When your vegetable plants lack potassium they can appear smaller than normal even a little thin as is the case with tomatoes and although they do not look “sickly” they are suffering and that could cause smaller harvests and even no harvest at all.
Potassium is important to your vegetable plants because if aides in the process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis, if you remember from science class in school, is the process of converting carbon dioxide into organic compounds using the energy from sunlight.
Potassium in plants has also been shown to aid in the formation of proteins in plants which gives your vegetables their nutritional value. So it goes without saying that plants growing in soil that lacks or is deficient in potassium will in turn not be able to carry out the photosynthesis process or provide adequate protein. And if that was not enough potassium has been shown to aid microorganisms in the soil.
Now that we have covered potassium’s importance and what will happen if you neglect this very important nutrient, let’s go over how to get some in your soil. There are over the counter items you can use that will add potassium directly into your soil for immediate solutions, but if you want long term solutions use the following.
If you are fortunate like me to have an outdoor fire pit (I bought mine at Target for $60), then burning some good ole fashioned logs will result in a good source of potassium for your soil. I am talking about wood ash. It doesn’t contain a lot of potassium and may raise your soil’s pH level, but it is a quick release option and also safe. Do not use charcoal ash. Charcoal ash can be toxic to your plants.
Greensand is another option that comes from the bottom of the ocean. A small portion of the potassium that it contains is quick releasing while the majority of it is slow release. A benefit of green sand is that it also contains other nutrients and will improve clay like soil conditions. It is best to add the green sand to your compost pile as opposed to directly in your garden.
Speaking of composting, if you are not doing it, you should be. Proper composting can fix just about any issue in anyone’s soil. A Google search on proper compost ingredients will give you everything you need to know about constructing a good compost bin for your pile and what to add in it.
About the Author
Michael C. Podlesny is a contributing writer for Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC the exclusive home for the Seeds of the Month Club.