Seaweed for the Garden

Now is the time of year to think about adding seaweed to your garden. Pre-winter storms this week have brought a lot of seaweed to the shore, piling it up along the high-tide line. Not only is gathering seaweed good for your garden, it also gives you an opportunity to see some of the sub-tidal seaweeds that are not usually visible without a wet suit and diving gear.

Strandline
Strandline

At Miracle Beach, I was able to gather several garbage bags full of seaweed to take back to our garden in Courtenay. I was actually out after dark so I didn’t have a chance to examine closely what I was putting into the bags – ideally I was hoping for some of the finer seaweed like Sea Lettuce (Ulva spp.) that breaks down easily. I knew from touch that most of the algae that I was gathering was already broken down by wave action.

On Sunday, I returned to the beach but much of the seaweed had moved on down the shore due to long shore drift. What remained was partially buried under a layer of sand and gravel, deposited by wave and wind action so I considered myself lucky to have collected my garden seaweed on the previous day.

I was able to pick a few samples from the strandline and photograph them before the rain began in earnest. Here’s some of the seaweed that I found:

Red Eyelet Silk | Rhodymenia pertusa
Red Eyelet Silk | Rhodymenia pertusa
Turkish Towel | Gigartina exasperata
Turkish Towel | Gigartina exasperata
Sea Lettuce | Ulva sp.
Sea Lettuce | Ulva sp.
Sugar Kelp | Laminaria saccharina
Sugar Kelp | Laminaria saccharina