I grew up on the beach of Vashon Island, Puget Sound, and we put kelp on our
garden every fall. It wasn't that mucky green seaweed, it was the brown
bullwhip kelp. This stuff would wash up in the fall, we'd gather pick-up
loads, spread it all over the vegetable garden and it would be tilled under
in the spring. We had a very prolific vegetable garden.
It depends on the type seaweed it is. My friends up on Long Island send me
boxloads every fall when it washes up on the bayside. It's rectangular, brown
to very dark green and I mulch everything for the winter with it. I've never
had a problem with salt leaching. If you want to play it safe, I'd say to find
some carbon matter in dry oak leaves this fall and compost it over the winter
under a tarp, watering it when it gets dry. It's great stuff.
People here in Alaska and Janet over in Scotland (who must be on holiday)
grow their spuds on it, in it and under it and get tremendous harvests.
I think Paghat missed on this one. We put it right on the garden and the salt
doesn't bother anything. I don't know why. I've talked to our extension agent,
who has a PhD in agronomy and he can't figure it out either, but he uses it
in his garden, too. It seems to help things tolerate colder temps than they
normally would. (That could be from micro-nutrients in the seaweed.)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Jan Flora) wrote in
How long have you been using it? I think there was a case in either
Africa or Nevada where farmers were using marginally salty water for
irrigation (subsurface stuff from an aquifer I guess). Results were
great at first, but eventually everything went to hell because of the
salt accumulation. I probably heard about in in early 80s and probably
occured in the 60s or 70s if you want to try and look it up. I keep
thinking Mopani, which is an Africa tree, but that may be unrelated.
(Former Mopani woodland cleared for agriculture?)
So you might want to keep an eye on the salinity.
Hope that Kelps!
- Salty Kelper
from email@example.com (Jan Flora) contains these words:
I'm not on holiday :-) I spent all last winter collecting huge amounts
of seaweed for this starved garden, which I added to the compost heaps,
dug into the veg garden soil, and used as a thick mulch on top of beds
this summer. Terrific crops of beans, peas, potatoes and onions ensued.
There hasn't been any salt problem; remember that coastal areas get huge
amounts of salt dumped on them regularly during storms and that doesn't
seem to reduce this island's great fertility.
Good thing you cleared it up! I've been using it for years. I do lay it out
and rinse it off and let it dry in the sun so any salt will be obvious as it
dries. I rinse it again. OR, I have put it into the compost pile.
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