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Meeting Plant Needs  4-1

Lesson Four -Meeting Plant Needs

Like humans and animals, plants have very specific nutritional and environmental needs that must be met in order for the plant to grow and develop. Both humans and plans must consume a balanced diet and need protection from harsh environments.

Plants all over the world have adapted to specific environ-
ments. A tomato plant, for instance, is a tropical plant and
thrives in average daytime temperature of 80 F and night-
time temperature of 60 F. When grown in temperatures
outside these parameters a tomato plant may survive, but
not thrive and, if the temperatures are too extreme, the to-
mato plant will die.

Individual species of plants have very specific nutritional
needs that must to be met. These needs may vary through-
out the stages of the plant's growth. 

For instance, a tomato plant needs more nitrogen during the vegetative growth stages and less nitrogen during the fruiting stages.
As a compromise to various needs and stages of growth, hydroponic solutions can generally be modified to be suitable for the majority of plants. For best results, it is a good idea to plant crops with similar needs together so the compromise in minimal.
In the soil, organic materials are broken down to release minerals and nutrients. They can then be dissolved in water, taken up by the roots and passed through the stem into the leaves. In hydroponics we provide the minerals a plant needs in a water-soluble form, ready to be taken up by the plant roots. We are therefore able to provide a very exact diet for our plants in the most usable form.
The more precisely a plant's needs are met, the more vigorous its growth will be. When you observe a lush, healthy plant, you can be sure that most or all of it's environmental and nutritional requirements are being met.