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Sustainable Gardening: Seaweed as Mulch

Hi! I’m Hannah, a co-op student from Acadia University who has been working at Cabot Shores this summer! I’ve spent some time in the gardens and have learned some new sustainable gardening techniques that I thought I would share!

Here at Cabot Shores we strive to adopt sustainable practices into our everyday lives and our work. One of the ways we bring this into the garden is by using materials that nature has abundantly provided right in our backyard!

Instead of buying bark mulch for our gardens, we collect seaweed from our Eagle Feather Beach to use! Did you know that seaweed could be used as mulch? I sure didn’t! The main reason we use mulch in our gardens here at Cabot Shores is to help the soil retain moisture so that we don’t have to water as often. This is especially important as climate change has been bringing about record-breaking temperatures with each consecutive summer, so we would have to use a lot more water to keep our plants alive. By being able to conserve more water we are able to help do our part in taking care of Mother Earth in these changing times.

In addition to keeping the soil moist, using seaweed as mulch comes with other benefits over conventional bark mulch! The seaweed helps with common pests such as slugs as they are repelled by the natural salt content, as well the sharpness of the dried seaweed. Seaweed also contains many trace elements which help to enrich the soil and produce healthier plants. As seaweed is a water plant, another benefit that helps keep the gardens healthy is that it doesn’t share any diseases with land plants.

We take a canoe to get to the beach and bring back the seaweed, then we place it on the plant beds!

If you want to know how you too can use seaweed mulch in your garden then read on!

Step 1: Research local bylaws to make sure you are allowed to take seaweed from the beach.

Step 2: Gather your bags (any will do) and head to the beach!

*Tip: It is best to seaweed after a rainfall to minimize excess salt!

Step 3: Collect seaweed from mid-beach as you do not want it to be too wet or too dry – DO NOT collect fresh seaweed! Give it a good shake before putting it in your bag to remove excess sand and any creatures that might be hiding.

*Sustainability Tip: It is best if you collect a little bit from many spots along the beach instead of collecting a lot from a smaller area!

Step 4: Take your seaweed home and head to your garden!

Step 5: Spread your seaweed over your beds in a thick layer. If it is still fairly wet, be mindful that it will shrink as it dries. Make sure the seaweed is not directly touching the plant stems.

Step 6: Take time to appreciate all the natural (and free!) resources that Mother Earth has to offer and watch your plants thrive!

If you want to read more about using seaweed as mulch, you can find additional information here, here, and here!

Happy gardening!