So what is seaponics and why am I interested in it?Seaponics is a method of growing plants and vegetables on diluted sea water along with some macro nutrients to provide the nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. The idea is that sea water contains most of the element in the periodic table, and thus will supply the essential micronutrients the plants need for a balanced and healthy growth. It sounds far fetched at first but if you take a second to think about it, it makes sense. A researcher Maynard Murray already experimented with this extensively and wrote a book about sea agriculture. So this has been around for over 50 years and the question is why has it not been adopted into mainstream agriculture, especially in coastal areas?
I don’t have an answer to that but since I live pretty close to the sea and have access to what he describes as ‘sea solids’, which are created by allowing sea water to evaporate in a landlocked area and scraping the remaining solids off, I thought it was certainly worth it to give it a try.
There are various formulas for this, but I used one I found off the net and adapted it to the various fertilizers I had on hand. Looking at the formula closely and the types of nutrients it provided via sulphates, I actually concluded that it provides everything that standard hydroponics takes care of apart from Molybdenum. So theoretically the plants should grow just fine on this mix without the seawater. However, adding the seawater may make them flourish – it remains to be seen. I have started an experiment with two melons in 75l barrels. One contains the seaponics mix, and one contains the standard hydro mix we have been using. Both will be grown using the Kratky method, without aeration. Here is a picture of the setup on day 1.
Standard hydroponic formula day 1
Seaponics formula day 1
I will update this blog to update you on the progress.
I also planted a Kratky type bed of lettuce with the same mixture as shown below:
Kratky bed of lettuce day 1 (shaded part) using seaponics formula