Sunday, May 23, 2010

Fertilizer Picking

     After picking empty clam and mussel shells and seaweed from the high tide mark, I sat against a log to rest my back. It was so peaceful to just sit and relax in the sunshine, and watch the boats come and go from Auke Bay.
     Why am I picking shells and seaweed? Well, it’s an abundant, organic, free source of fertilizer. According the book Gardening in Southeast Alaska, “seaweed contains growth hormones, macronutrients, functional elements, and chelating agents” which helps stimulate root development and produce stronger healthier plants.
     Every year, I put a nice layer of seaweed around the plants in our garden and then place a circle of crushed shells around the seaweed. Not only does it help fertilize the plants, but it also keeps the slugs away. I add extra seaweed and shells to the garden each month when there are plants growing. In the spring, I till the shells and seaweed into the soil along with an extra helping of compost.


Linda said...

Oh yes, seaweed is good for the garden. We always have a family 'discussion' when we've been to the seaside. Me: 'let's take some seaweed back for the allotment'. Husband: 'I'm not having that stuff stinking the car out'. Sometimes I win, sometimes he does!

Papa John said...

Oh, Gwyn. What a sweet memory for me. I remember raking up popweed and shells from that same beach and also out on Lena beach where the high tide had neatly deposited a line to be easily collect. We were putting in a large 12 x 12 raised box garden in Mendenhaven and added the minced seaweed mix and chopped straw between the rows in the spring and all over in the fall. More crushed shells came from a nearby island where the tides had sorted out shell fragments from gravel. We could fill a bucket by scooping up the fragments with our hands. Sounds like a lot of work, but we thought it was fun.