Algae as Fertilizer

Invasive algae could be a free, locally available and easy-to-harvest fertilizer.

Algae As Fertilizer

Harvesting algae from a farm pond could result in free fertilizer.

Photo by Fotolia/tommicris

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The invasive algae that float on ponds and lakes in southern Connecticut (near where I live) and elsewhere could make great fertilizer. My public officials want to rid us of these algal masses by either poisoning them, draining the entire lake in hopes that a winter freeze will kill them, or employing mechanical means. All of these ideas would cost taxpayers money.

I look at these masses of floating green and see floating gold. Harvesting algae is free and easy. When I’m out in my kayak, I simply fill a laundry basket with handfuls of algae, and then take the harvest home to put on my garden. I am in the experimental stages of this idea, but I appreciate that algae are free, easy to harvest, and dry to about half of their wet mass. I believe every small farmer with a pond could harvest pond algae, dry them, fertilize a garden — and they could even sell algae at the farmers market!

Cliff Weller
Jewett City, Connecticut