GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Lifestyle

December 2, 2010

Seaweed will help your soil

Q: I was wondering what I could put in my garden to revitalize my soil. The past couple of years, my flowers have not done well, and I'm thinking it has to do with the soil. A relative told me to mix seaweed in this fall and let it decompose over the winter. Would that be best, or is there a better solution?

A: You've certainly chosen the right time of year to amend your soil. You'll find lots of soil amending products in garden centers, but what does your garden really need? Is the soil deficient in some way? Find out! First, do a soil test.

Professional soil testing is done at the University of Massachusetts — go to its website, www.umass.edu/soil/test, for rates and directions for taking samples and a form. Standard soil tests are about $13.

There are also many inexpensive, easy-to-use, do-it-yourself soil-testing kits available at larger garden centers.

Start a compost pile; it doesn't have to be huge. And this fall, you can rent a leaf shredder or run your lawn mower over the leaves several times to shred them. Then dig them into the soil and let them compost over the winter right on-site — a free amendment and minimal work and cost. This is one of the best soil amendments you can use.

Seaweed is the only "weed" that you want in the garden! Seaweed is a great source of trace elements, such as boron, as well as nitrogen — and it's free. Collect seaweed, hose it off well to reduce the salt content, and then allow it to air-dry if you can. (Dry seaweed has less odor than wet seaweed.) Chop seaweed with a shovel or run the mower over it to speed decomposition. Use the fresh seaweed in the garden in the fall or put it in the compost pile to decompose all winter.

By spring, you'll be on your way to a happier, healthier garden, and over the next years, you'll see a big difference.

Reach Barbara Barger at nsgardener@comcast.net.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Lifestyle

Your news, your way
Pictures of the Week
Comments Tracker
AP Entertainment Videos
Was That Harry Potter at Comic-Con? Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Uzo Aduba Says Emmy Nod Is 'Crazy' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up Mirren Not Thrilled to Play 'The Queen' on B'way The Rock Finds His Inner 'Hercules' ShowBiz Minute: Hoffman, Oberst, Box Office Shawn Mendes Jumps From Vine to the Music Charts Cook Shifts Gears in 'Planes: Fire and Rescue' ShowBiz Minute: Stritch, Marvel, Beyonce ShowBiz Minute: Cole, JWoww, Box Office ShowBiz Minute: Garner, Backstreet, George 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success Legendary Actor James Garner Dies 'Pageant' Star Nick Cearley on Show, Skivvies Roger Ebert Doc a Surprise Summer Hit