Plant Food - Nitrogen Project
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Nitrogen in Plant Food

Nitrogen plant food

It's pretty easy to see just how much a plant needs nitrogen to grow. Just take any two plants (they could be small house plants, or plants growing outside) and sprinkle a nitrogen-based plant food over one of them, and not the other one. Follow the directions on the box. Within a week or two you will see that the plant with extra nitrogen grows much faster and looks greener than the other plant.

But maybe that plant was just naturally stronger than the other plant? Try reversing your experiment: this time, give all the plant food to the other plant for a couple of weeks. What happens?

There's nitrogen in urine (pee), so when a dog pees on or near a lawn, you'll see that the grass grows greener there. But if the dog keeps peeing there every day, or every few days, after a while the grass turns brown and dies. In urine, the nitrogen is part of a larger ammonia molecule, and too much ammonia will kill a plant.

More about nitrogen
More about plants

Bibliography and further reading about atoms:

Nitrogen
Molecules
Chemistry
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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