Seaweed in the garden

Over the past week, I’ve been giving both my vege patch and the some of my decorative garden a drink of seaweed tea. Seaweed extract is an excellent supplementary fertiliser. Although it doesn’t contain large amounts of most of the major elements required by plants, it contains a full range of trace elements that are essential in small quantities for healthy plant growth. I apply it when the Moon is waxing, as the increased sap flow during this period ensures quick absorption.
I often recommend seaweed extract tea to gardeners as a treatment for some plant diseases, or when pests are repeatedly attacking plants. Although it is not registered for pest control, the elements in seaweed boost a plant’s immune system and allow it to produce the pheromones that deter pests, making the plant naturally more resistant to a range of diseases and pests. Seaweed also contains a good supply of potassium to strengthen cell walls. Strong cell walls allow plants to resist the effects of drought, frost and saline soils. Seaweed compounds reduce transplant shock, and a drink of seaweed tea before transplanting seedlings, shrubs and trees will assist fast recovery. Other compounds in seaweed, called alginates, are excellent at stimulating the composting process, so the compost heap will also benefit from a drink of seaweed tea.
We use a certified-organic seaweed extract because it is guaranteed not to contain the heavy metals or industrial toxins that can contaminate seaweed collected from beaches. Acadian and Natrakelp are both reliable brands of seaweed extract. It is quite economical to use as the solution is diluted to weak black tea strength for application, hence the name seaweed tea. However, overuse of seaweed in the garden can be counter-productive. Too much potassium in soil prevents plants absorbing magnesium and calcium. But, used in moderation, seaweed is marvellous.

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