Kelp meal (also known as seaweed powder) is a natural fertilizer based on dried seaweed that improves the health, vigor and tolerance to stress, pests and diseases of cannabis plants. A great option for vegan growers who'd rather avoid using animal-based products like bone meal or blood meal. Plus it’s a renewable and sustainable resource. Long story short, a full-on Swiss knife for organic cannabis growers.
Kelps are brown-colored seaweeds that belong to the order Laminariales. They have an extremely high growth rate (up to half a meter a day), reaching 100 to 160 ft. Commonly found in oceans and seas of the world, especially near the shore, in deep waters with temperatures that never exceed 68°F, they gather forming kelp forests, which are one of the richest ecosystems on Earth working like huge sea trees that host hundreds of species.
Having no roots forces them to filter seawater on the lookout for nutrients. In fact, thanks to this ability, nutrients become available again once seaweed has decomposed in the ground. This constant filtering allows for a quick development, making kelps a never-ending, renewable resource not only for lots of sea creatures but also as an organic fertilizer for cannabis growers.
Benefits of seaweed extract
- Kelp meal is a major source of minerals, amino acids and enzymes. Not being a primary source of macro-nutrients, containing little amounts of NPK (around 1-0-1), kelp powder must be used in conjunction with other quality fertilizers. However, it does have over 60 trace elements or micronutrients, including calcium, magnesium, Sulphur, manganese, copper, iron and zinc, which are in short supply in the ground.
- Another important feature of seaweed is its high concentration of vitamins and, most importantly, of vitamin B, as vitamins provide plants with the energy needed to cope with the stress resulting from such fast development. These powerful B-vitamins can prove extremely useful during cloning for lowering the death rate of the most vulnerable plants.
- Kelp powder also contains a series of growth hormones such as auxins, gibberellins and cytokinins. Kelp seaweed is, in fact, known for its high levels of cytokinins, which promote mitotic cell division and regulate tissue differentiation, causing a strong increase in leaf chlorophyll concentration and, in turn, fostering the development of foliar mass. Plus it stimulates the emergence of new sprouts when applied as a foliar fertilizer after the start of the blooming stage.
- It contains gibberellins, famous for their ability to promote stem elongation and induce germination. For all this to happen, seeds must be soaked in seaweed extract before planting.
- Kelp algae also have natural antibiotic properties that help fight damaging viruses and bacteria protecting cannabis plants from infections and pests.
- It's rich in carbohydrates, which serve as plant material and energy source for beneficial microorganisms in the root area. Starch molecules, similar to the sponges found in the algae, can retain water near the roots for quite some time for humidity to become available without saturation.
- In addition, these molecules can improve the ground's overall structure and help enrich the soil by means of feeding beneficial microorganisms, bacteria e fungi. It's, therefore, an excellent bioactivator that improves the biological efficiency of the substrate to assist in the decomposition of organic matter and make it available to the plants.
How to use kelp in cannabis cultivation
It's available in several forms. Kelp powder, for example, is made from dried seaweed ground finely into a mulch ready for use. You can also use kelp liquid or concentrated powder extract mixed with water and added directly to your soil, or even as a foliar spray. It works perfectly fine in hydroponic and aeroponic systems as well. Simply add it to any soil mix to adjust its deficiencies. It's the perfect solution for recovering the fertility of depleted soil as well as for remineralizing it.
The effects of this seaweed-based fertilizer will become evident during harvest as its rich content of stimulators, enzymes and nutrients will give way to more and bulkier nugs. The use of cytokinins right before the start of the flowering contributes to the development of profuse lateral branching increasing the plant's overall performance and quality of the resulting flowers.
In view of the many benefits offered by kelp powder, no wonder it's become so popular among organic growers. Whether you use it as a top dressing, as a tea or mixed with a vegan fertilizer, your plants are sure to benefit from the many nutrients and growth regulators in this outstanding seaweed-based product.