The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

How many plant micronutrients are there?

Soil pH affects availability of micronutrients.Although Wikipedia's list of micronutrients just includes the generally accepted "little eight", I keep stumbling across other micronutrients which are important.  For example, a deficiency of magnesium in the soil makes it hard for plants to use calcium, which in turn can lead to blossom end rot in tomatoes.  Magnesium can be easily washed out of the upper layer of soil by rain or watering, only to be returned when leaves from deep-rooted plants (like trees) are added back to the ground. 

After extensive web browsing, I've add these additional micronutrients to the little eight:

  • Sodium
  • Iodine
  • Fluorine
  • Silicon
  • Sulfur
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium

Given that the most recent of the little eight micronutrients was found to have an effect on plants only about twenty years ago, I wouldn't be surprised if we come up with more micronutrients which affect plants.


This post is part of our Micronutrient lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:





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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.



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