Does anyone use seawater on their plants?

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by pippimac, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    I had a conversation with a farmer recently and she talked about using diluted seawater on her pasture. Wonderful stuff apparently.
    Most of the info out there is of the "buy sea-solids product X" variety. I want to lug 40l or so back from the beach, dilute it by whatever % and water it into my garden.
    Thoughts?
    By the way, the beach is pretty close, so drainage is definately NOT a problem.
     
  2. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    I know a farmer who does this too, but I can't remember what form it's in. I guess as long as you get the dilution right you'd be ok. What are you putting it on? Maybe there is a difference between pasture and other plants being grown? I got the impression that it's a topical application.
     
  3. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    It has been discussed here befroe about asparagus and beetroot liking salt - I couldn't find the threads but remember an old organic gardner saying that she put the water from her corned beef on her beetroot

    It would be worth a trial if you lived near the beach but then spray would probably be enough and it don't seem rigth to be trucking the stuff across country.
     
  4. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    pebble, I think I would do a pretty general 'drench' of garden plants and soil. I've only heard about it in a pstoral context, but we're not talking sea-grass so you'd think if it's good enough for clover, it's good enouph for peas...
    If I go ahead, it will be a very controlled experiment indeed!
    Getting the dilution rate right would be vital I imagine.
    Dr. Maynard Murray pretty much devoted his career to researching the benefits of using the sea's nutrients on the land.
     
  5. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    From a nutrient perspective, i wonder if sand or seaweed would be as effective ?

    Although you would be providing the water component using seawater i guess.

    David Murray (Organic Gardening Author) is not a fan of using any form of seaweed in the garden. I find it ok if used as a compost additive etc, it speeds up the decomposition time frame. I've also noticed it kills off weed seeds too... maybe the immediate flush of salt which leaches after a few weeks of rain.

    Sorry, thinking out loud and digressing... I'd be interested in hearing any results on your seawater trials.
     
  6. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    Mylifestyle why is david murray not a fan of seaweed. I've used to no adverse effect.

    I thought i had posted a comment about seawater but its not here so...

    My comment was that i was reading that salt is not good for plants and so I wondered if the benefits in seawater are the other minerals not the salt. The problem with salt i think is the question of osmosis which will cause dehydration of the plants unless they are salt tolerant plants.
     
  7. pippimac

    pippimac Junior Member

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    pp, I'm interested in using seawater for its beneficial minerals and I won't go there if it's only good for salt-tolerant veggies.
    The sea's just down the road, so if it looks like a good idea, it's free and easily aquired.
    Going to do some research. Info would have to be along the lines of "at X dilution, the benefits of Y and Z outweigh the potential damage of sodium chloride by x". Or something.
    What is it with guys named 'Murray" and opinions on sea nutrients..?
    I'll have to look into excessive iodine from using seaweed on gardens, but in my experience it's wonderful stuff, and the only reason I appreciate our truly hideous winter southerly storms!
    I'm sitting on millions of tons of sand and I don't want any more. Ever. Please.
     
  8. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    Page 49 "Successful Organic Gardening (Second edition)"

    "...Apart from smelling obnoxious, seaweed can be guaranteed to deprive the soil of nitrogen during its lengthy breakdown, and to drive the pH too low. Another very good reason for leaving it on the shoreline is that its composition more closely reflects the saline medium in which it grew. Certainly the ocean is the worlds greatest storehouse of minerals (Carson 1951), but there is far too much sodium in seaweed for it to be used habitually on valuable garden beds..."

    I don't necessarily agree or disagree with him, I have found it a valuable addition in compost (if pulverised with a shredder [not an easy task]). I do wire cage stack it for a few weeks before using to rinse any excess salt out.
     
  9. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Senior Member

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    If you are already using grey water you might have to recalculate your seawater dilutions too.
     
  10. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    lots of stuff on line
    https://scienceforums.com/topic/17905-news-salt-lightly-for-nutrient-rich-tomatoes/

    https://www.naturalnews.com/023703_water_seawater_health.html

    https://www.bukisa.com/articles/229874_what-to-do-with-sea-water-lets-grow-some-food-crops-with-it

    [PDF] Irrigating crops with seawater
    [PDF] from sciamdigital.comEP Glenn, JJ Brown… - Scientific American, 1998 - sciamdigital.com
    ... There is no shortage of sea- water: 97 percent of the water on earth is in the oceans. Desert land
    is also plentiful: 43 percent of the earth's to- tal land surface is arid or semiarid, but only a small
    fraction is close enough to the sea to make seawater farming feasible

    PDF] The potential of salt-tolerant plants for utilisation of saline water
    File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View
    by R Choukr-Allah
    may serve as new agricultural land, with the use of sea water for irrigation of salt tolerant plants. These plants can be grown using land and water ...
    ressources.ciheam.org/om/pdf/a31/CI971547.pdf
     
  11. milifestyle

    milifestyle New Member

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    I reckon the increase in nutrients is a side effect from being thirsty... add salt, plant drinks more, absorbs more nutrients with increased uptake.
     
  12. DonHansford

    DonHansford Junior Member

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    Salt often has a fairly high percentage of Nitrogen. This could be what gives some plants a boost first up. My first worry is, what effect does the salt have on the fine feeder roots of the plants? In the longer term, this could badly affect the plant. Maybe OK for something that is quick growing / short lived (radishes, perhaps?), but I personally would be very cautious about using it on long-term plants.

    I reckon it would be a balancing act on how to dilute it enough to get the salt concentration down, whilst not losing the effect you are after.

    I'll let the OP investigate, and await the report :D
     
  13. Manfred

    Manfred Junior Member

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  14. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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  15. Manfred

    Manfred Junior Member

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    In Europe we have an increasing number of seeweed enterprises:

    https://www.seaweed.ie/irish_seaweed_contacts/doc/Filieres_12p_UK.pdf

    Most of it is happening offshore.
    Harvesting seaweed in Norway: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEIAlBFjdCQ

    But there are also some onshore experiments.

    Here a short video about a small seaweed farm on Sylt (An island in the North Sea tital flats.)
    https://rtlnord.de/nachrichten/sylter-algen.html
    He says the alga he is growing do not like water temperatures above 15 °C and will die at above 22 °C.
    He does market them as a specialty to lokal restaurants.

    Wild salicornia europaea (called Queller in Germany) is colleted by some people as a salat. But I do not know of any attempts growing it commercially at our coasts.



    Developing a seaweed farm in Tanzania, to feed the local people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJQo4vC-FFg
     
  16. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    So Pippi,
    How did your experiment go?
     
  17. KiwiInOz

    KiwiInOz Junior Member

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    Anecdotal ... when I was a kid, my next-door-neighbours were famous for their practice of an annual trip to the beach, bringing back a heap of seaweed and just digging it straight into their garden. They lived mostly off what they grew themselves at home.
    They are now well into their eighties and from all reports are incredibly "sprightly", fit and healthy people.
     
  18. linasteve

    linasteve Junior Member

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    If any specific plants need minerals then seawater can be used in a proper amount. But otherwise it is not beneficial to use such salty water for plants as plants need other nutrients as well from soil and water. And salty water is not beneficial for soil also. It can affect the fertility of soil.
     

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