Kelp Meal/Seaweed Extract – A Great Fertilizer

A great fertilizer made from Kelp meal seaweed extract available at a nearby garden center.

By Richard Flowers, ACCNP-Green Thumb Nursery-Ventura

Many people throughout the world eat seaweed and seek out its health benefits. Today I want to familiarize you with an important plant fertilizer that should not be ignored when supplying essential nutrients to keep your garden and landscaping plants healthy and strong.

Kelp Meal (Seaweed Extract) is a type of brown seaweed from the clean, cold, shallow saltwater along rocky coastlines. Kelp is fully sustainable and a natural product that grows in abundance and is hand-harvested, processed at low temperatures, carefully, dried, and finely milled into a powder like substance (meal). Kelp Meal is a natural/organic fertilizer supplement that can be added to other plant foods and soil conditioners , or it can be used alone. This organic fertilizer is an ideal nutrient supplement for all types of vegetables, herbs, flowers and perennials.

With regards to having a blended or used with other fertilizers, one of my favorite fertilizers is Fish Emulsion. I use it every 2 weeks when fertilizing my Tomatoes and Squash which makes the plants grow abundantly and healthy. They might smell like fish for a little while afterwards, but it is only temporary. Now combine that fertilizer with Kelp, you get twice the power and benefit. Kelp also has pest deterring properties because some pests don’t like the smell of it, which may help in keeping critters away from the garden. You can use Kelp Meal or the liquid form, Seaweed Extract in your
garden multiple times per year. Being organic, Kelp is slow release and rarely burns or damages plant tissue when used properly. Kelp is an excellent source of potash and promotes health in all planting applications and potent fertilizer that will benefit all plants. It also contains Super-active soil and seed inoculant and 5 strains of beneficial soil microbes. This important fertilizer contains over 60 trace minerals, or micro-nutrients, including Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Manganese, Copper, Iron, and Zinc.
This powerhouse and amazing plant fertilizer also contains growth hormones including Cytokine. The Cytokine hormone mobilizes nutrients in plant leaves to improve the chlorophyll content (making the plant leaves greener), increase the growth rate, and fullness of plants. With that being said, It is long touted that using kelp or seaweed extract on Peaches and Nectarines makes the leaves thicker, stronger, and durable to help against the likelihood of Peach Leaf Curl, an unsightly fungus these plants get.
Please note, using this fertilizer is not a cure, fungicide, preventative or control for the fungus, Peach Leaf Curl, all it does it makes the plant stronger and more resilient. You are not just limited to use this product on Peaches and Nectarines, you can use it on a plethora of edible crops and a minimum of 6 applications during the season is recommended. 1st spray begins at sign of first growth in Spring, 2nd spray at pink bud; 3rd spray at fruit set; Subsequent sprays every 2 to 3 weeks. Please consult label directions for specifics. Kelp can also be used in many types of gardening applications unrelated to edibles; therefore it can be used for indoor, outdoor, houseplants, containers, raised beds, in the ground, trees, flowers, you name it. Different rates and applications are used for each situation, please consult product labels for guidelines.

Kelp can also be used on lawns. In fact it is so effective and reliable that it’s used on professional golf courses and football fields all across the country. Its effects are seen quickly and a little bit of the concentrated fertilizer goes a long way.  You can alternatively use kelp Meal in a tea. This can be applied as often as once per week. 1 cup kelp meal to 5 gallons of water. Soak the kelp meal for 1 to 2 days, stir multiple times, and then water with it. You can apply this tea as a soil drench, or a foliar spray once per week.

Seaweeds are not particularly high in nitrogen or phosphorous, but they contain minerals and trace elements for plant health promotion. Seaweeds, including kelp, certainly amend nutrient-depleted soils and improves structure, water retention rates, and ultimately end up decomposing, and in the process, they add organic matter to your garden beds, pots, and composts or other fermented fertilizers.

Seaweed Extract provides no residue on crops. May be applied anytime during the growing season through harvest. Do not apply spray form in the heat of the day or during windy conditions as it may end up burning plant tissues, instead early morning or late evening applications are best. Best results will be achieved by making more frequent applications every 2 to 3 weeks rather than increasing the concentration of the spray solution. You can expect a variety of benefits from using Seaweed Extract.

Research and field trials have demonstrated benefits such as improved root
development, more vigorous growth, increased resistance to environmental stress, and reduced frost damage.

So you may be wondering what is the difference between Kelp Meal and Seaweed Extract? Seaweed is a word used to name many species of aquatic plants, specifically oceanic ones (hence Seaweed is a term that includes many types of algae, including Kelp. 

With the many benefits of kelp Meal/ Seaweed Extract it's no wonder you see it in most organic gardens. Whether you use it as a dry fertilizer, spread around your garden soil, as a tea, or even mixed into other fertilizers, your plants will surely benefit from the plethora of nutrients and growth regulators contained in this dried out ocean plant product. Liquid Kelp ( Seaweed Extract) fertilizer makes many fruits become sweeter,
vegetables are less prone to softening and often grow larger. Kelp/ Seaweed also increases flower production on flowering plants, and encourages root growth (both in rate and root mass). Using kelp for plants is not only a good idea because it’s a natural fertilizer, thus providing nutrition to the plant, but it also encourages your plants to more effectively draw nutrients from the soil in general. This means that your plants are more efficient growing machines. Also Many potting soils have Kelp Meal added to them to
help prolong the life of a potting mix and contribute to its micronutrient content. Kelp meal, a seaweed-based amendment, boosts the nutrition profile of homemade and commercial potting mixes, providing enough trace elements for about one year.

I encourage you to use this awesome organic fertilizer, you will not regret it. Green Thumb Nursery carries several different types of organic fertilizers that contain kelp/Seaweed extract as well as other great organic fertilizers that one can add to their arsenal of garden products for a healthier landscape.

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