ILWACO — Tim Teall concocts his special cold brew for 42 days; and his mixture gives plants a lift, not people.
Teall is the owner and creator of a line of local plant food, Seabourne Organic Kelp Extract. The organic fertilizer takes advantage of the nutrients found in Pacific Northwest kelp.
The idea of using kelp to feed his plants came when Teall was sitting watching the algae wash up on the beach.
“I looked up ‘What does kelp have in it,’ and I got tired of reading before I was done,” Teall said.
Kelp is a marine algae and filter feeds, meaning it absorbs the oceans rich nutrients, Teall said. To harvest the freshest kelp, Teall waits for a storm and then scours the peninsula’s beaches for pieces. He then uses a cold soaking process he developed to avoid heating the kelp, which could potentially cook out some of its more than 70 vitamins and minerals. Before he soaks the kelp, he chops it into very small pieces.
“You can’t get more handcrafted than this,” Teall said.
Teall won’t be able to collect fresh kelp until the beaches reopen to cars, but he’s got barrels of his brew fermenting in his workshop.
The extract can be used on indoor potted plants or expert gardeners can use it as an additive to the plant food they are already using. Most indoor plants can live off of five milliliters of extract per one gallon of water. For potted plants larger than 30 pounds, people may consider adding a little more extract. To help with measuring this out, Teall's bottles come with a built in measuring nozzle.
Spraying the plants with the mixture will be the most beneficial, but it can also be poured directly into the soil, Teall said. The smell may be offensive to some, but that can be countered by adding two drops of Dr. Bronner's 18-in-1 pure-castile liquid mint or lavender soap.
“Any kind of garden is like a piggy bank; the more you put in, the more you get out,” Teall said.
The compost can be applied to any plants or soil type without people being concerned about it burning. The nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the compost are negligible at 0.13-0-0.60. Other trace elements found in the product include; magnesium, zinc, iron, sulfur, calcium, manganese, boron, copper and nickel.
The kelp contains growth hormones such as auxins, cytokinin and gibberellins.
Plus its microherd is a dynamic community with bacteria like thallusin, which helps to fix nitrogen levels. The kelp is also home to ecosystem engineers, which eat nutrients that can’t be dissolved in water and poop out ones that can. Beneficial bacteria goes nuts for this stuff, Teall said.
Teall plans to expand his line with a Plant Food called “Nectar of the Cods” that is similar to his kelp extract but with an added fish emulsion. The artwork on his bottles was done by local artist Don Nisbett.
Teall’s product can be found on the shelves at:
Old Town Trading Post and Cafe, 300 First Ave. N., Seaview
Seaview Mobil mini mart, 3909 Pacific Highway, Seaview
SouWester Lodge, 3728 J Place, Seaview
Grow Dammit Nursery, 2501 Joe Johns Road, Ocean Park