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How to Make an Organic Foliar Food Spray from Seaweed

August 6th, 2013

leaf feeding

Did you ever wonder why supermarkets spray their leafy garden produce with a light mist on a constant basis?  As a result of the vegetables being picked, they have been cut off from their natural food supply.  The likelihood of them becoming dehydrated is high. As a result, the act of spraying re-hydrates the leafy greens before they wilt and lose customers’ appeal.

What’s important to note is this isn’t like waxing a cucumber or apple. Moisture from the misty spray is absorbed by tiny pores in leaves through a process called foliar feeding, the word foliar relating to anything that has to do with leaves. How does this work? The pores on a leaf absorb water faster than roots allowing nutrients to reach a plant’s nervous system more directly.

That’s why whether plants are sick or you want to provide them a little extra strength to ward off illnesses, providing a robust foliar feed is a great way to go. Water is the most basic food to feed but if you really want to maximize potential of the process you might want to try a seaweed solution which will boost a plant’s immune system exponentially.

If you live in a place like Bridgeport, CT  where it’s easy to find fresh seaweed- ask any landscaper or gardener and they will tell you how it’s one of the best natural fertilizers because it’s filled with the abundance of nutrients and minerals found in the oceans. Furthermore, unless a store bought brand has added chemicals, seaweed makes for a very organic plant food.

Want to make your own seaweed plant food? Just do the following:

What you’ll need:

  • Fresh or store bought but naturally dried seaweed

  • A closed bucket or container

  • A spray bottle

  • A funnel

Seaweed Foliar Food Recipe:

1. Fill a bucket or container with fresh seaweed, add water until full, and put on the lid. Keeping the homemade plant food in the garage or outside so any developing odors won’t bother the family.  Periodically stir and continue doing so for a few days. If it’s a store bought brand follow instructions on the package regarding how much to use and how long to let it sit. NOTE: The longer it ‘brews’ the stronger the solution and the more potent its effectiveness will be. When the seaweed and water have ‘brewed’ long enough, utilize the funnel and transfer some of the solution to your spray bottle.

2. Approach plants in the early morning hours as it is the best time to feed them whether at the roots or foliarly. Any later and the heat of the sun may dry up the solution too quickly or cause the pores, otherwise known as stomata, to close in an effort to retain moisture.

3. Preferably aiming for their underbelly which is where the majority of pores are located spray leaves until small droplets of moisture form. Do not over spray as this may harm plants more than help them, especially in climates where prolonged wetness can breed mold and fungus.

4. Repeat twice a week in conjunction with regular daily watering.

Remember, not all sick plants can be saved through foliar feeding but spraying leaves with something like a seaweed solution can reinvigorate them and provide a new lease on life. Otherwise, try it out on healthy plants throughout your home and garden and reap it’s amazing benefits.


About the Author:

Humble Seed welcomes guest bloggers. This post was written Jakob Barry. He is a green living journalist for a website that helps homeowners save time, money and frustration by connecting them with home improvement professionals. From plumbers and roofers to fencing contractors and landscapers, Networx simplifies the process of locating a reliable professional.

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How To Read A PLU Code: Organic, Conventional, GMO

August 2nd, 2013

photo (17)

You may already have a garden of fresh, organic and non-GMO produce right in your backyard – never needing to worry about barcodes or pesky stickers. But the grocery store is another matter entirely.  Each number on a Price Lookup Code (PLU) is determined by the International Federation for Produce Standards, and can mean several different things. Below are some basics to checking those tiny stickers on produce – and ensuring it’s exactly what you want.

PLU Numbers on Produce Stickers

*Organic produce has a 5-digit PLU number and begins with the number 9.

*Conventional produce has a 4-digit PLU number and begins with the number 4.

*Genetically modified produce (GMO) has a 5-digit PLU number and begins with the number 8.

*In terms of packaged GMO foods, be wary of processed foods containing corn, wheat and milk products, as these are the leading genetically modified foods.

If you lose your cheat sheet, simply asking the produce person at your local grocery store can be quite helpful.

What is “organic” produce?

Certified organic produce are harvested from plants that have been grown without synthetic chemical fertilizer, pesticide, and fungicide.  Organic food production is a heavily regulated industry, and because of these regulations, organic food produced in a way that complies with organic standards set by the national government and international organizations.

What is “conventional” produce?

Conventionally grown is an agricultural term that refers to a method of growing produce on a large scale.  In this industry, fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, hormones are used for the purpose of bringing in higher yields and better plant longevity.

What is Genetically Modified (GMO) produce?

GMO is short for “Genetically Modified Organism.” It means that intervention is required to place a specific gene in a plant, which in turn produces a protein that contains a trait that is considered desirable. Many crops today have more than one trait that prevents plants from succumbing to disease, resist pests and weeds, and even grow with vitality in a drought. In Europe, Japan, Australia, and a growing number of countries around the world, GMO’s are banned. But in the United States, genetically engineered foods are increasing, and remain unlabeled. This has led to a growing number of GMO’s entering our grocery stores without consumers even knowing it.

The most commonly altered foods are canola, corn, cotton and soy products. Keep in mind that byproducts of GMO food, like high fructose corn syrup are now finding a place in anything from ketchup to cereal.

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