Using Seaweed in the Garden

SeaweedSeaweed is an incredibly useful material for gardeners. Rich in a number of nutrients and minerals, and often an abundant resource along the country's coastline, seaweed can be used to add fertility to the soil in growing areas in a number of different ways.

Composting Seaweed

The first way in which seaweed can be added to the garden soils is through placing it on your compost heap. Seaweed collected from the shoreline can simply be placed onto your compost heap. However, it is usually best to rinse it before you place it there, as the salt on it can concentrate in the heap in certain circumstances. Rinses seaweed will serve as a nitrogen rich (green) material for your heap, even when it is brown in colour. Layering the seaweed with brown (carbon) layers will help to prevent the heap from becoming stinky and anaerobic.

Seaweed mulchUsing Seaweed as Mulch

The rinsed seaweed can also be used directly on garden beds as a thick mulch. This mulch of seaweed can be particularly beneficial for potatoes, and adding a thick layer of seaweed mulch around the growing plants can be an alternative to earthing up in a no-dig or minimal dig system. Seaweed can also be excellent for helping to reduce soil evaporation and can help to improve the water retention and structure of sandy or other free-draining soils.

Tomatoes fed with seaweed plant feedMaking a Seaweed Plant Feed

Seaweed can also be used to make a liquid plant feed to add concentrated nutrition to growing plants. As with other organic plant feeds, this is a wonderful alternative to damaging chemical formulae that can cause harm to local wildlife. Seaweed fertilisers can be bought, but you can also easily make your own if you have access to seaweed, by simply adding rinsed seaweed to water in a lidded bucket and waiting for the material to break down before straining and using on plants.

seaweed edible garnishIn addition to being useful for adding fertility and improving the soil in a garden, seaweed can also be used in other ways. Many seaweeds, for example, are not only edible but also delicious. Learning how to forage edible seaweed types could be another string to add to your bow and could help to supplement your home-grown diet. What is more, seaweed could also serve as a valuable dietary supplement for pets, or for livestock such as domestic chickens, which you might also keep in your garden.