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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - October 05, 2015

From: Aransas Pass, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch
Title: Using seaweed in compost
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What do you think about using seaweed in compost? I live on the Gulf Coast

ANSWER:

All of the gardening sites I found are highly in favor of using seaweed in compost.  Here is one from Gardening Know How, Using Seaweed for Compost: Learn How to Compost Seaweed, that tells you how to harvest, use it as a soil amendment and how to make compost tea from it.  Here is another article, How to Use Seaweed to Mulch Your Garden from Earth Easy with more advice.  Some states and countries prohibit collection of seaweed to protect the coastline environment, but that is not a problem along the Texas Gulf Coast since increasing amounts of seaweed have plagued the Gulf Coast (and other coastal areas) in recent years.  The articles above tells you to collect below the high tideline and not from the beach above the high tideline since the seaweed growing there helps control beach erosion.  Again, there has been so much seaweed accumulating along the beaches of the Gulf Coast recently (see this Newsweek article from June 28, 2015) that you should be able to take it from anywhere on the beach.  You will want to remove the dead and dying marine life (crabs, etc.) from the sargassum seaweed before you use it for compost purposes.  Otherwise, you are going to have a very unpleasant smelling compost heap!

 

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