Seaweed wasn’t the only item on our agenda last week when we loaded our bikes into the back of the pickup. We were going to ride our bikes to explore the length of road blocked off to vehicles on Ridley Island. The five or so kilometre road was relatively flat with a few gentle hills, ending at an abandoned office building and a view of the bridge heading off Kaien Island. An easy sunny day ride for Lily and I (with Leif on the back of the Xtracycle) and also a great way to exercise Kep.

There was a moment when we were riding along the road with a thinning row of trees between us and the island’s shores, where the birds were making noises and Lily was singing; I completely forgot where I was. I looked through the trees, saw buildings and houses across the water and thought, “what the heck? Where am I?” I got even more confused as I searched my brain for the answer. I almost believed I was riding on Gabriola Island and looking out at Dodd Narrows and Cedar across the way.

Does this ever happen to you? Like when you wake up in the middle of the night and you can’t remember where you are and you can’t even imagine what your own bedroom looks like? Maybe I’ve moved too many times over the years; this is a common enough occurrence for me. I wonder if I should be worried about brain damage from poor choices made in my youth… ahem…

…back to seaweed. We stopped at the beach on the way back to the truck. We stashed our bikes in the forest and snacked, lounged and beachcombed. It was low tide and I had brought a number of bags with me to collect seaweed for my garden and happily sorted through the mounds of seaweed to separate it from the creatures living in amongst it.


I’ve been wanting to blog about this for a while. I’ve been collecting seaweed, hosing it off on my driveway (saving any living creatures and freeing them down at the waterfront) and adding the freshly rinsed seaweed to my garden beds. I thought this was an ingenious idea for foiling the many slugs we having living here. They’d be put off by any left over salt on the seaweed and fear crawling near it when it dries and is crispy. The seaweed would be a wonderful mulch and fertiliser as it rots and all would be well.


Not so, as I soon learned, at least on the slug front. Those damn slugs hide under the seaweed and are even eating some of it! Regardless, I’m still collecting it when I can to mulch and fertilise my beds. The slugs, well, I’ve been picking them off and out of my garden by hand instead. More labour intensive but it’s effective thus far.

Heading home

10 Responses to A Seaweed Excursion

  1. greenteacher says:

    Dern slugs! They eat my peas. I keep meaning to collect eggshells,and then dry and crush them to use as a repellent, but never get around to it.
    And I know what you’re talking about re: not being sure where you are. For me, it stems from switching beds so many times in the middle of the night. I wake up and have to get out of bed and everything isn’t where it is supposed to be!
    p.s. Very funny comment on the contest…did you check if you won? ;) I SWEAR it was random!! congrats!

  2. natalie says:

    ha ha, have you biked around Gabe? i would so like to kayak around Gabe. I loved going to Ridley island, just never made it along that road. Sawdust around beds is supposed to deter slugs… i haven’t gotten around to spreading our saved sawdust yet so we’re removing them by gloved hand too. We also relocate snakes to the garden b/c twice we’ve seen snakes EAT slugs! I love your photos Annie. xo

  3. Annie says:

    I should try the eggshells directly on my garden beds. I put them in my compost but haven’t yet taken a batch for my garden.

    :D I kept going back to read the comments and the last time saw that I won! I was SO excited and emailed right away. For those of you wondering, it was a giveaway for some products made with neem; perfect for deterring mosquitoes:

    I have biked around Gabriola but only once. Most of the biking we did was just to Justine’s or to beaches.

    Sawdust is supposed to work but I gather from a friend’s experience on Oona that the sawdust has to be quite wide of an application to be truly successful. You’re so lucky to have snakes there! At least I haven’t seen any here. Maybe not enough sun.

    Love to you both!

  4. Jenny says:

    Oh Annie! I love you! I just know we’d have a blast together. And I totally I know what you mean about the ‘where am I?’ phenomenon. I’m glad I’m not the only one… And I, too, made MANY poor choices in my youth! And about those slugs! Eggshells worked nicely for me and little cups of beer (if you can keep the rain from overflowing it). I’ve also been wanting to try seaweed as fertilizer. Seems so natural for our environment.

  5. Marlene says:

    I’m with everybody else – though, having loved somewhere now for NINE years (that’s a lifetime), it happens less and less. I still get confused sometimes what time of year it is, if I am inside – it’s like that information just won’t stick in my brain.
    They used to make gardens where once there was bare rock, by using seaweed, so you must be on the right track!

  6. Erin says:

    I am further from the ocean these days and don’t have an easy way to release the critters, but seaweed is calling me now! I remember when I was carrying Matthew, we took a trip to Sooke, and went seaweed collecting for the garden out the front of the Sooke Harbour House (for those of you who don’t know of it, it’s a posh, organically sourcing and amazing Vancouver Island restaurant with awesome chefs and staff garedeners) with my huge black plastic garbage bags stuffing their insides with seaweed as fast as I could. I think I was worried someone would catch me, lol. The dinner guests on the deck and lawn must have wondered who this crazy, focussed, visibly pregnant woman was crazily filling bags with kelp and whatnot! I think it was garden nesting orsomething, but my compost was never better than that year!

    Loved your mosquito response, so funny. i just took a quick read and that was a fun contest!

  7. Annie says:

    I so love you too, Jenny. I know we would get on well! One day, we’ll have to make it happen.

    Thanks Marlene! You make me want to make another seaweed gathering trip today! There is so little soil here; it’s mostly rock and muskeg here.

    Ha! Erin, I can just imagine what the diners were thinking watching you collect the seaweed! Gave them a good story to tell, I’m sure.

  8. mb says:

    lol erin- i have that same feeling of “what will people think” when i go seaweed collecting. i have wondered about getting a collecting permit, if those are even available, just in case i am ever questioned. like anyone will really question me lol. annie- i have been putting it on my garden without rinsing, and have not noticed slugs attacking it. mostly i put it in the compost but some i am using as slug-deterrent mulch (or that was my theory, too) and a friend who has done this said she doesn’t rinse or worry about the salt content… i mulched my brassicas with it, and usually my brassicas are chewed to a pulp, and i have no shortage of slugs this year, and well, it might be working, the plants still have leaves….

  9. Annie says:

    Hmmm… I might try that then, next time, not rinsing before adding it to my garden. Most of the seaweed is around my late started broccoli and it’s true it hasn’t been eaten hardly at all. I was thinking I might have just been lucky. Thanks so much for this, MB!

  10. June Dittmer says:

    I grew up in Prince Rupert, and my mother was a pretty good gardener that had grown up on Porcher Island, where my grandmother supported a lot of folks with her garden. Mom used to collect starfish, and seaweed and dig it into the soil, unwashed, in the fall. From what I could remember (I was just a kid) it worked well, and the small garden plot produced a lot.

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