Why don’t legumes need nitrogen-containing fertilizers?

Legumes are like self-sufficient nitrogen ninjas in the plant world. Here’s why they don’t need those nitrogen-containing fertilizers:

1. Secret Weapon

Nitrogen-fixing Bacteria: Legumes have a special superpower ā€“ they partner with tiny heroes called rhizobia bacteria. These bacteria live in little bumps on the legume’s roots called nodules.

2. Making magic

Rhizobia have a remarkable ability to take nitrogen gas (Nā‚‚) from the air and convert it into a usable form (like ammonia) that the legume can absorb.

Regular air is about 78% nitrogen gas, but most plants can’t use it directly. Rhizobia act like tiny factories, turning abundant but unusable nitrogen into plant food.

3. Win-Win Situation

The legume provides the bacteria with a comfy home and sugars for energy, and in return, the bacteria create a steady supply of nitrogen fertilizer for the plant. It’s a perfect partnership for mutual benefit!

4. Natural Fertilizer Factories

As legumes grow, they use the nitrogen fixed by the bacteria. But here’s the cool part: legumes don’t hoard all this goodness.

When they die and decompose, or even when gardeners turn the leftover plant material into compost, that nitrogen gets released back into the soil.

This enriches the soil for future plants, not just legumes, making them less reliant on external nitrogen fertilizers.

So, legumes skip the nitrogen-containing fertilizers because they have their own built-in nitrogen-fixing factories thanks to their rhizobia buddies. They even leave a little something extra for their neighbors in the garden!

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