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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old June 18, 2016   #1
MrSalvage
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Default Would truckloads of Seaweed help out?

My oldest sister lives in a waterfront community. So i have access to the beach and boat ramps ect. There is always seaweed on the beach and lots of it. I am sure with little effort I could load my 1/2 ton Chevy full and bring it home.

Would that much of the stuff help?

Here is my plan I want to do plastic mulch and drip tape next year. I was thinking of tilling a bunch of rows about 4 ft wide by 100 yds. Say 4 or 5 rows separated by my lawn every 5 foot or so. I would then be able to mow between the rows real easy. The problem is after I till the soil to make it soft and get all the rocks and junk out of it. I have nothing really here to do raised rows. I was thinking that seaweed would help. I know leaves will to but i don't really have much leaf material. I could buy topsoil by the truck load but can see my wallet going broke. With me needed raise rows what would be a cost effective way to do this. I am going totally organic with what I will consider a no till deal after the first time to clean up.

Whaddyathink?
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Old June 18, 2016   #2
Labradors2
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I should think that seaweed would be amazing, although I wonder about the salt content. Perhaps others could advise.

I use pond weed on my veggie garden as a mulch. I don't till, but it breaks down over the winter and gets incorporated into my soil.

I would take all the seaweed I could get and, even if it needs to be rinsed off first, I still think it would be an excellent amendment for your soil.

Linda
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Old June 18, 2016   #3
PaddyMc
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I suspect it would need a solid fresh-water rinsing (somewhere away from your garden so you don't salt-contaminate with the runoff water). After that I would think it would be great.
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Old June 18, 2016   #4
MrSalvage
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The seaweed would come from the Chesapeake bay ecosystem. Right out of the Patuxent & Potomac rivers. Both rivers are considered brackish waters. So yes there is salt but not as much as if I were getting it from the ocean.

I was sitting here thinking about this some more. I am sure i could get truckloads of crab and shrimp shells from the seafood restaurants around here. As well as clam and oyster in the winter. The cooked crab and shrimp by product will have a bunch of seasoning in it tho. Like Old Bay and J.O. spice company.

Hum...
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Old June 18, 2016   #5
kurt
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From past archives.
http://www.tomatoville.com/showthrea...eed+kelp+mulch

I tried the free seaweed/kelp harvest from beaches here in S Florida at the dumps in the participating free mulch programs(Xmas trees,pruned chipped yard waste,seaweeds etc.).
So far as it is we can't drive on our beaches(Daytona maybe)some rural areas.
I understand it takes some time to dry out and decompose quick enough for a " next year use".From the dumps all garbge.Fishhooks,fishing line styrofoam ,bottle caps,Cig butts.I would avoid any seaweed from around oilsheen laden boat docks ramps.Large scale earth turning and furrowing I hear is used.
Good Luck.
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Old June 18, 2016   #6
Labradors2
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The problem that I have found with crab/lobster shells is that they take forever to degrade (in a composter) basically, they do not degrade at all, and I found bits in my veggie garden for a long time. I think they would need to be pulverized.

My dogs eat our shrimp shells like doggy potato chips, so they never make it to the compost bin.

Linda
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Old June 18, 2016   #7
GrowingCoastal
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Seaweed would have to be piled on 6 feet deep for the salt to have a negative effect. So I was told when I 1st got here over 30 yrs ago by an old timer who grew great veggies. I have dug it in in the fall/winter and used it as a mulch in summer. Friends who have done the same have no problems either.
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Old June 18, 2016   #8
MrSalvage
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Quote:
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This link is a very good read thanks!
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Old June 18, 2016   #9
MrSalvage
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Labradors2 View Post
The problem that I have found with crab/lobster shells is that they take forever to degrade (in a composter) basically, they do not degrade at all, and I found bits in my veggie garden for a long time. I think they would need to be pulverized.

My dogs eat our shrimp shells like doggy potato chips, so they never make it to the compost bin.

Linda
Hey Linda, Yep I was sitting here thinking I could put the shells into one of the old school L.F. & C. universal meat grinder's. I have used one in the past to grind up fresh 5 gallons buckets full of Herring. We would then freeze it in to 2 gallon zip locks. When we went fishing we would use the fresh Herring as chum to attract the big Rockfish. Herring is one of the best baits I have ever used. I have caught fish as long as my legs. I am almost 6ft tall.

So yea not sure if will work but the grinders are cheap enough and i want another one anyway to make fresh sausage again. As far as pulverized I am not sure how to pull that off. Seems to me that worth1 might have an idea about that.

Dogs will eat anything girl! It does not matter 1 bit... lol

Thanks
Bill
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Old June 18, 2016   #10
MrSalvage
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Originally Posted by GrowingCoastal View Post
Seaweed would have to be piled on 6 feet deep for the salt to have a negative effect. So I was told when I 1st got here over 30 yrs ago by an old timer who grew great veggies. I have dug it in in the fall/winter and used it as a mulch in summer. Friends who have done the same have no problems either.

Great post, & thanks for confirming that the amount of salt is minuscule.

Regards
Bill
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Old June 18, 2016   #11
MrSalvage
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Originally Posted by PaddyMc View Post
I suspect it would need a solid fresh-water rinsing (somewhere away from your garden so you don't salt-contaminate with the runoff water). After that I would think it would be great.
When I was reading the posts from that link Kurt supplied. One person suggested putting the seaweed into a washing machine. I thought that was pretty funny. In the end tho it really is a good idea if you have an extra machine laying around. i would try that seriously.

Thanks
Bill
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Old June 18, 2016   #12
Labradors2
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A grinder might work on the shells, but they would need to be small pieces to fit down the chute.! I have a Tasin electric grinder from Northern Tools. It's strong enough to grind up chicken bones (for dog food), and we put a whole pile of semi-frozen Menhaden through it before I discovered that one dog was allergic to fish.... Fish meal would be great for the garden!

It's great to learn that the seaweed salt won't hurt the garden. No need to put it through the washer first {LOL}.

Linda
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Old June 18, 2016   #13
MrSalvage
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Originally Posted by Labradors2 View Post
A grinder might work on the shells, but they would need to be small pieces to fit down the chute.! I have a Tasin electric grinder from Northern Tools. It's strong enough to grind up chicken bones (for dog food), and we put a whole pile of semi-frozen Menhaden through it before I discovered that one dog was allergic to fish.... Fish meal would be great for the garden!

It's great to learn that the seaweed salt won't hurt the garden. No need to put it through the washer first {LOL}.

Linda
Thanks for the name of the grinder. I am all over eBay now looking for one. I can just see how this is going to go. I will have wild boar & black bear scavenging in my yard.

The washing machine cracked me up good!

My lord...
Bill
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Old June 18, 2016   #14
MrSalvage
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It's strong enough to grind up chicken bones (for dog food), and we put a whole pile of semi-frozen Menhaden through it before I discovered that one dog was allergic to fish....

Linda
My dad would use all the waste from the fresh hams that he cooked to make Scrapple for the dogs. He would simply boil it all down real good and add cornmeal to it. After the cornmeal cooked he would tray it all up in 12x9's and put it into the fridge. The dogs loved it and was used as a treat.

He also use to make up a concoction of olive oil and garlic (god only knows what else was in it). He would then take a very large turkey baster / eye dropper full of it. Go into each stall with all the different thoroughbreds and grab them around the head. He would take that eyedropper full of stuff and shove it into their mouths. Yea they didn't like it too much. He wouldn't take much guff.

I was later told that he would feed them rabbit tobacco when he was breaking in the cracker jacks. That was really something to watch!

Bill
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Old June 18, 2016   #15
bower
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Seaweed is without a doubt one of the best materials for building soil that you can get on this earth. The rate of breakdown depends on your climate and time of year and what you do with it.
It is an important material for us here - I know people who made their soil entirely from kelp, in a community where there wasn't any soil (seriously - a rock). I've never heard of anyone here rinsing the kelp before they used it in any of a dozen ways. Kelp is loaded with potassium and when it's composted into the soil you will grow the sweetest vegetables you ever tasted.

I know one guy, he just brings home truckloads of kelp, throws it in a compost bin and lets it rot down for a year then puts it in the garden.

I've been using coarse chopped fresh or dried and crumbled kelp in my tomato containers every year. At the end of the season there's no bit of it left, it is all consumed and turned to soil. I decided to change out my container soil this season, so last fall I cycled it outdoors and built some new garlic beds. The garlic is doing fantastic. The soil after all was so black and rich - the stuff I got to replace it is nowhere near the quality that had built up over 5 years.

One year I built a lasagna bed for my garlic, with cardboard over the weedy ground, then layers of kelp and compost. Garlic did great. When I dug the bed the following year, I found some kelp at the bottom that had not decomposed over a full year. The cardboard below it was completely gone. That kelp was not cut up in any way just piled in a layer to start the bed. Bearing in mind we have a cool climate and a short summer, I reckon there wasn't enough heat at that depth to break all of it down. Experiment and see how it works in your climate.

Also I use kelp as mulch for garlic and it is by far the best. Used some grass clippings last year and comparing the grass mulched vs the kelp mulched, the kelp were earlier and more vigorous. Sitting on the surface as a mulch, the kelp will dry up and just sit there instead of breaking down as it does incorporated in soil.

Crabshells, shrimp shells are also fantastic soil amendments. Besides being rich in N and P they are a good source of calcium, and the chitin which these are made of, is a feedstock for beneficial soil microbes eg Trichoderma, which naturally occur all over the world but especially they are designed to feed on chitin - as when they prey on less friendly fungus organisms in the soil (also built of chitin). People pay money to add these organisms to their soils, which you can naturally encourage with this approach to soil building. For example there were studies done at the ag department here, showing that crab shell amendment prevented potato scab - a fungus pest in the soil.

So did I say enough??? Go for it! Lucky you, and a great plan to build your soil.
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