Although there are many types of quality organic fertilizers on the market, all of my fertilizers are homemade in the form of compost made from my kitchen and yard wastes. Dried kelp is the only plant food supplement that I buy for my garden. The benefits of adding sea kelp to my garden has brought amazing results.
Sea kelp is a fast growing aquatic ocean plant or seaweed. It is high in plant nutrients, but doesn’t burn plants like fresh manure nor does it cause plants to bolt like high nitrogen based chemical fertilizers. Gardeners living near coastlines around the world have used sea kelp in their gardens for centuries. Those of us who do not have access to the sea can take advantage of kelp by buying purchasing it.
Kelp includes iodine, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium minerals that are often lacking in farm and garden soils throughout the United States. I always buy my kelp certified organic to be certain that I am getting the best and safest product. Kelp contains two natural plant growth hormones called auxin and cytokines, making it a valuable additive to every seed row and transplant hole in the vegetable garden.
After digging the hole for the transplant, dust the bottom of it with kelp, add water and then plant the transplants. Then sprinkle more kelp on the soil surface above the plant roots and add more water. As the plant grows, these nutrients will filter down and become available to the plant when it needs them.
When planting seeds in rows, I sprinkle kelp in the row, and place the seeds at a proper distance for optimal growth, then water. I then cover the seeds, tamp them down and sprinkle more kelp down the row and water again. Because it is readily used by the plants, kelp will not leach out and pollute the environment.
I have found that adding a dusting of kelp when planting enhances better early growth and improves the health of the plants over the entire growing season. Here is one example. Where I live, blossom end rot is a common disease in tomatoes. This problem is not caused by pests, parasites or disease damage. It is caused by a lack of calcium and supporting trace minerals available to the tomato fruit. When I plant my tomatoes using kelp, they never suffer from blossom end rot.
Using kelp ensures that my plants stay healthy and the vegetables in the garden have higher yields and better nutritional value.