Sunday, 25 November 2007

Food from the Sea

We spent a very enjoyable evening gathering masses of seaweed for the Garden. With wild winds and rain further up-country, we were basking in some winter sunshine.

Gathering seaweed is one of our favorite activities, it's very satisfying to know there is a source of high quality compost only a mile or two away, plus it feels like a very natural, healthy thing to be doing!

Seaweed is an amazing resource, it's estimated there are 150 million tons deposited on British beaches every year. It contains most, if not all of the essential elements plants need. By elements I don't mean Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorous. There are over 80 potentially useful elements that a plant can utilise. Different plants vary on their uptake of minerals, wheatgrass is considered to be the most efficient, picking up close to 90 elements.

Anyway getting back to seaweed, when you think about it all the fields, mountains, streams, rivers etc lead to the sea, Heavy rain washes tons of soil containing minerals into the sea every day. The sea is the richest place on earth, containing vast amounts of creatures and plants, all thriving on the mineral rich mixture that is seawater.

The seaweed growing in this water is a perfect accumulator of these minerals and so spreading it on the land is a great thing to do!
The area of land above Mounts bay where I grow used to be called "the Golden Mile" due to the tons of seaweed carried up by farmers over the years and deposited on the land. It's done the trick as my soil is rich and dark, like a chocolate cake teeming with worms!

So the first batch is going on my asparagus, they like the salt so i'm told, and will make a nice treat for the customers next season.

While I will write some more posts on minerals and their importance for our diet, here's a link to an Article I wrote for Permaculture Magazine, a great read I would recommend to anyone feeling a bit depressed about the current state of the world.

So I'm still gathering carpets for my new beds, there is a carpet warehouse nearby who throw out masses of big ole carpets, but even this isn't enough to cover the field quick enough.

A couple a times a week i drive to the field laden down with more carpets, and realise yet again that the project is 10 times bigger than the previous one, I've got an Acre to cover!!

There was a time over the summer where i swayed between digging with a cultivator and no-dig mulching. For comparisons sake i cultivated a large patch with the machine.

Well no comparison really, while the machine was quick the difference in quality convinced me to go for the slow version of bed making. It's like comparing a nice sandwich made with care to putting that sandwich into a blender!

I prefer my worms alive thanks very much...