The Benefits of Liquid Seaweed Fertilizer
One of the best fertilizers you can use on your plants is liquid seaweed, yet this is probably the last fertilizer people think of buying when they go to their local garden centre or shop online. liquid seaweed fertilizer is not only organic, but comes from a sustainable source and can be harvested without damaging the environment.
Most seaweed based fertilizers are made from Kelp, a variety of seaweed which can grow to lengths of over 50 metres.Trace elements found in seaweed organic fertilizers include magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, and nitrogen -- all of which are beneficial to plants. Nitrogen, for instance, is essential to the production of nitrate, a key component needed by plants during photosynthesis.
In the Channel Islands, such seaweed fertiliser is known as vraicin their dialects of Norman, a word that has also entered Channel Island English, the activity of collecting vraic being termed vraicking. In Scotland, it is used as fertiliser in lazybeds or feannagan.
Falkland Islanders have also been nicknamed "Kelpers" from time to time, from collecting seaweed partly for this purpose.
One benefit of using a liquid seaweed fertilizer is that you can vary the concentrations according to what you are using the fertilizer for, so for instance, on a lawn you would probably use a more diluted mixture, but for a houseplant you would tend to use a stronger concentration. One thing I have noticed is that a little of this product goes a very long way with some pretty impressive results. Personally one of my favourite uses for liquid seaweed fertilizer is to give my exhibition vegetables a boost during the growing season in the hope I will stand a better chance of securing a few prizes once the Summer show comes around each August.
Foliar application is no doubt the most efficient and effective method of administering liquid seaweed to your plants . Kelp extracts are 8 to 20 times more effective when applied to the leaves then when broadcast on the soil. Spray as a fine mist until it drips off the plants’ surfaces and the plants will immediately absorb the fertilizer and begin to benefit from it by the second day.
Liquid seaweed fertilizer is used by many of the English and Scottish Football Premiership Grounds, as well as numerous UK Championship Golf Courses. In fact the high number of quality top sporting venues that use liquid seaweed extract as a fertilizer prove that it is extremely effective as a plant food.
Advantages of Using Liquid Seaweed Fertilizer
1) It promotes additional buds when applied as the plants are beginning to bud.
2) It extends the shelf life of fruits and vegetables if applied 10 days before harvesting
3) It lengthens the life of cut flowers if they are sprayed with Liquid Seaweed a day or two before cutting.
4) Treating seeds or seed pieces with Liquid Seaweed prior to planting will improve seed germination, root growth, and early seedling vigor.
5) Liquid Seaweed also can be used as a rooting solution. Place cuttings in a solution of Liquid Seaweed and water until roots develop, then plant. When planting, water in with Liquid Seaweed solution.
6) Liquid Seaweed applied to pasture crops increases the nutrient uptake, the protein content, and overall quality of the crop.
7) Seaweed organic fertilizers can be used as a soil treatment to grow healthier, stronger, and more disease-resistant plants.
8) A wide range of beneficial effects have been reported from the use of liquid seaweed extracts including increased crop yields, resistance of plants to frost, increased uptake of inorganic constituents from the soil, more resistance to stress conditions and reductions in storage losses of fruit.
9) Promotes vigorous growth and helps deter pests and diseases on fruit, flowers, vegetables, lawns etc.
10) Seaweed has more than 70 minerals, vitamins, and enzymes.
11) Seaweed fertilizers are especially useful in organic gardening. They contain almost every micro-nutrient in a fully chelated (immediately available) form. They deliver a healthy dose of natural plant hormones. Seaweed is full of carbohydrates, which the plants use as a building block and which large populations of beneficial micro-organisms use as a food source.
12) Alginates, (sponge-like starches found in seaweed), hold water droplets near the plant roots, making moisture available to them without drowning them; they also help enrich the soil by feeding myriad beneficial microorganisms such as bacteria and tiny fungi necessary to composting.
13) Research at major universities has shown that seeds soaked in seaweed extract germinate more rapidly, have larger root mass, stronger plant growth and higher survival rate. Soaking plant roots in seaweed extract reduces transplant shock and speeds root growth.
14) Several university studies have shown that seaweed can produce dramatic results in plants: geraniums produced more flowers per plant; grapes were sweeter; gladiolus corms grew larger; and cucumber yields increased 40 percent and the fruits suffered less often from softening and rotting. Improved yields after seaweed treatments were measured in potatoes, sweet corn, peppers, tomatoes, apples, strawberries, okra, and oranges. Better frost tolerance, increased seed germination, and greater capacity to absorb trace elements were other documented benefits for plants.
15) Seaweed fertilizers have many benefits. They provide natural hormones and many nutrients not found in other forms of fertilizer. Since most plants absorb their nutrients through the leaves, applying this with a foliar method will benefit the plant even more. Foliar simply means placing the fertilizer on the leaf itself. As the plant absorbs the sunlight it needs, it will also be absorbing the nutrients found in the fertilizer.
16) Another major component in liquid seaweed fertilizers are the hormones. The main hormones in seaweed are auxins, gibbelerins, cytokinins and betaines. The roles of these hormones are essential to plant health. Most of these are only required in very small proportions. There are many different auxins and they all have their specific roles. Their main functions are the balanced control of speed of growth. They have both growth stimulating as well as delaying functions. They stimulate root-growth, prevent bud-forming or opening at the wrong times.
17) Seaweed can play an important role in the production of the plant's own auxins, because the enzymes formed with the help of trace elements from the liquid seaweed fertilizer play an important role in the formation of these auxins.
18) Cytokinins are another group of important plant hormones. They initiate and activate basic growth processes. The cytokinins available in liquid seaweed extract stimulate growth with greater vigour, because they mobilise nutrients in the leaves. They also provide protection from marginal frost (to -3 C). Cytokinins also retard the senescence (aging processes) in the plant.
19) Betaines play an essential role in the osmotic processes in plants. They help to increase the water uptake in plants and are extremely helpful in dry conditions. Betaines are particularly helpful to plants under stress.
20) Liquid seaweed fertilizers, (especially the alginates in the seaweed) act as soil conditioners. The alginates react with metals in the soil and form long and cross-linked polymers in the soil. These polymers improve the crumbing in the soil, and swell up when they get wet, and retain moisture for a long period.
Lawn Before and After.
How is Liquid Seaweed Fertilizer Made?
Liquid seaweed fertilizers are made from various species of seaweed, which are washed, dried, milled and processed to enable the natural benefits which the seaweed provides to act immediately upon coming into contact with either the plants foliage or the soil itself. This speeds up the natural processes by converting raw seaweed into an easily applied digested weed.
Harvesting methods ensure sustainability of the natural crop, and the selection of healthy weed growing under optimum conditions and season, guarantee the best growth promoting substance yield/activity in the liquid seaweed product.
Products are produced with no acid, caustic or organic solvents. Liquid seaweed fertilizer is a truly organic product that has been extensively used in organic grower trials.
I can't rave enough about the benefits to using a liquid seaweed fertilizer on your garden, be it on your lawns, your flower beds, your vegetables or even on your houseplants. I personally have found the results incredibly impressive, and I love the fact this is a natural product which is harvested in a way that won't have any negative impact on the environment, or the sustainability of the seaweed itself. Those of you that have read my other articles on growing vegetables will know that I only grow my produce organically and I refuse point blank to spray any pesticides on my crops. The other advantage I have discovered is that the liquid seaweed fertilizer applied as a foliar feed actually seems to deter such nasty pests as greenfly and whitefly organically. What more could I ask for!