If you are into gardening and growing plants you more than likely heard about kelp meal. If you are just getting your footing into gardening and are wondering about which soil amendments to include, look no further than kelp meal. But what is kelp meal anyway? Lets dive in!
What is Kelp Meal?
Kelp is the name for a massive variety of seaweeds that grow all around the world. It’s found anywhere near shores and in deep water that’s not hotter than 68°F. Seaweed like kelp can grow from small individual plants to humongous underwater forests. Varieties of kelp can differ as they range in color from brown to green with a huge variation in size and shape. Plus each plant can potentially stretch from just a few feet up to several hundred. Kelp meal is an excellent soil amendment as it has an abundance of micronutrients, macronutrients, and amino acids, all of which are vital for plant health.
As a matter of fact science has shown kelp meal to have a wide range of benefits for plants. Take a look at this chart!
The building blocks of proteins, and the key component of strong, healthy cells
Minerals that have formed compound bonds with amino acids, so they can be absorbed into plants much easier. You may have heard of chelated iron or calcium, for example
A plant hormone that is essential for coordinating growth cycles
Another hormone that regulates growth processes, more specifically flowering and budding
A key growth hormone responsible for new cell growth, cell enlargement, and chloroplast development
Boron, Cobalt, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum and Zinc
So What Will Kelp Meal Do For My Garden?
First and foremost, your garden will experience an explosion of health growth. The hormones and nutrients found within kelp meal will bring your garden back to life and will aid in a bountiful harvest. Just a quick google search will bring you to studies on how kelp affects growth and biomass of plants, like broccoli! To be honest, even before "research" has been done on its effects, it was widely known as a great amendment for soil and a great way to increase production from your favorite plants. Some of these benefits are as follows:
Cause seeds to germinate faster
Improve the taking rate of cuttings
Encourage rooting, especially of difficult plants
Boost resistance to disease
Increase color of flowers and flavor of fruits and roots
Increase the amount and size of flowers
Help fight off insects and other parasites
Balance the soil and prevent nutrient deficiencies
Kelp Meal applied at springtime before planting can help provide nutrients to your plants for up to 4 months. Lets go into how to apply this awesome stuff now!
How to Apply Kelp Meal
Applying Kelp Meal is fairly easy but there are some things that you need to know before putting this in your soil. Kelp Meal does have a wide range of hormones and nutrients but it takes time to break down and become active for your plants to absorb. Typically we see kelp meal being broken down at or around 4 months. So it is best to apply in the spring before planting season. Once broken down, it should feed plants for 2 months on average but can feed for up to 4 months in higher concentrations.
The typical application is to garden soil and we recommend 1-2 lbs per 100 square feet of garden soil. Lets take a look at another chart that shows how to apply and how much in certain growing methods.
1-2lbs per 100 square feet of soil | Mix thoroughly in the top 3" of soil
1-2 teaspoons per hole | mix into soil & water well
Side dress 1-2 tablespoons per plant once a month during the growing season
Soil for Container Grows
Mix 1-2 tablespoons per 1 gallon of soil OR 2.5lbs of kelp mixed with 1 cubic yard of soil
Established Container Plants
Mix 1-2 teaspoons into the surface of the soil
Apply 200-400lbs per acre depending on your plant needs
We touched on a number of topics regarding kelp meal! What it is, what the benefits to your plants are, and how to apply it. What strikes us is the sheer number not including kelp meal in their amendments that they apply before and during the growing season. With such a wide variety of macro and micro nutrients, along with hormones to regulate growth and structure, its a no-brainer when searching for an amendment to include this year. Feel free to browse over to our shop page to get yourself some kelp meal.