Thanks to my Dad, seaweed now dresses the ground and plants in our greenhouse. He has spent his retired days with fork in hand, turning the ground and barrowing in fresh seaweed. Community Services with the Probation Project have also helped by wheeling back and forth with wheel barrows and mounds of vraic (our local name for seaweed), after spreading it on the fields.
Vraic has been used in this ways for years, to fatten the ground for crops. There is an old saying, ‘Pas de vraic, pas de haugard’, which translates from the local patois to ‘no vraic, no stackyard’, as there would be no crop without it. There were seasons when you could collect weed and two types: drfit seaweed (vraic venant) and cut seaweed (vraci sciai). Rakes were used to collect drift weed, up to the waist in water which was dangerous work, with the waves grasping their rakes and hurling them back. People didn’t go alone. Cut vraic was taken twice a year, to conserve the stock, which was then dried for fuel or burnt for potash. Gathering seaweed and seeing it as a resource to use and value would be a great thing for more to revive . http://permacultureprinciples.com/principle_5.php
Seaweed contains alginates which break up the soil. Being a primary producers, like plants on land, they use the energy from the sun and convert it, by photosynthesis, to a useful yield of chemicals from the sea that we can utilise. We can catch and store these minerals by making a liquid feed, mulching, eating it and putting it on our skin.
We offer a seaweed bath at WildGuernsey so that you can relax in a silky hot amber seaweed soak or foot bath. It will detoxify your body and enrich your skin with vitamins A—K, giving you a natural glow. Or try my herbal balm for your skin with bladderwrack in it. Bladderwrack is known for its anti-rheumatic properties aswell as an appetite suppressant, although the Kelp krisps we make on the WildFood workshops are cooked in oil and a little tasty! It’ll soon be warmer when we can bathe in the sea amongst the weeds of the water.