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Is Seaweed Fertilizer an Adequate Replacement for Soil?

Gardeners and farmers who live close to the sea have always used seaweed as a form of mulch or fertilizer. But is seaweed fertilizer actually comparable to modern commercial fertilizers or does it fall short in a purely chemical analysis of macro and micronutrient content?

Interestingly enough, seaweed fertilizer does not fall short when it comes to macronutrient content. It actually contains all of the essential soil macronutrients – nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus – and in relatively decent ratios in terms of their proportions. Seaweed fertilizer also has a relatively substantial amount of micronutrient content; however, you will probably want to use more than just seaweed if the plants you are gardening require a higher amount of a specific micronutrient, such as calcium or magnesium.

If you don't have any local sources of seaweed to use in your project, you can also use commercial seaweed fertilizer, which has become popular in recent years. While it might come in relatively small amounts (as it isn't very bulk) and while it might cost more than an equal proportion of fertilizer or potting soil, many who use it claim that works substantially better than other mixes.

There are two important things you should take into consideration when using seaweed fertilizer. The first is the salt content. If you're not purchasing commercial seaweed, your seaweed likely has quite a high salt content, which has the potential to scare away worms. Before you put your seaweed around your plants – or in your compost pile – you should first wash all of the salt off of it, so it doesn't mix in with the other compounds as the seaweed breaks down. The other important thing to note is whether or not your seaweed might be covered in industrial waste or pollution, which some environmental groups warn is quite a common occurrence. If that is the case, you may want to simply go with a commercial mix.

 

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