Since the beginning of modern times, man has sought to find ways to improve the quality and quantity of the array of flowers and produce in his garden. Countless attempts at fertilizers and gardening tricks have been tried – some more successful than others.
As odd as it may seem, seaweed fertilizer is among the most prized Master Gardener tricks. We’ll take a look at a brief history of how seaweed has been used in the garden as well as characteristics and uses of this most fascinating sea product.
The use of seaweed has been part of the history of seacoast countries for centuries. In England, in the Channel Islands, there is actually a trade called vraicking, where seaweed is harvested and then dried before it is sorted for different uses including fertilizer.
In times past in Ireland, the soil was lifted in rows and then seaweed was placed down before the soil was laid back down. Not practiced so much anymore, this is how potatoes were planted and cultivated. To this day, Ireland cultivates and harvests some 35,000 tons of an estimated 500+ species of seaweed and kelp as a small part of their coastal industries.
Why seaweed is such an amazing additive to gardens, then and now, is due to the fact that the world’s oceans contain every element known to mankind. Naturally sea plants will avail themselves of this, which makes them an ideal amendment for the garden.
It’s the popular choice for conscientious gardeners who want an all-natural plant based product to add to their soil in junction with other natural sources of fertilizer. It doesn’t have the negative “news” of big industry name brand chemical synthesized fertilizers with all the questionable by-products and pollution that come with processing and manufacturing.
It’s interesting to note how seaweed fertilizer is used. It can be directly added to your soil as mulch to your garden around and between the plants, although it breaks down very rapidly.
It can be added to your compost bin too, to add great richness and friability to the overall humus. It can also be made into to a “tea” either from the liquid extracts or the powder forms available. This is then misted onto the leaves as a foliar feed.
Seaweed has had a long and productive history in gardens worldwide. You may be fortunate enough to find it near your home if you live near the sea. But for the rest of you, who may not have this convenience, visit your local nursery or garden supply and ask for kelp meal or another product based on seaweed. And while you’re there, ask them to give you some tips on how to add it to your garden to give it new life.
Until Next Time
Dominus Owen Markham