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How Do Plants ‘Eat’?

In one of our favourite Disney classics, ‘The Lion King’, King Mufasa talks to his son, Simba.

“Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance,” he says.

“As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.”

“But, dad, don’t we eat the antelope?” Simba asks, confused.

“Yes, Simba.” Mufasa responds, “but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass, and so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life.”

This is an excellent lesson for all of us and it helps us to understand our place in the great ‘circle of life.’ Because we are just a cog in the wheel of this great, huge universe, it’s important for us to understand how everything works and how it all fits together. Even the tiniest details are important for our survival. For example, how does a tiny little seed get nourished and grow into a delicious pumpkin that we can eat?

In order for us to eat, we have to understand how plants ‘eat?’

How DO plants ‘eat?’

Is that a question you have ever pondered? Can you imagine a garden flower tying a napkin around their little stem and tucking into a Sunday Roast?

Plant nutrition is not as literal as that, but plants do have to ‘eat’ and it’s important that we understand how.

We rely on plants for so much including fruits, vegetables, grains, potatoes and even the air we breathe. If we understand how plants eat, we can ensure they continue to receive the nourishment THEY need, in order to provide us with the nourishment WE need.

In order to understand basic plant nutrition, we need to understand an important term:

Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants manufacture carbohydrates from raw materials using energy from light. Through a long series of chemical reactions, plants will create the energy they need from air (C02), water (H20) and light.

To simplify the process, it can be summarised like this: