A Forest of Sunlight
A few months ago, in the height of summer, my wife and I went to go spend a weekend with my mother-in-law down in Reading. My mother-in-law is a keen gardener and always has an abundance of fruit and veg growing everywhere in her garden during the summer.
One sunny morning, I was enjoying the morning rays while sipping a coffee. One of her giant tomato plants caught my eye… I was looking at the giant plant, and then observing the soil in the pot. I found myself wondering how such a large plant could grow from the pot, yet the pot was still full to the brim with soil.
How did the plant get so big without using up the soil?
I was thinking to myself, come on now… you learnt all about photosynthesis during school, you know how plants get their energy and grow… to be honest though, despite all of this leaning, I still had an understanding in my mind that the plants basically eat the soil and use it to grow. I know this from when I have re-potted plants myself.
I remember adding compost to the pot thinking, this will help you grow big and strong… this is good stuff to help build a plant.
Where does it come from?
Now don’t get me wrong, good quality soil is essential for growing strong and healthy plants. The plants need all of the nutrients and minerals in the soil to grow. More important though is sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water.
Plants are primarily made of carbon. Carbon which the breath in from the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2). They then use water and the energy from the sun to split up the carbon (C) and oxygen (O2).
The oxygen is breathed back out as waste, and the carbon is used to build the plant.
The nutrients they get from the solid are like tiny bits of glue that help the process.
You see, plants are made from sunlight, water and air. The soil does add a sprinkling of magic sauce, but it is the sun that drives the whole process.
The next time that you are near some plants, or surrounded by a whole forest, consider that it is the sun that built that thing… one cell at a time.
We are part of the forest of sunlight, because ultimately everything we eat once came from that sunlight too.
We are all, children of the sun.
Enjoy, for now.