British Columbia: Can I add broken down seaweed to my garden now or wait till Fall?

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by jadedetrey, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. jadedetrey

    jadedetrey New Member

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    Courtenay, BC
    Hi there
    I live in Courtenay on vancouver Island. I recently went and picked up a large pile of really broken down seaweed and debris ( seaweed, some leafs.. dirt, sand..) that washes up on this one estuary ( sand and then grass/med flats).

    to me it looks like we could mix it with fresh soil and then add it to our garden beds right away.

    but... I am wondering if I should wait until the fall? My housemate is concerned about adding seaweed too early to garden beds.

    Does one usually add seaweed in the Fall ? or in the Spring?

    because this is pretty broken down stuff my thinking is that it is fine to add right away...

    hmm.. thoughts anyone?

    thank you,

  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Britain zone 8/9
    Residual salt is what you'll need to check for.
  3. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    gulf island, bc, canada
    Main issue with going for the broken down stuff higher up the beach is that it will typically contain a variety of seeds from beach and estuary plants which, when moved into the coddled realm of a garden, can spread like crazy. You can rinse it off beforehand to wash off some of the salt and simply top-dress with it (it will break down fairly quickly over the Spring), but watch for sprouting seeds and remove them before they get too established.
  4. Beekeeper

    Beekeeper Active Member

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    BBY, B.C. Canada
    I am collecting fresh seaweed in a couple of barrels I hope to reduce it to liquid. I won't top dress with it as the bangles and other live shellfish attract rats. I am not sure whether or not to add some lime.
  5. Keke

    Keke Active Member 10 Years

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    Vancouver, BC CANADA
    Lime shouldn't be necessary -- seaweed isn't acidic. You can use fresh seaweed if you want, as well. Just rinse off the salt and go.
  6. Earth Ox

    Earth Ox Member

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    vancouver island
    I live a ways down island from Courtney. Have long used seaweed and never rinsed it off after talking it over with a long time farmers' market vendor. He told me that it would take 6 feet of seaweed on soil before the amount of salt it holds would have a negative effect. He had fabulous produce. Yes, dig it in ASAP so that it has longer to decompose. It does improve the soil texture. I have been gathering that storm torn seaweed from the beach lately too.

    In spring, before or after the herring run, (illegal to take seaweed with roe on it!) go get some of the green sea lettuce that washes up and seems to separate itself out. That can be used as a side dressing as it decomposes quickly to feed fast growing lettuce etc.

    I did read that adding too much kelp can retard plant growth but cannot find that info online again.
    Keke likes this.

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