Recently I found out that conventional fruit and vegetable farmers force-feed their plants with nutrients (mostly Nitrogen) though the leafs to give them an extra growth kick - because the plants will absorb the nutrients faster than they would over the soil.
So while the practice works, it does not exactly make it a good idea. This kind of admission of nutrients to the plant is clearly unnatural to the plant. Plants are not equipped to deal with this kind of force-feeding. It leads to unnatural and excessive levels of nitrate in vegetables and fruits. Nitrate is a powerful haemoglobin blocker, which stops red blood-cells from carrying oxygen. In young babies, excessive nitrogen consumption leads to what is known as "blue baby syndrome". Infants develop a peculiar blue-grey skin color and may become irritable or lethargic. The condition can progress rapidly to cause coma and death if not recognised and treated appropriately.
It is clear that this practice is not only unnatural, bot most probably also harmful to the health of the plant and produces less healthy fruits and vegetables. The European Union has issued strict regulations restricting the amount of nitrate allowed in baby foods. For adult foods the thresholds are much higher. These fruits and vegetable producers know exactly how much nitrogen they can force-feed the plants to stay under the legal nitrate limits. However, it seems plausible that constantly eating high nitrate foods will negatively affect your body's nitrogen uptake ability and thus your cognitive functions and much more.
I hope that I could tingle your fascination for plants with my recent articles on the communication of plants, the co-operation of plants, the social life of plants, memories of plants and even the brains of plants.
Plants are far more complex than we give them credit for. Yet, today we try to reduce plants to biological input-output machines that we can easily control and manipulate. Sadly, we are wrong. We must take a step back and once again engage with plants!