Saturday, 4 August 2012

Why do people go to the beach?

Is it to suck in the extra ozone and slow down their beating hearts? Is it to walk briskly with their dog and get some exercise, to swim, to sunbathe, to flash off their tanned limbs?

Apart from the first on the list our family go for other reasons also, to select appropriate sized pieces of driftwood to turn into chunky, probably won't even work fly screens, and fill feed bags with kelp and seaweed to rot down in buckets for months and use to feed plants. Oh, and there probably was a bit of stand back and remark on just how beautiful it is where we live. These beaches are 10- 15 minutes away.

Seaweed should never be harvested directly from the sea. Only the stuff that gets washed up. Seaweed is common in the cooler sea waters due to their higher nutrient levels.  Seaweed is full of phosphorus, potassium, calcium and nitrogen.  It doesn't remain fresh for long as it is full of bacteria that will rapidly break it down.  Once it's packed into bags you slog down the beach past all the curious dogs carting their reluctant owners, and seagulls going, 'what the...' by the time you're nearly back to the car you're no longer carring the bags you're dragging them and your arms are two inches longer. (I make it sound like I have personal experience, but I was the one with the bags of driftwood, Trev's the true slogger.)

Once home it needs a good wash to remove the salt and sand, which is very alkaline.  In the past we've used it as mulch, particularly on asparagus, which responds well.  And of the three bags we collected two will probably be added to the compost heap. However the third is going to be part of an experiment. Can we make our own liquid seaweed emulsion?  We make comfrey compost tea, so why not seaweed? 

We discovered an added and unexpected bonus. Once washed off the goats and sheep attacked the pile of seaweed with their teeth. We give them a kelp supplement, but this seems a healthier way to go.


Barb. said...

We too are lucky enough to be allowed by our local shire to collect seaweed from our beach but I have read that lots of places don't allow it at all. And then you see and smell it rotting away on the sand...


Anonymous said...

Apparently we are NOT allowed to harvest seaweed from our local beaches but your seaweed experiment sounds like a good idea. Would you make it along the lines of weed tea? Mum used to have liquid manure, weed tea and compost tea brewing alongside her compost bin in the messed with mums garden because at times it smelled as bad as the local sewerage plant! ;). Good luck with your new brew and I will look forwards to seeing if your experiment works...might have to get arrested and pinch some seaweed of my own! :)

Chad said...

I have found that my garden loves the seaweed in small portions. The vegetables especially. As for the brew- well please tell me how that tastes. Although I have had my fair of tastes when surfing.