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Ocean water for trace minerals

David Chapman

Joined: Jul 28, 2012
Posts: 36
I have been reading the various threads on means of obtaining trace minerals and the rock dust one was especially tantalizing. So much so that I began to research how to get it. The problem is, in order for me to get rock dust, I would have to have it shipped long distance. Not only does this cost a lot of money, but it's bad for the environment and the embodied energy of all my produce would go up substantially.

I began thinking about what I DO have near me that is full of trace minerals and the ocean was an obvious choice as it contains every trace mineral a plant could need.

Has anyone here ever used diluted ocean water as a means of replacing trace minerals in your soil? If so:

1. How much did you broadcast,
2. How much did you dilute it
3. How often do you do it
4. What have your results been?

- Obviously a concern is salt and salt build up. Although this paper showcases that some plants may actually do well with a little salt.
- It seems these guys are selling a fertilizer that is basically dehydrated ocean water. It seems silly to buy something so easy to make to me but the reason I post here is people seem to have good results with this.
- Here's an interesting thread on the subject
- A Doctor Murray appears to have done extensive research on this subject and wrote a book on it.

Any insights would be greatly appreciated!
Walter Jeffries

Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 1027
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
I'm very dubious about "dehydrated ocean water" or using ocean water for trace minerals. By orders of magnitude the largest mineral there is going to be the salt.

You might want to look into kelp. The kelp plants have already done the job of concentrating minerals. Still some issue with salt but not nearly as with 'dehydrated ocean water' will have.
David Chapman

Joined: Jul 28, 2012
Posts: 36
According to this mineral list, you're certainly right about the salt content being the highest, as would be expected. And the dehydrated salt water fertilizer would be silly to buy in my opinion, especially since I assume it's just sea salt.

I'm just curious if the trace minerals would be sufficient to be beneficial to plants.
Walter Jeffries

Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 1027
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
Chris Watson

Joined: Sep 08, 2012
Posts: 85
Location: North of Detroit (5b to 6a)
I have heard about ocean floor silt being sold as a soil amendment. I presume this would have some organic, decomposed jetsam in it, and perhaps some microbial activity. It would also be a lot lower in salt content than the other ocean products you're talking about.

“Life is entrusted to man as a treasure which must not be squandered, as a talent which must be used well.” ~ St. John Paul II
Meryt Helmer

Joined: Oct 02, 2012
Posts: 394
Location: west marin, bay area california. sandy loam, well drained, acidic soil and lots of shade
people often use seaweed in compost. i know they generally choose varieties that wont add salt. i don't know how much minerals seaweed has but it would be interesting to find out. kelp is a popular type here and it can also be woven into lovely baskets! i know people harvest it for baskets and use what doesnt make it as a basket for compost.
tel jetson

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3328
Location: woodland, washington
I use the sea-90 from SeaAgri, but not as a soil amendment. I just use it in place of sea salt in the kitchen and in place of trace mineral salt for livestock (along with kelp meal). those minerals make it into the dirt after they've been through an animal.

I don't think the sea-90 is anything magical, but I do know that some elements present in seawater are more soluble than others, so typical salt harvesting methods might not retain the full complement. steps can be taken to keep everything but the water. I certainly don't believe all the promotional literature, but the stuff isn't terribly expensive. I like the taste, and the animals seem to be doing well with it.

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John Polk

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6894
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
Kelp/Seaweed is a great source for trace minerals if you have a free/cheap source nearby.
Leave it out in the rain for awhile, and most of the salt will be washed off.

If there are commercial Ag suppliers near you, you can buy Azomite for around $20/44# bag.
(My local source is $16/44#)
Home garden suppliers are about double that price.
NOT something you want to pay shipping/handling on. I don't understand how mail order houses can warrant the hassle.

Leila Rich

Joined: May 24, 2010
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
I've been interested in this for ages, and I'm sure I've asked about it here too.
No, over there!
I never actually tried it, but many people in NZ who farm 'biologically' (basically, insert 'permaculturally') use dilute seawater on their pasture.
I'd never rinse seaweed, but my soil's extremely sandy and clay might be a different story.
Morgan Morrigan

Joined: Oct 16, 2011
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
if you check the articles on making your own sea salt, you can find that most of the calcium chloride drops out in the first evaporation. this is the bitter part of seawater, and is the most overbearing.

if you want to make your own for fertilizer, would prob be best to evaporate to 50% of original volume, and then decant and use the remaining water lightly , just before rains.

I also bought some seaAgri, shipping was a bit high, but nothing compared to the rock dusts, and looks like they understood the chemistry. I like the reports of how it helps the grazers to become less dependent on grains, and happier with just forage. Looks like a good sign.

It is also interesting when looking at the seawater percentages, how close it starts getting to cellular balances. It really forced me to look to adding more magnesium to the diet and the soil. Since the evaporated sea salt is an even better balance than i can mix, why not just use it?
I also am assuming that this is why kelp survives, and makes such good fertilizer. The magnesium helps the potassium exclude the sodium in biological systems.

here is one of the studies on the cellular pump.

and a video of the pump down here. this is the ATP pump, not quite the same i think, but easy to visualize with.

there are also some studies out there that show lyphocytes and other cleaner cells using "toxic" metals to help attack robust and dangerous amoeba's and such in the body. So it seems the body is set up to use the small amounts of heavy metals that we ingest in foodstuffs and dirt.

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Dmitri Garik

Joined: Sep 07, 2014
Posts: 6
I have been very curious about this too and have done lots of research. The trace minerals are VERY dilute in ocean water, you have to use a lot. Some companies are using proprietary methods and locations to concentrate these into much less dilute products, although in the end they still have a high percentage sodium chloride. The most concentrated and best value product I so far have found to be SEA-90, with a price similar to Azomite per 44 pound bag or so. SO, it makes for an interesting comparison of their Certificate of Analysis, which can be hard to find from many companies, but I did find some info from Sea-Agri (SEA-90).

I don't remember the exact details, but if I remember correctly, I came to this conclusion: Azomite appeared to be much better rounded in most of the minerals, some which were extremely low in SEA-90, and on average was 2x or more better value on mineral content than SEA-90. Therefore I concluded since I would have to ship tons and tons of sea water or spend 2x+ the amount of money on sea mineral products, I might as well just buy good ol azomite or other rock dust. Maybe sea minerals can fill some gaps, but, yeah
Michael Cox

Joined: Jun 09, 2013
Posts: 1510
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
You may not need to buy rock dust.

It is produced as a biproduct of cutting and polishing rock. Talk to a local stone cutter - someone who makes kitchen work tops or headstones for example. Most relatively populated areas will have someone doing it. Local to us it is a couple of guys out in a ramshackle old barn in the middle of nowhere.
Dmitri Garik

Joined: Sep 07, 2014
Posts: 6
BUT, if it's marble, it's not a good rock dust, and if it's granite, it's still not as good as the volcanic azomite rock dust, and another big BUT, you have to check what abrasive they use for cutting, because you may end up with a metal contaminant in your soil! I remember reading somebody was using this dust and indeed ended up testing high in the metal!
Wojciech Majda

Joined: Oct 02, 2014
Posts: 43
Location: Vietnam
I've been using sea water to fertilized my plants. It's a good thing, but to get some results your soil needs to be at least OK. If your soil lacks everything (organic matter, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium...) don't expect magic results.

What's especially interesting is the fact, that my roses changed color after fertilization with sea water.

I have written about my experience here:

How to grow nutrient dense fruit and vegetables:Designer Ecosystems
Cee Ray

Joined: Nov 26, 2011
Posts: 98
Location: BC Interior, zone 5a
When I was living on the ocean I made some sea water extract (ormus) by filling a 50 gallon drum with sea water, then slowly raising the pH to 10.7 with a dilute lye solution (around 1/3 cup of lye in a litre of distilled water) while stirring. I would then let the whitish precipitate settle for a day and siphon the clear solution off the top. This would leave around 5 gallons in the bottom of the barrel. I would refill the barrel with clean water then let the precipitate settle again, siphon off the clear liquid on top, and repeat as many times necessary until the clear liquid when measured with a conductivity meter was about the same as the water I was adding, is until the salt was mostly washed out. I'd pour the precipitate into a 5 gallon bucket and let it settle out further for another couple of weeks. In the end there would be around 2 gallons of precipitate, which from what I understand is mostly calcium hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide, plus all the trace minerals and plankton. I use it mainly for the trace minerals, which are important for building enzymes. Minerals from the sea are of a small size and good availability to plants and microbes.
subject: Ocean water for trace minerals