Seaweed? Really? The first thought of it brings to mind fishy odors and the slow salty death of my garden. But after alot of research turns out if you live near the shore you have access to one of the most beneficial ingredients mother nature can add to your garden.
The Irish and Scotish have been using the "ocean's grass" as their lifesource for hundreds of years. As a matter of fact, the Highlanders used only seaweed to fill their beds. Their land is devoid of any natural soil. With the windswept rock plateau's it would seem impossible to plant anything and moreso be successful over time. So they would gather a plethera of seaweed and plant their seed potatoes directly in it then cover it with a thin coat of sand. So how does it work?
Seaweed contains over 60 different nutients and elements. That's right i said 60! Besides the well known nitrogen(N), phosphorus(P), and potassium(K) seaweed contains calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, molybedum, sulfur and zinc. Many of the earth's minerals are dissolved in the ocean. With the agitation of the waves and currents drifting seaweed has access to all these minerals. Besides nitrogen and potassium the amounts are very minimal but the benefits go way beyond the nutrients.
The best part of seaweed is not in the chemical compounds it contains but in how it works and uses the compounds it has. Seaweed has developed immunity to the bacteria, fungi and viruses of the sea. When used in your soil or compost it is thought that your plants will absorb this natural immunity as well. How? It has a chemical compound in which the central atom is attaching itself to neighboring atoms to form a close bond. What does that mean? It stimulates decomposition as it breaks down other elements into simpler elements so the plants in your garden can absorb them. When these elements are too complex they do not get absorbed. Seaweed actually promotes rapid growth too. In its natural habitat seaweed is under constant breakage from rough waters and also animals eat it too. So it regrows extremely fast due to the elements it contains. Therefore it has natural "growth regulators" that your garden plants will absorb thereby making them more productive. Also due to this "chelation" prevents washout of nutients in your compost pile because the seaweed locks it in.
The only con i have seen with seaweed is that some people have said it doesn't like too hot of temperature. Like less than 115 deg. And you will have to wash before you use it.
Wow! So pretty much it's very nutritious and also therapeutic. So next time you take a walk on the beach and see this washed up on the shore grab you some-with permission of course. Enjoy.