A valuable source of compost is often available on the beach. Although the volume of seaweed and seagrass washed up on our local beaches is not as great as further south, there are times when a good haul can be made. The main seaweed appears to belong to genera Sargassum, a brown weed with small floatation balls throughout the branches. This seaweed rolled up on the high tide mark is relatively easily collected and distributed.

Two big advantages of seaweed for compost are:

1. Weed, pest and disease
2. Wide range of trace elements and other

I have always been concerned about bringing salt into the orchard when composting with seaweed, but apparently the weed itself contains very little sodium chloride Some salt may be on the surface of older dried seaweed. This can be removed by washing or leaving out in the rain.

On a small scale, the best way to use seaweed is as a base for compost. Mix it with local composting materials to bring micro-nutrients into the garden. Seaweed nutriments are also available in extract form that may be applied as a soluble fertilizer. Seaweed extracts may vary in composition depending on their method of extraction.

Seaweed have many other uses including human food, stock food, source of iodine, agar and sodium alginate.

Further Reading:
Gold on the Seashore by Peter Abetz.

"Organic Growing" Summer 1985, pages 4 and 5.

Wild Food in Australia by A and J Cribb 1974.

Fontana Books - Chapter 9 - ALGAE, pages 189 and 196.


*Editor's note: Check with local authorities before removing seaweed from the beach. In some places, it may be prohibited.

Roger Goebel

DATE: September 1987

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