Coastal Food Gardens
We Australians are well known globally for our love of hugging the huge coastline of Australia with our homes. Eighty five percent of us live within fifty kilometres of the beach. Of those, most are hesitant about having a food garden. It does not have to be all doom and gloom even right on the beachfront and I’ll tell you why: Research demonstrates that our veggie plants like salty water. How far this can go, I’ll outline below. As in all things a little knowledge goes a long way.
Sea water agriculture
Sea water agriculture…What? Yes, in 1956 Dr Maynard Murray researched and subsequently wrote a book called Sea Energy Agriculture after extensive research on the use of sea solids in growing his glasshouse tomatoes.
His rationale was simple. It relied on the observation that he had never seen a sick fish and he deduced that fish were able to extract the minerals from sea water in the correct balance that nature intended for outstanding health. Furthermore, he reasoned the minerals in seawater had flowed with rainfall through earth’s river systems and in doing so extracted minerals from the earth, taking them out into the ocean.
What he found was that seawater had all 92 trace elements necessary for healthy plant growth and healthy humans. His experiments showed that sea water, when devoid of the sodium chloride, would in fact be an extremely beneficial growth promotant to plants.
Nutrients from the ocean will benefit your plants.
Along Adelaide’s beaches

Armed with this knowledge we have established a number of highly successful veggie gardens along Adelaide’s foreshore beaches. These gardens benefit from the gentle onshore summer breezes and produce vibrantly healthy plants. In winter when violent storms can cross our coast, some plants survive and thrive whilst some simply find the amount of salty air a little too much.
The sea air that we know to be so pleasant to breathe is like-wise “breathed” by a plant through the stomata on a plant’s leaves.
This breath of nutrient laden air gives seaside plants a vibrant green colour. Plants that suffer from fungal attack further inland grow with no such problems.
We are even growing raspberries on the foreshore. In the extremes of winter the raspberry plants are devoid of leaves and so immune to attack from the salt laden air.
Distance from waves
Distance from the breaking waves can be critical to the welfare of some plants. We have noted lemon trees love the sea air but need to be about 200metres from the zone where the waves break so their leaves are not burnt. Some other plants that prefer to be a little further back from the wave action are climbing beans and peas – both of which can suffer salt burn.
Soil Drainage
When establishing a raised bed garden, especially by the coast, we will always fill it with our special blend of soil which solves one of the major drawbacks of the beachfront soil which is most often just sand.
The main benefit of placing raised bed gardens on sand is that the garden is always well drained.
Timber being delivered for raised beds in a beachfront property.
We have a significant number of gardens along the metropolitan coast that thrive during the gentle summer winds and with care grow successfully during winter. Plant health is actually easier to maintain in a coastal food garden compared with gardens further inland.
If you have an inland garden you can learn from the ocean and apply Concentrated Sea Minerals to your garden for extra trace elements and enhanced flavour of your produce. Another secret ingredient is kelp which can be purchased in granulated form and mixed with water or as a liquid, to again add over 70 vitamins and minerals to your growing plants. Kelp is known to increase flowering in plants to give you more fruit. Another one of our standard soil supplements is the addition of sea water concentrate to tomato plants for an amazing inbuilt salty flavour.
Bon Appetit.

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