Fermented Seawater For The Home Garden


Have you heard of Korean Natural Farming? 

Korean Natural Farming encourages the farmer to create their own fertility in the garden by focusing on the microbiology of the plants and soil.  By utilizing certain practices that enhance the already present microbes, you can create a boost of fertility for the garden.

One of the inputs that I really love to use is fermented seawater.  It is filled with important trace minerals that allow your plants to grow strong and healthy, with minimal disease.

Before we go spreading seawater all over the garden, we need to dive a little deeper into what fermented Seawater is and whether or not we can actually overdo it in the garden.


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What Is Fermented Seawater?

Fermented Seawater is an input in Korean Natural Farming that utilizes seawater, sugar, fermented plant juice, and rice water to create a liquid fertilizer, rich in trace minerals and micronutrients.  It has been tested to show that it helps produce tastier more nutrient dense foods.

Fermented Seawater is meant to mimic the microbe explosion that takes place in brackish waters, areas where freshwater and saltwater meet.  These spots in nature are where abundance takes place through the increased availability of food for all levels of the food chain.

When the microbes of the sea mix with the microbes of the land, a super environment in the microbiome forms, creating excellent conditions for your garden and animals.


Is It Safe To Use Seawater In The Garden?

I know what you might be thinking, is it even safe to use seawater in the garden?  Isn’t it too salty?

Actually, Seawater is a perfect amendment to use in the garden.  What salt content it does have is buffered by the over 90+ minerals that your plants can benefit from.  Scientists have been studying the use of seawater in the landscape for decades and they all agree, plants love it!!

However, if you were going to use seawater in your garden and pour a concentrated amount of it in one spot for too long, you’re going to kill off what is growing there.  It is best to dilute the Seawater at least 30:1 before applying it to the garden.

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What Fermented Seawater Does For The Garden

When you use Fermented Seawater in the garden for any length of time, you really can begin to see and taste the benefits of its application in the garden.  The use of Fermented Seawater can benefit so many things:

  • Controls Fungal Disease
  • Aids in preventing feather-loss in chickens
  • Increases sugar content in fruit
  • Helps plants during drought

How To Make Fermented Seawater

Lucky for us, Fermented Seawater is not actually that hard to make.  As long as you live near the ocean of course.

All it contains is just 3 simple ingredients:

  • Seawater (Diluted with freshwater 30:1)
  • Rice Wash (Diluted 200:1)
  • Fermented Plant Juice (Diluted 500:1)

When collecting the seawater, it is best to collect from the top couple inches of the water column where there is lower salt content and higher micronutrients.  After collecting, allow the seawater to sit in a large bowl for 24hrs to allow for contaminant evaporation and mixing with airborne microorganisms.

The Rice Wash is simply the leftover water from rinsing white rice.  When mixed with the seawater it acts sort of like a yeast, stimulating the microorganisms already found in the water.  Essentially, you are turning the seawater brackish.

Fermented Plant Juice is a whole other concoction that we cover a bit more below.  It is the sugar that activates this whole mix, creating for us a rich fermented brew of seawater goodness.

When mixing the 3 ingredients together, I’ll begin by placing seawater and rice wash water in a 5-gallon bucket and give it a little mix.  Then I’ll add a couple of tablespoons of FPJ and mix again.

First I’ll mix it in a spiral pattern to the right for a minute, then abruptly switch to the left for another minute, then repeat again.  This agitation allows the ingredients to mix and the concoction to absorb energy.

When you’re done mixing, set the concoction out for a couple of hours if it’s a sunny day or up to 2-3 days if it is cloudy.  The Seawater should be a little bubbly on top with a rich fermented smell going for it.

This whole mixture is already diluted and ready to go. When it’s ready, just put it in a sprayer or simply sprinkle it around the yard with feathers.  A little goes a long way here.  Each drop is jam packed with microorganisms.

Fermented Plant Juice Recipe Too!

If you are new to Korean Natural Farming then you probably need to know how to make fermented plant juice so that you can complete the fermented seawater recipe.  Well have no fear, I am here to help.

Once again it is just a few simple ingredients:

  • Leafy Plant Material (Mugwort, Comfrey, Wild Mint)
  • Course brown sugar

For fermented seawater in particular, the recipe asks for fermented plant juice made from mugwort.  If you do not have mugwort available, other medicinally growing wide leafed plants should work just as well.  I normally use comfrey.

What you do is early in the morning when the morning dew is still high, collect a bucket of leaves from whichever plant you are aiming to use.  Once you have all your leaves, begin adding sugar a cupful at a time.

With each cup added, try bending and breaking and squeezing the leaf material with the sugar with your bare hands.  Keep adding sugar until the juices start flowing freely out of the leaves.  Continue squeezing and breaking the leaves until you have extracted all of the juice from the plant material.

Once all of the juice has been squeezed from the plant material, let the mix sit for 1-3 days until it becomes rich and fermented.  Try to squeeze more juice from the leaves and strain the liquid.

You know have a rich concoction that will benefit any plant either directly as a tea or an additive in other KNF brews such as Fermented Seawater.

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Sean Jennings

Sean has been living simply Off-Grid in Hawai'i for over 18 years. He lives debt free on Hawai'i Island with his family and over 40 chickens. When he's not tinkering around the homestead, he's off exploring the shorelines for fish & surf.

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