly the growth rate) which is more important to those of us that grow our own or for sale foods.
They have worked for me with measurable results in nutrient density in the fruits I've tested and that means more nutrient value for us when we eat it.
This is the result I am most interested in because I know that the nutrient poor foods most people only have access to are at least part of the current Health Trends in the human race, such as increases in the numbers and kinds of cancers, increases in autism, Alzheimer's, and other diseases.
It is my goal to provide folks with ways to counteract the results of the poor nutrition available to those who have to depend on a grocery store or restaurant for their food. 
I am not so worried about fast growing plants as I am about super healthy plants capable of providing the nutrients they should in the quantities they should.

Seaweeds are great for adding minerals, so are things like volcanic rock dusts (granite is one of these but it will raise acidity levels if too much is used), green sand is another good mineral amendment and products like Sea-90 (sea salt that contains around 95 minerals that our soils need to have present) and there are others.
These are all good to have available while we get our soil microorganisms up to the right levels, once we have the organisms where we want them, we don't have to worry so much about making extra minerals available as often if at all.

Redhawk

The B vitamins are anti-oxidants in humans and that is also their function for plant roots, they stop the wilt that comes from transplant shock, they don't make the roots grow, they make the roots calm so that they can grow as they should.
Bacteria thrive in a vitamin present environment, so they multiply somewhat faster than with the presence of the vitamins, just like humans, all  the microorganisms are capable of making their own "vitamins" but the building blocks have to be present.
Those building blocks usually are present but not in concentrations high enough for the flourish we want available when a tree gets transplanted, thus my experimentation with my leftovers, it was one of those happy accidents that worked out well.

Redhawk
 
It will give me the powers of the gods. Not bad for a tiny ad:
Solar ovens, haybox cooker - What would you build to go with a rocket oven?
https://permies.com/t/89917/Solar-ovens-haybox-cooker-build
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