My plot is next to a beach. We're on the equator and have a bountiful supply of tropical seagrass washing up on our beach every high tide.
Is this good mulch, does it need washing first (our fresh water supply is very limited), and if it's used in compost does this constitute a high nitrogen or carbon component?
It could be good mulch. Is it sprayed much more than everything else by salt spray? If not, I wouldn't worry much. I know that the salt content isn't so high that it is dangerous for grazing, as salt marsh hay was an early staple for coastal pioneer farmers in North America. I would suspect that chopping some and letting it get rained on in a spot where that water won't go into the soil you're planting in would take care of anything adhering to the outside of the grass.
As to carbon versus nitrogen, it's relatively easy for growing things. If it's green, it's likely to be nitrogen-rich. If it's brown, it's likely to be a carbon resource. So if you let your green grass dry out, it becomes a carbon resource, hence the reference in composting to greens and browns as shorthand for nitrogen-rich and carbon-rich components.
Let us know how it goes, and good luck.
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There should be no problem using it as mulch or using it for composting, one thing you would find advantageous as an amendment to the sandy area would be a bit of clay mixed into the garden beds.
Clay is sort of a magic bullet for sea side gardening since it allows your organic material to stick around longer than if it were used in just sand, it also slows the trickle through of water so your gardens will hold water better and as the plant roots grow, so will the holding ability of that soil.
As Chris brought up, fresh sea grass is a green and dried out sea grass is a brown, if you gather sea bird dung and add that to your heaped up sea grass, woo hoo!, you have the makings of a great compost that will be mineral rich as well.
Keep us up to date please, this will be very interesting and should work very well for you.
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posted 7 months ago
Many thanks both of you for taking the time to reply. I'll certainly follow your advice and give the seagrass a try, and leave it in an area at the back of the beach where it will get cleaned by the rain, but the salt will run back to the beach.
Our area designated for our farming/food forest is quite far above sea level, set back from the beach. It is already home to many wild fruittrees, and the soil is clay and covered in leaf mulch. We're not going to dig into the soil, we're focused on creating new soil on top. Mulching, chop-and-drop (especially of nitrogen-fixing ground cover) and composting our human-generated organic matter seems to be the recipe for this. Hopefully our plentiful sea-grass supply will add loads of new nutrients too.