Kelp in the Garden

Posted by Aaron 16/03/2018 0 Comment(s)

Why Kelp? 

Kelp fertilizer is valued for its micro and macro-nutrients and is generally available in three forms which include  kelp meal, a cold processed liquid and an enzymatically digested liquid form. Kelp has a cell structure that filters sea water and mines the ocean for rich nutrients. It grows at extraordinary rates, up to 3 feet (1 meter) per day. The growth hormones associated with this rapid growth rate can  easily be transferred to garden and potting soil. The benefits are, that it is a completely natural product, a source of over 70 vitamins and minerals and it can be applied to any type of soil or plant without concern, leading to healthier yields and more resilient plants.

 

Kelp Benefits

  • Slow release

  • Relieves stress.

  • Great in garden and potting soil.

  • Exceptional for root development.

  • Kelp is an all natural, 100% organic fertilizer.

  • Over 70 vitamins and minerals in one easy to apply treatment.

  • Works great on potassium loving plants such as lettuce, potatoes; and when your plants are in flower.


Dried kelp meal and liquid extracts are commonly sold and for good reason, as they contain the growth hormones (auxins, gibberellins, and cytokinins) which are readily taken up by plants and put directly to use. Kelp also stimulates soil microbes while increasing soil structure, aeration, and moisture retention. Improvements in seed germination, increased nutritional value in crops and greater resistance to pests have also been found.

 

Kelp Meal Nutrients
The nitrate-phosphate-potassium ratio (NPK), is negligible and for this reason, it is used primarily as a trace mineral source. To  increase the NPK ratio use it in combination with Down To Earth Fish Meal, which releases slowly. Kelp powder is simply kelp meal ground finely enough to put into a solution and sprayed onto or injected into irrigation systems. Its NPK ratio is 1-0-4 and is more immediately released. The  liquid forms contain higher levels of growth hormones than dry forms. Liquid kelp is useful for combating plant stress and promoting exceptional root development.

 

Make Your Own

You can easily make your own powder or liquid amendment with kelp. All it takes is drying and pulverizing on the one hand, or on the other, making a compost tea from fresh kelp soaked in fresh water for a couple days. Some people prefer to add kelp directly to the garden, turning it in with a fork and letting the soil biology do the rest. This is best done after the kelp has been thoroughly dried, as when its fresh it attracts the attention of unwanted guests with good noses who may dig it up.

Composting kelp, on the other hand, allows us to deliver the benefits in a more inert form, so this is a great method if you have fresh kelp available. The first thing I do is to soak the kelp in a barrel for an hour to remove any of the residual salt, then empty the water and refill the barrel. Some people say that rinsing is unnecessary, that the salt content is negligible. From my experience sea salts are beneficial to the garden, being that their constituents are quite rich in minerals other than just sodium. The one benefit to soaking is that it removes the sand.

Once the kelp is rinsed, create a compost pile with equal parts kelp and alfalfa (or some other material high in carbon), in layers as high as needed, one layer of straw, one layer of kelp and repeat the layers, make your final layer a thick pile of straw. Kelp is not exceedingly high in either nitrogen or carbon, so it doesn’t matter too much what it’s mixed with in the compost, but it’s important that whatever is mixed in with the kelp will bring aeration to the pile. It doesn’t take very long for this compost to breakdown, depending on the weather in your location of course. Other additions to the compost that work well are Azomite and I've had good results with worm castings and Great White Mycorrhizae to really get the pile working. Also, when composting use some of your local soil as it will have beneficial microbes that have had generations to acclimatize to your growing conditions.

 

Thanks for reading the blog! If you like this article please leave a comment and share; theres more sustainabilty tips for the garden in other blog posts. Also, theres high quality kelp fertilizers, organic amendments and mycorrhizae for the garden, I’ve found the high quality enzymatically digested products such as Cyco Ryzofuel, and the kelp meal Neptunes Harvest work extraordinary well. And Happy Gardening.