And a fabulous soil improver that also just happens to be free - Seaweed, available in abundance at your local beach.
Did you know that Seaweed contains over 70 Vitamins, Minerals & Enzymes all ready and waiting to provide those nutrients to plants?
Besides soil conditioning, claims have also been made that seaweed can
- help reduce plant shock when transplanting,
- reduce fruit drop,
- help encourage root growth and
- enhance photosynthesis by increasing the plants Chlorophyll levels.
But how do we utilise seaweed once we've gathered it?
Well there are various ways of tapping into all those nutrients. We can use it as a mulch to rot down slowly into the soil or directly onto the compost heap to rot down but my favourite way is compost tea. It stinks to high heaven and I dread taking the lid of the bucket each time I use it but it's worth it if it's improving my plants and soil for free.
There's always the debate to wash or not to wash and I admit the first time I used seaweed I did wash it but I don't bother anymore.
To make the compost tea I simply stuff some Seaweed in a bucket, fill it with water and leave it somewhere for a couple of weeks to stew. Then I just drain the tea into a spare tub that has a lid and chuck the stewed seaweed onto the compost heap along with any extra I managed to get. The tea is then used to feed flowers and vegetables at a rate of 2:1 (2 water, 1 tea) though I have used much weaker solutions on some plants.
With seaweed tea in mind I took a trip to the local beach the other day, bags in hand to gather as much as I could. Gutted to find when I got there that the only Seaweed around was live stuff still rooted or attached to rocks. This is the stuff I never ever take, it's just too important to the ocean and ecosystem, I only take stuff that has been washed up.
The ocean was rough while we were there, even the seals were having a hard time to get to the safety of the rocks and apparantly a few of the poor things have also washed up dead at the other local beaches - beaches which are also apparantly abundant in Seaweed. I guess we were just at the right beach at the wrong time.
Never mind we have plenty of beaches to choose from and I'll have that Seaweed tea ready for my veggie crops in 2013.
|None of this seaweed was any good to me as it's rooted or stuck to rocks.|
|My daughter with Kasa & Lucy, safely on leads as the ocean was seriously rough.|