The word kelp sounds familiar to many people. But- Very few of them know what it is and how it is used in Agriculture.
If you don't know about this topic- Then you are in right place. You just have to read this article till the end to enhance your knowledge.
What Is Kelp?
Kelp is a algae or seaweed with large brown leaves having an amazing growth rate found in shallow cold water and coastal region.Kelp grows in large vertical groups that form a forest like appearance inside the water called a kelp forest. The thick blade of kelp provides shelter and food for many marine organisms.They grow in nutrients rich water. They are involved in the photosynthesis process that's why they grow so fast to get sunlight. The rate of their growth is 90cm/day.
There are different types of kelp found in different oceans of the world. Among all, Ascophyllum found in the Atlantic Ocean is considered best for Agricultural works.
Sources of Kelp
Oceans are great sources of kelp. They grow in the nutrient-rich shallow water of the coastal region. Commercial production of kelp has also started in different parts of the world because of its amazing benefits in different sectors such as food, health and Agriculture.
Nutrients Found in Kelp
Kelp is a great source of micronutrients. It contains over 70 vitamins and minerals in this seaweed.
The ratio of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium available in this marine algae is very less. However- It can be mixed with the fish meal which increases its N, P, K content. This seaweed is mainly used in powder form. The N-P-K level of powder form is 1-0-4. We can also use its liquid form which contains more N, P, K in comparison to powder form.
How Is Kelp Harvested?
This amazing seaweed having lots of benefits is harvested mostly from seas. There is a structure in kelp from which highly nutritious ocean water passes. This structure filters the nutrients. Therefore- These algae can aid different minerals when applied to the soil. Kelp is harvested when the cytokinin levels in them are at peak levels. Cytokinin is a plant growth hormone that helps in cell division and the formation of new cells in a plant.
Once the seaweed is taken out of the ocean, Then It is washed with fresh water. This washing process removes all the sea salt present in kelp. After the proper cleaning of seaweeds-They are left to dry in sun. When they are dried completely, then they are crushed into small pieces and converted into powdery bio-fertilizer called kelp meal. They can also be made in liquid form.
Nowadays- As people are more attracted to organic farming and organic gardening. These types of marine algae are considered by many growers over the harmful chemical fertilizers.
Why to Use in Agriculture?
Kelp is an amazing source of different minerals and vitamins for the growth and development of plants. Many people in different parts of the world want to do organic farming. But- Due to a lack of highly nutritive organic fertilizers they can't grow the crops and vegetables in large quantities.
For those- Seaweed like kelp is the best source. This seaweed works as one of the amazing organic fertilizers that not only provides nutrients to plants but also improves the soil quality. The best part is- This seaweed has very high regenerative power. There is no chance of its depletion. So- This can work as renewable fertilizer in the Agricultural sector for a very long time.
Kelp is used as a fertilizer in Agriculture in three different forms. These forms are as follows: -
- Kelp Meal or Powder
- Cold processed liquid (E.g.: -Growth Max and Growth Plus)
- Enzymatically liquid
Seaweeds are an integral part of Agriculture for many years to the people living in the coastal area of different seas. They used to burn the seaweeds and use the ash as a source of fertilizer in farming works.
We have listed some points which shows why this seaweed should be used in Agriculture and gardening works: -
- Firstly, kelp is eco-friendly. It doesn't harm any environmental aspects.
- Source of more than 70 vitamins, minerals, trace elements and growth hormones.
- Extremely fast growth rate which makes it renewable source of fertilizer.
- It can be applied in any kind of soil.
- Kelp is rich in plant growth hormones like Auxin, Gibberellin and Cytokinin. These hormones increase the regenerative and growth rate of plants along with the increased flowers and fruit set.
- They make the soil structure like water holding capacity, porosity, CEC better.
- Nutrients in seaweed make a favourable environment for different types of beneficial micro-organisms which help to increase our production to a great extent.
- Mixing seaweed with fish can do magic to your plant. Your plant will grow faster and healthier than ever before.
- Regular application of kelp as fertilizer to plant increase its ability to resist diseases, frost, drought and pest attacks.
- Due to the presence of a good amount of growth hormones- Kelp fertilizers are great in the case of vegetative propagation. They help in easy root initiation of Cuttings.
- Kelp helps in the development of roots. It opens the root to a wider area due to which root can take more Nutrients and help plant to grow healthier and stronger.
- Seaweed works as a bio-activator. That means, it helps in the breakdown and decomposition of compost and make nutrients available to plants.
- The mulch made out of kelp helps to preserve soil moisture in the summer and the plant doesn't suffer wilting.
How To Use Kelp In Farming
We can use the direct fresh seaweed or we can buy processed powder and liquid fertilizer of seaweed in different ways. Some of the great ideas of using seaweed are: -
1.As A Mulch
Mulch is defined as the substance which is placed above the seed sown in soil. It covers the root zone. We can use Seaweed as a mulch which preserves the moisture and adds nutrients to the soil.
2.Powder or Liquid form
We can buy different fertilizers made from seaweed. These fertilizers are processed in the form of dry powder or liquid. We can use them directly applied in the root zone of plants.
3.Making A Compost
We can use Seaweed like kelp as a material to Make Compost. It is a great idea. The trace elements and micronutrients present in seaweed and Macro-Nutrients like N, P, K present in other composting materials can together make an amazing feed for plants that almost fulfils all the needs of plants and increase our production to greater extent.
Foliar application of kelp fertilizer gives the best results. The main reason behind this is leaves are 8 times more efficient in absorbing the nutrients.
Finally- Kelp is a more natural approach for our Agricultural works replacing the chemical fertilizers. The Nutrients, Vitamins and Growth hormones present in kelp can surely help the organic farming to a greater extent.
So-Next time, while buying a fertilizer- Do consider for kelp at least once.
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