Today we have Jakob Barry as our guest blogger.
When I lived by the ocean I once had an elderly neighbor who would trek down to the shore and carry back a trash bag full of seaweed to his home. I’d be weeding in the garden and as he’d stroll by we’d chat and he’d tell me about the seaweed and how great it was for his tomato plants.
It took years for me to follow-up on his advice but when I did, I was amazed.
As it turns out seaweed is one of the best organic fertilizers anyone could use on plants whether they are in the garden, the balcony, or other areas around the home.
The reason is that our oceans contain a soupy mix of most of the nutrients known to man so anything that grows there, like seaweed, has them in its biological make up. When seaweed is applied to the garden and biodegrades, the soil absorbs these nutrients giving it renewed vitality.
If you’re interested in using seaweed as a fertilizer in the garden or on indoor plants here’s a few tips on how to make it work:
The first thing to know about bringing home seaweed to the garden is that the best variety is kelp, which is easily identifiable as the long strand-like pieces washed up on shore or found floating around in shallow water.
Strands still wet, fresh, and meaty are preferable to dry ones which have already begun to lose their special qualities.
For collecting purposes bring along these items to the beach
• A mesh bag for draining excess water from seaweed.
• A bucket or trash bag for transporting the seaweed home.
• A pair of gloves if you don’t like the feel of slimy seaweed.
NOTE: The amount of seaweed you collect will depend on the size of your garden and how you intend to apply it.
Application Method 1 –Root feeding
There are two specific ways to apply seaweed to plants in the garden. The first is very straightforward and involves taking the strands and layering them over topsoil and around the trunks of plants. If you’d like to try this do the following:
• Collect enough strands at the beach to cover two inches over the area you are growing on.
• When back at the garden pick each out of the bag and place them on the soil around plants.
NOTE: Because of its biological make up seaweed will biodegrade quickly infusing it’s nutrients in the overall patch of soil. The roots of your plants will grab hold of this food and send it shooting up the trunk to each branch and leaf.
Application 2 –Leaf feeding
The second way to bring the nutrients of seaweed to plants is through a process called foliar feeding where plants absorb food through tiny pores in their leaves. Foliar feeding means plants absorb the same amount of nutrients as seaweed placed on the ground but at a quicker pace.
1. Collect several large pieces of kelp from the beach equaling a half a pound and place it in a closed bucket.
2. Add around five gallons of water.
3. Let it sit for a few days so the two ingredients cook into each other. Over time the solution will become nicely concentrated.
4. Pour some of the concentration into a spray bottle.
5. Spray leaves on plants until beads of water form.
NOTE: When foliar feeding there are a few things to remember:
• Foliar feeding can be done once a week but is especially useful when plants are stressed like after transplanting or harsh weather.
• Feed in the morning or after the hottest part of the day.
• If plants were fed and then it rained chances are the rain washed away the seaweed concentration and it should be applied again.