You’ve probably read oodles of information about protein—after all, high protein diets are super-popular right now. Maybe you’ve even incorporated more protein into your own diet and seen some benefits. To be healthy, you need protein, and the same goes for plants. In fact, when you feed your plants, some of the things you’re feeding them are proteins.
So now you might be wondering: If high protein foods are part of a healthy diet for people, should you choose high protein plant food, too? Does such a thing even exist? And if so, will using high protein fertilizer cause your plants to produce fruits and vegetables that contain higher protein? Wonder no longer—we’ve got all the answers you need.
What is high protein plant food?
Most plant food contains three main ingredients: nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K). On every fertilizer package, you’ll see three numbers listed, like 11-3-8 on the Miracle-Gro® Performance Organics® All Purpose Plant Nutrition box. Those numbers are sometimes called N-P-K numbers, and they correspond to the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in the fertilizer. High protein plant foods will have a bigger “N” number than those with less protein. This is particularly true among organic plant foods. For example, plant food with 10-3-2 will contain more protein than a 4-3-2 fertilizer.
Does it matter where the protein in high protein plant food comes from?
Yes! There are many sources of nitrogen that can be used to make plant food, but not every source offers the same benefits to plants. Edible plants require nutrients in different amounts and types than blooming plants, so formulas have been specifically developed and tested for each, resulting in plant foods like for fruits and vegetables and for flowers. These fertilizers are made from animal- and plant-based high-protein sources and are specially formulated to be easily taken up by growing plants, giving you the fast, impressive results (think more growth and production, bigger blooms and fruits) you’re looking for.
How does high protein plant food work?
Here’s a nifty bit of info: Did you know that when you use organic fertilizer, you’re actually feeding the soil, not the plants? That’s right! Plant food is really food for the microbes that live in the soil surrounding the plant roots. These microbes eat the plant food and then release the protein in a form (nitrogen) that the plants can use.
So, in addition to feeding your plants top quality fertilizer, you need to provide them with healthy soil full of microbes, like the kind you get when you improve your native soil by adding aged compost-enriched . The soil helps the plants digest their food and stay healthy, but in order for that to happen, the soil microbes need to be fed.
Do plants really need high protein plant food?
Do you want strong, vigorous plants that produce big blooms and big harvests? Then the answer is yes! Providing soil microbes with high protein plant food will ensure a steady supply of nutrients to your plants, allowing them to produce their own proteins (which are essential for plant growth) and helping them to avoid many of the problems related to poor nutrition. There are other important benefits, too, like:
- More stress-tolerant plants that are better able to withstand drought and pest problems;
- Longer lifespans for your plants;
- The potential for plants to produce more, and better, fruits and veggies.
Does high protein plant food grow a high protein harvest?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. High protein plant food does not directly result in high protein plants. So, a tomato grown with high protein plant food will not necessarily be a high protein tomato. But, that same tomato plant will produce longer and give you a bigger harvest. In other words, when you use high protein plant food, you’ll get more out of your plants over time.
Which leads us to the big question: Is high protein plant food worth it? The answer is a resounding yes! High protein plant food can actually make gardening easier by feeding the soil in a way that will produce stronger, more productive plants—and isn’t that what every home grower is hoping for?