Friday, May 31, 2013

Conservation of Mass

Today was the first day this week I got to spend a couple hours in the yard.  Our weekdays can sometimes be hectic between work, playing with the kids, and helping with homework.  I am really in awe with how fast plants grow this time of year.

These potatoes were just barely peeking out of the soil earlier this month.  

One thought struck me as I was admiring the garden vegetables and flowers: unless we are talking about nuclear reactions, matter is neither destroyed nor created.  Thus, the gain in the mass of a plant is equal to the loss in mass of its surrounding environment.  I am not a biologist or botanist, but I assume that most of the mass gained by a plant is due to water.  And so access to uncontaminated water sources is crucial not only for the health of the plant, but to those that depend on the plant for food - and all humans depend on plants for food.  Additionally, the plant extracts minerals and nutrients from the soil, and carbon dioxide from the air.  And so it goes...



  1. Water, oh seems to always comes back to water. Have you ever seen a documentary called "Flow: For the Love of Water"? Its quite good. A bit disheartening, but empowering, too, as tends to be the case with environmental documentaries. Those potatoes have really taken off!

    1. I haven't seen "Flow." I just checked the library; they don't have it:( I'll try to find it online. Thanks. I did read "The Big Thirst" by Charles Fishman, which raises some very profound questions.