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A Word (or Two) About Kelp Emulsion Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   

At the organic gardening workshop I attended at Esalen earlier this year, the leaders of the workshop seemed united in their fervent fondness of the wonders of kelp emulsion. It was brought up as something to spray on soil and the plants themselves when transplanting and seemed to be both a fertilizer and good at keeping fungus away -- which is a VERY good thing indeed in climates such as ours along the coast of California with its often heavy marine layer.

When I picked up my watermelon seedlings at the nursery in Templeton I asked the gal checking me out about it and she said she picked hers up at Osh. So I went to my local Osh and asked them about it and they didn't even know what it was. (Note: Templeton is a farming town and West Los Angeles is not.)

I was able to find a bottle at my local nursery: Merrihew's in Santa Monica. It is labeled as Seaweed Extract or "Liquified Organic Kelp" and wasn't cheap ($15 for the bottle) but you use very little -- an ounce per gallon of water -- so I have a feeling it will last a very long time.

I asked organic farming expert Amigo Bob Cantisano what the deal was with kelp emulsion and here's what he said: "Kelp extract has a nearly 60 year history of being a very effective liquid feed for plants. This is due to a number of factors including that kelp contains nearly 70 trace minerals, high levels of growth hormones, plant auxins and cytokinins. All of these are natural stimulants to plant growth and some have the ability to increase plants resistance to cold, heat, and some diseases. Some of these components also increase plant respiratory activity, sugar development, cell multiplications pollen fertility and more. Others stimulate soil biology. There is a plethora of information on kelp on the web where you can learn much more about it. There are even fairly large books on the subject."

So there you have it.

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