Sweeten up your veggies with seaweed
If you’re looking for a great fertiliser and soil conditioner, turn your gaze towards seaweed and its benefits for your garden. It is one of the healthiest things you could put on your veggie patch, bringing back essential minerals to your soil, increasing yield and sweetening fruits.
Seaweed thrives in the water due to minerals that have leached out of the land and into the ocean. Our ancient Australian soil lacks many of those vital nutrients. By putting seaweed onto our veggie patches, we are simply re-introducing those minerals back to the land.
Seaweed contains many different nutrients including all the trace elements, and enzymes, amino acids and natural growth hormones. Research has shown seaweed fertiliser helps plants grow stronger and yield more flowers, and produce a greater amount of larger fruits with a higher sugar content. It also improves the structure of the soil and helps to retain moisture, as well as preventing plant diseases. This is a boon for your veggie crop and your family.
If you live near a non-polluted body of water, you can collect seaweed and put it straight onto your garden. Check with your local council first, however, to make sure collection is legal. If not, you can buy seaweed fertiliser from your local garden centre.
If you collect your seaweed, take it from the mid-range of the seaweed washed up on the beach – the seaweed close to the waterline is wetter and heavier, and the weed on the higher end has already become a habitat for bugs and flies. When you get it home, don’t worry about its salt content; there’s not enough to make the sodium content of your soil too high. Snake the seaweed bits in around your plants. It will break down very quickly, releasing its nutrients into the soil at the same time as protecting it from drying out.
For a seaweed tea, wash the seaweed off and soak in a bucket of water for a few days. Drain the tea into a bottle and spray the leaves of your plants – they will absorb the nutrients well and it will help deter pests.
You can also throw seaweed on your compost heap to enrich your compost. Mix it in with lots of leaf matter to ensure good circulation in your heap. Covering it with a heap of grass clippings might help to keep the smell down and the compost at a cooler temperature which is ideal for seaweed.
Seaweed has so many benefits for our plants and is easy to work with, along with being a natural, organic product you can use with the knowledge that you’re protecting the environment. Put it on your patch this season and enjoy bigger, sweeter veggies.