Kelp Meal Tea Tonic For Rosebushes
Stan V. Griep
American Rose Society – Rocky Mountain District
Member: American Rose Society
The Loveland Rose Society
The Denver Rose Society
We have all seen and heard about the energy drinks on the market today, some are useful to help give us a needed pick-me-up. Others are not so good and can cause more harm than good. Well here is a pick-me-up tea tonic for our rosebushes. The nutrients list for kelp meal is a long one, seemingly jam packed in fact as we all know. The roses really do love their kelp meal as they respond so nicely to it when they get a feeding of it. Without further ado here is how I make my kelp meal tea rose booster tea tonic;
I bought a water or drink tumbler with a wide mouth opening on it and screw on lid with no straw or straw hole in it for the soaking process. I add cool tap water to the tumbler so that it is about 1/3 full. A cup and ¼ of Down To Earth Kelp Meal is then added to the tumbler (you can use more kelp meal if so desired depending on the size of your tumbler as well as your kelp meal of choice). Add another 1/3 of cool tap water, screw on the lid tightly and shake the contents up well. Open the tumbler up and add enough cool tap water to nearly fill the tumbler. I leave just a bit of air space to allow for the next good shake up of the contents. Screw the lid back on and shake the contents up very well again. The shaking allows all of the dry kelp meal to get well mixed in with the water. Sit the tumbler in a cool place for at least an hour. Shake the tumbler contents at least once more at some point during the hour sitting time.
Once the kelp meal has become well re-hydrated it is ready for the next step in the process. I like to add a little Super Thrive to the tea as well just for a bit more nutrients but you do not have to do so. The items you will need to get ready to make up the tea are: a clean five gallon bucket or buckets depending upon how much tea you need to make for feeding all of your roses and plants, a smaller clean painters bucket, a tablespoon measuring spoon, a large water dipper with long handle, a bottle of Super Thrive and a watering wand hooked up to the garden hose and water spicket.
Move all of the items out to the garden mixing area and enough tap water to each of the five gallon buckets such that they are only about 1/3 full. Dump the rehydrated kelp meal in the tumbler out into the small painters bucket, this will require more than one shake to get most of it out. There will still be some liquid left in with the kelp meal, pour this liquid off into the waiting five gallon bucket of water or split it equally among all of the five gallon buckets of water using a finger or two to hold back the kelp meal. Now take the tablespoon measuring spoon and add a good tablespoon of the rehydrated kelp meal per gallon to each five gallon bucket. Thus 5 tablespoons of the rehydrated kelp meal to each bucket, stir it up well in the bucket with the watering wand or a long stick. Now add 1 tablespoon of Super Thrive to each of the five gallon buckets of water and kelp meal. Stir it up again. Place the watering end of the watering wand into the five gallon bucket of kelp meal and super thrive mix and fill the bucket(s) up to within an inch or so of the top of the bucket(s). Move the watering wand around in opposing directions as you fill the bucket(s) with more water from the bottom up. This helps get the kelp meal mixed well into the water in the buckets. Once the bucket(s) are full of water our tea is ready to be served to our awaiting rosebushes. Can you hear them all saying, “Me first please, me first!!” (smile)
Carry the bucket or buckets of the tea mix to strategic areas of easy access to your rosebush areas. Using the long handled big water dipper, stir the contents of the bucket and draw out a nice dipper full of the tea. Give each rosebush about four dippers of the tea depending upon the amount your dipper holds. My dipper holds 32 ounces of liquid so it works out to a gallon of the tea per large rosebush. For the miniature rose bushes I use 2 dippers of the tea per bush, which is the same amount I give to our other flowering plants such as the clematis and sun roses. Keep stirring the tea with the dipper too prior to each dipping out of the tea.
Watering the rosebushes lightly the day before this kelp tea feeding is recommended, as the light watering helps disperse the tea down into the soils better where the awaiting feeder roots can take it up nicely.
Make some tea up for other plants and shrubs with any of the remaining rehydrated kelp meal in the small painters bucket or apply the kelp into other garden areas and mix it into the soils well. Do not try to save any of the left over rehydrated kelp meal as it can go bad rather quickly and it is best to start with a fresh batch each time. I rinse out my tumbler container and the small painters bucket into one of the final five gallon buckets of the tea mix so that the containers are nice and clean for the next use.
The rosebushes and other plants will love the boost of nutrients, especially if given to them right after a big bloom cycle. It also makes for a great early Spring wake-up call boost too.