Seaweed is an organic, sustainable and natural fertilizer that can be used to help improve your garden. The benefits of using seaweed include improved soil fertility, better plant growth and increased fruit and vegetable yields.
Seaweed can be found in powder form that can be sprinkled on top of the soil, mixed into potting soil or diluted to create a nutrient-rich tea.
Reduces Soil Irrigation Needs
Irrigation is a major component of many landscapes. It is an important water conservation and protection practice as well as a way to ensure proper nutrient management.
Using a watering schedule that matches the needs of the plant species, season, soil type and shade in the landscape will result in the most efficient use of irrigation resources. Under or over irrigation wastes water, energy and labor; leaches expensive nutrients below the root zone where they are unavailable for plants to use; and reduces soil aeration and thus crop yield.
A study in North Platte and Garden City showed that avoiding tillage and retaining more crop residues on the soil surface can reduce water evaporation and increase infiltration by up to 5 inches per year. This water savings translates into a significant contribution to crop yields.
Increases Plant Growth
Seaweed fertilizer benefits include promoting plant growth by increasing the availability of nutrients to plants. This is due to the fact that the beneficial microorganisms found in seaweed exude sticky substances that bind available nutrients to soil particles, so they are readily accessible to plant roots instead of leaching out into deeper layers of the soil where they are not available for uptake.
These microorganisms also help to improve the biological efficiency of the soil. They increase the circulation of microbial metabolites and increase the organic matter content, as well as activate beneficial microorganisms and micro-flora that release more nutrients into the soil.
Fertilizing with seaweed fertilizer can be a great way to promote early-season growth, especially if the soil is cold. It can also be used to enhance the nutrient uptake and protein content of pasture crops, or as a foliar spray to boost plant health and vigor when applied to fruit and vegetables.
Increases Fruit and Vegetable Yields
Seaweed is an excellent source of potassium and phosphorus which are needed for healthy growth of fruits, vegetables and flowers. It also contains nitrogen and can be used as a soil drench, foliar spray or granular formula.
Besides fertilizing, seaweed benefits include strengthening plant defenses, increasing fruit and vegetable yields, reducing pest problems, deterring disease, and improving shelf life of harvested plants. It also improves the nutrient uptake and growth of plants in the soil by feeding a variety of beneficial microorganisms.
Some of the cytokinins found in seaweed extracts help improve seed germination, root growth, and early plant vigor. It has also been shown to reduce transplant shock, speed root development, and stimulate new rooting in seedlings.
Reduces Soil Weeds
Seaweed is one of the best mulches for gardens because it keeps soil moist, reduces how often you need to water and doesn’t contain any weed seeds. This makes it a good choice for both organic and non-organic gardeners.
Aside from being an effective soil conditioner, seaweed also contains nutrients and minerals. They’re high in nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium.
They are also packed with hormones, which control the speed of plant growth, stimulate root formation and help plants when under stress. These include auxins, cytokinins, betaines and gibberellins.
Seaweed is used in a variety of fertilizer and soil blends, including foliar sprays and granular formulas. These can be applied directly to the garden soil or incorporated into compost before application.