Steve, Dorset, UK
There are many agricultural and garden applications for seaweed. It aids in seed germination, assists in nutrient uptake, helps plants resists insects, disease and frost; it aids in root development, conditions soil and acts as a fertilizer.
In addition to the horticultural applications, studies have shown that adding seaweed to livestock feed improves fertility rates, aids in gestation and birthing and reduces lameness.
Because I'm not familiar with the "shelf-life" of seaweed after it has been deposited on shore, I would recommend contacting Arramara Teoranta, a company in Ireland that processes seaweed for more information. You can visit them on the web here: www.arramara.ie
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First, I think it would be good to identify what type of seaweed it is and make sure it is healthy. Probably a local university or biologist could tell you.
I've looked around on the internet and other than what has been posted here, there is a site in the UK that sells seaweed fertilizer. They have information on the benefits to the plants and the soil:
Here is what we have on composting seaweed:
There are some good links in those posts also. I use seaweed on my garden but do rinse out the salt first. Please let us know how it all turns out.
'Seaweed is high in trace elements and potash. It is suitable for use around larger plants and some gardeners claim that the minerals in seaweed make plants resistant to frost damage and prolong the harvest of autumn tomatoes.
There are green, brown and red seaweeds, all of them good to use. Soft fleshy seaweeds rot fairly quickly, (kelps for example), while seagrass rots very slowly........
There is no need to wash the salt off seaweed, especially if it is just one among many mulches.......
Seaweed is absolutely weed free, doesn't harbour any plant diseases or insects and looks much better than you think'
Source 'The Reverse Garbage Mulch Book' by Sandra Clayton - Publ. Hyland House 1994
ISBN 1 875657 40 1
I have used seaweed but it took a long time to break down as its so dry here. Its also illegal to collect from the beach in Australia - so send some over to me! A half a sack of seaweed suspended in a big drum of water for a few months also makes a great liquid plant food.
Jo - ex Manxwoman - now an Aussie
I forgot to mention in my last post.......check out the Hebrides or the Orkneys - I seem to remember that farmers there use seaweed exclusively for spreading on their fields
Thank's to all of you who have taken the time to post feedback comments to our "smelly" problem!
Local farmers and some members of the public have come forward and we have now got rid of nearly 1000cum. Farmers seemed to be fine and accept it "as seen" but are intending to leave alone in fields to allow the seaweed to breakdown naturally. By delivering it free to farmers, the Council has saved huge amounts of money which would have otherwise been spent on land-fill charges.Also we are now returning ammenity beaches back to the public in time for the school summer holidays. Good job done!""
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