In the preceding series of blogs, we have shared how to propagate indigenous microorganisms, make fish amino acid, and make water soluble calcium and water-soluble calcium phosphate. These simple garden amendments work in synergy to help support a thriving population of beneficial mricobes in the garden. A natural farming practice is good for people and the land.
Today we will discuss how ocean water is a naturally perfect amendment for soil in need of minerals. If you live within reach of the shoreline, ocean water is a free and abundant resource.
Hawaii is a young land mass in geological terms and is primarily comprised of basalt lava rock. Hawaii also receives a lot of rain, which contributes to erosion and the dilution of minerals in the soil. Rain flushes heavier elements from the soil and carries them to the ocean. Ocean water is therefore rich in minerals and nutrients that otherwise may not exist in the soil. In fact, ocean water contains all trace minerals.
Ocean water, both oxygenated and alkaline in pH, can be added to acidic soils to improve conditions for growing plants. It enriches the land and renews its mineral richness.
Adding ocean water to your garden helps to boost the amount of life and beneficial microbe activity within the soil. Think of the point of convergence in nature where freshwater and saltwater mix. Brackish water environments are teeming with life and are high in biodiversity. Adding ocean water to the freshwater environment of your garden can help to create the same effect that occurs when freshwater and saltwater mix to create estuaries and deltas.
Symptoms of Mineral Deficiency in Plants and Animals:
- Fruit lacks flavor or sweetness.
- Ripening of fruit and vegetables is slow or has stopped.
- Rust or scab is present on leaves.
- Chickens lose feathers.
How to Collect Ocean Water for Plants
- 1 – 5 gallon plastic carboy with lid
- 1 – Watering canister
- Ocean water collected from a shallow depth of about 1 inch.
- The deeper the seawater, the saltier and less biodiverse it is.
- Collect ocean water from a shallow depth in a pristine area.
- Store ocean water in a place with a stable, ambient temperature of about 73℉ to 77℉.
- Store ocean water in a shaded place with no direct sunlight.
- Collect pure ocean water in a 5-gallon plastic carboy. Never use glass in the ocean.
- Dilute ocean water with fresh water to a ratio of 1:30; for example, ⅓ cup ocean water to 10 cups fresh water, or about 1 cup ocean water to 2 gallons fresh water.
How to Apply Ocean Water in Your Natural Farming Practice
- Diluted ocean water is a saline solution and can be likened to a saline IV drip for plants. It is an essential and free component of a natural farming practice.
- Diluted ocean water is approximately the same salinity as the water within the plant. Plants are able to uptake the diluted ocean water directly from the soil.
- Apply diluted ocean water to the roots of the plant. Doing so is especially useful after heavy rains.
- Use when weather is hot.
- Apply 15-20 days before harvest to enhance the flavor of fruit and vegetables.
- Use to treat fungal diseases such as anthracnose and rust.
- To treat or prevent feather loss in chickens during the summer, give the following amendments diluted with fresh water to the following ratios: ocean water (1:10), brown-rice vinegar (1:200) and water-soluble calcium (1:500) every other day.
- Cho, Ju-Young. Natural Farming: Agriculture Materials. Cho Global Natural Farming, 2010.