How To Create Your Own Seaweed Fertilizer

What You'll Need
A 5 gallon bucket with a tight-fitting lid
2 lbs. of seaweed (or kelp)
2 gallons of warm water
Fish emulsion (optional)

Seaweed fertilizer is known for its healthful benefits, like adding up to 60 trace elements to your mulch or compost. Seaweed also contains many growth hormones and disease control properties. Because of these factors, plants treated with this type of fertilizer have access to virtually every nutrient they could ever need. Seaweed also provides food for the beneficial fungi in your soil. Not only is it inexpensive to make seaweed fertilizer, but it is organic and eco-friendly.

Step 1 – Put It Together

The first thing you need to do is to put your seaweed into the bucket and add the warm water. Stir up your mixture well, and seal up the bucket.

Step 2 – Let It Rot

The benefits of seaweed fertilizer don’t come from using fresh seaweed. Rather, they come from using decayed seaweed. Let your mixture rot in the bucket, opening it to stir your mixture every few days. This process should take about a month. Once it is rotted, the water will turn brown and murky, and it will have a rotten plant matter smell to it. You’re already halfway through your process!

Step 3 – Dilute Your Concentrate

The rotted mixture in your bucket is your seaweed fertilizer concentrate. In order to use your fertilizer, you must dilute it with more water. The recommended proportion is 1:16, and so when you add the correct amount of seaweed fertilizer concentrate to water, it is ready to use.

Step 4 – Apply Fertilizer

The best way to apply the ready-to-use fertilizer is to put it in a garden spray bottle. These are tanks with long spray nozzles at the end of a hose. To use your fertilizer, put your diluted concoction into a garden sprayer, and spray it over your flowers and vegetables. Allow the mixture to sink into the soil as many of the nutrients can only be absorbed through the roots of the plants. This is especially important for root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, beets and onions.

Fertilize with a seaweed fertilizer once a month, or more if necessary. Rain can wash nutrients away, and if the soil is dry, then the vitamins are unavailable to the plants because they’re immobile. As always, fertilizer should be used at the beginning of your planting to ensure healthy germination for your seeds.

If you would like, you may add a fish emulsion to your seaweed fertilizer. This can add other trace elements and nutrients to your soil upon application. If odor is a problem, you can also supplement your fertilizer with molasses. The sugars in molasses help to control the rotting smell, as well as promote good microbial growth by feeding the aerobic bacteria with the simple sugars. The combination of all these steps can bring you a stunning flower garden or a healthy, robust vegetable garden every year.