Seaweed Magic

Let me tell you about my Dad.

He’s no longer with us but I have fond memories of growing up in Scarborough, Western Australia. We had a large backyard, as most families did back then. Half of the backyard was lawn. Far away from the house was the poultry run. Except we didn’t call them poultry. Or chickens. Aussies call them chooks.

As a kid, I loved an egg flip from Dad’s chooks. As well as the milk and egg, I’d add a few drops of vanilla essence for the flavor and then shake the “egg flip maker” till the mixture was all frothy… then down the hatch it went.

Today I still love vanilla.

Anyhow the rest of the backyard was Dad’s garden. A huge patch of highly productive dark brown soil that Dad had built up over the years. He recycled the food scraps and lawn clippings.

And I remember the blood and bone. Generous doses of this smelly brew were added at the right time each year. I don’t especially remember the smell but I do remember the massive rhubarb plants Dad grew. The leaves were almost as tall as my younger brother. Or that’s how I choose to remember it.

Wonderful days.

Then at age 22, I left home and went to England. Some years later, Dad and Mum sold the house I was raised in, and moved to a new block up the coast. And get this — they built on sand!


That’s how things are done in that part of coastal Perth. The builders pour a concrete slab and then build on it.

But what about the garden? For an ardent gardener like my Dad, there was a massive task ahead. He set out to convert ordinary sand into rich loam.

How many trailer loads of seaweed he collected from the beach, I have no idea. But this I do know. He converted beach sand into a richly productive garden that blessed them with fruit and vegetable for many years. The vegies, as we Aussies call them, were big and luxurious. He shared them with family and friends, much to everybody’s delight. The grape vines provided very pleasant shade in Perth’s summer heat, as well as wonderful eating in season.

So it’s amazing what seaweed can do. I call it “seaweed magic”. And there should be more of it!

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