Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Seaweed in the Garden

Seaweed as a mulch has many benefits to an organic garden. It has been used traditionally in nearly all coastal regions to improve the fertility of the soil, although Ireland and Scotland are especially famous for their traditional use of seaweed in agriculture. Some of the benefits include:
The salt and the sharp edges of dried seaweed repel slugs.
The seaweed also forms a barrier to prevent loss of water by evaporation from the soil, sealing the moisture into the soil.
It blocks weeds.
Seaweed supplies mineral nutrients in an easily absorbed chelated form to the plants
Low in fiber, seaweed breaks down quickly to add organic matter to the soil, loosening compacted soil

Luckily, the Sprout garden is located conveniently close to the shore, so we have access to an ample supply of this beneficial mulch. At our last workday, a group of students went to the beach to gather seaweed and brought back many bags of it to the garden. If you are not near the coast, concentrated kelp emulsions are available in most home gardening stores, so that you too can benefit from applying seaweed to your garden.

Learn more about seaweed for gardening at Eartheasy Blog.

I hope all of you located in New England have been enjoying the beautiful and unusually warm March weather. Here at the Sprout garden, we have been taking advantage of the warm weather by cleaning out our garden and preparing it for spring plantings.