One of the easiest ways to get your garden flourishing is to start incorporating seaweed.
This natural resource is right at your fingertips. You just need a trip to the beach! Before we dive in (get it?), let’s talk about this magical weed for a bit..
Seaweed has a very high micronutrient content and is widely used as a fertiliser and as a plant growth stimulant. Seaweed is also one of the fastest growing organisms on the planet. In Scotland people would make lazy trenches for their potatoes and just lay seaweed down and grow potatoes on top with a bit of soil covering them. They get bountiful potatoes plus a nutrient rich soil at the end.
Studies show that seaweed contains substances that help improve soil structure. Jelly-like particles in brown seaweed bind soil particles together. They contain natural growth-promoting phytohormones which are important plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, as well as more than 60 minor nutrients and trace elements.
As seaweed breaks down into the soil, it encourages microorganisms in the soil, it increases chlorophyll production and contains important nutrients for soil and plant health. Are you converted yet?
Collecting your seaweed
It is very important to collect seaweed that has been washed up, it’s not sustainable for everyone to go around pulling off living seaweed.
Make sure you’re collecting from unpolluted beaches where you know the seaweed hasn’t absorbed any chemicals or nasty toxic particles.
Gently give your seaweed a shake to release any excess sand and any sea creatures that may be in there.
Don’t wash it when you get home. There’s no evidence that the salt or sand on it is harmful to your plants or soil, plus the salt will repel those pesky pests.
1. Use seaweed when planting your new seedlings
Add clumps of seaweed to the base of plant holes before transplanting your seedlings.
When using seaweed under new seedlings, you will get increased root and plant growth; healthier foliage, ﬂowers, and fruits, plus a greater resistance to pests and diseases.
2. Mulch and soil conditioner
Use your freshly harvested seaweed layered on top of soil to help improve its condition and moisture retention. If you are not keen on the fresh smell of seaweed you can dry it in the sun then place on the garden, or grind into a powder and sprinkle around your plants for a great soil conditioner. Get hold of an old blender or food processor to do the job.
3. As a pest control
As the seaweed dries, it becomes hard, crinkly, and is irritating to slugs and snail’s soft undersides. Most birds don’t like seaweed either. When it’s wet, they get tangled easily; when it’s dry, it’s a scratchy deterrent. So, they steer clear.
4. Us a fertiliser (Seaweed tea)
Soak seaweed in a bucket or barrel of water with a partially closed lid. Infuse the seaweed for several weeks then strain. Seaweed fertiliser tea can be watered in at the root zone or used as a foliar spray. Any leftover seaweed can be chopped up and added to your compost.
5. In your compost pile
You can add fresh or dried seaweed to your compost, with equal parts dried leaves, or grass clippings. It will promote micro-organisms in your compost, encouraging the breakdown of plant matter, and the creation of the gardener’s version of black gold – delicious, fertile soil.
Seaweed is a natural and freely available fertiliser. It is sustainable, chemical free, and provides amazing nutrients and minerals for your home garden. Its multiple uses make it a fantastic versatile additional to your back yard.re...