Tomatoes love seaweed

Judith Adam

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Fronds of Ascophyllum nodosum (Photo from Wikipedia)
Fronds of Ascophyllum nodosum (Photo from Wikipedia)
Fronds of Ascophyllum nodosum (Photo from Wikipedia)

Did you see Gayla Trail’s article about cherry tomatoes in the new summer issue of Garden Making? Gayla fertilizes her tomatoes every two weeks with sea kelp diluted in water and gets bumper crops of sweet little tomatoes. The kelp powder I just purchased (Sea Magic, from is the aquatic plant Ascophyllum nodosum, a seaweed wild harvested from the northern Atlantic Ocean (and grows in Canadian waters). The plant looks similar (and perhaps is identical) to seaweed I collected as a child when it washed up on the beach and dried to a crisp in hot sun. It has air bladders on long branches, and it was the greatest fun to pop these bladders and get a loud noise. Little did I know there would be other, more important, uses for this ocean weed later in my gardening life.

Ascophyllum seaweeds are used as fertilizers for all kinds of food and ornamental crops, and deliver low amounts of the main plant nutrients, as well as a broad selection of micronutrients. Most important, seaweed contains plant hormones (called auxins) that promote plant growth and disease resistance, increase bud and fruit production, and build winter hardiness. (Colour depth and fragrance are increased in roses.)

The magic ingredients are cytokinins and gibberillins, amino acids and proteins, all essential elements gardeners have been supplying to plants since ancient Egyptian times. Providing plants with a foliar drench every two weeks results in quickly appreciable results. Do we need to say anything more? Let’s get some!

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