Sugar Kelp and Sea Greens: New Organic Sources of Fertilizer & Ingredients in Soil Blends

Over the last decade, various forms of kelp and seaweed have become increasingly popular sources of fertilizer and ingredients in soil blends you can find at your local garden store. But why exactly is this?

Here are just a few examples of some of the benefits associated with using seaweed in fertilizer:

  • Maintaining workforce: We’ll get to the actual practical benefits of seaweed in soil blends and fertilizers shortly, but first, it’s important to note that the increased usage of seaweed has proven to be an innovative, effective way of maintaining a workforce on waterways. This is especially important considering how many jobs have been lost due to declining fish and shellfish stock—the increased harvesting of seaweed has helped to open up new job opportunities.
  • Short growing time: Seaweed use in fertilizers and soils is highly scalable because of how fast it grows. It doesn’t take nearly as long to grow seaweed for these purposes as it would take to grow many land-based alternatives.
  • Minerals: Seaweed has up to 60 trace minerals and nutrients, including phosphate, magnesium, nitrogen and potassium. It is also packed with hormones, which encourages faster, better plant growth.
  • Ease of use: Unlike many other types of fertilizers, such as manure, seaweed does not need to decompose before it starts providing benefits to your garden. When you add this to the short growing time of the plant, it is extremely efficient, easy to use and, again, highly scalable.
  • Moisture: Like any other type of mulch, seaweed is highly effective at keeping soil moist, which means you can cut back on the amount of water you need to use in your garden. By applying soil blends rich with seaweed, you can also reduce how often you need to weed, as it does not contain any seeds that could potentially turn into weeds at some point. The same cannot be said of common bark mulches, which often inadvertently spread weeds in gardens.
  • Safe: Bark mulch can be a fire danger, especially in dry environments, because it is dry itself and can act like kindling. There is no fire danger associated with seaweed.
  • Aeration: Seaweed helps to naturally aerate the soil in a manner similar to peat moss, and has the extra benefit of bringing in the aforementioned minerals and nutrients.
  • Pest control: Seaweed is a natural pest control substance because certain types of bugs and slugs hate how salty and sharp it can be.

On your next visit to your local garden store, take a look at the various bags of fertilizer and soil and see how many you can spot that contain seaweed or kelp. Chances are it’ll be more than you would have expected! Give it a try for yourself and enjoy the results. For more information on how seaweed can help your soil, contact us at admin@soiladvocates.ca or 289-221-0164.

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By |2019-02-15T16:11:43-04:00February 19th, 2019|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , |

About the Author:

Dr. Leanne J Philip, BSc. (Hon.); MSc.; PhD. is the Managing Director & Chief Scientist of Soil Advocates Inc. She studied at the University of Guelph as an undergraduate (Plant Biology, Environmental Management and Urban Horticulture) and as a graduate student (Plant & Soil Interactions). She has a keen interest in soil sciences, which lead her to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver for doctoral studies in soil carbon sequestration and movement within British Columbia’s clear-cut soils. Further work in soil sciences in Europe and Canada reinforced Dr. Philip’s belief that soil processes and mechanisms belowground drive aboveground aesthetics and plant interactions. While active in both research, mentorship and teaching, most recently Dr. Philip has been working in applied soil sciences in industry and community outreach. Dr. Philip is a native of southern Ontario and is a strong advocate for scientific literacy within her community and responsible environmental stewardship.

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